Just for kicks, I went through my project folder to see just how many files I had to keep track of for my album project. Here’s the breakdown:
2, 997 photos were taken between june 5 – sept 5
679 photos were post processed and used in the album
108 working files were created (all psd files of layouts, scans of memorabilia, and some psd files of edited photos)
296 completed layouts to be uploaded for print
Whew, that’s a lot of files.
Since I’ve gotten a few inquiries from you regarding how to sort, keep track of and manage files, I’m going to share the filing system that I created for the project. I love all things organizational-related so I’m super excited about today’s post. Even if you don’t plan on starting an album project, it is important to have an organized system for your photos so at the very least, skim through the first section of this post.
For my blurb book project (which I named mbook), I worked from two different master folders.
The 2009 folder is where I store all of my 2009 photos in its original form.
I always keep the original files stored in this folder. Photos that I post process are saved and stored in a separate folder. I’ve had to learn the hard way to set up my filing system this way. Who knew that my post processing preferences would change over time?? **cringe** Oh the remorse I feel every time I think about the photos that I ruined because I saved over the original file. That is a HUGE lesson learned for me. Don’t make the same mistake I made! Always retain an original copy of your photos. (Side note: the great thing about adobe lightroom is that all the edits you apply to your photos are non-destructive so you can edit to your hearts desire without worrying about destroying the original file. I currently use a combination of lightroom + photoshop to process my photos so I still save my edited photos to a separate folder).
Organize your photos in chronological order + be consistent with your file naming format.
My photos are all organized in chronological order. I have a separate folder for each year and within this folder are subfolders categorized by day. Here’s a screenshot of the folder contents:
All of my folders follow a consistent format: year-month-date-nameofevent(when applicable).
Incorporating event names or other keywords to the file name helps me remember what’s inside that folder. As you can see, I only have a few folders that are tagged with keywords. This is something that I need to improve upon but I haven’t quite figured what keywords will work. Since I’ve been taking photos (almost) everyday for project 365, most of the photos are a series of random + unrelated things: audreyinbackyard+maddietummytime just doesn’t quite cut it as a keyword. If you’ve figured out a system that works for you, please share.
Inside the project folder mbook
This is the folder I saved/stored all things that were related to this project: psd templates I created, flattened jpg files for uploading, low reso files for posting online, etc. All of the folders I created for this project followed this format: mbook-contents of folder. Here’s a screenshot of the contents:
a folder for your processed photos
This folder stores all the photos I want to include in the album. I use lightroom to go through my photos. I also use lightroom to perform basic edits (adjusting exposure, temperature, tones) and export them to this folder.
working psd/tif files
This folder stores all of the psd/tif files related this the project: layouts, scans of memorabilia, and psd files of select post processed photos (this is so I can remember which combination of actions.) I always retain a layered psd/tif file of my layouts so I can easily go back and make changes to a layout if the need arises. I used the following file naming format for my layouts files: 060509, 060609, and so on. Since I was scrapping the photos in chronological order, and the pages would be organized by the same way, it just made the most sense to name them simply by date.
What if I’m making an album of a certain event (like a birthday party) and all the photos/layouts have the same date. What type of file naming scheme should I use?
I would still include the date of the event (the more often you use the same pattern the more likely it will eventually become intuitive for you) and then tack on a descriptive category to the file name:
Doing this little bit pf pre-planning ahead of time is beneficial in so many ways! First, it gives your project a tangible structure. Nothing motivates me more than having a vision of what my project may end up looking like. Having these categories also helps trememdously with your workflow because you can schedule/divide tasks based accordingly: today I am going to sort through all of the photos of guests, tomorrow I will get these photos scrapped, etc. Doesn’t the project appear much more manageable when you can break them down to mini tasks? It’s totally do-able and you can do it!
high-res (3oodpi) layouts you will print/upload to book vendor
I stored all of my high-res layouts to this folder so when it came time to upload to the photo vendor, all I had to do was browse to this folder, select all, and click submit. The file naming format I followed corresponded with the psd files above, with the addition of page numbers: 060509-1, 060509-2, 060509-3, 060609-1, 060609-2…and so on.
That’s the nuts and bolts of my filing system. I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions, or if you have suggestions or want to share your organizational system, please post in the comments section below or email me. I’d love to hear from you!