03. Managing digital image files

Handling and storing your images might not sound like the most exciting part of the photographic process, but it undoubtedly is one of the most important steps. What you do with your images after shooting will determine how efficient your workflow will be going forwards.

Proper file management is crucial for optimizing your workflow and this is what Karl explores in this photograph class.

He explains different storage options available and looks at the best ways to store your images, including structuring and sorting your files. He also touches on the all-important practice of how to back up your image files.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • How to manage and store your digital files
  • External storage devices
  • Transferring your images to your computer
  • File structure example

For more on recommended retouching equipment, watch Chapter 1 of this course.

If you have any questions about this course please post in the comments section below ?


  1. Hahaha, I’m more than happy to pop over some time and discuss the topic in more detail ?.
    I would have imagined cloud storage to be one of your backup means.
    I think most professionals such as yourself, with a few years under their belt, have got a workout by solution for their specific situation. I do think it may be an idea for a live show of sorts to educate us amateurs on the holistic approach for risk management and backup strategies holistically.
    Happy to help out of course!

  2. File structure is one important element of managing files, but the workflow from capture to backup is also very important for the same reasons you mentioned.
    I find the whole subject fascinating, probably because of my aerospace engineering background.
    And the methods and tools may vary depending on exact/personal needs and preferences for tools and methods.

    In general I treat it as system development in the aviation industry. For critical system development you apply rigorous configuration management so you can trace what you are doing from start to finish, as well as apply data storage solutions for reproducibility, even if the company goes bust.
    For the data storage I treat it like a safety critical system, which means redundancy and no single point of failure. Redundancy can take the form of a RAID system. Single point of failure can be process (eg how do you copy files from camera to final storage). But also failures and zonal effects. Failures of hard drives are mitigated through RAID systems, sovthis is why RAID systems are so important. However, Zong effects could include burglary, flooding, fire, etc. This means off site backup may be required. Of course this depends very much on risk analysis. If the risk of fire theft etc are negligible, you could opt not to do off site storage, but when something happens you have to accept business losses.

    1. I’ll have to get you in to sort our studio systems out Kryn! 🙂 To be honest I could have been be more thorough, I use raid drives and the cards are not formatted until the images are safely transferred to raid drives but in the case of theft or fire we would have been susceptible as taking copies of drives home was just never that straightforward. We are now using cloud storage for the important stuff.

  3. Actually I love this topic of file management. The use of robust systems and processes for storing and backing up images is a science on itself, and as an engineer my gears start grinding to find optimal solutions ??. I’d love to hear more about the subject!

    1. Hi Kryn, so far this process has seemed the most reliable to me as it has two main points of reference, the top level client alphabetically, the project and the date. Generally speaking I can pretty much locate anything if I can remember on of those three things.

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