Photographs: Organization & Storage

I joined iNat a couple years ago, but only began using it during the Spring 2020 lockdown-period. Since then I have learned SO much about not only the different organisms I have photographed over the years, but also about taxonomy, etc. My question today has been discussed in the past; I am wondering if I may revisit it, as photography methods, software and hardware and technology in general is constantly improving.

Personally, I have captured thousands of photographs since 2009 (when I was given my first point-and-shoot digital camera) and now use my Nikon D7200 almost exclusively. I own a pay-as-you-go LG Stylo 2 which includes a subpar camera…but I sometimes use it with a macro clip and get halfway decent magnified images. I also use a Moultrie camera trap.

How do you capture your photos?

I use Lightroom Classic on a desktop computer to edit. I add my creator/copyright information upon import but no longer add titles, captions or keywording. Unfortunately Lr creates huge folders of large image files, bogging down virtually any storage device with original copies of images imported to the program.

How do you process (or, maybe you don’t) your photos?

Currently, my biggest quandary is storage. I have thousands of photos stored on two external hard drives, one of which is currently unrecognized by my PC unless I plug it into one specific USB port and wait ten minutes until it begins to blink after which I must unplug it and plug it back in and only then is it recognized. I duplicate some images in Google Photos, some images in Nikon Image Space and my most recent images on thumb drives (so I may quickly access them on my Chromebook).

In other words…everything is vulnerable. And, I don’t understand anything about setting up SSDs or RAID arrays or most anything techy. Simply put, I would like a system which allows me to store my images, find them quickly and share them digitally.

How do you store (or, maybe you don’t) your photos?

I have always stored my images in year-dated folders within month-dated subfolders. It works for me. And, it works especially nicely with iNaturalist. If I consult an image on iNat I cross-reference it in my personal folders and usually locate it quickly. For example: I have been trying to identify my lepidoptera obs. I found this female moth image from 2012 in my obs and was able to quickly find the original photograph on my external hard drive, in my “August” folder, within my “2012” folder. But…what if I didn’t have access to iNaturalist? My 2012 moth probably would have remained undiscovered and lost in a folder from nearly a decade ago…because truth-be-told, I forgot I made the image and had no idea she was a moth until I rediscovered her and sought advice on iNat!

How do you organize your photos?

I would love to hear everyone’s most current thoughts on this subject. There are so many devices and programs and apps, online-, offline- and cloud-storage options it’s dizzying.

I wonder if I am over-complicating this issue and there is a simple way to organize and store images. In the 1970s my dad had slides. Thousands of slides. With info written in Sharpie on their white frames. And a carousel…and a projector. Slides in little boxes organized by date or location. I suppose that was no different than my folder set-up…but my folders must be stored in duplicate or more because unlike my dad’s slides, they can simply disappear (due to a hardware failure). And, the images in my folders are shared (in citizen science projects, via email, etc.) unlike my dad’s slides, which were projected only if/when or where he was able to project/print them. So if you’re still with me…and you’re willing to share, tell me about your photographs.


14 posts were merged into an existing topic: How do you organize your photos?