How to Organize Your Photos

Karen SchulzBlog, Tips & Techniques


Organize your photos to help you scrap more efficiently

By Karen Schulz

Can you relate to the chaos created when your digital photos are scattered all over the place – on your phone, your computer, an external hard drive, on a cloud drive, or maybe even still in your camera?

Have you ever sat down to create a digital scrapbook page and wondered,  “Where’s that photo I meant to use for this particular project?”  

If you’ve answered yes to either one of those questions, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will guide you through the steps to help remove the chaos and frustration from your digital scrapping life, in a way that suits your individual scrapping style.

Organizing photos is crucial to a digital scrapbooker. When you take the time to organize your photos and create a database to help you find your photos easily, you will be able to focus on the fun and creative aspects of scrapbooking. 

The organizational process doesn’t have to be overwhelming, time-consuming, or difficult. It can be as simple or elaborate as your space, time, and tools allow. 

Before we can begin to think about organizing our photos, we need to gather them all into one place. 

Step 1: Find Your Photos

  • Create a main Photo Folder on your computer.
  • Move any photos on your computer into the main Photo Folder.
  • Search your laptop, ipad, tablet, phone, and cloud services for photos, and move them all into the main Photo Folder.

Now you’re ready to start organizing.

Using Your Computer’s Operating System to Organize Your Photos

If you want to use your computer’s operating system to help you organize your photos, here are some tips to help you get started.

Create a Folder Structure:

You will need to create a folder structure within your main Photo Folder to help you organize your photos. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. The system that is right for you is the system that allows you to find what you need quickly. 

Before you begin to create your folder structure, think about how you scrap. Do you scrap chronologically, by theme, season, album, event? The answer to this question will help you determine which folder structure is best for you.

A Chronological System will have folders for each year, each month within each year, and each day within each month. A chronological system would look like this:

A Themed System would have folders based on… you guessed it… themes. For example, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Weddings, Births, Sports, Pets, Vacations, Holidays Seasons. Each main category could have sub-categories for specific photos/events within the main category and might look like this:

Once you have created your folder structure, move photos into their appropriate folders. This might be a lengthy process, depending upon how many photos you have. I guarantee, though,  it will be worth the time investment.

You could stop your organizational process here, but adding tags to your photos will add another layer of efficiency to your workflow. 

Step 2: Apply Tags to Your Photos

Tagging is the process of assigning words to a photo. You can apply tags using your computer’s operating system or by using special photo organization software. 

Using Tags to Organize Your Photos on Your Computer

The advantage to using your computer’s operating system to add a tag to a photo is that you don’t need additional software. The disadvantage is that this method is limited to a simple search and doesn’t offer the additional advantages that a dedicated photo organizing software can offer.

So how does a tag work? Let’s take that special photo of Aunt Mabel that you snapped at the 1998 family reunion in Colorado. You would assign any words to that photo that would help you find it in the future. You could assign the tags of: Aunt Mabel, 1998, family reunion, and Colorado. When you are ready to find the photo, you won’t need to search through all of your photo folders to find it. You will just need to perform a search for any of the descriptive words associated with the photo. All matching photos with any of those tags would be displayed for you.

Using a Photo Organization Software

You can also use Photo Organization Software to organize your photos and apply tags. Organizational software also offers additional features that are helpful to us as digital scrappers, such as the ability to add ratings, labels, and keywords. File information, such as file type, size, resolutions, date, and is easily accessible. Metadata is also available for each photo, which will tell you what camera and settings were used to take a photo. (This can be very helpful when you are taking photos and experimenting with camera settings.) Adding GPS data is also an option, which is handy to have if you don’t recall where a photo was taken. Some programs allow you to find and delete duplicate photos, batch rename, and batch resize photos. There are also many other helpful options.

According to pixpa.com, this year’s Best Photo Organizer Softwares are: 

I personally have used ACDSee software for 10 years, and honestly couldn’t work without it. I use the ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2021 version. The Professional version has more photo editing features than I need since I do my photo editing in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. If you are considering photo organization software, I encourage you to take advantage of their 30-day free trial. And if you decide this software is for you, my acdsee course will help you get up and running. (This course is specifically designed to help you organize your digital kits and supplies, but the same principles apply to photo organization.)

Enjoy Working On Your Next Digital Scrapbook Project

With your photo organization project underway, you’ll have more time to enjoy your creative process. You can easily find everything you need to create a single digital scrapbook page or themed family album.

Shop for New Releases or browse our Featured Products to find the perfect digital scrapbooking kits, collections, or element packs for all of your scrapbooking needs.


  • Dorene Burgess says:

    I found this really helpful and I might look at ACDSee later but I was wondering how do you add a tag just using your computer?



  • Karen Schulz says:

    Hi Dorene, I don’t do this myself, and although I have an understanding of it, I think I would best serve you by referring you to an article on this. Google “How to Add Tags to Photos and Documents in Windows 10” (assuming that is the OS you use). The one on “groovypost dot com” explains it quite clearly. I hope that helps! Karen

  • Dorene Burgess says:

    Thanks for that Karen. I was just trying to join your newsletter but the link doesnt seem to be working??

    I’m looking at buying Life Captured Accents &/or Life Captured Quotes but when I look at them both, they both look the same.

    Can you please tell me the difference between the two . You do some lovely stuff and I’ve got quite a few of your products on my Wish List so thank you.



  • What a great write-up! I use Home Studio 2020 and one of the amazing benefits of it is its Face Recognition feature. It adds one more way to quickly find photos of specific people.
    Thank you so much for sharing your tips and tricks!

  • Karen Schulz says:

    HI Dorene! Thank you for letting me know that my preview was wrong. I’ve fixed it now. I’ll email you a link to join my newsletter. But also if you go to my shop here at Oscraps, right under my logo is a Registration link. I just checked it and it’s correct. If you saw an incorrect link somewhere else, please let me know so I can fix it. Thanks so much!

  • Karen Schulz says:

    Hi Chris, Thank you for pointing out this fact! You’re so right. It’s a quick and easy way to find photos. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hey Karen, I have a question about ACDSee….am I correct in my assumption that they have a Annual Plan and a Lifetime License which is a one time cost….I don’t like prescription plans. Thank you in advance for letting me know.

  • Karen Schulz says:

    Hi Janet, Good question. acdsee has a subscription plan which includes 4 of their products, with up to 5 users per product. They also have the Lifetime License for acdsee photo studio for a one-time fee. This is what I use and recommend. With this license, you can put the software on one computer, get free updates, and technical support for one year. When a new version is released, you will need to pay for the new version, if you want it, but you don’t have to purchase the new version if order for your license to still be valid. Does this help?

  • Thank you so much Karen! Absolutely does help.

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