How many cat photos do you have? Hundreds? Thousands? Are you organised so you can you find photos quickly when you need it? If you are like me, the answer is a guilty, slightly worried, no,. So, what can you do?
How do you get organised, and how can you safely store images so you can find them again for use online as a blog image or a social media post or to share with family and friends?
Let me tell you the best way to organise and store your pet photos.
- As this a long post I am adding the text as a pdf so you can print it out or read offline later.
Why You Need To Organise Your Pet Photos
So you can find the digital images you need quickly and efficiently. You will not waste valuable time searching for the perfect image you have ‘somewhere’ on your computer.
Here’s how Carol Bryant of FidoseOfReality describes her experience of realising she needed to sort out her images. Her description of how she went about organising a digital database of photographs should encourage you to get started;
Carol realised that she had ‘literally thousands and thousands of photos’ that needed to be organized.
“I spent a few weeks going through all of my pictures and organizing them by category.
First I set up folders on my desktop. I labelled them and was very specific. This is my best advice, make very specific folders.
In addition to having them on Google Photos I also got a subscription to Carbonite so they’re always backed up.
Now anytime I want a photo I can just go to that folder and grab it for a blog post or a social media share. I do this on a monthly basis to keep up with my photos even though Google photos back them up. I love having this organized system and it has served me greatly.”
How to Organise Your Own Digital Pet Photos
Since I started taking a lot more photographs with my DSLR camera they are starting to pile up. You know what I mean by piling up? Like a single snowflake might look gorgeous but thousands of them are suddenly an overwhelming blizzard.
Let’s take those first steps to organise and store your pet photos. First you need to get your photos into order.
Being organised is important. This means sitting down, opening your computer or tablet, and taking that first positive step to create order out of chaos.
Start With A Simple Folder Structure to Get Organised
The best folder structure for photographs is the most simple one. One that is friendly for you and easy to use.
On a Mac, PC, or Linux machine, if you click on your hard drive icon you see that everything is in folders. It’s a virtual filing cabinet and this concept is the best way to look at it, especially if you are a visual learner.
If you are beginning to panic, stop and take a breath. Spend a few moments imagining how you will organise your folders when you get started.
- Keep it simple
- Start with your main folder. Name it.
- Then be consistent with the labels you use e.g. Events (cat show, dog agility) or Harvey’s Birthday,.
- Take all the time you need.
Your pet images can be organised inside or outside your photo application. Mac’s have a folder structure you can tailor to your needs, and PC’s save your photos to a specific folder where you can start to sort out images
If you use Photos in Mac OS Catalina a lot of the organising is set up for you. Add your own folders to the structure.Apple Photos
Within your main folder add another folder for:
- Each year, then
- Add one for each month, then
- Add one Each Event/Date/Theme/Product (e.g. Cat Show, Dog Agility Contest)
- No. 3 is your personal choice
- You can create folders as you need them. They do not need to be created immediately.
However you decide to organise your pet photos – be consistent.
You will use a simple setup regularly because you made it easy on yourself. There is no limit to the number of folders you can have but keep the naming conventions cones you will remember and follow not scratch around trying to remember what you called them.
Here’s an example (in blue) of a folders and photo set up – Year (2020), Month (July), Event (Cat Show), Photo (First Prize Toulouse)
Pet Pictures > 2020 > July > Cat Show > First Prize, Toulouse
Then you need to take one small extra step to add tags to your images. Here’s why.
Adding tags and keywords
This is the boost that speeds up searching for an image you remember and want to get beck from your organised store. The use of tags or keywords. Every photo editing suite allows you to do this and even a tag like cat or brown rabbit narrows down your search and makes any search more manageable.
If you know you look for a particular photo type on a regular basis, create a tag e.g. ‘binking’ ‘cat closeup’ ‘Basepaws’. You can search for the tag and pull up any tagged images wherever they are.
Use the Favourite Button
Be sparing and very selective about favouriting photographs. Keep this for unique and special images or you end up back in clutter central.
