I have thousands of photos unorganized and duplicated. Help on organizing please!

qwerty11

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
As the title says, over the years, I have amassed a massive pile of photos. Many of these are not organized, but just in chronological order. Also, there are lots of duplicates buried in there. I would like to start fresh and really put forward the effort to organize. Right now, I just use Apple Photos, however, I am not opposed to using Lightroom or any other free or paid software. I just want it done right. Any recommendations.
 

Grandpa Ron

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
932
Reaction score
539
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If I had thousands of photos that I had not considered important enough to sort. I would start fresh.

I sort by subject or intent. That is family photos, hobby photos, flowers, landscapes, vacations, etc. Of course each of these have sub groups. I store each group on a thumb drive.

As time permits you can review your previous photos and decide if they are worth spending the time to organize or leave as is.

The big problem come when a photo fits in more than one group.
 

Shinnen

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 19, 2007
Messages
29
Reaction score
1
Hi qwerty,
I can relate to your problem, as many of us will. Organize mine would be a massive task. I'm going to put them all on a disk and leave them to my children to weed out. I know, it's the lazy man's way out.
......... john
 
  • Like
Reactions: PJM

SquarePeg

hear me roar
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
13,309
Reaction score
10,868
Location
Boston
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Not really clear if your photos are digital or prints. My answer pertains to digital.

My landscape “keepers” are stored by subject then location then date as I frequently revisit locations. Family and portraits are stored under People with subgroups by occasion then date. I find it makes finding things super easy. Ex Milky Way has its own folder with sub folders for OBX or Cape Cod then stored by date.

I have a few external hard drives with older stuff that I’ve sorted. New are downloaded to the drive attached to my MacBook and categorized in Lightroom as described above.

I also keep everything on both Amazon Photos and Flickr as cloud backups. My daughter has all my passwords ans knows where to find everything.

I was in your situation a few years ago snd decided to get organized. It’s still a work in progress. I first saved everything to an external as a back up then started sorting and deleting in batches. Whenever I am just sitting watching tv or have some free time I cull and sort a batch putting everything in its proper file. Once that is done I sort and remove any duplicates. Then on to the next batch next time.

There is no magic wand to do it quickly and easily. If this is too much work then save it all to an external drive and go digging whenever you need to find something. In the end, the time spent searching may be less than the time spent sorting.

Lesson learned I am much pickier now about which files I keep and how I save them.

I have boxes of prints from my point ans shoot film days that are waiting to be organized. That’s another story!!
 

Geenphoto

TPF Noob!
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
72
Reaction score
21
Location
DFW area, Texas
Website
www.geen.co
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I like SquarePeg's answer and I do something similar. I take a lot of family photos so they are sorted by person or family and then by date. Then I have Events like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Travel, and then by date. For the Travel category I include location such as state or city with date codes being my bottom level directory. As stated, I may photograph the same person or location more than once. Example, I went to Honolulu, Hawaii twice, in 2006 and then 2010. With that, I would have multiple date codes under my Hawaii folder.

As for my date codes, I use: CCYYmmdd (CC = Century, YY = Year, mm = month, dd = day). Example: 20211103 is 2021, 11 (November), 03 (day three of the month). This makes sorting my date code easy. Plus if you are a linux or MacOS person, it is easy to create the directories programmatically (mkdir `%Y%m%d`). I use Nikon's Studio NX which makes my directories in the same format base on date the photo was taken so that is pretty easy for me as well.

Finally, I started adding keywords in the my photos as I download them from my CF card so I should be able to search on that my photo processing application.
 

NS: Nikon Shooter

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
2,054
Reaction score
1,886
Location
Québécois in central Europe since 1989
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
-

My operation is based on events and/or subjects where dates are irrelevant.

Say corporate assignments. All the jobs are in a folder to the client's name
and subfolders will contain either events or subjects.

For wildlife, the structure is based on species where seasons are shown with
colour labels.

Most converters come with some sort of data management simplifying these.
 

