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?


Aug 18, 2011
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.


Supreme [H]ardness
Sep 24, 2001
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.

MN Scout

Supreme [H]ardness
Jan 26, 2003
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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Jun 11, 2019
I recommend setting up your camera to create folders by date and if you can, add your own file name prefix so you know it's yours for sure in case you have multiple people shooting. For organizing, use Lightroom Classic or Capture One to organize. I know some people don't believe in deleting, but if it's a useless photo, like a blank/black/blurry (not on purpose), mark it with 1 star. For those that are sort of okay, 2 stars, 3 for decent, etc. Start wiping out the 1 star images and dig into the 2 star images as well. From there, you can further organize by type/subject/etc by adding a color tag.

Once that's all done, (I'll have to research for Lightroom Classic) on CapOne, you can export the RAW images by whatever parameters -- manually selected or auto by date, rating, rank, color tag, many options -- you want into whatever folders you want. I recently did this with some photoshoots that I imported into my main catalog (make a new catalog to avoid that mess) which made finding things hard. RAWs and Edited JPGs exported into subfolders with the proper suffix for easy finding in file explorers. For example, ANT_1237_FB.jpg

Alternatively, you can create RAW folder, drag and drop your folders directly into it and ignore the RAW folder for the most part. Going in and renaming and fiddling with names is super time consuming. Here's how I have it set up for the most part. I never touch the original files directly. Just go through LRC or CapOne.

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Sep 15, 2011
I use Capture One editing software and use a catalog-based system. My final edited images are saved into their own specific folder, separate from the RAW images. Capture One has the best RAW image quality hands down IMO for Sony RAW files, well worth looking into.