When dealing with digital photos, it extremely important to develop an organizational system that’s intuitive and easy to use. This is not only due to the high number number of images today’s photographers are shooting, but also because of the digital nature of all of the images. This type of organization is referred to as “Digital Asset Management” (DAM).
In earlier days of digital photography, the primary approach to DAM was to organize files into specific folders based on image content. For example, Every time I take some photos of my dog, Ruby, I place them into a folder named “Ruby”. If I shoot some photos of our other dogs, Hazel and Sam, then I place them into folders with their names. No matter when the photo was shot, it gets placed into a folder based on the image content.
I call this the Bucket System. It’s like sorting photos from a shoot into specific buckets that contain other photos of the subject(s). Though the Bucket System represents an outdated way of doing things, I still meet photographers who are using it. In some cases I’ve seen it lead to an unmanageable mess.