Introducing the Megabyte Method

A Workflow for Organizing Digital Photo and Video Collections

The Megabyte Method is a workflow for organizing digital photo and video collections. It’s the result of many years of researching, experimenting, and testing different software and methods. Every aspect of the Megabyte Method has been developed to help professional photo organizers work smarter, not harder, and be more successful.

The Megabyte Method Demonstration Video Series will document the organization of a digital photo and video collection. The demo collection is about 70% of a real collection I organized for a client a few years ago.

Each Megabyte Method demonstration video will have a corresponding article. Watching the videos and reading the articles will give you a good understanding of how the Megabyte Method works, and why it is so accurate, thorough and efficient.

This article also has a corresponding VIDEO. You will find the link below.

Overview of Megabyte Method Phases

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, and agreement might specify that words in meaningful folder names will be added as keywords to all the photos in that folder.

No information about Preparation and Planning is included in the video corresponding to this article./

File Gathering

File Collecting is the first part of the File Gathering process. File Collecting is copying any folders from your client’s Source devices that likely include photos and/or video. The client can get their devices back quickly, and more selective and careful File Gathering can be done later back at the office.

Following the Megabyte Method for File Gathering is essential to preserve any information your client has added, and to make duplicate removal more efficient.

It’s also important to ensure you don’t gather files that should not be included in an organized collection –like video thumbnail images.

File Management

File Management tasks flatten the folder structure and make future tasks, like duplicate removal, more efficient.

Examples of File Management tasks include:

  • Removing excess folder levels.
  • Separating out videos while preserving the folder structure.
  • Separating out very short videos 3 to 5 seconds long—or whatever you and your client decide.
  • Separating out Supplementary files (PNG, GIF, BMP, etc.) in case the client wants to review them.
  • Separating out Undated photos and videos.
  • Separating photos and video by file extension.
  • Merging folders with similar names that include photos from the same event.

Duplicate Removal

The Megabyte Method includes a complete duplicate removal workflow with details for each step.
Having tested many different applications for both Mac and PC, I chose Duplicate Cleaner Pro by Digital Volcano.

I have been working with the Duplicate Clearer Pro since early 2021, and as a result, many new features have been added. The Megabyte Method includes a very detailed duplicate removal workflow.

If there are meaningful folder names the client wants preserved, duplicate removal is more challenging. Sometimes, photos in folders with meaningful names are unacceptably small photos (pixel dimensions and file size) but have larger duplicates in folders without meaningful names. The workflow includes methods for copying or moving the information to the bigger photos.

Metadata Management

After duplicate removal is complete, Metadata Management tasks begin.

Metadata Management tasks include:

  • Examining video dates to see which is likely correct.
  • Copying the ‘best’ video date to the File Created field to protect that date.
  • Converting videos to MP4 – which strips most video date metadata except the File Created date.
  • Copying the video File Created date back to other date metadata fields.
  • Adding dates to Undated photos and videos if there is any date information or clues.
  • Converting meaningful folder names to Keywords.

Project Completion

Renaming files and placing them in folders are the final organizing tasks.

The Megabyte Method includes a variety of editable rename presets. I like to start the filenames with the date in YYYY-MM-DD format.

Some people want their photos and videos together in the same folders, and others want them in a separate folder structure. Some clients may need separate folder structures for work files or for other reasons.
Regardless of what is needed, there are folder structure presets that can be customized to suit any requirement.

Watch the Video on the Photo Organizing Stuff YouTube Channel

Video: Introducing the Megabyte Method

Introducing Megabyte Method

© Meg Macintyre, Photo Organizing Stuff