Behind the Scenes - Cataloging Images

An hour and 45 minutes in, and I'm only 7% finished.  You're thinking, 'that's a huge time suck', and yes it is - but it's worthwhile.  I've just started the task of 'cataloging' years of digital images. As an engineer I've been very organized from the start and my file folders are sorted by date and event name.  However, I've belatedly realized the value of a 'catalogue' system rather than 'folder' structure - it's searchable.

Why's that worth so much time?  Because I can add keywords to the pictures, then search by keyword.  Meaning within seconds I can call up every 'portfolio-worthy' image by tagging and searching for 'portfolio'.  Currently it's a process of locating a folder, opening it, finding that one favorite pic, exporting it to another folder, (repeat 10 times), until I have the images in one folder for editing to a consistent 'look'.   You're thinking, 'But I'm not a pro, I don't need a portfolio'.  True, but here's another example:  Once this task is complete, I can also find every photo of my son, Owen, instantly by tagging with his name.  Very useful once I stop fantasizing and start building that album of the first 5 years of his life.  

Most professional photo processing software has a catalog option, and if you have thousands of images like me, you should start sooner rather than later taking the extra step of cataloging what's in your folders right after you import and do basic culling.  I was late to the game in realizing the value of that small but crucial step.  I use Aftershot Pro 3, reasonably priced at $50, and recommend it for everyone with lots of pictures.  It's available on Amazon, you can download a free trial, and it's also an excellent photo editor.  Now, back to the time suck ;)