Fresh Start – Organizing Your Image Files

Shadows in the Park. A Self-Portrait Pano.

Organizing Your Image Files

Have you organized your image files lately? Or your gear?

Some might accomplish such tasks at year’s end when things tend to be not so busy, or at the very beginning of the year before it gets busy. Hence, my using the weekends, at least in part, to go through gear and files and the like, and organize. It’s a time-consuming activity, but we have to do it, once in a while.

With my gear in DC, a tbt.
With my backpack in DC. a #tbt

When going through your image files, trying to decide what to keep and what to delete:

– delete unused, one-star labeled images (those you’ve saved hoping that ‘one day’ you’ll have time to look through and ‘fix’, but never did); these could be images as old as several years old, from photo shoots you’ve taken…along the way

– delete unused images from photo assignments that are one (definitely two) years old; save images you’ve worked on and submitted

– be consistent naming files and folders, keywords, across the hard drives; I say this because you might start with a certain naming convention and, over the years, adjust that naming convention; consistency makes it easy to find files and folders;

– make sure you have at least two copies of your files, on separate drives

– label the important files and folders, and save them somewhere where you can always find them (I know, it’s common sense, but still)

– do not throw away image or text files that have sentimental value, no matter their quality; these are keepsakes, so, keep them safe

– pace yourself, don’t go through all your image files all at once, especially if you have tens of thousands of image files; take a few hours a weekend or in the evening, to go through these files, etc

When it comes to photo gear, take a good look at what you have, and consider where you are and where you want to be or will be in the next few months or at the end of this new year. Maybe consider selling some of the (older) gear you don’t use anymore (or very seldom use)  or exchange it for new gear that will best fit your current photography needs.

Shadows in the Park. A Self-Portrait. B&W iPhonography
Shadows in the Park. A self-portrait. Photo by Alina Oswald.

For example, on the last day of January, I took a few snapshots of the super blue blood moon and lunar eclipse. I didn’t have my 70-200mm lens anymore, so I had to work with what I had–that was, my kit lens, 18-250mm. I’ve been trying to get new lenses for a long time, but, while I’m shooting mostly portraits, I couldn’t quite justify the need to buy a long lens suitable for shooting the moon. And still…I ended up selling some of my older gear, including the 18-250mm lens, and buying new gear. Can’t wait to test it out!

Happy photographing!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald


  1. Hello Alina, thank you for remembering all the valuable steps not to loose the overview of the pics taken. Recently, I followed some of the steps you are proposing. However, much work still to be done remains, But as you said, the next weekend is not so far away…
    At the end of September, hopefully I will be at New York fo visiting some of the famous museums. May be there is still time to meet you if possible.
    Good light and greetings from Klaus


    1. Hi Klaus, Thank you so much for your kind words! I’ve been saving images for ‘just in case’ for too long, and I’m running out of space on my hard drives. Also, I’m so glad to hear that you might be in NYC this year. I’d love to get together. Absolutely! Look forward to it! Please keep me posted. Thanks again!


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