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by Phil Ball

Q. I was just looking through my computer files and found that I have an enormous area occupied by my photos. The freedom of having a digital camera means I take a lot of photos. How do I handle dealing with large quantities of photos and still be able to find things when needed?

A. It sounds to me like you need to get organized. The first thing I would suggest is to evaluate your images and get rid of those which are not important. Any photographer whether novice or professional, takes many photos and expects to discard many of them. So the trick here is to recognize and keep the good ones and get the rest out of the way.

Evaluating and editing your images is difficult because you remember the situation when you took the photo. The thing to do is to judge them objectively by the actual image content and forget about all the peripheral things that occurred when you took the photo such as the wind in your hair. If those things do not show in the photo, your viewer won't know about them so judge your images on image content alone. Then divide them into categories such as those of universal appeal which can be shared with friends, and those which act as memories for you but mean little or nothing to anyone who wasn’t there at the time. These latter are also "keepers" but need not be shown to others. While looking for keepers, remember that they need to tell the whole story and should need no explanation except for less obvious things like where you were when you took it or what camera settings were used.

Now that you have found the keepers and the memories, everything else can either be deleted or burned to CD or an external hard drive and then can be removed from your hard drive. You probably will now have fewer than half the images you had before. Create folders that will separate the keepers from the memories and move the images into folders where you can find them.

Published: Courier 2/5/12 - Page 5C