| By Lincoln Spector |
The most daunting task for digital photographers of all types, from snapshooter to pro, is organizing the hundreds or thousands of images they’ve captured.
You can put your images into simple folders, but free or inexpensive photo organizers are a better way to wring order from chaos.
Use tags to make images easy to search and sort
You probably have no idea how many digital photos you’ve accumulated, but even if it’s just a few hundred, by now you’ve undoubtedly discovered that searching for a specific shot can be a difficult and time-consuming task. So, under which folder did you file that great photo of your nephew Hamlet (taken at his mother’s third wedding)? Was it Hamlet, Wacky Weddings, or 2008-12-Elsinore?
Unless you have an, uh, photographic memory, the best way to find that one outstanding image again is to give it descriptive tags. Later, you can use the tags to quickly filter, sort, and otherwise reorganize your photo library.
Tags are stored as metadata — data stored within a file’s header and describing the file’s contents. When you move an image file from one computer or storage device to another, the tags always go with it. Some of these tags are standardized, so you can utilize them regardless of what image viewer or operating system you have.
Good photo organizers make the process of adding tags and using tags quick and easy. These apps let you tag photos in all sorts of ways, including adding multiple tags to the same image. That way one photo — a family portrait on a beach in Hawaii, for instance — can be sorted by various categories: for example, vacations, brother Frank, Kona, and so forth.