Friday, November 23, 2012

Keep Your Art Photos Organized

Three Friends - Jacqueline Kinsey Photography available at

Yes, I know, it seems like a good thing to do. The problem is, that some of us artist-types are not very good at this part; staying organized.

I am probably the last person on earth who should be talking about such a topic (since losing most of my organizational abilities from one too many traumatic brain injuries), but then again...I am familiar with the frustrations.

How many times have you gone to find something in a hurry and can't find it (for the life of you) even though you just saw it the other day!

I am going to just talk a bit about organizing your photo references and photos that you have taken of your work (in order to post them online).

First, I am an artist who does most of her work from a reference photo and because many of my paintings are inspired by my photography, I have literally thousands of inspirational photos on my computer(s).

It is so important to develop a system of storage and back up of those photo files. I say 'develop' because my system continues to evolve over time.

I will just explain a bit about my system;

First I created a file folder that I named "Incoming 2 B Edited". These are the raw photos downloaded direct from the camera. I have also got in the habit of going through and weeding out the bad photos (blurry, redundant) first. I don't use automatic downloading software anymore. Your camera usually comes with one of these. I find I can save some time by briefly scanning over "Extra Large" icons. (1) I can usually discard almost 1/3 of the photo prospects at this stage.

Now, ideally, would be the time to edit these photo files further, but, all too often I end up just getting them downloaded and they stay there for long periods of time. But I do try to keep up on my photo editing for two main reasons; 1- It piles up fast! One day of shooting can result in hundreds, sometimes even a thousand photos, 2- these large files take up a lot of space on my laptop. When I edit them, I usually make my reference photos into smaller files. I don't need them to be big because I won't be printing them out.(2)

I would like to mention here too that I also create two files within the "Incoming 2 B Edited" file; one is "Incoming Reference" and the other is "Incoming 2 Print", (because some of my shots might be good enough to make into available photographic prints).

Once I get around to editing the photos, then it starts to get complicated. I have a file for "Kinsey Art" and all photos for references, photos of completed paintings go into this file. I then have a file for "Most Recent Works" and I also have a file for "Blog-sized" works in progress that I usually use to post on my blog to show the progression of a piece I'm currently working on. When a piece of artwork sells, I try to remember to place it in my "Sold Archives" folder. From there, if I decide to make a limited number of artist prints of a piece, I place it in the folder "Prints 4 Sale".


Once edited, I then place reference photos into respective categorized folders such as; "Horses Moving, Horses Still, Landscape Architecture, Landscape, Seascape, Trees, Flowers, Wildlife etc etc".

I must stress to try to keep it simple. I find it so easy to get too many "folders" going and end up doubling up on categories! That's when it starts to get frustrating trying to find something. You think you know where it is, but then at some point discover that you accidentally created two similar file folders.

Ultimately, you have to figure out a system that works for you.

Young Gull - Graphite drawing on paper. Original available for sale. Contact me for price.

Backing up of the computer files. 

We all know we should be backing up the files on our computers. That's a given. But, to truly back up computer files, we should be keeping a copy off site in a safe (ie. the inlaw's or sister's home).

We keep some files in our email files such as GMail and Yahoo Mail because they have large storage spaces. And then there is "the cloud", which we have not utilized, but its the same idea as saving to your email storage area.

I try to keep several hard copies around on burned CD's, DVD's and thumb drives and we also have our back up drive that we just recently went through and cleaned up (which gave me the idea of this blog post). I believe the general rule of thumb is to have your files saved in at least 3 different places/formats.

Another topic to cover another day is the recording and keeping track of your artwork in a computer program such as Excel.

Quote of the Day:

"A mistake is simply another way of doing things". Katharine Graham


(1) If you use Windows, you will find a drop down tab at the top left corner of your "Pictures" window titled; Views. Click on the little black arrow and it will give you size options on displaying your photo files.

(2) I usually save my reference files between 300kb - 1.5MB, depending on what it is. If its something that has a lot of detail and I will want to look closely at that detail, then I save it in a larger format. If its a landscape/sunset for example, I would save it at a smaller format because I don't need the detail of the photograph.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for laying that out so carefully. Your photos are wonderful and your paintings from them are dynamic!


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