Learn how to organize blog photos to save precious time and find the images you need quickly and easily!
I have been in photo organizing mode over the past few weeks! Between my personal photos and blog photos, I had thousands and thousands of digital files spread across several devices. I was sick of wasting time searching for pictures. So it was time to dive into the daunting task of setting up a photo organizing system that made sense.
After sharing my process for organizing our digital personal/family photos a few weeks ago, I had several requests for a post about organizing blog photos. Blog friends, today's post is for you!
Organizing Blog Photos: My Process
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
I feel like I need to start with the caveat that the "best" way to organize your blogging photos will depend a lot on how you use them. So while I set up my system to work seamlessly with the way I utilize my blog photos, a different system may work better for you.
Rather than starting at the beginning of the organizing process, I thought I'd start by showing you what I ended up with. Then I'll talk a little bit about how I got there and how I plan to maintain the system going forward.
How My Blog Photos Are Currently Organized
My Preferred Storage Device
I would have loved to store all of my blog photos and files on my computer. But after 7+ years of blogging, I have long since run out of space.
Since it was important to me to have all of my files and photos in one spot, I opted to use a 2 TB Glyph external hard drive. I decided to use this particular hard drive because it is a solid state drive. This means that it doesn't have moving parts, which makes it less likely to malfunction. Also, Donnie has used a similar Glyph drive for years, and it has worked really well for him. I trusted that this brand would hold up for me as well.
Since all of my blog stuff is now housed on the Glyph drive, I treat it like it is part of my computer. Wherever my laptop goes, the Glyph drive comes too.
My Folder Structure
I actually have my blog photos organized in two different ways on my Glyph drive.
Blog Photos and Files Organized by Year and Project
First, I have all of my blog photos organized by year and then by project.
These folders not only contain the final edited photos, but they also have the original unedited files that came straight from my camera, as well as any documents, PDFs, Photoshop and Illustrator files, and any other digital file that is associated with that particular project.
This is the folder structure I have used since I started blogging, so I am pretty familiar with where my files are. This makes it easy to find what I need.
[Side note: I could probably save some space by eliminating many of the unedited files that came straight from my camera. However, I am always paranoid that as soon as I get rid of them, a brand or company will ask for an old photo or I will need them for some purpose, so I've kept them. I consider these files a business asset, so to me it was worth it to invest in a bigger external hard drive in order to keep them.]
Blog Photos Organized by Room
Though the year + project folder structure was working well for me, I also wanted a place that I could go and grab just the final edited photos from any space quickly and easily. Since I am a home blogger, it made the most sense to me to organize these photos by room.
This means that I actually have two copies of my final edited photos stored on the Glyph drive. Sure, this takes up more space. But even with all of my blog files and photos and family photos on my Glyph drive, I have still only used about 1/3 of the space. So I have plenty of room to grow. And the ease of finding the photos has been SO worth it!
Here's a look at how I set up the "room" folders:
My first level of folders for these photos is by house. I have our current house, our townhouse, and a few other homes that I've featured on the blog or on Instagram (like my sister's house and the temporary apartment we lived in when we were waiting for our current house to be finished).
I also have a few other folders at this level, like a folder for photos for me and one for photos of my computer in different spots around the house. These types of photos are often used for filler in posts, so it's helpful to have easy access to them.
Inside each of the house folders, I have a folder for each room of that house. If I'm writing a post about kitchens, for example, this makes it really easy to get to all of my edited kitchen photos from either of the houses we've lived in.
Inside each room folder, I have any photos that are the final, edited "evergreen" photos of the space. (I did not put before/after collage photos or Pinterest images with text in these folders.)
If a photo of the space is clearly from a particular season (like fall or Christmas), I made a separate folder for it within the room folder. I also have before photos in a separate folder. Finally, if I have "in process" photos from projects I did in a particular room (like putting hardware on kitchen cabinets or adding window trim in the living room), I created a folder within the room folder for those photos too.
Basically, the photos that sit directly in the room folder are the "money shots" of my spaces. These are photos from room reveals or home tours that I grab whenever I need a general image of that space in a post.
I have been loving the "blog photos organized by year/project" + "blog photos organized by room" setup so far. I'm glad I took the time to make it happen! It wasn't exactly what I'd call a "quick" process though...
Organizing My Blog Photos: The Process
I'd like to say that I have some really brilliant trick for getting all of my blog photos organized quickly and easily. But the truth is that it was basically just hours and hours of manually moving photos around! (At least it was a project I could do with a good audiobook or show playing in the background... ?)
