Folders for Locations

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Today’s Question: [In the folder structure you shared during a recent webinar presentation] you have some Country folders versus some State folders, versus some City folders. What criteria should be used to decide which is the parent folder?

Tim’s Quick Answer: My general recommendation is to create a folder structure based on the way you think about your photos. For me that is largely a location-based folder structure, but I don’t use a strict hierarchical structure based on country, state, and city, since my travels vary considerably in terms of how I think about the trip.

More Detail: My personal view is that I want a folder structure that makes it easy to make use of that folder structure for locating specific images. When I think about specific images, I tend to think about the location where I captured those images, since the vast majority of my photography involves traveling to different locations.

The location that comes to mind for me varies based on the trip. For example, while most of my time in Iceland has been spent in Reykjavik, I still think of the destination as Iceland. By contrast, my trip to France mostly involved time in Paris, and so I think of that as a “Paris” trip. The key is how I think about the trip or photo shoot, not a specific hierarchy.

For photographers who travel more extensively than I do, a more structured hierarchy might make sense. For example, you might always want to use a folder structure based on continent, country, and city.

I try not to suggest to photographers that they use a specific structure for the folders that contain their photos, but rather that they use a consistent approach based on how they think about their images. The most important thing, in my view, is that photographers will be able to locate their images as easily as possible. A meaningful folder structure can be part of that workflow strategy.

To be sure, there is no single strategy for folder structure that will work for every photographer. I recommend that all photographers consider what folder structure strategy might make the most sense for their particular needs, and then implement that strategy consistently.