Folder Strategy Exceptions


Today’s Question: If you label folders primarily based on travel locations, what do you do for random shooting instances, such as perhaps something local?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When I capture photos that don’t really fit into my normal folder structure for organizing photos, I use a separate folder structure that suits that type of photography. That could include, for example, a general “Snapshots” folder for more casual photos I capture randomly in various scenarios.

More Detail: As a general rule I recommend that photographers use a folder structure based on the way they think about their images, that is relatively simple and easy to implement, and that is consistent.

For me that generally means creating folders for individual trips, since typically my photography involves travel. For other photographers the folder structure might be based on client name or even by date.

Of course, regardless of the strategy you generally use for defining your folder structure, there are bound to be exceptions. If you’re not careful about how you deal with those exceptions, your folder structure and overall organization can turn into a bit of a mess.

Most of my folders containing photos are defined based on the location I was traveling to or a general reference to a trip. For example, that might mean “Italy 2019” for a trip to Italy in 2019, or “Cross-Country Road Trip 2011” for my drive from Seattle to New York.

I will often also capture images that don’t involve traveling to a particular location, or that don’t have a particular theme. For example, I might capture photos randomly when exploring around town or out on a bike ride. There’s no need to have a folder for each individual outing in this type of situation, as that would only create clutter.

So, I use a hybrid structure where photos that are captured somewhat randomly when not on a photo trip or without a particular theme. I tend to think of these types of photos as “snapshots” rather than “real” photo, and so I use a “Snapshots” folder for this purpose. You could even create a folder such as this for each calendar year, depending how many photos you might put into this folder structure.

The point is that it is perfectly fine to have photos that are exceptions to your normal folder structure, as long as you define an alternate folder structure for those exceptions that will still provide a streamlined and organized way of managing those photographic exceptions.