Organizing Photos

The Mess

If you are like most people, you have more pictures on your phone than you can manage and being a digital pack rat I have been collecting pictures since 2005 which is the first year I ever owned a digital camera. With multiple devices in the family and various phones this slowly became a nightmare where we could never find the pictures or videos that we took of the family ever again. It’s almost like the pictures vanished into a black hole as soon as they were taken

Start with the basics – Backup

There are many services out there which allow you to backup pictures taken from your phone:

  • OneDrive
  • Google Photos
  • Smugmug

All of them have the universal concept of automatically uploading your photos / videos to their site when you are on a wifi network and also have some options of doing this only while charging so that it does not drain your battery. I personally use both OneDrive and Smugmug to maintain multiple backups so that if any of our devices break or get lost, the precious memories from those devices are not lost.


Last December, I decided to organize all my pictures based on a folder structure starting with the year. Something like this:

Folder structure for photos

To make this easier I found this awesome tool called Photo Move ( which is a life saver to do the organization. The process is basically something like this:

  1. Start with putting all the pictures you want to organize in a source directory. It is ok if you have multiple locations like “Phone1″, iPhone2” etc.
  2. Point the tool to the source directory and let it analyze the photos
  3. It will give you a summary of how many pictures have the EXIF data embedded in them. If the original picture was taken in the last few years it will certainly have this data
  4. Once the analysis is done, you can tell the tool to either move the pictures to the organized folder or copy them.
  5. To be safe, you can always start with a copy so that nothing happens to the original directory
  6. Now can you repeat the steps above for multiple source directories and it will automatically merge those in the date folders in the destination.

There were some good features which were only available in the paid version but the price of $9 for the license made it well worth the cost.

Photo by Mike from Pexels