Day 3: Organize Your Digital Photos in Just 15 Minutes in 15 Days in 2015 (#15in15in2015)

Woohoo! It’s February 1st! A new month! We made it through the first month of 2015 already. Now it’s time to get serious about your goals and resolutions. I mean the ones you can actually accomplish — not that crazy long list you ambitiously wrote out while drinking wine on New Year’s Eve in your PJs.

If organizing your digital photos was NOT on that list, I’m begging you to put it on there. Now. Because honestly, you’re already on Day 3 of a 15-day plan that will show you the way to catch up on the overwhelming backlog and set the stage for managing the click-happy quota each month. You got this! You could even cross it off the list by Valentine’s Day!

Technically, you should wait until New Year’s Eve to see if you kept it up for the next 11 months but I suppose you could just do another #15in15in2015 at year-end to pull a major catch-up and still heroically achieve this goal. Not ideal but better than where you are today, right? Just keepin’ it real.

love-47952_1280What’s your vision for Valentine’s Day? I don’t want to hear about your romantic date plans (or lack thereof)! I’m talking about what you want to achieve in the next two weeks with your digital photo organization. Do you have lofty goals or would you be thrilled with a partial success? Think about it for a few minutes.

Visualize with me…it’s Thursday, February 19th. Your digital photos are now all organized so when everyone starts posting their #ThrowbackThursday pics on Facebook, you no longer groan, sigh & eye roll out of feigned annoyance, mostly from the fact that you had no clue how to find those old pics to share online.

Now let a big grin fill your face as you realize those days are over because now you are totally prepared to participate in all future #tbts or #FlashbackFridays. You’ll be able to quickly locate any other “antique” JPG someone asks about. You simply open your PICTURES folder, choose an older YEAR folder and browse by thumbnail to find an image you’re willing to put in front of the whole planet. It won’t take you long to find a specific picture, although you may find yourself spending more time strolling down memory lane!

We’ve gathered all your digital photo files into one hard drive. We’ve put them all into one main folder. We’ve separated and sorted those into year and month folders. Not bad. Some of you may be tempted to stop here but this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Unless you’re one of those crazy date-recall people who can remember exactly what they were doing, wearing, and eating on any date in their past, I’m assuming you need some help remembering beyond just hearing the date, which is simply a set of numbers. As we age, those tend to blur together so having specifics tied to the date helps improve recall.

Today we’re going to add in those memory joggers to the folder name to help you (and anyone else) identify the photos inside it WITHOUT opening it up to view them first. Trust me, your future brain will thank you for doing this step!


At a minimum, you should have 12 monthly folders in each year folder. If you’re anything like me (and I’d like to think there are at least a few other camera-crazy people out there), you take so many photos that each folder/album for the month would be so ginormous that it’s too much to scroll through them all. You need to divide them up, especially if your month included a significant event like a birthday, wedding, vacation, special school activity, sports performance or anything that generates a large number of photos itself.

In my photo collection history, I’ve noticed January and November tend to be “light” months for me photo-quantity-wise so my pictures can fit in a general group.  Yet in some months such as April and October, when my kids have birthdays, or summer with vacation or December with Christmas, I may have 5 or even 10 sub-divided folders. There are no rules or limits. You make as many as you need to feel comfortable, although I wouldn’t bother with a folder that has fewer than say a dozen pics in it unless they just don’t fit into any other album. Ideally, most months will have more than one event or theme folder inside.

First we need to talk about some rules for naming files on computers. Because unlike simply writing whatever we want on Post-It notes or on the backs of the actual photo print, we have to follow some specific conventions that will ensure our files will properly display today and many tomorrows into the future.

Remember how I told you to use either dashes or underscores instead of spaces? Technically, you can also use parentheses marks if you’re feeling punctuationally frisky. Even though they are allowed, I would avoid forward, straight and back slashes (/ | \) as those are used in programming and on the web, and the same goes for periods. I know that doesn’t leave much creativity, does it? Let’s just agree to be either dash or underscore folks, po-tay-to, po-tot-to. End. Of. Story.

