Photo workflow III

I have been working on a photo workflow system which works for me and it's now time to give the series a conclusion. You can read the first two posts here and here. This final post in the series looks into how I plan to implement the system to my (rather enormous!) backlog!

As with most mammoth projects, the key is to create several bite size tasks until you complete said mammoth tasks. I’ve done that for archiving and got somewhere. Now let’s deal with the backlog.

Step 1: Back up all my photos, twice.

I am relatively good with photo backup. I have two external drives and have saved all my photos to both of them.

My 2013 new system folder is already there, looking good and making me proud (and making me feel somewhat reassured nothing will happen to  my photos in a way only backups can!).

What to do with the backlog? Keep the backups. Really! It makes me feel safer to know that if I have a change of heart regarding my current ruthless approach to photos, I can still go back – safety net, I believe it’s called. Having this backup also makes me more able to be ruthless when I get to the *delete* part, as ultimately I can retrieve any images I want. Score!

I also created a backup folder just for the new system. Bit obsessed with backups, I know. And now onto the thing itself…!

Step 2: Implement the new system.

Or go for a nice walk in the park. Or a holiday. Or watch clothes dry. Anything is better than opening your backlog of files and feeling overwhelmed. And nostalgic.

Come back to earth and accept you have to do it. Go, Joey, go!

There really is no point in stressing myself with the size of the backlog or deadlines. I choose to ignore the former and not impose on myself any of the latter. So how will I do it? Chronologically, of course.

Every so often, when I have a bit of time or while I watch a film or a series on TV, I open a folder and go through it. I started with December 2012 and I’m working my way up from there. The process is something like this:

:: open folder in Picasa
:: delete ALL rubbish images i.e. too dark, (not artistic) out of focus, what-was-I-thinking-here, etc.
:: congratulate myself on no-mercy-for-boo-photos approach (ignoring the fact I did it because I have a backup)
:: go through all the selected images and edit + rename + label as appropriate
:: add folder to new system backup

The four steps above may or may not happen all in one sitting, depending on the size of the folder and the editing I think the photos need. I don’t have a problem with that though, this is not a race, it’s a gentle jog.

My goal is to only keep photos I *love* or *really really like* in each folder. The more I go through the archives, the more I want to keep going. Not only because it’s rewarding to see everything coming together nicely, but also because I become better at knowing what to keep and what to bin so the whole process is much quicker now.

Once I’m done with a particular year, I may even consider doing a photobook or two!

Hope you find this short series on my photo workflow system useful. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading about your ways of sorting and storing your images! The world is definitely a better place when photos are neatly organised!


  1. Thank you LMJ, this has been good motivation for me to sort out my own photo mess!

  2. Thank you so much: I am working on it as well :) Bocky is -finally- buying us an extra hard drive today. This way we can leave for Austria in a relaxed way, because my photos feel like my children and I want them to be in a good and safe place when we are away ...

  3. that is a very good idea, to back up twice. at the moment I only have 1 backup, but we never know in the end. love the idea of going back to old photos and check the ones we want to keep, I do that once in a while but I don't label them properly. But I created a folder for my gallery, which contains the photos I love the most



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