WackfordSqueers

TPF Noob!
Joined
Nov 29, 2021
Messages
15
Reaction score
6
Location
Penkridge, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hmm, I see the Author's question and I don't think anyone, bar suggesting to leave it to his descendants to sort out, has answered it. I think he is not asking how he should have catalogued and directed his collection as he collected it. Answers seem to be on a horse has bolted basis, like me, I think, he wants to know what to do with the dishevelled mass his images and videos have become so far. Duplicate finders are difficult and long winded. I hope there is an answer out there.

PS My answer would be, as I have started to do myself, is to make a title folder, within it, make loads of other folders, all entitled with places, events, people that you know you have encountered over time and then leave it all alone until you feel like tackling the accumulation. Perhaps deciding whether to move an entire folder into your new organised collection or split people, places, events into their new folders. As long as you have a clearly entitled system you can track the position of the various categories and hone the collection with some accuracy. Bit by bit, delete copies and nonsense after you have put them in their places. I have been on this way for ages, it is really quite rewarding to see the mess diminish.....
 

RVT1K

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
1,310
Reaction score
810
Location
Near Albany, NY
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Other than sitting down and creating folders of particular themes and then going thru all your pics and placing them accordingly, I'm not sure what you can do.

My personal choice is to create a folder the day I take shots and give it a name that pertains to what I shot.
 

smoke665

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
12,952
Reaction score
6,545
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I use Bridge and LR in file management, to create a file directory tree down approach that automatically sorts as I click down in the directory. I duplicate that same directory structure across multiple drives for simplicity and unity.

I start with a Master Personal and a Master Commercial file. Drives are designated by adding 1, 2, 3, etc after the file name. From there I add broad categories, in Master Personal for example, I use Family, Travel, Landscape, etc.. In Commercial, I use the event or Name. From there I break down to the next level of category. IE in Family I might have Parents, Kids, Grandkids, etc.. I continue to break down to as many sub categories as needed. Once I reach the bottom category I add three files designated 1-Raw, 2-Photoshop, and 3-Finished. Finally I'm a big believer in using searchable tags and ratings on images.

Using this method images are automatically sorted as I click on each folder going down in the directory tree. When I click on Master, I see all the files in every category. If I want I can filter and search the whole file, or if I click on a sub-folder like Lanscape>Structues>Historic it gives me just the old buildings I've photographed. Click on the next lower sub-folder "2-Photoshop" below, and it gives me all the images that were further processed. Using "filters" I can sort searching Tags, Ratings, or other items to show specific images.

Drives are my method of chronologically sorting. My internal drive is all my current stuff. As it ages it's transferred to the first external drive. As the images on that drive age they're transferred to the next drive, and so forth. All of my drives are in my LR catalog, so they're available in the LR Library Module. LR doesn't care where you store your images, so long as "it knows where" you stored them.
 

GrfxGuru

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
856
Reaction score
22
Location
Texas, USA
Website
www.grfxmedia.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Like many others, my system in Folder structure and Lightroom is to start with broad categories and then refine them down. If you use just about any of the photo management apps that include a library feature, filtering can take care of the small details. My structure goes something like this

Locations
- place
People
- Persons name or family
Studio
- Subject or shoot name

etc...

I also have smart folders that will update themselves for things like particular ratings or tags, e.g. 5 star, "favorite"

When it comes to Lightroom, I have libraries per year so it stays zippy on the response and usability side. It is easy to just switch libraries so I don't feel this is too bad, it's not perfect but it works.

I also have an Archive library for everything that I shot before I came up with my system.

Hope this helps.
 

Geenphoto

TPF Noob!
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
72
Reaction score
21
Location
DFW area, Texas
Website
www.geen.co
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hmm, I see the Author's question and I don't think anyone, bar suggesting to leave it to his descendants to sort out, has answered it. I think he is not asking how he should have catalogued and directed his collection as he collected it. Answers seem to be on a horse has bolted basis, like me, I think, he wants to know what to do with the dishevelled mass his images and videos have become so far. Duplicate finders are difficult and long winded. I hope there is an answer out there.

