Rainy Day Project: Photo Organization

It may be gross outside, but it’s a perfect day for a little in-house organization. I’ve told you how important photographs can be in marketing your message, but those photos will be of little use if they’re not organized, backed up, and shared.

Get ’em off the camera!

In more than one case, after taking photos for a client, I’ve gone back to their office to download the photos to their computer and found that there are dozens or hundreds of photos, weeks or months old, just hanging out on the camera. One client would fill up memory cards and start piling them up in a desk drawer. Seriously, folks. Neither your camera nor it’s memory card is a long term photo storage device!  After you finish taking photos be sure to download them to your computer and to your server where they can be backed up regularly.

The name says it all.

It doesn’t do anybody any good if you have one folder with 1,000 random photos. First, make sure that everyone within the organization is using the same software to organize photos. If one person is using iPhoto and another is using the software that came with the camera, you’re going to have a difficult time tracking down photos when you need them. Organize your photos into folders by date, event, or program. If it’s by date you might use 2011_07 for all of July’s photos, or if it’s by event, you might have a “Gala” folder with a “2011” sub-folder, etc. The naming hierarchy is up to you. The important thing is to have a file naming system that is followed by everyone within the organization. At the very least, give all photos a date and title. As time allows, you can also benefit from using tags, detailed descriptions, sets, collections, albums, archives, or facial recognition software (an awesome feature of Apeture).


Online photosharing services allow users to upload photographs, store them, organize them, tag them, share them, and discuss them. Most of these services are free. Flickr, Picassa, Smugmug are some of the more popular ones. With these services, you can easily create slide shows to email to donors and constituents and post photos to your website, blog, Facebook and Twitter. For example, see how the Thomas Jefferson Area United Way uses Picassa to organize and share their photos. Charlottesville Tomorrow prefers to use Flickr. The Rivanna Conservation Society has good example of a slideshow on their own site. Another local nonprofit, Animal Connections, organizes photos from their events and posts them to Facebook. The point is, no matter how they choose to share them, these organizations have system for organizing and saving their photos online.



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