How to Organize Your Digital Photos

Get organized through tagging.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #92

Today’s topic is how to organize your pictures on your computer. The quick and dirty tip is to use a good program that lets you tag photos and navigate via tag cloud.

How to Organize Digital Photos

Listener Vienne writes:

With the popularity of digital photos, I have difficulties [organizing] the thousands of digital photos in my computer hard drive. I am a very organized person, and would welcome your advice.

In the past, we had only memories. Like the time Mom ran through the supermarket with an apple pie on her head yelling, “Equal rights for all!” and then tore open her blouse in solidarity with oppressed workers. That was great. If we’d had cameras, we would have captured the moment … and reviewed it years later to discover that Mom had actually picked up a package of apple pie filling and her blouse remained closed. That photo would remind us what she really said was “ I need equal portions of green and red apples, right? I wonder if one of the workers can find some.” Memory is notoriously faulty. Fun, but faulty.

Digital cameras have changed all that. You can capture 525,600 pictures, you just can’t find them because they’re so disorganized. You need to organize them the way you plan to retrieve them, even though you don’t yet know what that is.

The Answer is Tags

Organize your pictures the way we organize members of endangered bird species: with tags. With birds, we put tags around their little ankles and send them into the wilderness. Then we can track the migration patterns when people send the tags back to the lab after they’ve shot and eaten the birds.

What is a Photo Tag?

With pictures, a tag is an arbitrary word we associate with the image. You can have lots of tags for an image so you can tag it any way you think you might want to find it. If there’s a picture of you and your husband, wife, life partner, or polyamorous family unit standing in the trailer park in front of your home, holding cans of Schlutz Beer, you could tag the photo with your names, with SCHLUTZ-BEER, with the date and time, or even with descriptions of the scene like HOME-SWEET-HOME or ALIBI.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.