Organizing Your Photos/7/10/05

One plus with digital photography, you don't have boxes of photos sitting around.

But unfortunately, there's still plenty of chaos on your computer.

Consumer Reports says learning how to store images for easy retrieval can be a challenge.

Michael Townley and his six year old adopted son Jack have a lot of fun looking at digital photos of the family.

And there's plenty of them. Jack's the youngest of five. Digital photography wasn't even around when the older four were jack's age.

Michael says he works hard to keep his photos organized on his computer, but he's probably the exception, not the rule.

Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas just took a look at several different options for storing digital photos. The good news, getting organized doesn't have to cost anything.

If you don't have a lot of pictures, start with simple folders. A basic plan is to name a folder for an event like Ted's birthday, then store the photos from the birthday in it.

Your next move, put the event folders in another folder named 2005, for example. While this approach is simple, it does require you to rename each picture, which can take time and if you have hundreds of photos, it can become unwieldy.

If you use an apple, the IPhoto software that's packaged with Macs can help you sort a large number of pictures.

And for Windows XP users, a good option is free software you can find online. Of your many options, Consumer Reports recommends Picasa. You can download Picasa 2 free at

Picasa scans your hard drive and automatically organizes your photo folders by year and month. That can be a big help if your pictures aren't quite as organized as the Townleys.

Consumer Reports says no matter how you store your photos make sure to back them up regularly.

It's a good idea to copy your picture ifles onto a CD or DVD and be sure to label them clearly.

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