Best Way to Store Digital Photos Import to Your Computer

Transferring both photos and videos from your digital camera into your computer can be a hustle. But we are here to provide you with practical ideas that will spare your nerves, time, and money. Whether you use a memory card or a USB cable, here is what you need to know about the best way to store digital photos on your hard disk.

Best Way to Store Digital Photos on Your Computer

Using a Memory Card

The first thing you notice after you insert your memory card into the PC (or external memory card reader if there’s not an internal card slot) is that the card is detected, and acts like a drive. The easiest way to transfer and store your photos is by opening the folder on your card as you would do with any other folder, and then manually copy files on a folder of your choice located on your internal or external hard disk.

Import Photos with Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Import Photos from Memory Card with Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Depending on the operating system installed on your computer, there’s a built-in software which will detect your memory card and provide you with more import options. Please check the section below to find out more about it.

Using a USB cable

Using a USB cable is as easiest as using a memory card. If you are a Windows OS user, for instance, you can import photos from your digital camera or smart phone by using a software once your camera is connected to your computer. Photos imported this way will be store in My Pictures folder.

All you need to do is make sure the power of your camera is turned off before you plug the USB cable into your computer, then turn it on and follow the instructions specific to the operating system you use. Windows will recognize your camera and remember the action you take.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • For Windows XP, click on Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard
  • For Windows Vista, click Import Pictures
  • For Windows 7, click Import pictures and videos using Windows
  • For Windows 8, click Import Pictures and Videos, and then follow the prompts.
Import Photos into Your PC by Using Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard

Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard for Windows

After you select the photos you want to be transferred on your PC, label and copy them by simply dragging and dropping them on a folder you will easily find afterwards.

If you are a Mac OS user, after connecting your camera to your computer or inserting your memory card, open iPhoto from the Applications folder, enter the ‘Roll Name’ and ‘Description’ for the images you want to transfer, and then click Import.

Import Photos from Camera with iPhoto

iPhoto for Mac OS

Does this sound too easy? Let’s make things a bit more complicated and professional. If you want to play with settings and options, you can use a variety of programs and applications.

Ideas on How to Transfer, Label and Organize Your Photo Gallery

For proficient transfer and organization of digital images into your PC, I have chosen to briefly describe two digital photography software you might find useful.

I will begin with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which is an image optimizer developed by Adobe Systems for both Windows and Mac OS.

What Lightroom does is to import, export, create collections of photos, slideshows, and web galleries, and even retouch your images. If you are looking for an import tool that will both organize and edit your photos, this is the best choice for you.

Adobe Lightroom Import Screenshot

Import Photos with Adobe Lightroom

One of the settings I really like is creating second copies of your photos to an alternative folder of your choice. Be clever and always save them on an external hard drive. 

  • Adobe Bridge

Recommended for Photoshop users, Adobe Bridge is a media asset management app also developed by Adobe Systems. Once launched, this application helps you to get photos from your camera and has a few useful saving options.

After you have clicked on ‘Get Photos from Camera’ and selected the images you want to import, you can rename them before copying them into a folder on your computer. The app allows you to create subfolders and, similar to Lightroom, has advanced options that you can use to save copies of imported photos on a different location (‘Save Copies To’ checkbox on Advanced Options menu).

Adobe Bridge Screenshot

Import Photos with Adobe Bridge

Sadly, it lacks the editing functions of Lightroom, but some find it easier to use.

Storage Ideas

External Hard Drive

It is not only advisable, but also professional to have a back-up storage plan for your photographs. Using an external drive is the easiest way to ensure your data is stored properly. Play it safe and buy one!

Cloud Storage Services

The second storage option I recommend is cheaper (actually it can be free), but it requires internet connection.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage refers to data stored online in a cloud.

Cloud Storage

Cloud for Permanent Digital Storage

Advantages of using cloud storage:

  • It is accessible from any place you are, at any time as long as you are connected to the internet.
  • It is safe, providing cloud backup solutions in case a disaster happens.
  • There are completely free cloud storage services.

Top 3 Free Cloud Storage Services:

  • Dropbox is the most popular cloud storage service in the world. Easy-to-use, it offers 2 GB of free cloud storage to every user but there are ways to earn up to 16 GB of free storage if you recommend it to other users.
  • Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage and also allows you to share and edit your files.
  • Mega offers 50 GB of free cloud storage.

The disadvantage of cloud storage options is that it might not work if you are in a remote area and urgently need to find a photo as it is internet-dependent. If you are planning to shoot on a location that does not have good internet reception, go back to plan A and take your external hard disk with you.

Tips on How to Organize Your Already Transferred Photos

  • Don’t Forget Where You Saved your Photos

Well, the reason you need to be well-organized is avoid going out of your senses when you realize you want to use a photo taken three years ago and don’t remember where it’s stored.

If you are an enthusiastic photographer I imagine you have plenty of folders on your computer. Just be careful where you have saved them.

  • Choose a Memorable Folder Name

Yes, transferring photos can be a tedious thing to do and we might lose inspiration on the way. I am sure each of us at some point organized and classified photos by their date. Easy, but not so clever! Not when you have dozens of folders entitled according to shooting dates.

Try, for instance, to name your folder according to photography techniques and types, such as Landscape Photos/ Nature Photos, Portraits, or Travel Photos, Macro Photography. Also, create subfolders named after shooting locations. For example: Landscape Photos/ Himalayas.

  • Be consistent

There are many options when it comes to importing photos from our cameras, and some would like to try out as many of them as possible as to identify the one it suits his or her needs best. Once you have figured out which is the ultimate choice for you, it is advisable to set a specific routine and save time for other essential aspects like editing.

I hope this post will help you import and store photos on your computer in a more efficient way. If you have any questions or tips and want to share your ideas with us, please leave a comment.

Image sources1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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About Dave Hughes

Computer Science graduate, Dave Hughes is the pragmatic guy of our team. No wonder he likes to call himself a ‘cool nerd’. His brightness and attention to detail are reflected into his new tech-inspired articles and reviews. He loves writing about new tools and useful resources designed to ease your effort.