As a crafty maker, you probably have 14 zillion product photos. (I do.) You also probably have a lot of other documents, lists, forms, invoices, contracts… plenty of things that can easily get out of hand.
There are plenty of ways to organize your files … it’s also pretty easy to just … like, not organize them at all. But that’s not very time effective. Also, that’s a mess and you’ll kick yourself later for not organizing.
The thing I’m going to focus on in this post is how to organize and manage product photos, I’ll circle back on sorting other documents another day – but many of the same tactics can be applied to these other elements.
Mainly, my products are one of a kind. This adds a whole new level to product photography because EVERY piece has to be photographed. It’s not like there are 15 designs that get made over and over, it’s every piece is a new deign. Every piece has 5-10 photos saved – -more than that before they are edited.
This is a system I devised pretty early on and it still works well today.
For every item I photograph, I pull one image out, name it “000.jpg”, then I create a folder, “000”. I put the rest of the photos for that item in the folder. Now I have 000.jpg, and folder (filled) “000” – I take both of those and put them into a main folder “inventory”. After a period of time, maybe a year, I go in and separate the inventory folder into product type, and close it up for the year. Then I start over.
The secret/ key thing here is that I have a marker image for each product and it’s corresponding folder.
So at a glance, I can see each piece, and easily find the rest of the images for that product.
Early on, I went one step further – color marking the pieces that had sold, or been sent on consignment. As time went on, that got to be too much to handle, but it was helpful at the time.
Does this spark anything for you? Any thoughts on how you can use this or similar method in your own work? If I was SUPER patient, I could name each piece and folder with words rather than numbers so I could easily search for stylistic words, but this works best for me because I can clearly see the one image as I browse through, and because it naturally gets added to over time, things are generally chronological which is helpful.
It’s super important for me to be able to access my favorite images from any of my devices or locations. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve needed to send someone an image last minute. Over the past five years, I’ve lived in multiple places and always ended up traveling a lot to visit my parents. I have my desktop, where I primarily store everything, and my laptop, which of course, I travel with. Also, I have my phone, always! But my laptop doesn’t need to be slogged down with all these files, so I save them online in Trello or Dropbox. I have to be honest, I prefer Trello because I can see the image in the app without opening the file, but Dropbox is great for saving documents and automating back up. (Maybe not a huge issue if you name ALL your files, but I kinda don’t HA!) I save future instagram images, headshots, and images I use over and over in Trello for easy access that is well organized.
Beyond being able to access things is great, of course, and it is a little layer of security for those select things that are saved off the computer. It’s ULTRA IMPORTANT to have things backed up. I have five years of business date, photos, files, etc on my computer.
We all know that backing up any and all files is necessary. You never want to be left without any files or documents in the case of a hard drive melt down or some other ill that might befall your device. Scary.
I use Carbonite which is great because I don’t have to do anything. Like a lot of cloud services, you set it and forget it. It’s magic, basically. I use iCloud for some storage and sharing between my devices but I run out of space easily or it goes months without updating. (Because it will only sync when the phone is plugged in, connected to wifi, and asleep. UMMM…. when do all of these things happen? NEVER. I don’t keep my phone attached to wifi at home, I don’t know why. I just don’t. )
So, I suggest Carbonite. I’ve had it for 3 years and I’ve never had any issues with it. As long as your computer is on, it’s working. Sometimes when I go away for a week or more and my computer is off, I get a message that says it hasn’t been backed up recently, but as soon as I get home and turn the computer back on, everything resumes.
Bonus, you can access your files from the internet, so again, super helpful!