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I’m guessing you probably have lots of stock photos that you’ve downloaded, whether they were free or paid and they’re just sitting randomly on your computer unused. Is the reason you don’t use them because they aren’t organised and it becomes too difficult and time-consuming to find them?

Picture this, you have written a killer social media caption. Now you need a photo to post with it and you know you have the perfect one saved on your computer. Somewhere. Eventually, you find it but then you don’t remember if the creator allows you to use it commercially (for your business), or if it was a free download, do you need to credit the creator in your post? You may end up not using the photo because it’s too hard now to find this information.

There are many ways of organising photos and digital assets. Businesses dealing with a large volume of stock photos would use a Digital Asset Management tool (DAM). But they do come with an added cost which may not be viable for your business right now.

Here is an easy way to organise stock photos without having to use a Digital Asset Management tool. And without being too complicated or time-consuming to maintain. This method will also work for other digital assets such as graphics and fonts. It’s the way I have been organising them on my computer for years. I ahem, have a slight font addiction.

An easy way to organise stock photos. From the Savvy Stock Blog.

Firstly choose where you are going to store the photos.

Your options are to:

  1. Store them locally on your computer.
  • This will depend on how much hard drive storage you have or if you can add more if needed.
  • Consider if you need access to the photos from other devices or if team members need to access them.
  • You will need to be at your computer to download the photos to keep them organised. Otherwise you could have photos on your phone that will need to be transferred to your computer at some point.

2. Store them on cloud storage. For example Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox.

  • Good if you have team members that need access to the photos.
  • You can access the photos from your other devices ie phone or tablet.
  • Good for downloading on the go, save directly to your cloud storage.
  • Can have an extra cost if you need to increase your storage limit.

Secondly, use this simple folder structure to organise your downloaded stock photos.

Tips

  • Save a copy of the usage licence from the stock photo site to the folders so that you can quickly reference it later. You don’t want to use a photo wrongly, so best practice is to check how the creator intended for you to use the photo before you use it. Some sites may have a different licence for free versus paid stock photos.
  • For added searchability, change the name of the photo file to describe the photo.
  • If the photos downloaded as a .zip file, unzip or extract the files, rename them and then delete the .zip file. Less clutter.
  • There’s nothing stopping you from adding any other folders that make sense for the way you use the stock photos you have downloaded. This structure will give you a starting point.
  • Don’t download photos that aren’t right for your brand. Even if they are free. You are just adding to the clutter.
Savvy Stock styled stock photo membership