A quick guide to archiving your work.

For most of us, managing all of our digital archives is the last thing we want to use our precious time for. However, staying on top of your work offers you greater freedom and flexibility down the road. Having access to organized digital files of your work allows you to:

  • Update your website very easily
  • Apply to opportunities in minutes
  • Achieve a better sense of the scope of your work
  • Assure that your memory cards and other technology aren’t filled up with useless media
  • Stay current on the documentation of your work (before it’s sold, for instance)

Below we’ve outlined a checklist to help you process and manage your files. Each person will eventually create their own system, but this guide will hopefully be helpful in getting you started, or you can print it out and use it every time you sit down to process those jpegs.

1. Assess your storage:

  • Does your computer hard drive have RAM and space for working?
  • Are all of your files a total mess and need organization?
  • Do you have a reliable external hard drive with ample room to store your images?
  • Do you have your log-in info to your cloud storage for double back up of your work?

2. Assess your technology:

  • Am I able to read the files from my device (camera, memory card, iPhone) with ease?
  • Do I have the appropriate applications to edit and post-process (for example: Photoshop) my images?

3. Set aside time to create and edit the images of your work.

4. Edit.

  • Editing takes a few passes and therefore takes time. Be sure you end up with the best image, and save back up copies of the original!

5. Label your work. See a comprehensive guide on our site here.

6. Organize your folders.

  • Everyone has a different system, so you have to determine which works best for you.
  • Sometimes it’s easiest to think of this as an analog process first. How would you organize manila file folders full of prints of your work? By Year? By Project? By Medium?
  • Take a look at the big picture and stick to it.

7. Back-up.

  • Save early and save often, as our professors used to say. That especially goes for your back up archive. Just do it!


Good luck with your archive, artists and creatives! If you need help Organizing Your Stuff, look no further, we can help! Check out this amazing DELVE service tailored to your needs.


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