How I organise my photos

Since starting One Purl Row and becoming a bit of an Instagram fan I have taken thousands of photos. I’ve had to get alot more organised about how I store them. Lots of people have asked me how I do this so I thought I would write a little blog post which I hope is of some help.

I found that I had photos everywhere — product shots, flatlays, flowers, scenery — you name it! Sometimes I would run out of photos to post on Instagram. Sometimes I would use the same photo a few times — and not deliberately!

Running an on line store and maintaining a social media presence on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest as well as writing the occasional blog post became a nightmare as far as photos were concerned.

It also became obvious that I needed much better photos if I had any chance of being successful. Once I realised this I knew I had to do something different.

I first came across Emily Quinton in a special issue of Mollie Makes. Emily teaches photography — particularly to help makers with their on line presence. I was hooked and signed up for my first on line Makelight course. Almost instantly after the first course I saw some improvement. I was hooked and started taking even more photos!

At first I just stored them in directories on my hard drive. After a while I became worried about losing them if anything went wrong with the laptop. Then cataloging them became a huge issue.

It took a months for me to come up with the solution I have now and I want to share with you. I am no expert but this method really works for me. I like to be as organised as I possibly can be — it saves me time!

Where I store my photos

I decided to go with Dropbox. For a small annual fee I get an enormous amount of storage space that I can access from any device. I decided not to synchronise with any device. This way my photos take up no local space so it’s one less thing to worry about. Also, if anything goes wrong with my laptop or ‘phone the photos are safely stored in a remote location.

The folders I use

I have one folder for my Etsy photos. Under this I have sub-folders for each product category. This more or less mirrors the sections of the store.

For example I have a folder for Fingerless Mittens

… and a folder for Friendship Bracelets (my new favourite thing to make)

I create a new folder for every location I take photos. I have a folder for Oxford. (the photo below was taken on my walk into work — I love taking photos of doors!)

.. and a folder for Blenheim Palace.

I create a sub-folder when I visit a place more than once. I name the sub-folder with the year and month of the visit. e.g. 1701 (January 2017)

I have a folder for each month for Instagram photos. I name them IG and then the year and month e.g. IG1701. Below is a photo from my Instagram page in August 2016 (taken in Saundersfoot, Wales)

Naming the Files

For the Etsy products I name the files by their product number followed by the number of the photo. e.g. 653 (4).

For location files I name them <the name of the place><month and year><no of photo> e.g. RobinHoodBay1610 (1) which would be the first photo of Robin Hood Bay taken in October 2016.

Organising Photos for Instagram

OK. So I usually prepare my Instagram feed at least a couple of weeks in advance. Alot of people think that feels a bit contrived. Well, yes it is! However, I have found that it gives me some of the consistency that I have been striving to achieve. (It’s not perfect and I know I still have loads to learn!)

I do this is by having two Dropbox windows open on my laptop. I re-size the windows so I can see them side by side. In one of the windows I will have my Instagram folder for the month I am preparing for. In the other window I will have all the folders displayed.

I will go into a folder — say Oslo — and I will choose the first photo of the month. I re-name the photo to precede it’s current name with <year month to be posted on Instagram> < IG day to be posted on Instagram> e.g. 1702 IG1 Oslo 1701(1). I will copy it (not move it — so that it is still retained in it’s original location as well) and paste it into the Instagram folder. When I look at my photos of Oslo I will be able to tell immediately if I’ve posted it on Instagram and when.

I carry on doing this for the whole month. I aim to post twice a day and so I name them 1 and 1a. I know then if I have enough photos for the month and where the gaps are. Sometimes I do substitute a photo for something that happened on the day too — I like to have some flexibility with it. I also change it around later sometimes if I feel I haven’t got it quite as I wanted to.

Previewing for Instagram

As I mentioned earlier I aim to achieve some consistency on the Instagram page — making sure the colours don’t clash and that there is a good flow.

I do this by opening the Dropbox Instagram folder for the month and resizing it so that it’s three photos wide. I can see immediately whether anything clashes with the photos next to it or above or below it. If it does, I change it around.

Well that’s it! I’m officially a self-declared organisation freak! I hope you’ve found it interesting and are able to take something from it. Any questions please do ask! Also if you’ve got any ideas about organising photos that you’d like to share please let me know.

Thanks for reading! Stay cosy!

Yvonne x

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