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How Should I Manage My Photos?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography, File & Disk Management, Photo Editing

Bill is looking for some suggestions on organizing his photos. “Now that Google has decided to “kick Picasa to the curb” do you have any recommendations? I just take snapshots with phone or camera and then store on my laptop. I normally do not do any editing. I’m not a big fan of “cloud storage” I would rather have then on my laptop with backup to external HDD.”

Your simplest alternative would just be to use the Pictures library on your PC.  Windows comes with some pretty powerful photo organizing software already built-in.  Your camera will probably automatically import your photos there, anyway.


To organize your photos you can create files and move the image in to the appropriate place.

For example, you could create a file for the year and then subfolders for every month of the year.  To create a file right click and select new. The select Folder.


You could then name the folder something like Photos 2015.


Then make subfolders for the months of the year and save folders into the appropriate folder for that month. Once saved to that folder, you can sort by name or date.


Using the Pictures library, you can add tags to make your images easier to find and sort.  For example, here I’ve selected multiple photos with a file.


Now, I will click Add a tag at the bottom of the window.


I can now type in a tag.


You can add more than one tag. For family photos you might do something like Family, Christmas, Grandma’s House. Then hit enter. Your photos will now be tagged.


You can also rate your photos on a 1 to 5 system to highlight your favorites.


You can use the search box at the top of the window to search by name, date taken and tags to help find a particular photo.


You can choose to view your photos within your library as icons or part of a list.

At the top right of your Pictures Library, you’ll see a photo icon with a drop-down arrow next to it.


Click on that arrow and you’ll see options to view your images as icons or as lists:


If you choose Small, Medium, Large or Extra Large Icons, your photos will be displayed as thumbnails.


Choose details and you’ll have some useful sorting options.


Click the Name header to sort alphabetically. Click Date to sort by date. Clicking the header again will sort in reverse order.


Hope this helps you get organized. However, don’t discount the value of cloud backup. Remember, your external drive or flash drive is likely to be in the same location as your PC. So if there’s a natural disaster or a fire, both items may be lost together. I’d think about adding cloud backup into the mix, especially for important photos.

~ Cynthia


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6 Responses to “How Should I Manage My Photos?”

  1. CT CHARLIE says:


    You have given an excellent, primary choice of how to save photos. The biggest advantage of this is it is that you can save your photos at the data level that you took the pictures at. (Excuse me, where I am not using the proper terminology, but nevertheless paint the picture.)

    There are a few bells and whistles I would like you to provide in addition to what you have given.

    First. I would like to save my pictures on an external drive so I don’t fill up my computer’s hard drive. I want to use my internal hard drive basically for programs and documents. How can I program my computer to automatically go to the My Pictures location on my external drive instead of one on my internal drive?

    I would still like to use Google Photos to display on the web and to share with my friends. I want to use what Google calls “High quality” images not the “Original quality” images. Google does not tell us what megapixels “High quality” is. I do know the High Quality image storage is free no matter how many images you store (Unlimited free storage)and that there is a severe limit in how many Original images you can store before there is a fee.

    It is my understanding that Google Photos images are all stored in the cloud. Is there a data set that resides on your computer as well as those that are in the cloud? If there is a data set that resides on my computer I would like to do that to reside on my external drive. How can I set it up so they show up on my external drive if they show up anywhere?

    Where can I find (preferably a free source, at least for your Premium members) on how to use Google Photos?

  2. John Beare says:

    A lot of the good answer from Cynthia doesn’t apply to Windows 10 like tagging star rating etc; at least not in a convenient manner like it use to in windows 7

  3. […] response to our article about organizing your photos in the built-in Windows Photo Library, a reader commented. “A lot of the good answer from Cynthia doesn’t apply to Windows 10 […]

  4. Beverly Williams says:

    Good info. What’s the best way to delete all those duplicates, and from where?

  5. Walt Daniels says:

    If you name the folders with “yyyy-Name” (yyyy is 4 digits for the year) you can then sort the folders by name in the order by year.

    I typically name folders with “yyyy-mm-dd” (year month day). Always use two digits for the month and day. (E.g. May 1, 2016 would be 2016-05-01) That way I can sort the folders chronology. This technique can be used for file naming also.

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