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My Process for Storing & Organizing my Images- June 7,2021

Good day.  I hope everyone is doing well.


in this article, I'll discuss my process for organizing my images, both on my hard disk and within Lightroom.  This is a critical process in that it allows me to keep everything organized and find images quickly..

For this discussion, let's assume that I've completed a flower photo shoot.

Copying Images to external drive

My first step is to copy my images to my external drive.  I've created a file folder structure that is both simple and allows me to find the photos from a specific photo shoot quickly.

I'll take a quick minute to discuss...

On my external drive, I have a SINGLE folder called photos.  All photos will be placed into folders under photos.

At the next level down, I create a folder for each year.  At this point, my folder structure looks something like this:






Since this is 2021, I open the 2021 folder.  Beneath 2021, I have separate folders for each of the various genres of photography that I do.  So under 2021, my folder structure looks something like this


   2021 flowers

   2021 locations

   2021 misc

   2021 people

   2021 wildlife

I've created a miscellaneous folder where I throw any photos that don't fit nicely into one of the other folders.

Next, I'll create a folder within 2021 flowers for each flower photo shoot that I do.  

So under 2021 flowers my folders will look something like this:

2021-01 roses

2021-01 black box flowers

2021-03 tulips

2021-05 sayen gardens

2021-06 front yard flowers

The naming convention is yyyy-mm shoot description

The advantage to using this naming convention is that it will sort the folders based on the month of the photo shoot.

if I have two shoots in a given month with the same description I just append a 2 on the end. Ex. 2021-06 Sayen Gardens 2.

Once I have the file folder created, I'll use my operating systems Copy and Paste to copy my images into the correct location.

Here is how my file structure looks in Finder on my iMac.


Importing into Lightroom

I make use of Collections within Lightroom.  Think of Collections as virtual folders within Lightroom.  They give you a method of further organizing and creating subsets of images.  I've created a set of collections that mimic my folders setup on my external drive.  

Here's a view of my collections within Lightroom.


There are several different types of collections within alightroom but the two that I make the most use of are Collections and Collection Sets.  The best way to understand the difference between these two are as follows.

Collections contain images

Collection Sets contain Collections and / or other Collection Sets

So similar to my folder structure I've created a hierarchy of Collection Sets and Collections that look something like this:

2019 (collection set)

2020 (collection set)

2021 (collection set)

   2021 flowers (collection set)

      2021-01 roses (collection)

      2021-01 black box flowers (collection) 

     2021-03 tulips (collection)

     2021-05 sayen gardens (collection)


So let's assume I wanted import my most recent flower shoot that I took in my front yard, I'd create a new collection called 2021-06 front yard flowers and place it in my 2021 flowers collection set.

Once you have your collection created, it's time to import the images into Lightroom.  A key thing to remember is that the Images are not actually stored in Lightroom.  They are stored on your hard disk.  Lightroom stores various bits of metadata pertaining to an image along with all of the adjustments that you make to the image.  A good thing to remember about Lightroom is that it is NON DESTRUCTIVE a which mean that the actual image is NEVER modified and you can always get back to your initial image.

The last step that I do before actually doing the import is to specify what initial adjustments I'd like to make to the images when they are imported.

live created a series of Presets  for the various types of shoots that I do.

I've got Presets for Outdoor Flowers, Wildlife, Generic Outdoor photos, Portraits, etc.

Within the various presets, I've created adjustments for things like Color Profile, noise reduction, sharpening, Lens Calibration, Texture and Clarity.  By applying a preset, it creates a great starting point to begin my editing.

ive also created a copyright preset that embeds my copyright information into my photos.

Finally, I'm ready to do the actual import.  I press Import and let Lightroom do its thing.  Depending on the number of photos I'm importing, this can take a while.

Organizing your images properly can take a bit of time.  Give it some thought as to what's the best structure for you and then stick to it!

As always, if you have any questions, please shoot me an email at

Have a great week and keep shooting!





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