After you have been in the photography business, it can start getting a little messy keeping photos organized. There is obviously no one way or right way to do this, but I wanted to share with you what has helped me keep things organized and easy to find photos when I need them. I think you will find my process simple and easy.
First, all my clients get their own folder.
When I finish editing a photography session, I export those photos to a folder with my client's name, what type of session it is, and year they were taken. For example, if I am editing a family session for the Ruby family of this year, I would label the folder, "Ruby Family 2021." If I were editing a senior session for John Smith this year, I would label the folder, "Senior John Smith 2021." Below are a few examples of the order my folders are in:
- Pictures > Client Photography > Family > (year) 2021 > Ruby Family 2021
- Pictures > Client Photography > Senior > 2018 > John Smith 2018
- Pictures > Client Photography > Newborn > 2017 > Newborn Francie 2017
So, within my pictures folder, I have a client photography folder. Within my client photography folder I have a family, newborn, baby, maternity, senior, and tween folders. Within each of those folders, I have listed the years I have been taking photos. So in my family folder I have years, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, etc. Then within the year folder, I have each family session, newborn session, etc. and labeled to that individual session. I have organized it a couple other ways, but I feel like this order is easier to find what I am looking for, because it is organized first by category and second by year.
Guess what, I don't save RAW images after I have done the final edit.
I don't know if this is the right answer or not, but I just don't see a good enough reason to keep and store the jpegs I have edited for the families plus the RAW files. They are both just huge files and I work with a lot of families, which equals to LOTS of photos. I have never had a real need to go back and edit those images, which is the reason you would save them in RAW format. So, what I save is a large jpeg file.
I do keep low res images for social media and for my website.
After exporting the high res images from a session, I go through and pick a handful of images to save at a lower resolution for social media and my website. Those images get saved in my Client Photography folder too, in this order:
- Pictures > Client Photography > Social Media/Website Size > Family (or Maternity, Senior, Newborn, etc.)
Within that social media/website size folder, I don't care to have the year folders. In this case, the year folder cases an extra step.
Lesson 6 Assignment:
Get things organized! You will be so happy you did. It will save you so much time in the future. These are simple steps and only takes a few minutes if you are just starting. Create the folders of sessions you want to have, even if you don't have them already. (I add the year folder as that year comes, by the way. So, no need to add future years.) If you already have a photography business, it may take a bit longer for you to get organized, but it really is important to keep your clients' photos organized, so if you ever need to send photos to your clients again, or you want to go through to find different photos for social media, it will be a cinch to find.