Workflow: Storing Images

The camera files uploaded to your computer are your raw materials. Even when you have worked on an image, you should keep the original untouched camera image. This is because if you decide you want to do a different version of the image, you will need to go back to the original.

Image ArchiveManaging Your Images

There are different strategies for organizing your camera files. The simplest one, which I use, is to organize the images by the date of upload. The image on the right shows a snapshot of my image archive. I create a new folder each time I upload my camera files, using the date of the upload as the folder name. At this stage, the file name is just that given by the camera, so I also use the file number feature on my camera to help keep the images organized.

Another system, if you are taking photos for lots of different clients, would be to have a folder for each client, and then with that, subfolders for each separate shoot or project.

You might come up with a different solution. The important thing is to be consistent. You will quickly find that you have 1000s of photographs to manage and if you can't find a particular image quickly you will not look very professional!


The example shown here is just using the Windows built-in file manager software to organize the images. This solution works fine if you are comfortabel with the Windows system and its file management tools, but it is not as capable as some of the other options available.

If you use the Adobe Creative Suite system you will probably have an application called Adobe Bridge. Adobe describe this system as "digital asset management software". It performs many of the same functions as the Windows file manager, but has a number of additional features specifically for handling images such as being able to work with camera RAW files, being able to easily display and edit image metadata, being able to rate and tag images and, of course,integrating with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite. To be honest, it's difficult to think of alternatives to Bridge if you want to manage and work with large numbers of image files.

There is an excellent tutorial video on some of the important features of Adobe Bridge on PSD Tutes+.

You should never work directly on your original images. Instead, make a copy and keep the original intact so you can return to it later if you need to...

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