Friday, July 25, 2014

Deep Thoughts About Vacation Video: Organizing Still Photos for Video

That's a Lot of Photos - Here's a way to make sure you can find them!

We all recognize the need to label and organize our videotapes.  But what about other media?  It takes a lot of work to scan our old vacation photos, but we need to be able to find them when we need them!  Use a filing system that works for you, but be consistent.


Your scanner will assign sequential names (like IMG0001.JPG) to your pictures. I recommend that you change those to meaningful titles for use in searches.  The photo files will also be assigned to the date you scanned them -- adjust these to the approximate time that the photo was originally taken.

This detailed organization is a bit of a chore ... but there are lots of computer software programs that promise to help you.  Here's what I do with iPhoto on my Mac:

(1) All of my new scans are saved in a folder on the hard drive.  I then sort them into subfolders.  For our Africa 2002 trip I used subfolders titled "Zimbabwe", "Botswana", "Cape Town", etc.

(2) I highlight all of the photos in the first subfolder and drag them into iPhoto.  The original scans remain safely in their original folder, but copies are created within a new Event in iPhoto.

(3) Then I repeat, highlighting & dragging the photos from each remaining subfolder.  Now I've created a small group of new events in iPhoto.

(4) I retitle the events so they make sense, like "AFRICA 2002 - Zimbabwe"
Renamed Events in iPhoto.  Clicking a triangle on the left reveals the photos within the event.
(5) The photos are arranged by date within their events.  I use the "Adjust Date and Time" tool to approximate the correct time each photo was taken.  The tool can also adjust a batch of photos.
The date it was taken is more useful than the date it was scanned!
Suggest you check the box to "modify original files.
(6) Once the photos are in proper order I do a batch rename.  Something useful might look like "Zimbabwe-1", " Zimbabwe-2", etc.

(7) Now that I have basic names, I can modify them.  For instance one title might become "Zimbabwe-4 George @ Victoria Falls"
Descriptive names assigned to scanned photos
(8) iPhoto has an additional organizational feature called "Albums".  Photos from any event may be dragged into an album.  I create albums for each of my vacations:
iPhoto's Album Feature

Now if I need to find a particular photo from this trip, I can browse albums or events, plus there's a good likelihood that it will turn up in a search.


 The above is a description of MY system for organizing photos.  Regardless of YOUR individual strategy, I strongly suggest that you employ some form of organization

(Note that Apple has announced a new program, Photos for OSX, which will replace iPhoto at the end of 2014.  It promises "better" organizational tools, and I look forward to using them!)

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