Having an abundant collection of photos is a good thing. It means you have several memories worth cherishing. Moreover, your photography hobby or business is thriving.

As a result, you must know the best way to organize photos. If you don’t, your images will be cluttered throughout your computer, making it hard to locate or edit later. 

That’s why I’ll explain how to organize your pictures best using my digital photo filing system.

I should start by mentioning that I’m a travel photographer and primarily focus on landscape photography. This means the way I organize my photos is best for my situation and travel photography. The method I’m filing pictures may work for you, but I’ll also mention other ways to take advantage of image filing techniques.

Furthermore, I’ll cover essential topics like digitizing prints, image management software, and face recognition for photos.

Let’s start.

How to Organize Photos

The best way to organize photos is by using photography software.

They’re commonly called digital asset management software.

I use Adobe Lightroom Classic. Capture One Pro is another efficient photography software. The advantage of these two software is that they can both also edit images.

In contrast, the prehistoric photo filing technique is manually sorting your photos in Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. Though this does work, it is incredibly time-consuming. Consequently, it will be harder or more troublesome to locate, view, and edit your digital pictures.

I’ll explain how filing pictures work with and without an image management software. 

Photo Filing with and without Software

As mentioned earlier, I’m a travel photographer.

I organize my images by country year date.

mac finder photo filing

I file pictures this way because, later, when I want to view or edit my images, I’ll immediately know which country the photo is located. And I’ll usually have a good idea of the year (but most times there is only one folder for year). I then search the photos through viewing them. This is made easy with a digital asset manager with a dynamic grid that displays multiple images simultaneously.

One thing you’ll notice is I don’t rename my files. The somewhat arbitrary file names produced by the camera doesn’t bother me. But the autogenerated sequential numbers in the filename are useful when I do an advanced search and edit my images. Most digital asset managers provide the option of renaming the image files during import.

Lightroom Classic photo filing in library module

If you’re not planning to use photography software, I recommend changing the file name to something appropriate. Luckily, both Windows 10 and macOS have options to batch rename files, saving you time.

For family photo albums, I suggest organizing the pictures by year month.

If you’re a professional photographer, then organizing by event/date makes sense. Of course, if you’re a professional, you’ll be using photography software.

Further Organize Photos with Tags

Windows 10 and macOS allows users to add metadata or keywords to files. The metadata is used to search or sort files. Most people don’t take advantage of this, but you can apply it to image files in addition to documents.

For example, on macOS, you can add color tags and keyword metadata to your images. You can apply this data to your photos to improve the organization.

Mac Finder filing pictures with color tags

If you have children, you can apply one specific color for each child. On the other hand, you can create a separate folder for every family member.

Photographers use color tags and metada