Software programs allow you to label your photographs in some way. Here’s a few and I suggest you check your own photo editing software in case it’s different.
- Tap an iPhone photo to heart an image
- P for pin works in Lightroom
- Google has a star ranking in Google Photos
- Photos>My Rating in pre-Catalina iPhoto (not available post Catalina).
Organise with the Delete Button
The delete button has its uses in slimming down your worst shots but there is one thing I must say because I don’t want you rushing off and deleting treasured memories of blurry whiskers or fur.
You do not delete photographs with sentimental value, or that bring back happy memories. No matter how smudged they may look.
Deleting is meant to remove terrible, unsuccessful, crappy shots that hve no value to you. If you have a series of tack sharp photos celebrating a pet show win, keep the best two or three.
Take this photo shoot of Toulouse our new cat. There are lots of cute pictures, too many in fact, and I will need to open the folder, assess each image and delete the slightly unsuccessful ones – keeping the two best for future use.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you are in serious doubt about keeping an image open an ‘I’m Not Sure About This’ folder and add it there. Then review these images later.
When to do your sorting
Do your sorting when you feel fresh, calm and focused.
You will have a more balanced attitude towards what you decide to keep or discard. I suggest this because there will times you do not feel up to sorting through anything.
It may be sad news from a friend or the pressure of something else at home.
If you feel stressed don’t be a hero, set aside the work for another time when you feel more focused.
Download Photographs Regularly
Make it a habit to download your camera and smartphone images on a regular basis. This minimises losses from device failure and theft.
Download your images by connecting your phone to your computer or by Air Drop (Mac) or by using cloud storage like Dropbox.
You will have seen the stories of frustrated travellers robbed of their phone and all their precious images of a dream trip. Or, maybe you have dropped your phone one time too many.
Yes But How Do I Do All This?
One skill at a time. You start small when you organise and store your pet photos. Here’s a few ideas to start you off. Learn how to do one task, then move on to the next.
- Learn to label your photos. Your image editor will have how to’s and videos.
- Find out how and where your image editing software saves your images. This photo shows how iPhoto saves each download as a dated file and I add names and tags.
- Practice creating a Main Folder
- Make mistakes and try again!
- Create sub-folders and add images.
- Take it one step at a time. Your photo software may be different to mine. It will work differently but as a newbie, give yourself a pat on the back for getting started.
How big is a single digital pet photo?
The reason you need to consider extra storage is because your digital images take up a surprising amount of space. The amount of space you use will depend on your camera and the settings you are using, so check your manual for your own image size settings.
1,000 MB (megabytes) = 1 GB (gigabyte).
Photos you want printing off are much larger as the quality needs to be higher. 300dpi (pixels per inch) for a canvas print versus 72 dpi for a digital image.
Here’s how size can make difference. This photograph of Toulouse is one I have been working on. The image takes up 4.8 MB as a JPEG which is the standard storage format for most ordinary photos.
If you shoot in RAW (high end smartphone apps, and DSLR cameras) the image is not processed like a JPEG so retains a lot more information. The size increases to a huge 24.0 MB as an unprocessed RAW file.
- For more on shooting in RAW check this post.
Storing Your Digital Images
What is the best way to store your precious pet snaps and other digital images?
There are plenty of options from flash drives to cutting edge NAS servers* Your storage option needs to meet three important criteria. If it doesn’t tick these boxes look elsewhere.
- Durability. Storage needs to be as physically strong and future-proof as you (or your provider) can make it.
- Accessiblity. You are going to be going back to the image store often. It is easy to get to or will you avoid going because its such an effort to get an image?
- Regular backups. Is you digital storage backed up regularly? Or, do you have the option to back it up elsewhere?
Options for Digital Media Storage
You have two options, you can store your images online, using a cloud storage service or you can keep your images at home. Let’s take a look at the options so you can make an informed choice.
