Wednesday, 8 July 2009

My Pictures - My folder organisation system.

I'm sure most of us are familiar with "My pictures" - the default photo/image storage program that comes with Windows. It would seem that I am the only "idiot" who experiences any problems with it but I have been frustrated since I started using it, when I became computer literate, only 10 months ago! I have ALOT of photos on this pc, 16 GIGS worth to be exact. No idea how that compares to you, but it is literally thousands of images. I have been loading them pretty much constantly, as & when I have had a chance, going back to ones taken in 2006 when I got my first digital camera. I have tons of negatives that still need scanning so they can be added to my digital jpgs but that is another story...

I have tried several times, initially successfully, to re-organise my folders. It took me a while to figure out how to make one, get photos into it, move them out, cut & paste, etc...I am the type of person that likes to do courses in things & when it comes to pc type stuff it would seem that we are all just meant to fumble around "in the dark" & work things out for ourselves...The problem has been that, whenever I deselect "sort by" so that I can sort out my folders CHRONOLOGICALLY my pc automatically (when I go BACK into My Pictures after closing it & then re-opening it) chooses the top sorting option "NAME" & sorts them all alphabetically! I have literally ended up, on several occasions, with an aching index finger from all the clicking & dragging...only to be satisfied with the order I have created...then close-up, re-open & discover that My Pictures has A MIND OF IT'S OWN & they are all back in alphabetical order again...

This has been a BIG PROBLEM for me & left me feeling disorganised, not to mention wasting HOURS of my time moving things about & then STILL HAVING TO HUNT for the images I want, as & when I want them. (You can imagine as June 2006 will be muddled up with June 2009, etc, plus I have more than one folder per month if someone has a birthday or we go on an outing, etc, for that specific event.) I have had various cameras over the years - altogether about 4 - not sure why they don't last but literally almost as soon as the guarantee is up after a year they collapse & here no-one wants to fix a thing - I am always told it is not worth the repair cost & it would be better to buy another one - talk about a disposable society...I'm not sure if this has confused things but trying to get the program to sort my images chronologically itself wasn't working either!

I have looked into packages especially for photo storage, but, after having several conversations with other scrappers who are all quite happy with My Pictures for their photo storage, I came to the conclusion that it would be an unnecessary expense to buy another storage program when everyone else seemed to get along fine with My Pictures. I would love to know WHAT PHOTO STORAGE PACKAGE YOU USE & HOW YOU STORE YOUR PHOTOS IN YOUR PC? IE:- WHAT FOLDER SYSTEM DO YOU HAVE? HOW MUCH SPACE YOUR PHOTOS TAKE UP, ETC, JUST A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF HOW YOU SORT & BACK UP YOUR IMAGES. I decided to get to grips with My Pictures & use my hard-earned cash to buy Photoshop Elements 7 instead. So I went back in & overcame the problem. In a moment of enlightenment (which sadly usually only comes after many hours of frustration & lack of success - dare I say - failure!) I came up with a CODE that has got my photo folders sorted EXACTLY HOW I WANT THEM.

So - herewith my secret - not sure if it will help anyone but willing to share anyway - just in case - you never know! I have 4 years worth of photos, starting with 2006. So I have 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. I have more than one folder per month in some cases so decided to move all those sub-folders into the main monthly folder - ie June 2009 for example. That gave me 48 FOLDERS - ONE FOR EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR TIMES BY 4 YEARS (12 x 4). I used a letter code for each year as a prefix to the folder name. All 2006 folders have an A in front of them. 2007 = B 2008 = C 2009=D. I gave each month a number from 1 - 12, for example 1 for January & 6 for June, 12 for December (you get the idea...) so June 2009 (for example) is now called D6-JUNE 2009. I was worried that My Pictures may get confused with the numbers when it got to November (11) and December (12) but it didn't - so all my folders all follow on after each other now. Year by year, from January to December. Finally I can sleep easy...

You have no idea how much better I feel now - SUCCESS AT LAST! Now that I can find things much more easily I am going to try to share more photos with you. Picasa is now TOTALLY EMPTY (in one of my previous posts I talked about how it just deleted all my edited photos) I have been into the Help Forum - online - hate those things - & am told they will be in My Pictures but they are NOT. I had 50 edited layout photos in there - all ready to be loaded onto Picasa web albums & put onto my blog as a side-bar gadget, including my Little Shop of Sketches layout 41, due in NOW so I am off to retake the photographs (sigh...) as I deleted them off my memory card once they were uploaded. At least they CAN be retaken, whereas the other 350 are lost forever. And yes, I DO back my photos onto DVD, at the end of each month, but when I lost all these, they had not been backed up yet.

8 comments:

Desire Fourie said...

Hi Helen. Wow, but you are super organised TFS. I store my photos according to dated folders and then a short description with it i.e. 09.01.31 Baby Shower 09=year, 01=month, 31=day. These dated folders are underneath My Pictures and stays chronologically so its easy to find your pics. I store all my photos of each shoot directly onto a CD/DVD (depending on the size of the folder) with the same Folder date as on the computer. My Pictures folder also gets backed up on an external hard drive (a massive sized one as I also take zillions of photos each between 3 and 4MB in size ... so one photo shoot alone can easily end up being 1Gig. Well thats my amateur photo filing system.
Hugs from Desire

Lynette said...

Thanks for the tips...this has been an endless source of frustration for me as well. I am also going to use my Photoshop Elements and get organised.

