If your photos are scattered across different computers, hard drives, and mobile devices to the point where you can't find anything, then it's time to start a single archive immediately. For Steinmetz, it's not about which type of software you use to keep track of everything – he uses Media Pro, in case you were wondering – it's about picking a system and sticking to it.
He suggests setting up a system that lets you easily search images chronologically: "Every time you download a picture to your hard drive, give it a unique number," Steinmetz says. "Start with the date, as a year-month-day system, then add a number for each photo. That way, all your pictures show up in your archive in order. Once you do that, you'll be able to more easily edit your material, and see your mistakes and successes. That's the only way you're going to get better."