EP 62: Keeping Back-Ups Organized

Today is going to be a quick little episode but I thought of theming these episodes sort of around the New Year approaching.

You've heard me mentioned it before, but I'm one of those people that really likes to take time in December to do a lot of the things that are easy to put off until the new year. I have been working on my own procrastination for years and I'm still a work in progress but I find that I feel a lot better once I actually just make the decision to dig into some of the things that I want to do for my mind, body and spirit and the new year.

I am not drinking for the month at least until Christmas Eve. I started the day after Thanksgiving. I go usually two months a year with nothing to drink. Some of you don't drink it all but for those of you that do, I highly recommend doing a stretch it's not only feels amazing for the body but you start sort of filling your time differently in the evenings and you socialize differently at social events. It's a really interesting sort of experiment, I guess. And I find that it makes me stronger. So that's one of the ways that I'm heading into the new year.

The other thing I'm doing obviously is assessing my business looking at what I have done this past year and what I want to do next year, and I thought that I would quickly address something that comes up almost every single time I have a new coaching client and that is the issue of staying organized in the new year.

So I wanted to just give you one tip. It's not a very complex one, but it's one that has helped me a ton when it comes to staying organized and keeping all my files together. So I'm speaking from a wedding photography, lifestyle photography space, which means I have a lot of shoots all year around and they generally follow the same format. So I just wanted to let you know how I keep things organized. And hopefully if you are struggling with keeping your files organized, this will help a little bit.

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When I do a photo session, obviously the first folder that comes into my workspace or on my desktop is a collection of all of the raw files. So this is directly off the card, and right on on my desktop, and so I label that Anderson family raw, for example. From there, I go into Photo Mechanic and I cull everything and you've heard me probably talk about this before, but I cull everything and make selects. Those selects get pulled into a Anderson family selects folder. So now I have two folders. And the selects are obviously copies of a lot of the raw that are in the original folder. And I pulled the selects into Lightroom, Photoshop, whatever do my edits, and then I export the high res JPEGs out of Lightroom into a folder that would say Anderson family print, which means that it's the high res print ready version of the photos. These are the ones that I upload to Smugmug and those stay up there sort of forever because I don't tend to take my galleries down.

Now I have three folders.

I have Anderson family raw, I have Anderson family selects, and then I have their print folders. I also may or may not have a Lightroom catalog folder that that goes along with these photos. I don't typically and you can listen to a recent episode with Laura Carroll, I think it's Episode 60 on Lightroom and Lightroom catalogs, but I don't typically do a new catalog for every single project. I've recently been doing a new catalog every month. So that way, when I get into in just a couple of minutes get into how I'm organizing everything on my hard drives, I can just pull a catalog for that group of projects and not have to dig through every single project for a specific catalog.


I have my three folders. I keep the original raw folder until the clients have received their photos. And don't come back with any other questions. Sometimes, at weddings especially, people might ask for more photos with grandma. Do you have any other images from this particular part of the day? And I'll go back and I'll always check and see if I've left something out. But once I've gotten the okay from the client, I dump that original raw folder. So now I'm left with the selects, and the high res print images, and then the catalog folder. In my backup routine, I have two external hard drives, and I plug those in. I copy everything onto those. And on the hard drive, this is sort of the thing that has really saved my organization for the last 10 years now, but I organize everything by month and year. And that's about it.

So if you were to plug in any one of my random hard drives that I have lying around right now, you would see January 2014. And once I click open that folder, you'd see it all organized by client name. So you'd see Anderson since we've been randomly talking about that family, and I click on Anderson and inside that folder would be selects, which are the RAWS; Anderson print, which are the final edited JPEGs in print resolution format; and then possibly the Lightroom catalog, but most likely that Lightroom catalog is just in the general folder for that month. So I hope that makes sense to you.

There are so many times as your business grows especially if you're just starting out where you're going to need to find stuff where you're going to want to go back to stuff and this is the absolute easiest way I can think of to do it, especially if I have my calendar handy because all I have to do is double check which month I might have done a certain shoot that I you know, as long as I know roughly what time of year it is, I can go back and and find anything I've shot really really easily. So that's my two cents on staying organized. And I hope it helps you out going into the new year.

If you are in a space where you're not only trying to get organized, but just trying to really dig in and shape up your business or get your business started, there are a ton of resources that I've released doing just this podcast. They're all free. They relate to various episodes.

And if you don't want to dig through all the past episodes and find them, you can go to And I've bundled all of the worksheets and freebies together into one spot. So There's things like how to find your ideal client, how to shoot in camera, double exposure, how to shoot astrophotography, all sorts of different things related to business and photography that you might find useful. Maybe not all of them, but if you'd like to get all of them in one place without having to go back and look through everything else. Just go to, get your free bundle of worksheets and dig in before the new year and get your business organized.

I hope this episode helped a little bit. feel sometimes kind of rambling, but thanks for listening. I will be back soon. Have a wonderful day.

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