By Robert Correll

Get familiar with the following digital photograph management tasks or invest in a particular piece of software to do them for you. Think about how these tasks fit into your digital photograph workflow:

  • Flagging allows you to flag some photos as keepers, some as rejects, and leave the rest alone. Flag first, because it’s faster and easier to tell if you want to work with a photo than it is to figure out if it’s worth 4 or 5 stars. After you flag photos you may be able to hide photos in the interface by filtering non-flagged photos out.
  • Rating allows you to rate your photos from one to five stars. Great if you need that level of discrimination. Once you rate photos, you can filter your collection by the number of stars a photo has.
  • Grouping creates different structures to hold and organize your photos. It might be called a library, catalog, project, album, or folder, depending on the application. After it’s created, you import photos into this structure, which keeps or separates one set of photos from another. That way, you don’t have 10,000 pictures flopping around with no rhyme or reason.
  • Sorting is when you identify a criterion, such as the date or time that you took a photo, or its filename, keyword, rating, or other EXIF data; the program sorts the photos or working files by that criterion.
  • Filtering is similar to sorting, but weeds out photos based on the criteria you choose. You can make it so that you see only five-star photos, or those you took with a particular lens, or perhaps when the flash fired; all the rest are hidden.
  • Face Recognition can be a great way to organize photos. If your photo management software supports this feature, you can use it to find photos of people, tag them with their names, and then use that information to search for or sort your collection.
  • Keywording or tagging is a straightforward concept that’s infuriating in practice. You tag every photo with descriptive keywords that help you organize, sort, find, and otherwise keep track of similar photos. The problem is coming up with a list of standard keywords and using them. For example, you might tag the same photo this way: 80D, landscape, f/8, sunset, Sigma, ultra wide-angle.

Don’t get too detailed when you’re tagging.

  • Geotagging identifies where a photo was taken. Most often, you identify where one or more photos were taken on a map and the coordinates are written to the photo file’s metadata (helpful data, stored in the file, that isn’t part of the photo itself; access it by looking at the photo’s info with your operating system or photo program).
  • Stacking different versions of the same photo on top of each other allows you to declutter the workspace.