We’re no strangers to snapping a few photos on an adventure, but what should you do with your collection afterwards? Keep your digital memories organised and safe using this simple workflow.

I caught the photography bug at a young age, and ever since then, I’ve been shooting just about everything I’ve experienced in this silly little thing called life. To this day I can recall distinct images from skating the streets with my DSLR, jumping off cliffs with my GoPro and even my first aerial snaps.

Now, with years of shooting under the belt, I have to admit that I’ve lost my fair share of images as I dialed-in the tedious task of photo organisation. So these are my tips on how to keep your memories safe and sound. You can thank me when you’re reminiscing, perched on your rocking chair a few decades down the line.

1. Empty Your SD Cards

Emptying the contents of each SD card after every adventure is something I picked up along the way – it’s a great habit to get into. By doing so, you can be certain that you’ve accounted for all the images from that day and set up clean cards for the next escapade. So, whether you’ve arrived back from the summit of Mt Kosciuszko or from your trip to the top shelf of the fridge, hop on your computer, transfer, and wipe the files from your memory cards in preparation for the next adventure.

2. Photo File Names

After you’ve polished up and put your original touch on your snaps, the next step is to export your files and name your images. Editing software such as Lightroom makes this task very simple, and these finer details will help you locate your files with ease down the line. You can choose whatever formula tickles your pickle, but there are few important basic details you should include;

  • The location
  • The date
  • Your name
Jonathan Tan, South West Arms, Royal National Park, Rope Swing

RoyalNationalPark_01042020_YourName | @thetantrap

3. Back It Up

Okay, so you’ve successfully exported your collection to a folder, now what? Well it’s time to back them all up of course. There are two main ways I ensure my photos have a comfy home:



External Hard Drives/Solid State Drives

Photos can chew up space very quickly and there’s little chance you’ll have enough space on the internal storage of your computer to house all of them. Having an external hard drive allows you to keep a physical copy of your files on hand, and frees up space on your personal computer. Over the last decade, the prices of these drives have become more affordable, giving you no excuse to not have a couple of these on hand at all times. There are elements such as size, transfer speed, and durability that you should consider before making a purchase. So be sure to consult friends and the world wide web for recommendations before purchasing.

In The Cloud

Though external hard drives are an excellent storage device, one thing is for certain, the day will come when they fail. That’s where the cloud comes in. In simplest terms, the cloud allows you to store your data on servers in data centres instead of locally on your devices. This allows you to free up space on the internal storage of your laptop/computer and conveniently access your files on any device with an internet connection. There are heaps of options to choose from, such as Google Drive and Dropbox. These services allow a certain allocation of free storage before you have to transition into a paid subscription, which upgrades both your storage space and opens up additional functionalities.

4. Filing System

Now that you’ve decided where you’re going to back up your files, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to arrange your filing system. Again, you could choose any variation of filing system, but ensure that it’s both replicable and suited to your personal preference.

For example, you can arrange your files according to location, date or project. Take your pick and stick to it. Eventually creating new folders will become second nature and you’ll know exactly where to look when you go searching for photos.

5. Make a Zine or Photo Book

I recently attended a photography workshop where Mark Galer, a fella who’s been in the photography game for four decades, mentioned that he prints a photo book for each of his adventures. It was at that moment it hit me – every photo that I could remember from my childhood was found in one of these, photo books that my parents had created, long before I even knew what a photo was. 

Creating collages and layouts to showcase the variety of shots can help you, as an artist, tell a story in a more holistic way. It gives you the ability to highlight details and peripheral experiences that may otherwise go into hiding and never see the light of day. Plus, when your Nan insists on hearing all about your multi-day hike, you can just hand her your zine, a real-life picture book of your adventures.

6. Post It On Social Media

We’d be lying to ourselves if we said we didn’t want to show off a little at the end of the day. Banger images and triple chin selfies were taken to be shared. I personally look at social media apps, such as Instagram, as a way of sharing a unique take on an individual’s surroundings through photography. 

They’re also a great way of keeping a visual diary of people and places as you go. There’s an extensive community of creatives that use these apps and provides a perfect platform to connect and collaborate with different artists worldwide. So post away, take in that dopamine hit, and start planning your next adventure.