Organizing An Image Library For Your Brand

example of download options within image library

Organizing an image library is essential to successfully building a brand. With an image library, you create a visual presence for your brand through website images, social media content, and more. 

Let’s take it back a step. An image library is a database or storage solution for all of your brand’s photos. To maximize the effectiveness of your image library, it should be organized in a way that makes it easy for anyone on your team to find what they’re looking for. 

In this post, I’ll provide guidance on how to organize an image library for your brand. Continue reading to learn: 

  • Why you need to organize a photo library 
  • How to approach organizing images 
  • How to organize your image library 
  • Why you should hire a professional photographer for your images 

Why You Need To Organize A Photo Library For Your Brand

Organizing your photo library is as important as – if not more so than – acquiring images. If you haphazardly store images in random places, no one will ever be able to find them. 

Here are some key reasons why you need to organize your photo library: 

  • Make it easy to access photos quickly: By organizing your photos in a strategic, structured library utilizing tags and metadata, anyone in your company can find the right images as quickly as possible. 
  • Improve collaboration with team members: Providing easy access to all team members through an image library helps foster creative collaboration in marketing and advertising. 
  • Reduce irrelevant content: Old, outdated photos take up valuable space. By removing irrelevant and outdated images, you free up storage space and reduce the risk of an outdated brand image
  • Back up files with ease: An organized image library makes it simple to back up all of your visual assets. Instead of searching all over the place to make sure everything is backed up, you can rest assured that all photos are backed up in a clean, organized fashion. 

example of client's image library folders

How Should You Approach Organizing Your Images? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all for organizing your brand imagery. Every organization acquires, uses, and stores photos in different ways. There are a few common strategies for organizing image libraries that have proven successful in the past. 


You can organize photos by date if you prefer chronological storage. This method tends to work best for smaller teams where all members are in touch with the dates that images were captured. 

In a larger brand’s marketing department, it might be more difficult to search for images if they’re organized by date. Anyone who hasn’t been briefed on when a particular photo was captured may spend excessive time searching for that file. 


Organizing images by location is useful if you’ve had photoshoots in several different settings. A multi-location brand benefits from this type of storage if you’ve invested in a travel photographer to capture each facility. 

Even if your images come from one standard business photo shoot, you can organize them by specific locations like interior office, conference rooms, exterior shots, and more.

Photo Type 

A diverse brand image library will have multiple types of photos. In that case, you can approach organizing assets for your library by the specific image type. Some examples to use include: 

Use Case

Similar to photo type, use case organization separates images by the format they’ll be used in. This goes hand in hand with photo-type organization, in some cases. For example, if you create a category for “employee directory page”, there’s a good chance all those photos will be headshots of team members. 

Some examples of organizing by use case include: 

  • Website imagery 
  • Advertising materials 
  • Online marketing content 
  • Social media content 
  • Presentations and reports 
  • Other uses 


If you tend to have semi-regular photoshoots, organizing your image library by project can be beneficial. Your team can search for and access images with terms related to each project. 

For example, if you’ve hired a production stills photographer to capture images of an ad campaign your team can access those images through project-based organization. 

image library example

How To Organize Your Brand Image Library

No matter what method you choose, approaching the process of organizing your image library with a strategy sets you up for success. In the sections below, I’ll outline a step-by-step process for organizing your brand’s image library.

Locate And Assess Your Photos

Before anything, you need to find all of your existing photos. If you’re not using any type of organized process this can be a challenge. Check all possible devices and locations that you might have images, including your: 

  • Smartphone
  • Camera
  • Computer
  • Hard drive 
  • Online storage 

Create a master folder on your computer to store all images from various locations. From there, assess the photos and remove any that are no longer needed. Look for outdated, low-quality, and irrelevant images that have no use in future branding efforts and delete them. 

With your final set of images, backup the master folder to a hard drive or online storage. 

Research And Select An Image Library Storage Provider

The next step in organizing your photos is to find an image library storage solution. There are several options so you should take the time to research and select the best one for your business needs. 

The main image library software solutions are: 

  • Digital asset management (DAM) software: With DAM software, it’s easy to sort digital assets into libraries. DAMs have the most features to maximize the process for your team. Some DAM software providers incorporate automated feedback and review processes for new assets. There are also notifications to sign off on final image files, and detailed metadata and tagging functionality. 
  • File-sharing provider: Services like DropBox and Google Drive allow you to host and share files through cloud-based storage. These options give you general folder storage, and you can add metadata and tags. 
  • External hard drive: An option for smaller businesses, external hard drives give you a physical source to store images. As with online storage, you can create organized folders on a hard drive with metadata for images. 