As for capitalization, it’s really a matter of personal preference for the most part, although some programmers/coders would beg differently. In normal use, I tend to like the initial cap to improve readability over all lowercase, but again, the internet prefers — and defaults to — lowercase so if you’re overly cautious, stick with that. If you don’t mind taking a few risks, throw in a few caps & hopefully it won’t ever hurt compatibility.


Now to the next question you’re likely to ask…how LONG can my filename be? If you’re old school, you might remember the DOS-imposed character limits, so now you automatically abbreviate your filenames into overly covert codes that are hard to guess by anyone but you. Not good. And not necessary.

Today’s computers CAN accept a lot more characters. If you Google it, you may read that they can handle 256 but that’s not for the FILENAME alone. That’s for the whole path, which also includes folder names of where it exists on your computer. So don’t go crazy spelling everything out in uber-detail either.

The best bet is a compromise of common sense. Enough to make sense to someone other than you and yet not too long that it gets cut off either. Some experts say beyond 63 characters are at risk so stick to fewer than that. (For reference, that previous sentence was 63 characters long if you took the spaces out. And no, I didn’t plan it that way when I wrote it, I’m just THAT good! Besides, I doubt most of us would make a filename THAT long, right?


Anyone in journalism or elementary school writing remembers the 5 Ws of who, what, when, where and why. We probably only need four because the WHEN is already answered by the folder name we’ve already created, and the photo file itself is dated as well. So that leaves the who, what, where and why as possible questions to answer in our filename to leave clues for what photos are inside the folder.

Let’s take a vacation as an example because many of us tend to take more photos while on a trip. I’m definitely very snap-happy and can easily bring home +1000 pics in a week on a couple cameras plus phones!

When you want to look back on the trip, it becomes helpful to have them separated by day and location anyway, especially if you visited different sites each day. Instead of having a single folder called 2014-04_CA_SpringBreak with 1500 photos in it, I separate it by daily activity so each album has 100-200 photos in it, which is still too many but it isn’t as large or overwhelming as the whole vacation at once.

  • 2014-04-CA_SpringBreak_Day1_SanDiego
  • 2014-04-CA_SpringBreak_Day2_SeaWorld
  • 2014-04-CA_SpringBreak_Day3_Zoo
  • 2014-04-CA_SpringBreak_Day4_OceanPier
  • 2014-04-CA_SpringBreak_Day4PM_SunsetCruise
  • 2014-04-CA_SpringBreak_Day5_Coronado_Bahia

Now if you’re paying close attention, you should cry foul and say, but Brenda, you included “day1” and such, which is the same as WHEN and that’s already covered, isn’t it? And I’d say, yes, sort of, but to me, the specifics of the order of our trip were important to me in regard to the itinerary flow rather than the exact calendar date. By listing the location destination of each day’s activity, I also included the where, which in this case also answers the what, and why. Of course, if you have a couple “boring” days photo-quantity-wise, you can just group those together like “Days1-3.” Or maybe your vacation adventure could be sorted into 4 folders — one each for snorkeling, golfing, deep-sea fishing & a general catch-all for the rest. These are just ideas; make the system work for you!

Maybe I should give you another example that involves people instead of places. How about kids and sports or school activities? Want to be able to find the photos of your son’s basketball season? 2015-01-Kyan_Basketball_Bolts_NYS-Rec would be how I include photos of my son’s basketball team named the Bolts that’s part of the NYS recreational league. See how I included hints of that info in there?

Granted, it may not seem to matter much now as it’s only his first season in basketbahome-office-336581_1280ll but maybe by the time he’s a senior in high school, he’ll have been on multiple club, traveling, rec and school leagues, so I’ll definitely appreciate the specifics. And years from now, having the team name in the folder title would be a helpful memory for us both as it’s not shown on their jerseys.

So you are thinking ahead to the future and trying to second-guess yourself (& anyone else) who will be inheriting your digital files. Give them every clue you can now!

