How do you organize your photos on computer? (I use Darktable)


Super Moderator
Aug 12, 2012
Outside Boston MA
Real Name
Like @PakkyT I use year/month within basic categories. I also use the last perpetual version of LR and let it create the year/month folders if needed based on the create date. So if I import them the same day I take them or days/weeks/.. later it doesn't matter.

John King

Member of SOFA
Apr 20, 2020
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
John ...
Bruce, apart from my file numbering system described above, I also structure my folder system so that it can be used as the basis of a commercial accounting system, if needs be.

Combining folder structure, file naming convention and using selective keywording allows extraction of any one file pretty quickly.

It took about 30 minutes to find a specific image I had used on a Christmas or Birthday card. I didn't know which, or any filename reference.

What allowed the finding was knowing the year and the subject (unfortunately a very common subject for me). These days, I always put the base filename in my copyright and business details on the back.

I will try to describe my whole process, but not right now.


Mu-43 Regular
Jul 14, 2020
I keep them in the same folder that the originals were uploaded to. I create a subfolder called 'Processed', and once I've completed a photo the end result jpeg goes there. The sidecars and everything else stay in the original.

Folders are sorted by date. If it's a specific subject matter like a museum or event, it gets named as such.

BTW, for those using Windows, it's better to not use the photo program as your uploader. Create the folder, open the SD card, select all, and drag/drop to the desired location. It's a heck of a lot faster than letting Windows do it through the photo program.

I really appreciate all the tips!
I think this is the direction I am heading.
I can use Rapid Photo Downloader to create my folder for a given event labeled Date and jobcode (such as 2021-08-15 Shenandoah NP Storms). I also set it to label each image with its original numerical label per the camera, but with an "M" suffix,(such as P001756M.RAW) to label it as the Master. When I process, I will either remove the "M" or change it to "DT" or something so I can immediately see what is an original or processed image.

I will use DT first to sort, cull and tag, then I'm ready to process. Everything will stay stored in its original dated folder.
I like the idea of having a subfolder called Processed for finished jpgs.

Once I'm finished I can drag the entire folder into whatever parent folder I think is best, (such as "2021-08-15 Shenandoah NP Storms" into "National Parks") so I can search by subject, date, jobcode, or tags to find a single image.

We'll see how it goes. I want to try and plan this so it is a workable system from the get-go. I don't want to be changing everything again once I get started. Seems I can just leave the dated folders as is until I get a larger, simple parent structure developed.

Great forum here - lots of help! I hope this helps somebody else.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Jun 20, 2015
Massachusetts, USA
We'll see how it goes. I want to try and plan this so it is a workable system from the get-go. I don't want to be changing everything again once I get started.
What matters is that your system make sense to you and that you can put your finger on a particular photo you are looking for in a reasonable amount of time. That said, we don't always think it through, forgot certain situations, or later discover hiccups in the system we start with. So my advice there is do not be hesitant to change things up as you go and change your mind about certain decisions (e.g. file name convention). While changing something in the short term might cause a bit of headache and extra work, in the long run you will be happier you did go to the trouble changing something.

For example for years I used one file naming convention but then later decided I should have done it a different way. but rather than stubbornly sticking with the old method I simply changed it up and started using the new format as I went. Occasionally as I dive into old folders which have the old name convention I will update the whole folder to the new template, but I didn't bother spending days doing the entire library. It is probably safer in smaller folder chunks anyway so you can easily verify if they converted properly for a folder of 100 shots rather crossing your fingers and hoping a bulk rename of a library of tens of thousands images went ok.


Mu-43 All-Pro
Jan 16, 2017
Yes, you need to be able to find the photos "you can put your finger on a particular photo you are looking for in a reasonable amount of time"

- capture date/time is already in the exif - so I use a name of an event or place

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