As you assess these options, decide how much customization or functionality you need and how the price of each fits within your budget. Some providers offer free versions (like Google Drive) but it comes with a limited amount of space. It’s also smart to opt for two versions of your image library – one cloud-based main source and a hard drive backup.

Establish A Folder Structure

With an image library solution determined, it’s time to establish a clear and sensible folder structure. This is essential to maximizing the accessibility of images. Remember, the point of an image library is to help your team easily find images as fast as possible.

Your folder structure depends on the approach you take to organizing your image library. No matter what approach you take, folder structure typically starts with larger, general categorization followed by more specific sub-categories.

example of images within folder in image library

Develop Standard File Naming Convention

Diving deeper into organization, how you name files affects how easily your team can locate them. Developing a standard file naming convention ensures that anyone who uploads images to your library names the file in an accessible way. 

Including keywords in your naming convention is important, as that’s the fastest way team members can find files through the search function. You can also consider using numbers (whether it’s the date or just chronological numbers) to ensure photos are organized how you desire. Don’t use special symbols because some programs don’t allow them. 

Here’s a rough example of a file naming convention: 


Tag Photos With Relevant Keywords

While we’re talking relevant keywords, let’s discuss tagging photos. Tags are labels used to identify the content of an image file in your library. Use the tagging function in your image library software to optimize files for proper keywords. 

If you have a specific folder for a pharmaceutical advertisement, you might use the keyword pharmaceutical ad or something similar on all images. Tagging images makes searching for files incredibly effective.

Add Metadata

Down to the most granular of image library data. Metadata is smaller bits of information that help tell the storage system and user what the photo is. Adding metadata increases the ease of search and informs the system of specific information relating to the file. 

Some examples of metadata you may enter include: 

  • Creation date 
  • Author
  • File name
  • Content
  • Size
  • Themes
  • GPS coordinates
  • Camera settings
  • Copyright information

example of image within image library folder

Consistently Maintain And Update Image Library 

As with everything in business and branding, you must consistently maintain and update an image library. Similar to how you have to keep your website updated, staying on top of your image library ensures everyone can access files as easily as possible. 

If you’re a small business, this task falls on your plate. Larger companies with marketing departments should assign this task to a certain person or group of team members. 

Why You Should Hire A Professional Photographer To Refresh Your Brand Image Library 

When you go to locate and assess your existing photos, you might find a majority of your images are no longer useful for your marketing content. Or you don’t have as many images as you once thought.

When you decide to refresh your brand imagery, you have several options. 

  • Stock photos: You can access generic stock images that are shot and uploaded to a photo library. Sometimes stock photo libraries are free, while other times you have to pay a usage fee. Stock photos are best for a business with limited resources and no other options. They can be cost-effective, but you risk being perceived as an inauthentic, disingenuous brand.
  • Self-shot smartphone photography: Android and iPhone photography has improved in recent years. A smartphone camera has professional-grade image quality, but that doesn’t mean the shot will look professional. This option is best for a business on a tight budget that needs basic website imagery, social media content, and nothing more. With a few tips and tricks, you can capture usable images but it will never match the quality of a professionally trained photographer. 
  • Hire a professional business photographer: Years of technical training behind the lens and experience in the field make a professional photographer the best choice for expanding or refreshing your image library. Not only will they capture the best possible images, but they also have knowledge in representing brands through imagery. 

Investing in a professional photographer can seem like an additional expense. It’s not. Business branding photos can be used to enhance your professional website, create attention-grabbing visual marketing content, and improve your brand identity. All of these applications are used to develop an emotional connection with your target audience, leading to increased sales and profits. 

The key to your investment is finding the right photographer for your business. Take the time to research and find a photographer who has: 

example of folder within image library

Organize Your Image Library With The Help Of Casey Templeton Photography 

Organizing your brand’s image library is key to gaining control of your visual brand. There’s a lot to take in from this post. At the very least, I hope you understand why it’s so important to organize your image library. Following the steps provided above, you should have the knowledge to begin revamping or creating your brand’s image library

You may find, in the first step of the process, that you don’t have enough quality images for your library. If that’s the case, consider hiring a professional business photographer. 

Casey Templeton Photography offers professional photography in the greater Nashville, TN area and beyond. Casey has years of technical practice behind the lens and experience in branding for businesses of all sizes and industries. If you want to learn more about organizing an image library or start a project, fill out our contact form

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