Here are two more examples just to show you other ways this works for me regarding my kids’ birthdays:

  • 2014-04-Kyan-9thBday-FriendParty-MinecraftTheme (from the party only)
  • 2014-04-Kyan-9thBday-OtherFun
    (includes all other birthday-related photos that were NOT from that party)


Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes and start adding DETAILS to the names of your dated folders of photos. Keep the date listed first and remember to maintain the dashes or underscore system you started.

In your details, you should think of adding the primary focus of which person, place or purpose for the photos. Use shorter words or abbreviations to keep filename lengths within reason. For example, use “grad” instead of “graduation” or “wed” instead of “wedding.” Obviously, there is no need to include your location/where in your filename if your photos were taken at or around home. Save that for specifying locales outside your usual “neighborhood” to make it easier to find your travel photos.

Don’t get stressed out trying to come up with your folder labels. You can always modify them later if you change your mind or want to add a detail. You also don’t need to list everyone who is pictured in the photos, but if the event was focused on a certain person, list them (Kiersten-guitar-recital). In a few days, I’ll show you an incredible face-recognition feature that will help you find people in your photos. For now, emphasize the purpose for taking these pictures (or place if helpful).

A well-structured folder organization system labeled with detailed filenames will give you the power of your computer’s “search” function to quickly locate all photo folders that match your desired keyword. You could search for “recital” on your computer’s finder/explorer to see the dated folders that include it in the name. From there, you could narrow it down by the folder’s filename date or simply look at the pics inside to make sure you’ve found the ones you were looking for. These steps may take you some time up front now, but they will save you from hours of frustration in the future from hunting for the photo files you want to find!

In summary, your DAY 3 DUTIES: 


attention-303861_1280WHOA WARNING
In doing this whole date-driven sorting process, we’re assuming one big thing — that the dates of your photos are correct. That means your camera’s date is set correctly. If it is NOT at this time, please go change it immediately. Talk about confusing a whole future generation — having digital photos that appear to be made from 1997!?!

If you wish to have location data saved with each image, be sure to turn on your camera’s GPS setting, if available and so desired. Just so you know, you can keep this info off your images as they are taken for added security when sharing on social media sites, and simply add the geotag metadata later in post-processing for your own archival files. I know, I used some big words there. Bear with me, we’ll cover that in a couple days.

Again, it’s hard to say if you needed the whole 15 minutes to do this task. Hopefully you took somewhere between 15 seconds and 15 hours. The point is to get it done in brief bits without hating your screen time by binging on a nonstop marathon. I’m sure you’d rather spend time on Netflix, Pinterest or Facebook for your excessive online addictions instead of dealing with your JPG filenames and locations on your hard drive. Don’t blame you one bit. Here’s what happens when you have too much free time to play around on Pinterest, for example. Click on the pic below to see the snack-stadium photo larger on Pinterest!

I don’t live under a rock. In fact, I live in Vegas so you can BET on the fact that I know it’s the Day of the Big Game. That means you can either do your 15 minutes BEFORE THE GAME starts, DURING THE GAME if you’re not a fan of either team (or the sport itself – gasp!), or DURING HALFTIME if you don’t mind missing the entertainment and a few commercials. In fact, if you’re a sports widow and need a productive project, feel free to tackle this one. I’ll definitely BET on the fact that you’ll WIN the game of organizing your digital photos with me as your coach!

© Brenda Kruse and, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Day 2: Organize Your Digital Photos in Just 15 Minutes in 15 Days in 2015 (#15in15in2015)

You’re back! I’m glad you weren’t too overwhelmed by yesterday’s #15in15in2015 kickoff at the Photo Organizing Pro blog in honor of my birthday. Since we had to cover some initial housekeeping yesterday because it was the first post of the series, today we’re getting right into the nuts and bolts, or should I say, file cabinets, drawers, hanging folders, and manila file folders. Yep, I’m using a visual reference from the physical paper world to help you think about how to handle your digital life.