Here's a quick rundown of the steps I took to organize my blog photos in the way I showed above:
1. Move all photos to the external hard drive.
Due to lack of space on my laptop, I had my blog photos spread out in all sorts of different places. (Other external hard drives, Google Drive, etc.)
I created folders on my Glyph drive that were named after wherever the photos were coming from. I then dumped the photos from those locations into those folders.
2. Move "dumped" photos into the year + project folders.
Once I had all of my photos from every location on my Glyph drive, I started moving them to the appropriate places in the year/project folders.
Many of my blog photos were already organized by year and project. But since they had been spread out on several different devices and cloud systems, I had a lot of consolidating that I needed to do.
There wasn't really a shortcut for moving the photos into the year/project folders. I just plugged away at it a little bit at a time. It took several hours to drag and drop files into the correct places until I had every blog image and file from 2013 to present sorted into the correct year and project folder.
3. Go through each year/project folder and copy photos to room folders.
This may have been the most tedious part of my photo organizing task! After 7 years of blogging, I had hundreds of folders holding thousands of photos.
I went through each year/project folder and copied and pasted the final edited photos to the correct room folder on my Glyph drive. This wasn't a hard task. It was just time consuming!
I didn't copy over any of the photos of my printables, so that saved me some time. (I don't often use those photos in other posts or on Instagram, so I didn't see the need to have organized in another way beyond my year/project folders.)
As thrilled as I am to have my past blog photos neat and organized, I am going to continue to amass more photos in the future as I write more posts. So what do I do with those?
Fortunately, getting the folder structure set up was the time consuming part. Now that I have that, it will be easy to continue my system with just a little bit of maintenance.
I decided to put images and files from new projects into folders that live on my actual laptop. Since they are the most recent files I'm working on, it makes sense to have them directly on my computer in the off chance that I forget to bring my Glyph drive with me.
Keeping the current files I'm working with right on my computer also ensures that my most recent backup of my Glyph drive to our Synology NAS stays accurate. (More on that in a minute.)
At the end of each month, I move the blog files from the folder on my laptop into the year/project folders on my Glyph drive. I also copy the final photos into the respective room folders. Then I do a backup of my entire Glyph drive to our NAS system.
This only ends up taking a few minutes per month, and my photos stay neat and tidy!
What About Backup?
I am really, really careful about backing up my Glyph drive. Losing all of my past blog work would be absolutely devastating!
I back up my Glyph drive in two different ways.
Amazon Photos + Amazon Drive
First, I have my photos set to back up in Amazon Photos/Amazon Drive. I downloaded the Amazon Photos app on my laptop and can easily back up to the cloud from there.
Since I am an Amazon Prime Member, I have unlimited photo storage through Amazon. I also have a free allotment for videos, but I paid $20/year to upgrade for some additional video storage.
Second, each month, I back up my Glyph drive to a Synology NAS that we have in Donnie's office. A "NAS" is a network attached storage device. The easiest way to think about it is a bank of external hard drives that are accessible through your own private network.
Every month I have a reminder on the calendar to back up my Glyph drive to the NAS. I've created shortcuts on my MacBook desktop that link to my NAS device.
Backing up is as easy as copying and pasting entire folders. The transfer speeds are not as fast as directly connecting my Glyph external hard drive, but it's still fast. Once the backup is complete, I delete the previous backup from the previous month to avoid unnecessary duplicate files.
Mission: Organize Photos Complete!
So that's my organizing process for my blog photos! This system is far from "one size fits all," as I mentioned at the beginning of the post. But I hope that seeing my setup helped to give you some ideas for your own blog photo organization system.
The photo organizing process was a lot more tedious than I had anticipated, but the payoff for it has been incredible. It is so nice to be able to locate any photo I want quickly and easily, saving me tons of time and frustration.
Do you have any tips for organizing blog photos? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!
Need to organize family photos?
If you are looking to organize your family photos, I wrote a detailed post about how to do so here.
I also used Miss Freddy's Backup Bootcamp course as I organized my family photos and found it extremely helpful. She is so generously offering Just a Girl and Her Blog readers $10 off her course when you use the code SIMPLE at checkout. You can learn more about Backup Bootcamp here.
If you'd like to save this post to refer to later, be sure to pin this image to make it easy to find:
More help with blog photography:
Thanks so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.