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The Importance of A Tidy Filing System

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Everything we do has a system. The way we store of image files is no different. This is hugely important when you want to employ someone to edit for you or are taking on a in house team member.

Imagine going back to your hard drives three years after a wedding or shoot and trying to find the files again? Would it be easy? Would they be named? Would you remember which ones were the final images that you delivered to the client?

Would your hard drives even be named?

Just imagine how much extra time it would take to find old photos for a blog post when you can't even tell which ones have been retouched.

For all these reasons and so many more, it is so important to have a tidy system.

So, how do I do it?

My files are arranged with the job name and then sub folders within that, for each part of the job. So for example, a wedding will be laid out like this:

MAIN FOLDER: John & Mary's Wedding - 28th March 2022


  • JPEG

  • RAW Files

  • LR Catalog

Within the LR Catalog file are all the catalog files pertaining to that job. Including the Smart Previews files so that I can simply ZIP/Compress this when I send it to an editor.

When I get my job back from the editor, this LR Catalog folder is replaced with the new catalog once I've checked the catalog is complete and has no issues.

This system is repeated for every single job I shoot. For Portraits and headshots it has a slightly different look:

MAIN FOLDER: Alice Smith's Headshots - 28th March 2021


  • Purchased Images

  • Edited Proof JPEG

  • Unedited Proof JPEG

  • RAW Files

  • LR Catalog

This makes it super easy for myself, for my editor, for my assistant to always know what is what, what belongs where and what the client brought.

Even when it's three years later!

Want to check out more about how we keep tidy files, tidy systems and outsource our work? Check out The Photographers Guide To Outsourcing!


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