The file cabinet is your computer hard drive’s PICTURES folder. The file cabinet drawers represent each YEAR of your photo collection. Hanging folders serve as the MONTHS in your collection. And inside each month, you can add further detail with a manila file folder that specifies events, people, and places.

These themed topics are usually the major milestones and moments that we mostly photograph in our lives. Think birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays and vacations. Although frankly our “everyday” moments are quickly becoming just as photographed thanks to Instagram’s plethora of cat & coffee candids, so maybe you’ll want a generic “catchall” folder for each month’s “miscellaneous” moments too.

If you think of organizing your digital files as if you would paper ones, it’s pretty simple to determine the basic structure for your folders and JPGs. The best part is that once you’ve established the system once, it’s a cakewalk to maintain as you add photos and grow your collection. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be able to find a photo you want much faster than before, if you even could before! And that’s the true beauty of a well-named chronologically based folder organizing system.

But wait, you whine! That’s not how my brain works! I can’t remember what year we visited Disneyland for Spring Break, this system will never do the trick for me. Slow down, I’m not done. There’s more to it than dates. We’ll add details to jog your memory. And maybe searchable keywords later too. Relax and trust my system. Let’s learn more before you jump ship.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.44.35 PM2N = NAMING & NUMBERING
The 2Ns are the key to organizing and the secret to finding a photo sooner than later! Without proper naming of files, the computer’s default to prioritize numbering will throw off the best attempts at organizing. You’ll see why in a minute. Do not be afraid to rename folders! It can be done and undone multiple times over until you get a naming scheme that works the way your brain thinks. Don’t just use what you read online or in a book, or go blindly with whatever some organizing pro says (unless it’s me…ha!). Try out this theory on your own photo collection. Test it on a small batch first to see how it suits your situation. Are the names/terms ones you’d normally use? Does it offer enough variety or flexibility to adapt as needed? Is it overly complex to integrate or far too simple to really make an impact? Don’t be afraid to make a hybrid of a couple styles to best match your specific needs. It’s not a “one size fits all” but if you don’t have a preference that you know of yet, I do recommend you try these dated (& eventually detailed) folders.

You’re not a fool but your computer will always start the year in April if you label folders using only words because it sorts alphabetically. To make January show up before April in your list of photo folders, you have to follow my specific naming structure for them to be displayed in order on your computer. That means using two-digit dates, such as 01 for January so it is listed numerically before the alphabetical leaders of April and August.

My other “rule” is to re-use the year in your folder name as well because once the files are moved out of that YEAR folder, that info won’t be as obvious anymore. So the best folder name would be 2015-01 then 2015-02 and so on.

That is the question. While computers of our past did not like spaces in folders & filenames, today’s can handle it just fine. However, tech experts recommend naming files shorter terms tied together with either dashes/hyphens or underscores because the internet does not like spaces. In fact, it turns them into these — %20. So to dash-or-not-to-dash. Or dash_or_not_to_dash. These are your choices. Or I guess if you want to be a renegade, you could use “dash or not to dash” as a filename. I’ll never really know but the web might wreck your well-laid plans. I highly suggest you start with one way that you like looking at and stick with it forever after. It’s a personal preference so pick a way and there you’ll stay.

We’ll discuss other rules for naming files when we add more details, but for now, our folder names are just fine with numbers — and dashes or underscores.



Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes and start making new folders within your YEAR folders for the MONTHS. Don’t forget to follow my specific naming structure in order to keep them displayed in order on your computer.

You already have a 2015 folder, right? And your January photos should be in it, right? (If not, please do this first). Adding a sub-folder of 2015-01 becomes home for your most-recent pics. Any photos you shoot yet today will go in there too once you transfer them to your computer. And starting tomorrow, you’ll put the February photos where? In the 2015-02 folder you made inside the 2015 folder you say? Why that’s 100% correct? You got an A+ on your pop quiz!

