The Trail Camera Photo Cataloging System

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Keep Your Trail Camera Photos Organized with This System

Trail cameras play an essential role in scouting. This is a big trail camera buck.

Trail cameras have become one of my most useful tools when scouting for deer. Yes, I still scout for deer in a variety of other ways such as from afar, in the field and with maps. However, I do rely on trail cameras much more than I used to.

Sometimes I feel that’s a bad thing. Sometimes I don’t. In part, I feel the age of trail cameras has resulted in less woodsmanship among hunters. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t “get out there” as much as I used to. On the flip side, I realize how effective trail cameras are and they’ll forever be a significant part of my scouting endeavors each year. Cameras offer a variety of advantages, and as a deer hunter who enjoys filling tags, I’m not about to give up the undeniable benefits these pieces of tech provide.

Because of that, I now use a lot of trail cameras. I generally purchase two to three new cameras each year, and the size of my camera arsenal has grown exponentially. The number of trail camera photos I click through each year is massive because of it. And when you’re as OCD as I am, you just have to have a “system” to keep all those photos organized.

I accomplish this by using specific folders and subfolders to house the mass of photos. I have hundreds of thousands of trail cameras photos on file and I’m able to navigate them fluidly because I keep them organized with the following folders.

1. Sub-Folder: Trail Camera Photos

Folder Title Example: Whitetail Trail Camera Photos

This is the first folder. Everything else will be found within this initial click of the mouse. I generally keep this folder (and all its contents) in “My Photos.” There’s typically plenty of storage on most modern computers.

2. Sub-Folder: Broken Down by Year

Folder Title Example: 2015 Season

Organize your trail camera photos for easier navigation of them.These sub-folders are placed within the “Whitetail Trail Cam Photos” folder. I have one folder for every year dating back to the first trail camera I have from the early 2000s. Within those folders are all of the photos I received during that particular year and season.

3. Sub-Folder: Separated by State

Folder Title Example: Kentucky

This group of folders are broken up by state (this is for those who travel to hunt), and go within their respective “year” folder. For those who hunt in-state only, change the states to counties.

4. Sub-Folder: Organized by Property

Folder Title Example: The Green River Farm

Then, within each of those folders, will be a folder for each individual property that you hunt within that county or state. Give each of these properties a name if you haven’t already to identify them.

5. Sub-Folder: Labeled by Date

Folder Title Example: 09-15-2015 (creek stand)

Lastly, the folders that actually have the photos in them. In this last folder I put folders titled with the date I pulled the card and the location of the camera in parentheses. All of the photos from that card pull go in that folder.

Bonus: The Buck Folder

In addition to housing each card pull, I also save a copy of every individual buck I receive a photo of. Each of those go into a folder with all of the unique bucks on that piece of property. So within the folder for each location (sub-folder No. 4), I put a folder titled “+Bucks.” Adding the addition symbol keeps that folder at the beginning instead of being buried down the line somewhere. Any punctuation mark will work. This will not be necessary for those using a Mac, as you can drag the folder where you want it.

How to Properly Store Photos

We should always be extremely careful with how we house our trail camera photos. Keep one copy of all photos on a computer using this system or a rendition of your own. Back them up on an external hard drive. Keep the hard drive stored in a cool, dry area and back up the photos on your computer regularly.

I don’t delete trail camera photos. And using this method has kept my trail camera photos organized for years. Use it if you wish. Create your own rendition. Don’t do anything at all and dump them all in one pile. Simply delete them. That’s up to you. But if you came here looking for a way to organize your photos without spending any money, I hope you found what you were looking for.

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