My amateur photography organization system

I’ve been experimenting with different setups, and I think I’ve settled on a good system for organizing, storing, and sharing my photography.

There are a lot of services and apps for this, but they all seem aimed at professionals, and are priced as such. As someone who makes $0 from photography, I’m not trying to spend that much.

The only service I pay for is $20/year for the 100GB Google One plan, which so far is more than enough for me.

So, let’s say my camera has a couple hundred pictures from a few different occasions. I want to store the best shots somewhere safe, share some with friends, and upload a few to Instagram. What do I do?

  1. Pop the SD card (32gb) out of the camera and directly put it into my Macbook Pro. Pray a little prayer for whoever at Apple decided to put the SD card slot back in.

  2. Open 2 Finder windows side by side. Left side is my list of albums which are found under User > Pictures > My Photography. This folder gets automatically backed up to my Google Photos. Albums are separated roughly by time and occasion. Right side is for the new images we’re bringing in from the SD card. Right side takes up 80% of the screen and uses Finder’s “Gallery” view so I can see the images in full size.

  3. Scan through the images on the SD card to get a sense of what albums they will belong to. Some may be “one-offs” that don’t really warrant a whole new album, but can be snuck into an existing album. Go ahead and drag the one-offs you want to preserve into whichever album they fit in on the left.

  4. Now it’s time for the hard part, which is picking out the best photos from an occasion. I will take dozens or hundreds of photos in the hopes of getting just 10 or 20 good ones and 1 or 2 great ones. First I make a new folder in the My Photography folder using my naming convention. Don't think too hard about the day, and don't worry about putting images from different days into the same folder. As long as the days put the folders in the right order, that's good enough.

  5. Then use the arrow keys to go through each image on the right side one at a time. You should see the image you’re evaluating shown big in the gallery view. If you deem that image to be good or great, hit ctrl-1. This will add a “Red” tag to that image. You won’t see anything change in the Gallery screen, but you can confirm it by clicking “File” in the menu bar and seeing that there’s a red circle with a white check.

  6. Once you’ve gone through all the images and tagged the good ones, change the view, sort by tags, select all the images tagged “Red”, and drag them into the album you created in step 4. Now that the images are in the album, they’re going to automatically get backed up to Google Photos.

  7. If you have images from multiple occasions, remove the tags from the images by selecting them all, hitting Ctrl-0, and then repeat steps 4 - 6 for each separate occasion.

  8. Now on to sharing. Jump into Google Photos where you should see the images that you dragged into your album in step 5. If you don’t see them yet, they’re still syncing, so give it time and come back.

  9. In Google Photos your images won’t be in albums - annoying. Select the images you want to share and create a shared album. Send your friends the link. Done.

  10. To share on Instagram, I switch to my phone, download the specific images I want via the Google Photos app, and Instagram it up.

I might send a newsletter sometime.