Now guess what you get to do? More of the same! Go back through 2014 working your way backward through the past year month by month. Using the year and 02-digit months to name folders, you’ll fill them with your specifically dated digital photos.

Don’t take time to look too closely at your photos, delete doubles or worry about editing at this time. Your only goal is to get them quick-sorted into their date/name folder hierarchy.

Go back as far as time allows. If you didn’t finish in the allotted 15 minutes, try to find another 15-minute session to “file” your digital files in their right file cabinet drawers and hanging folders.

In summary, your DAY 2 DUTIES:

  1. FIND YOUR PICTURES/MY PHOTOS FOLDER & MAKE A 2015 FOLDER (if you didn’t over-achieve yesterday), THEN A JANUARY (2015-01) FOLDER INSIDE THAT ONE.

attention-303861_1280WHOA WARNING
What if you know you have photo files on your hard drive that are NOT showing the date the photo was taken? Maybe they list the date they were scanned or the date you renamed or edited them once before? If you know the year/month and can quickly move it into the right folder, go for it. If you aren’t sure, leave them loose in the main PICTURES/PHOTOS folder or better yet, create a new sub-folder inside it called 00-DATES (so it will always be at the top of your list) to remind you to investigate at a later date. Ha, we can call it Date-Gate!

While we’re tackling the marathon of organizing your digital photos, we’re doing it in short sprints of 15-minute work sessions. No need for endurance training to survive the #15in15in2015 program from Photo Organizing Pro!

© Brenda Kruse and, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Day 1: Organize Your Digital Photos in just 15 Minutes in 15 Days in 2015 (#15in15in2015)

Happy birthday to me! No seriously, today is my anniversary of another batch of birthday-cake photo opps! I thought it’d be fun date to kick off my new PhotoOrganizingPro blog & my new mini series (#15in15in2015). Another reason to eat cake & say cheers with a raised glass, right?

My 1st birthday cake photo opp! I look pretty mesmerized by the candle. Imagine how much I’d stare at all the light from 43 candles?!

Truth be told, the timing is also tied to January’s ambitious New Year’s resolutions & National Get Organized Month. Although I delayed it near the very end, after your overly ambitious rose-colored glasses view of other resolutions has been dimmed by reality & you’ve already skipped some days at the gym, yelled at the kids & ordered take-out instead of using your crockpot once a week.

Because what I’m proposing may only start with 15 minutes over 15 days to organize your digital photos, but managing your digital life is a LIFELONG HABIT! Before you roll your eyes & think you’ve accidentally landed on another “eat kale daily” smoothie blog, I’ll drop the preaching & get into the good stuff. But I’m not kidding that you’ll have to do a little upkeep on a regular basis…otherwise you’ll need to do my #15in15in2015 program a couple times this year. You over-achiever, you.

Despite the fact that today is MY birthday, I’m not just letting you all eat cake & do nothing hard. That comes at the END of the 15 days — yes, by Valentine’s Day you are enjoying the sweet taste of success knowing your JPGs are in order!

Imagine celebrating with your favorite splurge chocolate treats without a second thought of guilt because all your photos are finally off your phones and cameras at long last, and actually sorted into organized, labeled folders that are even backed up. Shut the front door. And pass me the sea salt & caramel seahorse-shaped Godiva please.

Come Valentine’s Day, I give you permission to enjoy all the chocolate you can eat as a reward for getting your digital photos organized!


MAKE SPACE. While this may seem like a common-sense point, I’m stating the obvious for those of you who did not have it dawn on them earlier. If your hard drive is maxxed out already, you are at greater risk for drive failure, and probably insanity from working on a slower, overloaded machine.