Stefanie said...

Under my pictures I have folders (digital scrapbooking, photos, to be printed, scrapbooking etc)
Under scrapbooking I have more folders (my Lo's, LSOS, Lo's that inspire me that I have saved off the internet etc)
Under photos I have folders in years (1988 to 2009)
Under each year I will have folders with a number 1-12 for each month, then the name of the event and the day eg. (3 Hottentots hike 28th)
Similar to your system, but if I name individual photos like "C's highjump" then they go out of sequence just like yours do)

Vicki said...

I just have a folder for each person for each month of the year I put them onto CD every couple of months so have very few photos sitting on my computer at any one time. Works for me. LOL

topkatnz said...

I think your problem lies in the deselection of order process ... I have never done that, and my files and subfiles always stay exactly where I put them ... I am not sure why you do it, as you can easily re-order and re-name photos within files etc??? I backup once a year; but also all images go to My Pictures FIRST, then I create a copy to edit in Picasa, then save my edited pic back to My Pictures also ... ie. put your images in more than one place to minimize chances of loss ... my advice is also that you are storing more images than your system,or you, can realistically cope with; get them ordered, and onto labelled hard discs, that can be easily looked thru when required and you will be sweet ... LOL

Cathy said...

Wow Helen... sounds like you have one big headache on your hands trying to organise your pics. My system is a simply one... I have a folder called Photos and under that I have one for each year... 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and then under each I have one for each month... numbered sequentially 01Jan2006... onwards so at the moment I'm at 54July2009... this means that if ever I want to see June for 2006 and June for 2009 in the same folder they will still be sorted chronologically. Even my pictures I store in number order... under each month folder are the photos taken for that month stored by date... so they are called 2009-07-02 001.jpg 2009-07-02 002.jpg... etc. If I want to I then add an extra description after the number.
This system works for me... we must each find the one that works for ourselves and then backup and stick to it.

Helen Tilbury said...

Hi guys, thanks for all your help...it has definitely enlightened me & I may be e mailing some of you privately for some clarification. Desire your system doesn't sound the least bit amateurish - I am very impressed! I have been very stupid all along actually, because I should have put in the date the same way you did - in numerical form - ie 10 - 07 - 09 as opposed to July 2009! Of course the pc is not going to put my version into date order if I write it like that! I don't know why it has taken me so long to figure it out. My system is now very similar to yours, except that I have subfolders within my yearly folders, simply because I find it overwhelming when I open My Pictures otherwise! I alos don't want a lot of discs, so I back up to DVD all the time & fill them up as much as is poss, then just write the contents on the front. I also delete any excess photos pretty soon after a session because it makes it easier for me - I just try to get the best shots as I've realised it's not realistic to scrapbook as many as I take sometimes. Stefanie you have also enlightened me a great deal. Not suer exactly what you mean about the folders but it sounds like an idea I want to try - do you mean down the side or literally a folder on the main part of the screen? Yes I have been naming photos "Cam-ice cream" for example - & I have really confused things that way! I am going to stick to the prefix before the name now, like you also thought of, I suppose it was just a matter of time before I figured it out hey! Vicki I've spoken to Cindy & she does the same as you but what I wonder about that is, when it comes to printing, if I put the disc in can I still edit with Picasa/PSE? I am an editing junkie & that is where I complicate the whole process! I am also too nervous of only having them stored in one place - when I back up to DVD I actually make 2 copies & give one to Shane to store at work, just in case we have a robbery! Suppose you don't have that fear in NZ?! Yes Heidi - you're right - & I'm not sure why I started messing about with the order of things. It was because I kept getting sent photos by DH & relatives, to add to our collections & from his pc, as there were none on here until I started using it 10 months ago, so I didn't import them directly into this pc via a card-reader/lead. I think the reason the folders went out of order in the first place is because I changed their original names & this got my pc confused so it started sorting them alphabetically instead of chronologically. It certainly does seem like too much to cope with Heidi - & I do want to get them all printed now but it is a task & a half that I am slowly acheiving. I must really just keep up with the current ones so I don't get into this pickle ever again, aaargh!!! You have certainly had a brainwave as far as Picasa is concerned - I nver thought of COPYING the folder FIRST - if I had I wouldn't have lost my 400 photos that were in Picasa. I have been on the online Picasa Help forum though, and just got more confused there, as others claim that Picasa picks up everything that is My Pictures, and just mirrors it. Well mine certainly didn't. It only took in what I imported in there & I want it back! My missing photos have to be somewhere on this pc surely?! Cathy your system sounds similar to the new one I've instituted, except that my code makes EVERYTHING follow chronologically as the OCD artist in my just couldn't bear the thought of all JUNES in the same folder for example - it just made me feel disorganised...I like your thinking about labelling the photos - great idea - instead of just the description I am going to prefix it with the date first! Wow, I have a job on my hands but at least I can go forth confidently now! I have found that the best pc/blogging/etc help I ever recieve is from all of you so THANKS SO MUCH!

topkatnz said...

Yes your photos ARE still there, but you need special software to retrieve lost items ... but it can be done ... also, when you rename photos, removing the jpg from the title can make the images unrecognisable to the comp ... yes, you def. can edit/re-edit photos from disc, just like any media ... also, yes my pictures files, and my picasa files also mirror each other, but only if you tell the computer to do that; I also have an auto-save of all my original images, when I edit them in picasa ... these are all things Glen has set up for me ...