File Hierarchy – Backing up your photos


Based on many pictures I have taken I was always asked how to organise a multitude of pictures, I’m known to be quite a nuisance and borderline OCD when it comes to file backups. I’ve had an incident were my backup external hard drive and the computer hard drive both breakdown making me loose pictures from 3 of my travel destinations…. needless to say that scarred me for a long while.

 Since then I have gotten two backup drives and once every few years I back those up into re-recordable DVDs “just in case”.  In addition to this I have developed “a”system that works for me, it does not however suite everyone but it may work for you too.  I’ve shared it with a few like minded people I know and seems to have worked for them as well.

So the file hierarchy goes like this; I’ve bulleted them in hierarchy format (and some sort of colouring scheme) to make it a bit more intuitive:

1. The main “pictures” folder (you may have other main folders such as MP3s or Documents, etc.

1.1 Then year folders (i.e. 2016, 2017, 2018, etc.)

1.1.1 For those images that aren’t mine or have been sent to me by whatsapp I would put them in a “Not mine” folder in the same year.  Under the “Not mine folder” would have a folder for each source (i.e. “From Mom, From Alex, From Karen, etc.)

1.1.2 For those that are mine I would make a folder of each travel, event, etc.

I would have the date range and location (i.e. Feb 15-18_Venice). This is comprised the month name in short form, a space, date range with a dash, underscore, location. 

You may also want to put the month numerically that way it’s listed correctly (i.e. 01 for Jan, 02 for Feb) and that way it doesn’t mess up the sequence if you’re looking for something. For each day of the trip for example I would have a folder organised the same way with a description.  Using the example above I would put for the first folder Feb 15_San Marco Square, then Feb 16_Gondola Ride, etc.) I would also create miscellaneous folder under mine (1.1.2) such as “Others”, “Food”, Instagram (if I posted them with a filter for my reference), etc.

Folders would also include videos in the appropriate dates. 

This is a fairly simple hierarchy but it has worked for me for all my files since 2002.  I also have a folder outside “1.1” (year folders) above called “Old Pictures” for scans of vintage photos of family, etc.

Can not emphasis how easy this makes it to document your digital pix and to find them when you need to.  Really makes it easy to go through them as you stroll down memory lane. 

Worth backing up (depending how many photos you take) probably once a month.


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