Digital Photographic Images - Part 2: How to Store Them
By Robin Henry

If you are going to download images onto your computer, you need to design some type of filing system that will help you remember when and where you took the photos. This might seem a bit silly at first, but believe me, when you get to the stage where you have 6,000 images, it can be messy trying to recall each and every one, the dates, the places and so on, especially if you travel.

Rather than leave it until you have a massive collection of digital media, deal with potential confusion and time wasting by setting up a sound filing system BEFORE you go crazy taking shots. I recommend that you file under date, place and describe the event e.g., 6 Jun 07 - Home - Grandson's Birthday Party.

If you use the same filing methodology consistently, it will be much easier to find what you want, when you want it. For example, if you can't remember the date, you may remember the event or place ... or vice versa, which will make a search more productive.

If you don't have a software program to help you manage your digital images, then set up folders on your computer that reflect the above. If you use Windows XP you will have a folder titled "My pictures". Under that folder create additional folders for each photographic event or collection you create, but also keep an eye on your hard disk space because photographs in their native format can be large and it doesn't take long to chew up 10-20 Gigabytes of disk space.




An excellent free program that will not only help you categorize and file your images, but also enhance them by getting rid of red eye, reducing their size, improving contrast, cropping and so on, is Google Picasa. It enables you to see in a glance what photos are in what directories/folders. It has many other features too that make it very useful eg, you can copy files to a CD or DVD and set them up to show as a slide show. If you visit the Google site go to the right of the horizontal menu under the Google logo and select "More ...". You'll find information and a download link for Picasa. It's easy to learn and easy to use.

Once you have your file management system in place, the next thing you need to do is decide where you will store the images indefinitely. Storing on your computer's hard disk is not a long term option as you get more and more images taking up increasing loads of space. Here's what I do with my images:

  1. When I first download them from my camera I view and delete any imperfect images so as not to retain files that aren't worth keeping
  2. Next I file them locally until I've had time to view and do what I want with them
  3. To archive them I either move them from my computer hard disk to a CD/DVD disk or move them to an external, portable hard disk drive (80 GB) that I bought for that purpose


Both archiving options mean that you don't unnecessarily bog down your computer with a load of files.

No matter how many digital images you create, you really do need to consider how you will file and manage them. This short article should have given you some ideas.

Copyright 2006 Robin Henry

Robin Henry is an educator, human resources specialist and Internet entrepreneur. He helps home-based businesses and individuals improve performance by applying smart technology and processes and developing personally. He runs his business Desert Wave Enterprises from his home base at Alice Springs in Central Australia, although at present he is on temporary assignment in the United Arab Emirates.

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