Move raw images into new subfolders


I have a Canon camera that can store the raw image along with the compressed jpeg. I activted this feature, although I never use the raw images. I plan to use them when I will create prints from my pictures to put them into frames. In the meantime I need to store the raw image files (*.cr2 in my case) in a way that won’t cause troubles when looking at the pictures.

Several solutions came to my mind:

Global raw folder

This would mean a separate global folder which would hold all the raw images. There are several issues with this approach:

  • Having a huge amount of files in one single folder would slow down the file browsers (Finder, Explorer, …) when accessing the given folder
  • When the camera uses all the available 9999 file names , and starts to create files name with 0001, 0002 again, I will need to create another global raw folder. It is not a huge inconvenience, but it is definitely not a nice solution
  • It is somewhat hard to locate an image by name among a huge amount of other images
Mirrored raw folder structure

This solution would mean to have the same folder hierarchy that holds the images and movies be replicated in a separate folder. The same folder should be present with the same name and same subfolders. The raw images would be stored in this mirrored structure.

There is one big problem with this approach

  • The two folder structures need to be kept synchronized. This means every folder create, rename, delete, move, and any image copy or move should be done twice
Separate raw subfolder in each folder

The solution means that in every folder that holds images, a new subfolder will be created, and the raw files will be moved into this subfolder. The subfolders will be name uniformly, I name them raw by convention.

The benefits of this solution are:

  • It is easy to locate the raw image, it is one subfolder away from the compressed jpeg.
  • The creation cost is low: a folder needs to be created and the raw images need to be moved.
  • The maintenance cost is low. The only time extra operation is needed is when an image is moved or deleted.


As you probably can guess, I chose to use the third approach in my image collection, and I implemented a task in Photo Chaos Organizer to facilitate the creation of the folder and movement of images.