Organization is a topic that’s very close to my heart. Disorganized things make me sad and I can’t deal with it! I’m also the kind of person that reorganizes things for fun so I easily know what works best for me. This post is all about how I organize my stock photos. This is by no means the best way to do it, I just find it’s the easiest and most detailed in my opinion.
I want to start off by saying that I don’t use any fancy programs or DMA (digital management asset) software to organize my photos. I only use what Windows (or Apple) has already provided me with.
Let’s get started!
Licensing is a big issue with stock photos (or any photos really). Basically you need to read the license of a photo before even thinking about downloading it. Just because it says free, that doesn’t mean it is! Be informed people or you could get in trouble! I’m not going to go into a lot of detail with that so I highly recommend you read this article from The Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog from one of out past Bloggiesta events. Don’t steal photos people!
Because I take licensing so seriously (you should too) I first organize my photos by license. Now I only ever download 100% free photos or purchased photos as well as any photos I take myself, but here are a few examples of other folders you could make:
100% Free, Use with Attribution, Free for Personal Use, Single Use, Extended License, and Personal Stock.
As you can see I only usually get free stock photos or take my own. I have the other folders there just in case because I sometimes buy images for my clients.
Now inside those folders is where it’s really up to you. I like dividing my pictures into even more categories but some people like leaving them all out. Some of my categories include: Nature, People, Objects, Urban, Whimsical, and Textures. I find dividing them further really helps when I’m looking for a specific kind of image. You can even go further here and sort them more but this is where I like to stop folder-wise.
The images floating around are usually ones I haven’t decided where to put yet. Do you think I need a space folder?
Sometimes (especially with my purchased photos) I like to add comments or tags to an image. In Windows 7, if you right click an image, got to properties and then details, you can add comments and tags to an image.
In the comments section, I’ll add a link if it’s a photo where I need to credit the author. You can also add a link to where you found it if you want. In tags, you can write words that describe the image. Books, desk, library, and writing would all be acceptable tags for an image. These tags just make photos easier to find if you’re looking for something. You can learn more about adding details to an image here.
To see these details, go to windows explorer and click on an image. The details should come up at the bottom of your window. If they don’t, go to Organize -> Layout and click details pane to show it. In Windows 10 click the arrow pointing down in the top right hand corner then go to View and click details pane on the left. (If you need help with these just comment below)
In this photo I added a comments and some tags. You can also right click anywhere and sort by tags (among other things) if you want.
I don’t really rename any images I download. I normally just use the generic number names that they come with. There’s not really any point in renaming them in my opinion but if that’s something you want to do then go for it!
Also don’t forget to backup your photos so you don’t lose them! In multiple places if you’re really worried about losing them. Just copy them onto a USB stick or external drive and make sure to update your backup frequently!
Here’s a little peek at my folder of free object stock photos.
Free Stock Photo Websites
Here are some websites where you can find free stock photos if that’s something you have trouble with. Enjoy!
Unsplash : These are probably some of the most gorgeous stock photos I’ve come across. They post 10 new pictures every 10 days and they’re all 100% free!
PicJumbo: They have tons of different kinds of photos to use. All their photos are free, you just can’t redistribute them.
Gratisography: This website has lots of really fun and unique stock photos which is why I love them. They are also 100% free and you can donate if you really like them!
Death to the Stock Photo: These guys are a little different because they email you their pictures. Once a month you’ll get a lovely email in your inbox with a handy button to download a zip file of a bunch of images. These ones are also free, you just can’t redistribute them or claim them as your own.
StockSnap: This is another one that sends you emails (only weekly) but they also have images on their website that you can download. Once again. 100% free.
You can see the full licenses on all of their website! Just give them a click.
I challenge all of YOU to start a stock photos folder! It’s super easy I promise.
1. Start off with one big folder called stock photos or something similar.
2. In that folder start a couple folders for free vs non free photos. (Skip this step if you only download one kind of license)
3. In that folder, make a couple of general folders like nature, people, and objects.
4. Add one image to each of those folders!
5. For at least one photo, go into the properties and write a comment and some tags.
That’s it! You’ve started your very own stock photo folder! Congrats!
If you want to share a picture of how you organized your photos please feel free! I’d love to see them all!
If any of you have any questions or concerns please leave a comment! I’m happy to help out!
Also, I’m by no means an expert on this subject. This is just what I do and it works out well for me! Happy organizing!