How do you manage your photos?


Mar 20, 2007
I run into this problem of terabytes of photos from the past decade and its all a giant mess of unorganized folders, duplicates and other nonsense.

Is there anything out there that can manage a massive library, including sorting and reorganizing the folders?
I don't know if it's any good, but I recently saw something called Excire Foto. It's not free, but it looks like there is a trial. But basically it's selling point is that it uses "AI" to identify photos, and can tag and organize them accordingly.

It seems like this is probably one of the only stand alone programs to do this. I can find a bunch of lightroom plugins when searching alternatives, and there might be some cloud solutions you could use as well.
I wish I could be of more help. I basically have a meticulous file system that I use. I can explain it if you want (it's not terribly complicated) but obviously it would take a lot of time to go through and fix all this stuff when you have years of photos to organize.
Hey Droc, good question. It can take awhile to clean-up, but is worth it. Makes finding pictures a lot easier. After putting my pictures in separate labeled folders, I import them into Lightroom for edits. In general I use Lightroom to view the pictures.
Folder structure like:
|____> YYYY_MMDD City Park Winter Trip
                         |_____>Edited JPGs

For my original cleanup I had two windows open side by side. My new folder structure was on the right. I made a brand new set of folders. One for each year. Then I'd look at the mess of pictures on the left screen, and I'd copy them into an event labeled subfolder of the year on the right. While I was doing this, I'd often first click through the pictures and delete any that were terrible, so that I was only copying the ones I liked. Having separate folders for events by date would make it obvious if there were duplicates. I try and make the subfolder name descriptive, since I don't often label the individual pictures. If I want to label the individual pictures, I use Lightroom's bulk rename tool it can add in the names of people also, but it isn't the most user friendly. Family group photos I always try and make a custom file name with the year and peoples names

I went one step further, and on my oldest pictures that I took as JPGs I used IrfanView to losslessly rotate the pictures to the right orientation. It has a thumbnail viewing window that makes it easy to select multiple pictures and rotate them all to the right.

Once I edit the raw images, I will have Lightroom output JPGs or Tiffs into a subfolder. These are often named by YYYY_MMDD event - 001+.jpg

Edit: After I got everything copied over, I went and deleted the old folder. You might like to "cut" the files from one window to another, but I've had random problems, and I liked to still compare the folder contents in detail view after words.
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i use adobe light room, however you kinda have to sit and rate/key word/move a bit.
with multiple terabytes, not maybe an option.
Look up DAM Digital Asset Management there is unfortunately not that great offerings available anymore.

however regardless of what applications you use.
I would always keep a folder structure a bit like what is described above by MN Scout

use year, month and day with a description this way your folders will always stay chronological. If the software fails you can still look through the folder structure.


in some software you can advance into keywords

second is to keep multiple backup copies - which is another can of worms 🪱

Good luck