How do you organize your photos?

For what this is worth…for duplicate storage, I have been happy using Google Photos, too. I’ve created albums for both nature-related images and my personal photos (family, etc.) and the Google search function makes it really easy to find images quickly. While this isn’t a super secure cloud storage option, it is organized and tidy-looking overall.


Wow, I didn’t know the Photos app could do all that. I have it on my HP laptop and I’ve just been using the default settings - pictures organized by date, and you can try to use its image-searching feature but it doesn’t work very well. It’s a little annoying if I want a specific photo and can’t remember when I took it, but that doesn’t happen much. I keep all my old memory cards with pictures on them, and I think most of my photos are also stored on my dad’s Lightroom account.

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The Photos app I’m talking about it is from Apple and included with Macs as well as iPhones and iPads. I don’t think it is available in a form that would run on an HP computer, so I’m guessing you’ve got a different app with the same name (that is a quite generic name!).

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Can anyone offer me advice on the ideal size for images shared on iNaturalist? I am trying to set up export presets in Lightroom. I share images to Instagram, iNat, BAMONA, and Bug Guide – and my IG export settings make my images 1080 pixels with a resolution of 72 ppi. They look fine on IG, would this same setting be ideal for iNat and other websites where users are helping me identify organisms?

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I would bump it up - iNaturalist resizes each photo so that it is no larger than 2048 pixels on the longer edge.


This is a great thread with lots of excellent suggestions. I just installed Bulk Renaming Utility as that appears like it will be a good addition to my workflow.

My question for the group - is there anything similar for adding information (&/or editing) to the metadata area in a photo file? Bobmcd (I think) mentioned that Adobe Bridge can use customizable templates for this. Are there other programs that can do something similar (my preference would be to stay away from adding Adobe products to my system).


Partly for my own record and reference, I wrote about my photo workflow in my iNat journal last month, in case anyone is interested.


If you don’t mind command-line, Exiv2 ( does this, but it takes a while to learn. Photo metadata is complicated, and a mess if you get the formats wrong.

I have gone through a few approaches. Before iNaturalist I organized my photos through hierarchical tags in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Then organized my photos in folder organized by year, month and date with location specified. So a folder might have a path like this C:\My Pictures\2021\06\2021-06-07 Laurier Woods. When I was done uploading photos to iNaturalist I would add a D in the path to specify I was finished with it. Windows Live Photo Gallery was still used for cropping photos and deleting unusable photos.

My new method is nearly the same, but before I upload photos I go back to Windows Explorer. I have the Details pane enabled and add Title, Rating, and Comments in the View > Details view. I would select a number of photos of a specific observation. In the Details pane I would put a number in Title (1, 2, 3, …) and a quick rough ID in the Comments. After I attempt to upload the photos to iNaturalist, in the rating column I mark an observation 3 stars if ID is successful, 2 stars if more photos at a different time is required and 1 star if unidentifiable. 4 and 5 stars would be reserved for better and best photos in my collection. If I am feeling really ambitious, I can write details of observations on paper such as what camera angles I need next time and identification tips so I am more likely to remember next time.

Ultimately I would like to finish my software that would be even better than this system, but finding time and ambition is difficult.


Two words needed here.

I don’t.


Or at least I haven’t in the past 4 years…

I have spent a few days (intermittently) recently sorting through photos and uploading older ones to iNaturalist that, for whatever reason, had not been uploaded previously.

Like many people have mentioned, I use YYYY-MM-DD in the file name to preserve the date it was taken, as I’ve had date stamps go wonky on occasion when copying files between my camera and another device. Unlike anyone I saw here, I back up my files to USB drives (two, so there’s a back-up of the back-up).

Filenames appear as some variation of YYYY-MM-DD [subject of photo] at [location, for nature photos usually a park] and the ID number assigned by default by the camera. The date and ID number are a must; the location highly recommended; the subject may not be used, especially if it’s something I’m uploading to iNat and I don’t know what it is.

Folders are labelled by location (again, mostly parks). Right now I have a group of folders that contain photos that have been uploaded to iNat and another group of photos that haven’t (yet) been. Someday I hope to get caught up enough that the “to be uploaded” folders aren’t necessary.

The occasional non-organism nature photos (scenery, signs, infrastructure) go straight to the folder of photos that have been uploaded, unless there are many of them in which case a subfolder is created. For example, two parks also contain historic houses that hosts events, so there are subfolders for events related to the house.

Oh, that’s my nature photos. There are also museum photos, which follow a similar format. Don’t ask about the transportation photos, which are a mix of advocacy events, examples of bad street design, and several other micro-categories that defy any system of organization I’ve yet tried.