How To: Tidy Up and Reorganise Your Digital Photo Collection (Part 2: Photo De-duplication)

In the first part of our guide to reorganising your digital photo collection, we migrated all of our photos into a newly created folder structure, with a Year > Month > Day hierarchy. Today, we’ll take a look at another common issue that will bite you unless you stay on top of it – photo duplication.

Scan through your photo collection, and you’re bound to see a host of duplicated files – especially if, like me, you’ve let your collection go to seed from a management perspective. Years of moving photos backward and forwards, blind copying files from backups, moving files to the Cloud and back, editing and renaming photos – all of these common tasks contribute to file duplication.

That’s just the obvious – dig a little deeper, and you’ll find you have duplicate photos that are named differently – sneaky hidden duplicates that you may not pick up manually. So, with thousands of files to work through, we’re going to need a little bit of help.

There are many file de-duplication apps on the market – the best offer multiple methods for detecting duplicate files. File name match is a given, but these apps also offer file size match, hash matches and other clever methods to tease out those hidden duplicates.

Today I’ll introduce you to one such application, called Gemini (all about twins, get it?). Gemini allows you to find duplicate photos across multiple folders and network locations, using smart algorithms to compare and propose duplicates for deletion. Quickly.

It’s all handled in a beautiful interface that’s a cinch to use. The process is simple – point Gemini at the folders you wish to de-duplicate (you can browse or simply drag and drop folders on to the app window), the app then goes off and scans those folders. You’ll be presented with duplicates, with a preview window available so you can check the files really are duplicates. Select the files you want to delete and they’ll be moved to your Trash can.  All done. Let’s take a look.

Firstly, when you open Gemini, you’ll be presented with a window asking you to add or drop folders on to the window for scanning.

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Click the plus button to browse for your new photo collection folder, or simply drag it from Finder on to the Gemini arrow. You only need to select the top level of the hierarchy – all of your sub-folders will be included automatically.

Once you’ve added your folders, a Scan button will appear – click it to get started. Gemini rapidly scans your folders seeking duplicates – obviously, the larger your collection, the slower the process but Gemini is pretty nippy. Once completed, you’ll see a list (a long list in my case) of duplicate files, ready for review.

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The interface here is brilliant – duplicate files are grouped together in the left hand pane with a preview and list of files over on the right. Click through the list and you can preview individual photos to be absolutely sure they’re duplicates (video files are also included in the scan and will be detected – the preview window allows video playback too). Simply check the duplicate files you’re happy to delete – you’ll be warned if you try to delete all files, including the original.

When you’re ready to delete a batch of files, hit the Remove Selected button, and you’ll be able to review the list of files before proceeding. Handily, you can see how many files you’re deleting and how much storage space you’ve reclaimed.

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When you’re ready, click Remove and those files will be deleted! If you want to share your de-duplication success with the world, you can do so with Twitter.

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Proceed through your duplicates list and before you know it, your photo collection will be duplicate-free! That completes part two of the guide to reorganizing your digital photos folders. Join us again soon when we’ll be looking at improving file names and EXIF data.




  1. wow i been going through the same problem of trying to organize my family photos this month

    can you list windows apps too ? and most problem problem is how can anyone add his photos to the server from any device and add permissions to them

  2. a7medo7778 – I just switched to Mac and was looking for the alternatives that I used on a PC. I used Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder – it was pretty basic but did the job for de-dupeing

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