After the invention of digital cameras and smartphones, currently most of us has thousands of image files scattered all over on our PC, phone, external hd etc. This instructable is just to help you manage your image files and folder structure in a more meaningful way.
Step 1: Create Base Folder Structure
Create a new folder on your PC named "Private". Under that, create 3 folders:
"Inbox" : This folder will hold your image files which you couldn't find any time to work on classification and renaming, and hopefully will do and move them to "Pic" folder someday.
"Pic": This folder will hold all you image files, classified, distributed and renamed in a systematical way. All your image files will rest here someday, after you clean your inbox.
"Mov": You can create the same folder and naming structure as you did in Pic folder and keep your movie files here.
Under Pic folder, create year decade group folders, like between 2000 to 2009 as 2000-2009.
After you create decade groups, create year folders under the decade group.
For every year, create month names folders as 2000-01, 2000-2, 2000-3 and so on.
After you created all the decades-years-months folder structure, copy everything under "Pic" folder to "Mov" folder. So that you wont be doing the same things twice for the Mov folder, since all folders are empty, we just copied the basic folder structuere.
Step 2: Gather All Image Files in One Location
Now collect all your image files and copy them all to "Inbox" folder. This will include all images from your digital cameras, smartphone, your images mailed to you by your friends, scans etc. Please be careful when copying them to Inbox folder, make sure you create different folder names, so that the same name image files will not overwrite each other. It is of no matter how you name the folders under Inbox, since you will be deleting them one by one while moving them to Pic folder.
Step 3: Now With the Renaming
Now comes the hardest and most time consuming part. After all the image files are collected in the Inbox, we will start renaming and moving our files. The way i use naming scheme is as follows:
aaaYYMMDD_Location or Event_bbb.jpg
aaa: Shortcut for medium. I use "nik" for my Nikon D40, "ixs" for my Canon Ixus 120is, "gsm" for smartphone, "scn" for scanned images, "dgt" for all the digital images from my friends taken by different brand of cameras, "son" for my Sony camera etc.
YY: Year the picture is taken
MM: Month the picture is taken
DD: Day the picture is taken
Location or Event: As stated, Location name or Event whichever is more important to you. It is best if you do not exceed 10-15 characters here.
bbb: Sequence number
Step 4: Move Files to Final Resting Place
After you rename your files, move the renamed files from Inbox to Pic folder according to the date structure. So that you will move nik140122_New York_005.jpg to Pic/2010-2019/2014/2014-01 folder. While moving it, create a folder under 2014-01 as the location or event name. As a result, your final destination for this image will be Pic/2010-2019/2014/2014-01/New York/ folder.
Step 5: How to Rename 15.000 Files One by One????
I know it doesnot seem so easy. However, batch renaming solves this problem. I use BRU aka Bulk Rename Utility. You can find this awesome windows free utility at http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk address. Although it looks frightening at first, once you get used to it, it works flawlessly. It can even get exif values of photo taken date and put to YYMMDD part automatically.
You can do the same naming scheme to your movie files and move them to Mov folder. BTW i used .jpg extension in the samples but please change it to fit whateverbfile type you are using.
I hope this will help you reorganizing and managing your image files. Please forgive me for any mistakes i made since this is my first instructable and i still am not sure if this subject is suitable to Instructions :)