Analyze the available space on your main/primary computer’s hard drive. You’ll need enough room to put (hopefully ALL?) your photos on it first to use as your workspace for organizing and sorting. Then you can safely (& thoroughly) archive them and then confidently delete the files to reclaim more room. Before you start this process, you can take a FEW QUICK minutes to delete files you KNOW you don’t need. Don’t spend hours on it. Or search out hidden files to delete. In fact, if you aren’t 100% sure, DON’T delete! It’s easiest to pull off large videos/movie files and music onto flash drives as a backup or at least a teflash-drive-40301_1280mporary move for the next two weeks as we work through the photo organizing and archiving process.

storage-24914_1280If you absolutely cannot free up enough space on your computer’s hard drive, I recommend using an external hard drive (EHD) for this process. You can buy/find one large enough to hold your entire collection for a rather economical price. You’ll have to make a few adjustments to my steps along the way but you should be just fine. And you’ll already have an external backup done. Well, sort of.

But you know one really awesome benefit of being in a DIGITAL organizing class instead of one dealing with physical print photos? This digital one doesn’t take up ANY extra space outside of your usual existence! Technically, it’s just a bunch of 1s and 0s on your computer’s hard drive, although you mostly see a long list of nonsense filenames like P1057247742.JPG and IMG_8396.JPG and DSCF2705.JPG.

No need to unearth boxes and totes from the basement, attic, garage and Aunt Edna’s house to take up tons of space in your home office or spare bedroom. No need to spread them out all over the kitchen table so you can’t feed the family until you’re done sorting. Or feeling frustrated or rushed when you have to shove them all back in the box in a hurry just to make a meal or do homework. No mess. No rushing. No clutter. No chaos. No upset family members or spouses (at least over the photo organizing mess or clutter anyway!).

None of this mess for you! We’re only dealing with digital! So if you’ve already scanned your old print photographs, fabulous! Then we can sort & organize them right along with your newer digital snapshots. If not, stay tuned to this blog for future assistance on dealing with prints. Or contact me ASAP for a scanning & sorting quote.

So enjoy the ease of working with digital files vs. print photographs in this way. Does it have disadvantages? Sure, but we’re not going to discuss them because I’m only asking for you to give me 15 minutes for 15 days and I have a no whining policy.

After all, anyone can handle doing something slightly uncomfortable for a 15-minute stretch, right? And it’s only 15 days in a row! Could you keep going after that? Knock yourself out. I may even throw in a couple bonus days at the end, but this isn’t a year-long ordeal or anything. Not even a 30-day commitment. So cowboy up, folks. You can deal.

First let’s touch on why we take photos. Duh, because we don’t want to forget the moments, right? I’d also say because we can. Today, almost every one of us owns a high-end digital camera thanks to our smartphone, except for those few folks with flip phones. (I mean, really, people, why bother?!) Most families also have at least one point-and-shoot pocket camera, if not a fancy-pants DSLR too.

That wasn’t the case “back in the day.” Anyone remember film? With limits of 24 exposures? For you youngsters, it’s why your iPhone stores your pictures in a Camera ROLL, because film from the olden days came rolled in a small canister. Seriously. Google it. And I won’t get into the woes of the world not printing any digital photos but you know it’s a fact. Can you hold up to the screen the last 4×6 you printed? Yeah, I don’t see anything. Point made.


These days we’re seeing trends that the “real” camera is often left at home (or even in the closet), leaving our ever-present smartphones to capture our regular daily life & often our major milestone moments as well. After all, we usually have it with us ALL the time — even in the bathroom, which can be a bad thing, and that leads me to my next point.

Why on earth do we need to bother with backing up digital photos? Because, heaven forbid, what if the worst happens?!? Remember the bathroom where we usually bring our phones? In that instant moment of regret with the “pants pulldown backpocket kerplunk” or any other number of digital disasters awaiting our JPGs, such as accidental deletion by the toddler you’re trying to entertain the backseat/church/checkout line (or really anywhere). Or the devices we’ve lost or “left behind” at the park/bar/Walmart (depending on your stage in life).

man-475557_1920Whether it goes for a swim, takes a dunk, gets splashed, or just goes dead into brick mode for no apparent reason when updating, sometimes the tech geeks at the cell phone store can save your digital butt IF you were being backed up by accident (Hallelujah for Big Brother!). Otherwise you’ve now become “A Statistic,” a sob story, and have learned a hard lesson learned about archiving, a.k.a. backing up your butt, formerly called CYA (Google it if you must).

