How Many Folders to Create


Today’s Question: If you are visiting multiple locations as part of one trip do you label the folder with multiple names: London and Paris 2009, or create individual folders for London 2009 and Paris 2009?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To me the answer here depends on how you think about the trip, which in turn will determine what assumptions you’re going to make later about where the photos are stored.

More Detail: My approach to defining a folder structure is to create folders based on the way I think about a group of photos. In other words, if I’m looking for a particular photo, what is the context I’ll think about for that photo, and therefore what might be a logical name for the folder in which I will find the photo.

For me personally, the context for my photos tends to be location. But for other photographers there may be other considerations, such as the date of capture, the people who appear in the photos, or other possibilities.

You then need to consider how many folders would be appropriate for a given set of photos. The example cited in today’s question is a great example, in that it gets to the core of the way I recommend thinking about folder structure.

For example, I had a trip that included stops in Iceland, Paris, and Prague. While it was one big trip, to me it felt like individual photo adventures. So, I have individual folders for each of those locations.

On another trip I spent time with a good friend traveling around Spain, including time crisscrossing the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. While a good number of my photos were captured in France, to me that trip was focused on Spain. So, all of the photos from the trip are in a “Spain Road Trip” folder, rather than individual folders for Spain and France.

These are just a couple of examples, of course, but the point is that I recommend grouping photos into folders based on your sense of how (or whether) those photos belong together. The folders can then be named based on how you think of the images, so that when you’re looking for a particular photo, you’ll already have a sense of what the name of the appropriate folder might be. That, in turn, will help you locate photos more easily in the context of navigating to a particular folder.