A photo collection on a smartphone

Storing Your Photos in One Place like a Professional

Practical Tips and Tools for Organising Your Photo Collection

Modern memory cards on smartphones, digital cameras, and the rest have enough space to store thousands of photos. But how do you keep that insurmountable amount of photos organised? Storing and systemising your photo collection in one place has almost become a must. We’ll show you how it’s done and showcase several useful tools for managing your photo collection.

Manually Storing Your Photos on a PC

Only keep the most important photos. It’s best to look at your photos directly on your smartphone or camera while taking them - such as when simply taking a couple of pictures in your hotel room while on holiday - and go ahead and delete everything that is blurry, unclear, or overexposed. You can then go through your photos a second time either before importing them to your PC (in preview mode) or afterwards, and simply delete the photos from your computer.

Folder Structure

Another very important factor when organising your photos is using a well-thought-out folder structure to ensure you can quickly find your photos when searching for them later on your hard drive. A practical method would be to organise them according to date and location. Also, since digital cameras often assign photos very similar image titles, it’s a good idea to give each photo clear keywords. Thanks to this so-called “tagging”, it’s much easier to find individual photos later on once they’re organised.

Photo Manager Software Keeps the Flood of Images at Bay

When your collection reaches 10,000+ photos, manual organisation becomes a bit too time-consuming. This is where modern photo manager software comes to the rescue (links to these can be found at the end of the article). These programs are easy to install and they’ll automatically take care of uploading photos to pre-determined folders. The practical tools will not only let you categorise your photos, but also to create your own galleries and presentations. In addition, you can upload these complete albums to social networks. Many image managers also come with an automatic tagging function so you’ll no longer have to do this manually with each individual photo.

Some photo manager software can be downloaded free of charge, such as the popular Google tool Picasa. This tool, however, is not being developed any further since it has been replaced by Google Photos. Another free alternative is the tool called Ashampoo Photo Commander, which comes with many tools for editing your photos along with the standard toolbox. Since many photo manager programs come with quite a few functions nowadays, it can take some time for you to get used to navigating your way around. A program especially suitable for beginners is called Magix Photo Manager (starting at 78 CHF) which comes with an intuitive user interface. For professional photographers, on the other hand, the program Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (starting at 129 CHF) has become very popular to use thanks to its extensive functionality. The integrated automatic facial recognition makes it possible for the user to search for specific persons. The program also comes with a wide array of professional image-editing tools.

Save Storage Space with Cloud Services

Cloud services are available for people who need more storage space for new files or would like to back up data already saved on their computer. It’s always possible for a computer to fall victim to a spilled tea or even theft. Cloud services save your data on off-site servers. This allows the user to access their data from anywhere in the world using an Internet-capable device such as a mobile phone or tablet; all you need is Internet access. You can use an app to access your data from a smartphone. Some providers, such as Flickr, Google Photos, or iCloud from Apple, are specifically designed for organising photos. They also usually come equipped with the same functions as photo manager software. You can categorise your photos, edit them, and also share them with other users. Google Photos and iCloud also come with a practical automatic indexing feature, which simplifies searching for individual photos.

the cloud symbol

Cloud Services Differ in Terms of Storage Space and Cost

In regard to the available storage space and the costs associated with the amount of space, cloud service providers can differ quite a bit from one another. The iCloud, for instance, is free of charge to use but only offers you 5 GB of storage space. For a photo collection that has been accumulated over the years, this is hardly enough space. You can, however, book additional storage space for a fee: for 1 CHF a month you get 50 GB more storage. Flickr, on the other hand, is a much more cost-effective option. This cloud service provider offers you 1,000 GB of storage space at no cost. Google Photos also offers unlimited storage space, but the image quality is limited to 16 megapixels. Thus, photos with a higher resolution are compressed and the originals are deleted from Google’s servers. Alternatively, you can save your photos in their original file sizes, but these will be counted towards your overall available storage space.

Privacy Concerns

Something all cloud services have in common is the somewhat questionable handling of data security. iCloud, for instance, warns users in their terms of use that photos could be deleted or become corrupted. Flickr is also often criticised for sharing user statistics with third parties. Those of you who decide to use a cloud service should ultimately keep in mind that your data is stored on external vendor servers after uploading, which means unauthorised users can also access your data. This is where you can use helpful programs to encrypt your data before uploading, such as the free tool Cryptomator. If you want to ensure that European data protection regulations are respected, you should make use of a cloud service based out of Switzerland. The Swisscom service myCloud stores its data exclusively on servers located in Switzerland. Another advantage of using a local provider is the better availability of technical support.

Bottom Line

Deciding on which kind of photo management is right for you depends on how much time you’d actually like to spend organising your photos. Photo manager software makes it possible to easily organise and store large photo collections on your PC. A sure-fire way to make sure your photos don’t disappear is to also back them up with a cloud service.

Tip for analogue photo storage: create your very own personal photo collection with ifolor photo books. Then you’ll always have your favourite photos within reach.

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