Photo Organization Fundamentals: Chronological Folder Names

This may seem too simple to be so important: Name photo folders in the following convention: “YYYY\MM – Description”.  E.g. \2006\12 – Christmas in Banff

This simple organization habit of using chronological folder names will go a long way in allowing your photos to be found easily.  It is a time proven fundamental.

What does this gain?  It orders your folders chronologically.  While over time you may forget exactly where a photos being sought is located, most people have a rough idea of the timeframe the photo was taken.  Given that a year and season is remembered, along with the description as the last part of the folder name, a photo can usually be found in 5 or 10 minutes.

Even with the using a great photo organization and access system such as DBGallery there will be times when you will browse your hard disk for photos using something like the Windows Explorer.  Or perhaps a DVD backup may be being used.  Hence it’s important to name the folders correctly.  Using this simple naming convention goes a surprisingly long way in making it easy to find photos.  Each time a new set of photos are dropped onto your computer create a new folder using this convention.

Some prefer a slightly different alternative: \2006\12-Dec – Christmas in Banff where ‘-Dec’ is added to the month’s number.  This is equally effective.

This is obviously not for all people, especially professionals that have a more complex system such as photo shoot numbers.  Although the convention could be used in folders under folders with those names or pre-fix the photo shoot name.

If existing folders aren’t named with this convention, start using it for new folders being created.  When time permits, go back and rename older folders.  Don’t let finding the rearrange all old folders prevent starting to do it right starting right now.

Most of us, especially those reading this blog, will have digital photography as a part of their life for many years.  A little discipline and and patience to implement simple digital photo organization techniques will pay off many times over in the coming years of enjoyable shooting.  This fundamental tip is as effective as it is simple.  An example, a screenshot from my collection of photos, follows.

Chronological Folder Sample

A sample of chronologically named photo folders.

Best regards,

Glenn Rogers, PMP       

GRR Systems, Inc.    

Developer of DBGallery: Photo DATAbase System

This post is also available on DBGallery’s website at


About Glenn Rogers

Developer of DBGallery: Photo DATAbase System. Also a photographer who has been selling photos for 10 years, and a professionally certified project manager.
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