Many organisations will offer a limited free storage option if you do not have many images this is great, but most people will need more than the minimum and the bad news is that you will need to pay for your storage.
The good news is that there are some great places to store your images online and some include a professional showcase for your photography as part of the package.
SmugMug (paid options)
Unlimited uploads and personalised web front page for the enthusiastic photographer.
For Mac users. Links to Photos (iPhoto) and provides storage
Google Photos gives you unlimited storage at no cost. NOTE: With a FREE plan your photos cannot have a resolution any more than 16 megapixels, which is the size of an 28 x 35 cms (11X14 ins) photograph. You can store larger photos with a paid plan, which starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB.
Similar to SmugMug. Great to show off online images and sell them with professional polish.
Free for 60 days then approx $10 per month. Includes access to Photoshop and Lightroom.
Home Storage for Digital Photos
Portable Hard Drives (PHD)
Great for backing up your images. These are powered by your computer (USB) so you don’t need an extra power source. These are portable and can fit in a pocket. The capacity of a hard drive means you can store terabytes of images and data.
External Hard Drives (EHD)
Similar to portable drives these are designed to stay in one place connected to your computer and often have a separate power source. If you have a Mac OS Time Machine active you may be using one or a NAS server (see below) these are a life saver when you organise and store your pet photos safely.
The biggest ‘against’ is the fact that if you drop one you can lose your images.
Working on the Move
If you want storage on the move it needs to be portable and small. If you take your laptop on holiday you can plus a card or drive in to download daily.
Memory cards and flash (pen) drives are also great if you are travelling with a laptop. They are inexpensive and reusable. On the downside their small size means they can be easily lost.
How Much Space Will I Need For Digital Storage?
“How long is a piece of string?” as the old quote goes. It will depend on how many photos you have. How many you want to store and critically how much you want to spend.
Once you have done all your hard work organising images into folders, you can check your hard drive and see how much space your images are using and you can price your storage options.
For those serious about their image storage and keen to maximise their storage capacity the NAS server is worth exploring. If this is on your radar, do a lot of reading before you make your choice of service.
The NAS (Network Attached Storage) Server
The ultimate in home storage has to be the Network Attached server which will become mic more common over the next 18 months. One of the most popular NAS serves right now is the Seagate IronWolf which is perfect for home use.
Most NAS drives let you send web links to people to allow them to access remotely certain files or folders located on your NAS. Servers come populated (with hard disks) and diskless (without).
The technology has advanced so much that the basic family unit is recommended as a two or three-part populated unit. Amazon has a range of NAS servers for you to explore.
If a given NAS is offered in both pre-populated and diskless form, we suggest checking out the cost difference and making sure that the drives provided in the populated model work out to a good value.PCMag
Displaying Your Pet Photos
As I mention in a previous post. You can’t enjoy a photo stuck on a flash drive so as a bonus, I am adding some of the fun things you can do to keep your pet photos where they belong – in your life.
If you have images you love you need to have them on display. You can have an iPhone cover or a high resolution photo canvas, or a whole image wall. You can wear your pet with pride on a t-shirt or even a shower curtain!
These photographs are part of your life and should be enjoyed. Thanks to Red Bubble you can even have photos you love displayed on cushions and garments.
Several companies will help you print images. Each has a slightly different focus:
- Red Bubble – Garments, phone cases, laptop covers, Cards stickers and a lot more. Dash Kitten has a Red Bubble store.
- Snapfish (Europe, North America, Asia) Books, canvases prints and cards
- Harvey Norman (New Zealand & Australia) Books, cards, block prints.
- Zazzle (Worldwide) Prints your photo on garments, cards, stockers and Otterbox phone cases.
Start today, or soon, and move forward being organised, creating folders, adding tags you will already making a start. It’s what I am doing.
I am working on small batches for an hour a week. This might not seem much but there are fifty two weeks in a year and some weeks I might be able to work for an extra half hour.
Do you have any questions? I will do my best to answer them so pop your query in the comments.