Magazine article Photography Uncategorized

A Few Photography Tips On Storing And Reviewing Files

I’m a reluctant professional photographer. I say that because I am paid for the photographs I take to go along with the articles I write. But I  don’t have the patience or temperament that a true professional has, someone who makes their money solely from photography. Mostly, I am overwhelmed by the amount of photos I produce and by the task of keeping track of them. A few hints.

Review and Delete Unneeded Photos Before Storing Them

Ideally, you should review all your images on your camera before going through the hassle of transferring and then backing up these files. Delete photos on your camera first that are obviously no good and not worth keeping. This is a little easier said than done because your camera’s tiny screen often makes reviewing difficult.

Transfer and Back up your photos

Once you’ve deleted as many files as you can, transfer them to your computer and back them up. I’ve set up my Mac and Dropbox account to automatically store my photos. As soon as I connect my camera to my Mac, files are saved to its hard drive and to Dropbox . I once lost some .cr2 files at Dropbox but that was last year and I haven’t had a problem since. At this point I have my files stored in three places: the memory card in the camera, my hard drive, and at Dropbox. What’s next?

Format Your Memory Card to Prepare for Your Next Photo Session

Everything I’ve read and heard says that you should format your camera’s memory card after each session. To remove extraneous file information that might corrupt the next photos you take. Perhaps that’s good practice. But I wince every time I do this, even though I have my files backed up. It seems to me that if you have really valuable photographs, ones that can’t be taken again, you may want to retire that memory stick and take your next photos with a new one. At least until you’ve processed the images from that last session.

Logically Select Files to Be Put Into a Logically Named Folder Names

When I upload to Dropbox I am left with individual files, all needing a folder. My Mac lets me create a new folder of my naming with a group of files . Yes, that command is under the “File” tab.

Rename Files So You Can Find Them

My camera produces file names with dates and strange numbers. Can’t find anything that way. Review every file at this point to determine if you want to keep it, and if so, to rename it so you can find it. So, instead of this file name:

2017-10-21 11.13.49.cr2

We now have something like this:


Always keep the file extension. And if you are really paranoid, and I am, make sure file names have these symbols between words in a file name: “-” or “_”. In the case of a multi-word possum file name, we would have:


For reasons I can’t explain, multi-word files on the internet do poorly when not connected with a dash or underline symbol. Some servers and programs insert symbols like “&” when they see a blank space in a file name. Without them, your file name may become different and often unreadable. If this seems strange, somewhat unbearable, and tiring, yes, I agree. I am a reluctant professional.

One last word!

Divided file names work better with the internal search engine of most computers. Possum_in_the_dark.cr2 is more likely searched than, say Possuminthedark.cr2.

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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