Let’s start a little digital spring cleaning and clear out the clutter in your Digital Photo Hub (DPH)!
May Tip – Separate Photos and Videos
Separating your photos and videos within your DPH will make it easier to clean up, organize, and maintain your photo collection. A nice organizational structure for your DPH is to have a single folder that houses the entire collection, I like to call this folder the Surname Family Photo Collection. Within this folder I like to have two folders, one called Surname Family Photos and the other called Surname Family Videos. I keep the photos and videos in separate folders as the process is different to organize them. I like to organize the files within these folders so it is easy to match up videos and photos from a specific event.
Digital Photo Organization – Create an Inventory
If you have been following along with our monthly newsletters this year you will have gathered all your photos and videos to a single location called your Digital Photo Hub. We are at the stage I like to call “the mess” and as we are about to start moving things around it is imperative that you also create a backup copy of “the mess” before we start working with it. See information on the 3-2-1 Backup Method in our January 2018 Newsletter: Visit the January 2018 Newsletter
Take a look through your DPH and see what types of files you have in there – you will most likely have files with the extension .jpg (pictures) and .mov (videos) but you may be surprised to see how many different types of files you actually have in your collection.
Our first step in cleaning up the DPH is to do an inventory. Your DPH “mess” might be one folder where you’ve dumped everything you’ve found, or you may have kept everything in the folders you found them so your Hub is now made up of a collection of folders. Either way is fine. If you have things in multiple folders it can make it easier to identify something that goes astray later in the process. We want to do an inventory of what we have so we can be confident we don’t lose anything in the sorting process. If you have multiple folders make a list of them then open each folder and note the number of files in it. Please note that if you have nested folders your computer most likely counts the folder inside the folder as another item. You don’t want to include the number of folders in your count, just pictures and videos. Once you have this initial inventory done you can simply pull everything out of the source folders into a single folder. Watch your totals as you cut and paste. At the end, check that the number of files you have in your single folder is the same as the total number of files in your multiple folders. If you have a problem, you can always refer to your backup copy (whew! Good thing you made one!).
When you have a single folder with everything you have found to organize, I want you to filter it by file type – let your computer do the work inventorying for you. Write down the list of different file types you find in your collection. Then I want you to filter by each of those file types and record the number of files you find. When you total them, they should equal the total number of files in “the mess”.
Now it’s time to sort. Create a file called “Video”. The process and tools used to organize photos and videos are quite different, so I usually begin by moving any video files into their own file folder. Again, let your computer do the work for you – filter by each of the video file types – you might have .mov, .wav, .mp4, .mp2 – there are lots of different types of videos. Filter by each type then cut them from the main “mess” file and paste them into the video file. All the different video file types can go into one Video file. Watch your totals as you cut and paste, then at the end, check that your total number of files in the Video folder is the same as the sum off all those file types that were in “the mess”.
Once the videos have been removed from “the mess” I like to sort the remaining image files by file type – often it makes clean up faster if I can easily eliminate some files right off the bat. I like to make a separate file for any .gif, .bmp and .png files. When you pull them out and look at them you will see what types of images you tend to collect with these extensions – they might be memes you’ve saved, screenshots you’ve taken with your phone, logos or advertisements that have made their way into your collection. If you have any odd file types look at the images to see what they are and pull them out into their own file if you don’t want them in your main family photo collection.
Rename the folder containing “the mess” to Photos. The most common file types for photos are: .jpg, .jpeg, .tiff, .raw, and the new .heif. If you still have other file types in this folder look at them to see what they are and decide whether to keep them in your Photos folder or move them to a folder of their own so you can address them later.
Make a list of your new folders and record the number of files in each. The total number of files in these folders should be the same as the total number of files you had in “the mess”.
Now that we have an “organized mess”, we can begin the clean up. I like to make a backup copy at this stage, as we’ve done a fair amount of work already, and we’re about to move things around again. This will be a good point to refer to as we begin cleaning out these files.
Create a file folder called “To Delete”. This will be a temporary folder to house all the things you choose to discard in the clean up process. I suggest you do this extra step so you don’t have to spend time searching through the trash can to retrieve something you may have deleted by accident. It will also help you keep a firm hold on what you are deleting so you can feel confident you haven’t lost anything in the clean up process.
Begin with the .gif, .bmp and .png files. Move anything you don’t want to keep to the “To Delete” file. Check all your file totals when you are done. If you are confident you want to discard these items write down the total number of images in the “To Delete” folder then go ahead and delete them. Nice! I suggest you keep a running tally of the number of images and videos you delete in case you need to check totals as we go along – and because I’m sure you will be amazed at the end! It’s good motivation for keeping your collection organized moving forward.
Next month we will begin cleaning out the Photos folder!