DAY 1: 1/30/15: 15 MINUTES!
Set your phone’s timer or stopwatch for 15 minutes & ready, set, race! Run like a mad woman (or man) all over the house to GATHER ALL (yes, I mean ALL) digital photos! In whatever way they exist. Yes, I mean allstopwatch-25763_1280. Even the ones from 5 (or more) years ago.

Start with the Cs — every computer, camera, & card (memory). Don’t forget the cables & cords for all those. Now we need the Ds — drives (flash/USB/external) & discs (CD/DVD), even those blank ones you’re not sure about. Last but not least, get the Ps — phones, (i)pads, phablets (or tablets, I just had to be phunny). (I realize that some family members may require a bribe or be asleep before giving up their device for a download session so you might have to schedule your workflow accordingly.)


Now you see the task before you. Well, technically you can’t SEE the problem because one of the benefits/challenges of digital hoarding is that it’s hidden! We can’t look at our neighbors and “see” if they have a digital photo-hoarding problem. Although chances are quite good that they most definitely do!

Because it’s essentially invisible, we can hide it from others and we can even hide it from ourselves for the most part. Buying flash drives in bulk and stocking up on external hard drives because ours always get full are the only signs of a possible problem.

Don’t even get me started on the crushing feeling of guilt we have for not doing “something” — anything! — with our zillion JPGs! Or the FEAR we have that “something” BAD is going to happen to them before we ever get around to backing them up the way we know we should but never seem to do anyway.

We live on the edge of regret praying we never have that sad tale to share while playing Russian Roulette with our own children’s precious childhood memories and family heritage, knowing that we’re one accidental click, coffee spill, lightning strike, flood, tornado, fire, theft, or [insert other calamity here] away from vaporizing our valuable

Whew, anyone sweating yet? Heart palpitations? If not, you’re totally UNDER-estimating the seriousness of this situation. I’ve talked to so many mothers who’ve lost their child’s photos and there isn’t anything that can “fix” that. No do overs there. Well, unless you’re these guys but they had the originals for reference.

While you have all this tech hardware handy, take a piece of paper (yes, paper or stone tablet if you want it to last longer) & write down an inventory of these devices just so you know what you have & what you need to check for photos on a consistent basis in the future. (See, I warned you I’d talk about doing this in the future!)

On your main computer, locate the PICTURES or MY PICTURES folder. Whether you have a Mac or PC, it’s likely to have one of these already. It’s a good idea to use this file-157955_1280default location as it’s a common sense spot, aptly named & well, there isn’t really a good reason NOT to!

Whatever you want to call it, we can’t do much until you get this step done. Plug in the cable or the memory card to let the computer read the device so you can find the photos and copy/transfer them ALL to the main hard drive. Don’t take the time to judge now. Just dump them into that main PICTURES/PHOTOS folder.

Using your Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows), if you search/sort by JPG filetype or name, you’ll likely find all you need. Granted you might end up with a few strange extras from software programs too, but at least you’ll get all of yours. If you find various folders of all kinds of names and labels elsewhere on your hard drive, just throw them all into the PICTURES folder too. Make sure EVERYTHING resides in the same main location. We can rename folders later; it might save you some time if they are already sorted and grouped by topic. A girl can dream can’t she?


attention-303861_1280WHOA WARNING!
DO NOT DUPLICATE the ones already on your hard drive! Just MOVE them into the right spot. You are COPYING the image files from the camera memory cards, phones, flash drives and such onto the main computer hard drive. These will stay on the original device until you choose to delete them. You can do this right afterward if you are confident that your files are already protected in AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT ways (type/location), which is doubtful unless you’re already a semi-pro at this stuff. Otherwise, you should wait until I advise you to do this later in the series. Once they’ve been sorted and organized, you’ll WANT to delete the other originals as they will only mess you up if you download/transfer them again.