PS My answer would be, as I have started to do myself, is to make a title folder, within it, make loads of other folders, all entitled with places, events, people that you know you have encountered over time and then leave it all alone until you feel like tackling the accumulation. Perhaps deciding whether to move an entire folder into your new organised collection or split people, places, events into their new folders. As long as you have a clearly entitled system you can track the position of the various categories and hone the collection with some accuracy. Bit by bit, delete copies and nonsense after you have put them in their places. I have been on this way for ages, it is really quite rewarding to see the mess diminish.....
We can only share our experiences. What the OP ultimately decides is strictly up to them. When I started, all my photos just dropped into a Pictures directory and a date-stamped subfolder like 20211129 -- I use CCYYmmdd format. Four years later I upgraded my camera and took a look at my mess.

I essentially moved all the old photographs in a new folder and then started to catalogue them as time permitted. I use major categories, then sometimes subcategories and then a date-stamp. One folder looks like this:
/Pictures/Family/Johnson/Caleb/Army/date-stamp
for his sister if have:
/Pictures/Family/Johnson/Jordan/Graduation/date-stamp

This works well enough for me. When my wife ask for a photo of one of the kids, I ask which kid, which event, and the approximate date. This allows me focus in quickly. YMMV.

I looked it up and I have over 10,000 photos and video. At this point I am starting the process of eliminating those with less meaning or are just plain bad. It is not going to be a fast process to be sure.
 

smoke665

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
12,952
Reaction score
6,545
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
When you say LR most think editing but it's actually a robust DAM. Giving you the ability to query a wide range of attributes. I don't add to what's already there. The date is in the metadata so why duplicate it.

At last count I'm bumping 20k images on 3 drives all in one catalog, with no slow down. Adobe says a catalog can handle in excess of 1 million images so I've got a long way to go.
 

WackfordSqueers

TPF Noob!
Joined
Nov 29, 2021
Messages
15
Reaction score
6
Location
Penkridge, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
We can only share our experiences. What the OP ultimately decides is strictly up to them. When I started, all my photos just dropped into a Pictures directory and a date-stamped subfolder like 20211129 -- I use CCYYmmdd format. Four years later I upgraded my camera and took a look at my mess.

I essentially moved all the old photographs in a new folder and then started to catalogue them as time permitted. I use major categories, then sometimes subcategories and then a date-stamp. One folder looks like this:
/Pictures/Family/Johnson/Caleb/Army/date-stamp
for his sister if have:
/Pictures/Family/Johnson/Jordan/Graduation/date-stamp

This works well enough for me. When my wife ask for a photo of one of the kids, I ask which kid, which event, and the approximate date. This allows me focus in quickly. YMMV.

I looked it up and I have over 10,000 photos and video. At this point I am starting the process of eliminating those with less meaning or are just plain bad. It is not going to be a fast process to be sure.
I think all suggestions and inspirations inevitably filter down to how you have told it, common sense at last... I have so many pictures...Lord knows why I/we let them run away from us....
 

AlanKlein

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 24, 2011
Messages
1,754
Reaction score
605
Location
NJ formerly NYC
Website
www.flickr.com
I'm sort of in the same place. I want to pick out the best pictures I've taken to put in a tabletop photo book. So I'm going through every picture I have and copying out the ones I may use into a separate folder. I really don't care about identifying every picture I have.

So that might be an easier solution for you. Just pull out the ones that you consider keepers. After all, how many pictures of Uncle Louie do you need?
 

AlanKlein

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 24, 2011
Messages
1,754
Reaction score
605
Location
NJ formerly NYC
Website
www.flickr.com
When you say LR most think editing but it's actually a robust DAM. Giving you the ability to query a wide range of attributes. I don't add to what's already there. The date is in the metadata so why duplicate it.

At last count I'm bumping 20k images on 3 drives all in one catalog, with no slow down. Adobe says a catalog can handle in excess of 1 million images so I've got a long way to go.
Wouldn't he have to pay Adobe a monthly charge for life to be able to access anything he may do with Lightroom? If that's the case, LR would not seem the way to go. He could buy Photoshop Elements as a program you don't have to rent. It may have a sufficient DAM for his needs.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top