From hoarder to order: Organizing a photo library

March 26, 2014

I’m a saver. If I see a great photo, I grab it knowing there will be a project down the road it will be perfect for. While I prefer to think of myself as delightfully proactive, my computer desktop is telling me I’m a hot mess. Well, if you’re anything like me then welcome to Photo Hoarders Anonymous.

There is hope, though! Moving your photos to a photo library means that you’ll free up that space on your computer and you’ll never have to worry about losing valuable photos to a computer glitch. You can also share them far and wide, so your entire organization can use them without you having to be the gatekeeper.

Flickr offers a free terabyte of storage, allowing practically unlimited high-quality picture uploads. We have an easy tutorial for creating and maintaining a Flickr account.

Here are our favorite tricks for keeping organized:

Tag, tag, tag! Adding tags to your photos helps you find relevant images for projects in the future. When you are uploading photos, you can add tags that help categorize the nature of the image. Flickr gives you lots of opportunities to categorize your photos, so don’t worry if you missed a step at first!

Organize. Just as you might organize photos on your hard drive into folders, you can keep similar images together on Flickr using Sets and Collections. And you can even add relevant or inspiring photos from other users to Galleries. 

Mapping. You can keep track of where photos are taken and organize them on a map, so that you can see where you’ve been. This is particularly helpful if you’re working on regional issues and want to organize your photos around a specific location, or if you want target audiences to find them by exploring Flickr’s Map.

Searching. Here’s where tagging is your best friend. Looking for a photo of a woman smiling on a kayak? It’s searchable if you’ve tagged correctly! And creating intuitive tags will also help others find your images through Flickr or Google search.

Sharing. You can send individual photos through the site or invite individuals to your photo sets, or entire photostream (even private photos), by giving them a Guest Pass.

Set permissions. Whenever possible, we encourage partners to post their photo as Creative Commons. As we explain in Seeing is Believing, visuals are one of the best communications tools nonprofits have at their disposal, and making yours available to other advocates can help build support for your cause.

Check out our tutorial in our Toolbox for more information. Happy curating!

Krista Meyer


*Photo credit: Flickr user Mrs.Gemstone