How to organize Photos and Videos on Windows.

Hi – I am Zac. I take a lot of photos and videos.

To be organized - I believe everyone needs a regular workflow to review, grade and prune photos or videos. That is what professional photographers do.

I wrote Diffractor to make it easy. This is my workflow.



PC used to centralize and manage collection.

NAS as a hub for publishing to family, friends and clients.


Getting started.

The first step is to round-up all photos and videos. Copy them to a central collection folder on your PC.

If you don’t have room - get a modern external SSD drive. They are amazing.

Check all the random folders on your PC, your phone, camera, old devices and computers, old memory cards, old hard-drives or online.

Memory Cards

I use the OneDrive photo uploader on my phone. OneDrive then syncs Photos and Video files to my PC automatically. I then copy (or move) those items from the sync folder to my central collection folder.

By default Google Photos re-encodes your files; quality is lower if you download from there.

Dropbox, GoogleDrive and OneDrive are all able to sync files to a folder on your PC. You need to get their respective desktop apps for this.

SSD from Amazon

Organize into folders.

Create a folder structure as you build up your collection. I use a simple year/month/day structure.

Diffractor can automatically copy or move items to that structure using ‘Structured Copy’ (F9). It determines a files date by analysing photo or video metadata.

The year/month/day structure is enough for me because I can search by location or other metadata properties if needed.


Fix Metadata.

You may notice that the date is wrong for some photos. This often happens if the camera had the date set incorrectly. Diffractor has a tool called 'Adjust date' (CONTROL SHIFT D) that allows you to fix incorrect dates.

If your photo or video does not have a location, Diffractor can add it. I don’t set exact locations – just approximate, normally the closest town. (L)

Review, grade and prune.

The next step is to review your photos and videos – give them a rating and other metadata.

Diffractor is designed to make this fast and easy. You can't beat a fast computer with a big screen. Maybe 2 big screens!

If it is a great photo, rate it 5 stars! If it is blurry – delete it – or reject it. If it needs editing label it TO-DO.

Diffractor can also compare two photos or videos. One item will be better - you need to see them side-by-side to decide.

If there is a cat in the photo – tag it ‘Cat’. If your daughter Amalie is in the photo – tag it ‘Amalie’ and ‘Family’.

Importantly - any metadata you add with Diffractor works in other products from companies like Adobe and DXO that support the XMP metadata standard. (and vice versa)

Keep at it, review a few folders whenever there is free time. Get into a routine with your workflow.


Digital Hub.

After every session - I copy new or modified files from my PC to a Synology NAS.

This works like a hub. Everyone in the house can access the photos and videos over our network. It is on all the time.

The NAS has some good software like 'Synology Photos' that can be used to manage files once there.

NAS from Amazon

Backing up.

Keep your photos and videos safe. Back your stuff up.

I use Carbonite to back-up the NAS to the cloud automatically. There are many companies offering similar backup services.

I don’t worry about my PC because everything is on the NAS.

The benefits.

Every year my wife and I make a Calendar for friends and Family. We need to select 12 great photos from the previous year. Nowadays we use photos rated 5 stars as our short list – so much easier.

Recently my Aunt called –

“Do you have any photos of my old Rocklea house during the 2011 flood? I can't find mine.”

“Let me check ... sure ... here they are!”

Found in 1 second. I just searched 'Rocklea 2011'.

Rocklea flood