The digital age comes bearing gifts, but also challenges. It is so easy and inexpensive to take photographs. The result is far too many photographs cluttering up our various devices. If you, like me, don’t want to spend time tracking down a particular photograph or two when you need it, then a good system is in order.
My husband likes to say they are filers and there are pilers. We have both in our family. Bet you can guess which one I am. 🙂 Here are a few things I do to keep track of and organize the thousands of photographs, accumulated over the 32 years I’ve been quilting. Well, to be honest, the vast majority of photographs stored on my computer were taken starting in 2006.
How To Cope with 1,000’s of Images
I am a firm believer in folders, divided into subfolders, and subfolders divided further into more subfolders. Think of computer filing like an ever expanding telescope. The home folder is title Quilt Pictures. This distinguishes it from Family Pictures, Vacation Pictures and other categories of pictures you take.
Next up comes the broad categories of quilt pictures. In my case I have subfolders based on my themes, such as Sunrise Quilts, Block Blending Quilts, and Floral Quilts. No surprise, within Sunrise Quilts I have designated folders for each of my quilts based on sunrises. Every quilt folder has three subfolders, WIP images, Altered Images, and Original Images.
Start with WIPs
Every quilt starts with the WIP images. These are the work in progress images taken to use in social media postings, like this. I even use a common convention to label the files: Date_QuiltTitle_Attribute. Computers sort files in numerical order and then alphabetical order. I find it very handy to always use YYMMDD as my way to record the date. A typical file name would be: 200207_RainbowAura_stippling. Because files are sorted in numerical order my Rainbow Aura files will be naturally filed from oldest to newest. The fact that I include an attribute, like stippling, means I can distinguish several pictures taken on the same day quite easily without even having to open the file.
The Original Images folder could be misleading. It is NOT a place to dump every photo ever taken for this quilt. Instead, it is where I place what I think of as formal portrait photos. These are the ones taken when the quilt is finished that I use as a jumping off point for the Altered Images. In other words these images are sacrosanct. They will be kept intact.
Finish With Call for Entry Ready Images
Technically, you are not supposed to alter an image when submitting it to a call for entry. However, jurors want to see evenly lit photographs with clear edges. What they are looking for is an accurate image of the quilt being submitted. This is best done, in my opinion, by extracting a quilt from its background and placing it on a contrasting background, of white, gray or black. I do this with Photoshop Elements. There are other software solutions out there. PSE works for me. I use a slightly different file convention for my altered quilts. These are the ones I am going to submit to calls. Therefore, the attributes are my shorthand for things requested in calls such as 300 dpi. A file name might read: RainbowAura_FV_300.jpg This translates into a Full View image of the Rainbow Aura quilt saved a resolution of 300.
What are your favorite tips for organizing your images and/or having them ready for a call for entry?
I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.