The Megabyte Method

Learn A new approach to digital photo organizing

Digital Photo Organizing Done Differently!


I’m working on a series of digital photo organizing courses for professional photo organizers. The Megabyte Method is a new approach to digital photo organizing.

It seems that most professional photo organizers use the same software and the same general processes when organizing digital photo and video collections. My approach is unique.

I am always trying to figure out how specific digital photo organizing tasks can be done faster or more easily. If I imagine a feature or solution that is not available in one of the many applications I have, I start looking for another solution.

The Megabyte Method is the result of years of researching, experimenting, and testing different approaches, workflows, and software. I’ve even succeeded in getting a couple of software developers to add or improve features that make their software better for all users.

I use a Windows PC mainly, but I work with a Mac also. The Megabyte Method relies heavily on Directory Opus Pro, which is for Windows only. I have researched and tested many applications for Mac, but have not found a comparable substitute.

See The Megabyte Method In Action!

I am planning to make screen recordings of myself organizing a digital photo and video collection using the Megabyte Method. Of course, it’s not realistic to record the entire process, which would include things like unzipping huge Google Takeout archives while I am sleeping.

These planned screen recording will not reveal how I do certain tasks, but I want to show you enough that you will be amazed! In fact, I expect many Mac-based pro photo organizers will want to buy a PC!

Learn the Megabyte Method

I am working on several courses, each one focusing on a different phase of the Megabyte Method. The courses will be released one by one, and each will be a prerequisite for the one that follows.

One of the courses will be for duplicate removal using Duplicate Cleaner Pro by Digital Volcano. I have created a very detailed de-duping workflow that is dependent on files first being gathered and sorted according to the  Megabyte Method.

Megabyte Method Overview

For every digital photo organizing project I’ve ever done, duplicate photo removal has been the biggest and most challenging task. I imagine most pros would say the same thing.

When a client has added a lot of information to their photos, and they want that information preserved, duplicate removal becomes even more tricky.

The Megabyte Method includes specific questions for clients, file gathering guidelines, and file management steps that will greatly improve the speed and accuracy of duplicate removal.

Traditionally, duplicate removal has involved using program settings and preferences that enable the software to determine which photo should be removed. While good de-duping software can dependably mark and remove the file without a keyword, or the one that is not in an Apple Photos album, no software can determine which of two different folder names is more meaningful, or which of two different keywords is better. So, when there is information that must be preserved, there will always be duplicates that will need to be considered on a group-by-group basis.

With the Megabyte Method, files are prepared and organized in such a way that selecting which files to remove is faster, and is also more accurate because each scan of the collection focusses on one thing at a time.

When there is no added information to be preserved, or the client does not want added information to be preserved (it does take longer and costs more) the Megabyte Method will still help you get the job done faster and more accurately.

Project Preparation and Planning

It’s essential to ask your client the right questions! Many people add information to their photo collections in the form of folder names, filenames, keywords, ratings/favorites, album names and more.

If the client wants any of that information preserved, the agreement you have with your client should specify exactly what will be preserved, and how. For example: Words in meaningful folder names will be added as keywords to all the photos in that folder.

File Gathering

Following  the Megabyte Method for file gathering is essential to preserving any information your client has added, and to making duplicate removal more efficient.

I recommend gathering files in such a way that no file is renamed, and no folders are merged. Here’s just one reason why:

Some duplicate removal applications include an option to match based on filename. If folders containing files with the same names are merged, one of the filenames will be changed, and using the extremely useful ‘Exact’ filename setting in duplicate removal software will no longer work.

Collection Discovery

After files are gathered, examining what was gathered is very important. Even if a client has answered questions to the best of their ability, it’s necessary to compare what the client told you about the collection to what the collection actually contains. I’ve had clients tell me no folders had meaningful names, but I found many. I’ve had clients tell me they had not created albums or named people in Apple photos, but yet they had done both.

Before proceeding, the estimate and agreement previously created may need to be revised.

Collection Inventory

This can be done at the same time as Collection Discovery. I rely on Directory Opus Pro for both Collection Discovery and Collection Inventory. Directory Opus is for Windows only. Of course, other applications can be used to examine the contents of a collection, but I haven’t found anything else for Windows or Mac that work as well for this task.

With Directory Opus, I can quicky generate a list of every file type in a folder and all its sub-folders, and how many of each file type there are. I can also view the number of total number of files in a folder and its subfolders:


File Management

File management includes using Directory Opus for many tasks such as:

  • Separating out all unneeded file types.
  • Separating out files such as documents, spreadsheets, and PDF and moving them to a folder that is returned to the client. Folder structure and folder names are preserved.
  • Separating out all photos and videos by file type. For example, all JPG files are moved to a JPG folder using a method that preserved folder structure. No files are renamed, no folders are merged.
  • Separating out ‘undated’ photos (photos with no Exif date metadata or with incomplete Exif date metadata). Because I can use Directory Opus to view Exif dates for many files at once, I can quickly find ‘undated’ photos and correct the dates if date information is in the filename or folder name.

File management tasks have a huge impact on duplicate removal speed and accuracy, so it’s worth the time it takes.

There are 2 other applications I know of that can separate out files by type while preserving folder structure, but neither of those applications can do it as quicky or as well.

If you’d like a coupon for 10% off Directory Opus Pro, send me an email and I’ll send you a discount code. I earn a small commission any time my discount code is used: meg at photoorganizingstuff dot com

Duplicate Removal

I believe that Duplicate Cleaner Pro by Digital Volcano is the best application for photo and video duplicate removal. It is for Windows only. I have used and tested PhotoSweeper (for mac) extensively. It is good, and can de-dupe files that are inside an Apple Photos Library.

I have been working with the Duplicate Clearer Pro since early 2021, and as a result, many new features have been added. Learn more about Duplicate Cleaner Pro and other de-duping applications on the Duplicate Removal page

I have created a very detailed de-duping workflow for Duplicate Cleaner Pro that is dependent on files first being gathered and sorted according to the Megabyte Method.

Metadata Management

Once photos and videos have been de-duped, words from Album names, folder names and filenames are  converted to Keywords, but words like ‘favorites’ and ‘best’ are converted to both keywords and star rating.

File and Folder Organization

There is no single perfect way to rename files and create a folder structure. I have my preferences, but the Megabyte Method does allow for different strategies.

While Culling a photo collection is a service offered by many pro photo organizers, it will not be covered in any of the Megabyte Method courses.