Inside the main PHOTOS folder, create a New Folder named 2015. If you already have any photos taken during January 2015 on your computer, please drag (move) them into here. DO NOT COPY THEM! You don’t want to end up with twice the trouble & half the hard-drive room! Highlight the batch & right-click (or click & drag) to move/send them to this new folder.


Isn’t it convenient that I timed this so that most of your first month’s photos are already shot and ready to be downloaded into the 2015 folder? I’m sneaky smart like that. Now you’ll maybe have just a few more photos from today (30th) and tomorrow (31st) to transfer in and you’ll be ready to pull all these into their own January folder inside the 2015 folder.

However, this is all we’re going to attempt for Day 1! Although I assume a few of you might guess tomorrow’s task & try to jump ahead by making a “January” folder. But I’ll bet 95% of you will do it wrong. Trust me. You can wait until I show you the very best way. Relax and know you’ve accomplished enough for your first session & have begun the hardest part of any major task — the first step — starting! You’ve overcome the hugest hurdle of inertia!

In summary, your DAY 1 DUTIES:


clock-452552_1920Obviously, I said you should spend 15 minutes at this task but without knowing how many photos you have — or how many devices, or even how slow your computer might be at transferring them, I’m not 100% sure if this will take a few minutes or a few hours for you. If it’s the latter, let it work and go do other things knowing this is definitely a long overdue task for you.

No clue if you’re a religious person and this isn’t really meant to be a faith-based point but if you just put ALL your photos on your computer — all your eggs in one basket — it probably goes without saying to be extremely careful and kind to your computer. Don’t do any updates/upgrades to software or systems right now. Don’t decide to take the laptop to the beach or work poolside. Don’t drink coffee (or any liquid) next to it — at all — for any reason! Don’t let the kids download new games or play on it. Take every precaution possible until we’ve organized your photos and then safely archived them using at least two methods besides this hard drive. And let this sentence release me from all legal liability should anything happen to you unlucky folks. Til tomorrow…photos-315170_1280

© Brenda Kruse and, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Happy Birthday and Happy Blog Birthday to me!

happy birthday

That’s right! I’m launching a blog on my birthday today! It’s like giving myself a gift! And with the incredible content on how to organize your digital photos that I plan to give you over the next 15 days, you’re getting an amazing gift too! At the end of these next two weeks together, it’ll be Valentine’s Day (February 14th) so let’s plan to celebrate your sweet success of organized digital photos by eating chocolate cake! Deal?

In the spirit of full honesty, I must confess that I will likely have my cake and eat it today too. After all, it would be sacrilegious not to enjoy a candle-adorned treat on your special day! Personally I’m more of a salty than sweet snack person, and if I go with sweet, it’d be a slightly warm fudgy brownie over a cake with frosting any day of the year. However, I feel obligated for the annual tradition, especially for the sake of my kids who get a kick out of the whole schtick. So just know I’ll be choking down a small chunk of cake sometime today. But in two weeks, I’m leaving all the cake for YOU and I’m sticking to a pan of brownies, k?

Let’s eat cake to celebrate! Especially in 15 days when your digital photos are organized!

In the past, I’ve blogged briefly for other specific situations (like when Oprah called me —no, REALLY, she DID!), but not consistently on a regular basis. (I’m sure every blogger says that but I do mean something slightly different schedule-wise.)

Although this may not end up being my “regular” blog home either, it’s going to serve as my initial kick-off because I have a digital photo organizing mini-series program I’m excited to launch. And I’ve been talking about re-starting my blogging efforts for far too long. So today — my birthday — is the day!

Granted, it’s probably not the wisest idea to attempt learning a new blogging platform like advanced WordPress from scratch at the same time as you set out to release a daily blog for the next two weeks…but I’m just going for it! I’ll learn a lot along the way so bear with me and be forgiving as this part is uncharted territory. And I’m under deadline! Here we go…who’s with me? Let’s jump in…I hear the water’s warm!



© Brenda Kruse and, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brenda Kruse and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.