In 2016, I realized I was burned out from being my own boss, selling vintage clothing, and constantly hustling. While I’m good at marketing, I’m not the greatest salesperson—but that’s a topic for another blog.

I previously did all my freelance work under KMurrayCreative and “nuked” that site the minute I landed my first “W2” job. I couldn’t even look at it. My photography reminded me of painful personal times, and the vintage clothing had lost its magic. I uninstalled WooCommerce from VintageReveries.com and set up an automatic post recycler plugin. I couldn’t bring myself to completely kill that site, but I didn’t want to update or look at it either. I just wanted to exist and be free of obligations after 4:30 pm.

Recently, while backing up old drives to newer formats, I glimpsed some of my better creations as a photographer and creative director. I’ve always found paid work in photography, but I’ve been terrible at showcasing it. The work comes too easily, and I’m always more excited about the current or upcoming project. Seeing old images in the tiny grid view of folder contents was a nostalgic peek into my past self.

One significant challenge I’ve faced is the lack of proper naming conventions for my folders and files. Almost all my photography is only named by the date it was shot, and the contents of each folder from 2011-2016 are a mystery until I open the 50MB raw files or the web-resolution exports folder (if they exist). For example, a folder named “2010-11-20” doesn’t give any context, whereas “2010-11-20-Tiffany-1920s-dresses” would make the pictures much easier to find.

To address this, I’m hoping to rebuild my site and all of my portfolios as an exercise in professional self-discovery and personal growth. I’m starting by using ACDSee to catalog and hopefully facially recognize close to 1 million pictures (maybe 300,000 raw files). The program has struggled to handle external drives without crashing, so this project is moving slowly. I may end up reactivating my subscription to Adobe Lightroom.

The process of organizing and naming folders correctly is crucial. It saves time, reduces frustration, and ensures that valuable work isn’t lost in a sea of meaningless dates. Proper naming conventions are essential because, ten years later, you’ll thank yourself for being able to find “2010-11-20-Tiffany-1920s-dresses” instead of having to sift through countless generic date folders.

Trying to find my best work, especially my photography, for this portfolio is overwhelming and a pain, but I know it will be worth it.