10 tips to keep your photos in order

Compared to roughly ten years ago, we now take an insane amount of photos. Not only with a compact or SLR camera, but also with a smartphone. How do you keep your photo collection in order? Not? Then it's high time to take a look at these tips.

Tip 01: Bad photos

The very first step? Select your photos. There's no point in keeping all the thousands of photos you take. Make a critical selection and immediately remove blurry, failed or silly photos. After all, bad photos only eat up space and make your collection unnecessarily extensive. Delete them directly on your camera or smartphone. Also read: You can edit all your photos for free with these 20 photo programs.

Do you think that's too much hassle? Then delete the photos immediately after importing them to your computer. This can be done in Explorer or via the preview in Photos. Do you have many photos that are similar? There are handy free tools that allow you to locate (almost) identical photos. dupeGuru Picture Edition, Image Comparer or Fast Duplicate File Finder are a few of them.

Tip 02: Folder structure

Drop all photos in one folder? Then things may go wrong quickly. Yet you do not need any special software to archive your images in a well-organized manner. That is, if you maintain a clear folder structure. A good archive is systematically and clearly divided into different folders and subfolders. An example that works well for most people is a division by year with serial number and subject.

Create the folder '2016' in the Pictures folder via Explorer. Place the folder '001 Birthday Lucas' in it. The exact file location for your photos will then look like this: Images/2016/001 Birthday Lucas. Put all your photos from Lucas's birthday party in this and give the images, for example, the file name year_mapnr_(c)yourname (photonr).jpg. For example 2016_001_(c)janjans (023).jpg. This way, every photo in your archive has a unique file name anyway. In addition, your name as a photographer remains visible if you send the photos to friends, colleagues or family members. You archive a second set of photos in the same way, for example in the folder Pictures/2016/002 Summer holidays Barcelona. Note, this is an example of a grid. Of course you choose a layout yourself, but try to stick to it.

Tip 03: Change names

Filing your new photos this way from now on is a breeze. You just have to do it consistently. But what do you do with your old images? Ideally, you should also give them the same folder structure and file names. That takes some work, but it does offer added value. Creating folders may not be that much work, you can do that quickly in Explorer with the key combination Ctrl+Shift+N. Changing names is time consuming. Select the photos in one folder and then choose Renaming in the right-click menu. Type (according to our example) year_mapnr_(c)yourname (for example 2016_003_(c)janjans) and press Enter. All selected photos change names at once and are given a sequential number in brackets. Do you think that's too much hassle? With the freeware Bulk Rename Utility you get a lot of possibilities. The tool makes it possible to make quick adjustments in batch.

After installing and opening the software, navigate to the desired folder in the left margin. Select the photos you want to rename. Using the various boxes, you can keep or delete old file names, insert a date, add sequential numbers and so on. At the top you will see a preview of the new names in green. click on Rename to make the changes.


We'll focus on Windows in this article, but we'll quickly tell you how to rename photos on a Mac. In Finder, select some photos and then choose Archive / Rename x parts. Choose at Name notation in front of Name and index and adjust Custom format enter a file name. By default, the sequence number starts with 1, but you can change that via Start numbering with. Do you want more options? Then you can create a recipe via Automator.

Tip 04: EXIF ​​Data

Every photo has a lot of invisible information that you can recall at any time. For example, the date and time of shooting, camera model, aperture, shutter speed, ISO value and focal length. You can view this so-called EXIF ​​(Exchangeable Image File Format) data in Windows on the tab Details in the menu Characteristics. It is not possible to make adjustments. In some photo editing programs, this EXIF ​​data can be used to filter images.

In this way you can quickly find photos that you have taken on a specific day with a specific camera. It is important that you have correctly set the date and time of your camera. Another point to note: photos can lose their metadata when you edit them or post them on social media. Do you want to remove your metadata yourself for some reason? Then click on the tab Details in the menu Characteristics on Delete properties and personal data. After you have checked which metadata you want to remove, confirm the action with OK. The freeware XnView (see tip 9) is a great application for looking up photos based on metadata.

Tip 05: IPTC

Another metadata form is IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council). This is information that you can set yourself, such as the name and contact details of the photographer, a caption, any copyright information and so on. You can enter this information manually in the tab Details in the menu Characteristicsbut that is a very time consuming task. Some cameras allow you to set certain data immediately upon recording, but it can also be done in batch when you import the images into specific (often paid) software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop (Elements).

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