Sorting your digital photos and electronic memorabilia is a specialized and personal undertaking. While "when", "where" and "who" are the most common methods for describing photos, you can also sort photos based on events and importance. In addition, you may want to use more than one of these methods to sort your photos and memorabilia:

The easiest sorting technique is to place the photos in the order they were taken. Simply identify the date or approximate date of the photo or memorabilia, and label folders or the photos themselves in the same way. For efficiency, some people prefer to label folders and leave the file names as is. In any case, your description should include the date such as "2005_08_10_Yellowstone_Trip.jpg".

Big Events
Any event that is monumental in your life should be considered a "big event", right? This includes vacations, celebrations and even experiences such as that first hot air balloon trip. The best sorting technique for theme-related organization is the use of folder subcategories to separate your digital photos. For example:


Take care! If you implement this system using the album structure provided by a photo management software program, it's critical that you never change the Windows folder names or "folder hierarchy" where your photos are stored, using anything other than the photo management program itself. If for example, you use Windows Explorer to change the folder names, your photo management software may not be able to locate your album and photo files.

Family Members
Sorting by family members requires the most concentration and planning, and requires the discipline to label every photo. Label by date and then family members' names. Your description should include who's in the photo such as "2005_08_10_Mom_and_Eric_at_Yellowstone".

Meaningful categories
Some people prefer using meaningful categories over dates such as – My_Hobby, Holidays, Friends, and the like - and within the main category, you can date-sort using subfolders or even individual files. Plan ahead by creating the right set of top-level folders that will stay the same over time.

For more details about naming folders and photos, see Label Photos.