Cataloging your photos

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Cataloging your photos

Postby ozimax on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:57 pm

OK, I'll be the first to admit it. I'm hopeless at organizing photos. I think I'm getting better, but I still rely on memory almost 100% when I need to find a photo. Any hints out there as to the best way to organize tens of thousands of photos and have them readily accessible when needed? (I have a monthly subscription to PS/LR, but I've never taken the time to learn LR and all it's cataloging goodness).

Any comments appreciated.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby TonyT on Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:47 am

Hi Oz

This is what LR good at and what I use.

My way is folder with sub-folders e.g. Travel - NSW - Cowra, Overseas Travel - England - London.

Keywords for example family photo's (which I have a folder named Family with sub-folders Birthdays and the like) I keyword every ones name that's in the photo. Same with other photo's coast, surf, coastline.

One thing with LR if you move photo's outside of LR. LR will not know where there are, then you have to show LR where there are.

I import all photo's as date- file number. This way I know which year the photo was taken just personal choice.

LR you can rate the photo's, stars, colours and for example you create a collection of all photo tagged green or 1 star.

I have a collection that has all photo's that I flag as a pick (P) these are the photo's after I have imported, that I think are the best of the lot from that photo shot.

Thats my way.

Cheers
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby ozimax on Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:13 am

Thanks Tony. I really need to learn LR and get organized. My memory has enabled me to find required files thus far, but as the grey matter fades genetically, I think I need another system. Time is the problem for all of us I imagine.

Another question? How many backup systems does everyone have? I have about 5-6 HDD/SSD with multiple backups, including a master HDD at mum's place, in a Pelican case.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby TonyT on Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:53 pm

I have 4 backups but only 2 complete. I need to address this.

With LR learning I found Abode TV with Julieanne Kosh really good.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Aussie Dave on Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:29 pm

For the past decade I created folders and sub-folders under Windows to create my own file structure that I used religiously.
I always thought it would make finding images easier as they were always segregated.
I would have a year folder, then 12 monthly sub-folders.
In each monthly folder there would be other sub-folders named by the shoot.
Within the shoot folder I'd have a RAW, JPEGS and EDITS folders.
Note: I always shoot in RAW, so the JPEGS folder was for my output files, not for out-of-camera JPEGS).

However, I've used LR since day dot and generally, whenever I look for an image I tend to go via LR so I always wondered if there was another way that didn't involve the rabbit warren of folders.

As of 2016 I have simplified my file structure.
I have a 2016 folder and within this folder I have my RAW, JPEGS and EDITS folders.
All RAW files for 2016 go into the RAW folder.
Initially I thought, OMG what am I doing. How will I find anything.

Thankfully, LR is brilliant for cataloguing and one of the most powerful features is called Smart Collections.
I can create a Smart Collection, tell it to look at the 2016 RAW folder and group any files that meet certain criteria.
So, I have Smart collections per month (the "2016 January" collection looks for any RAW files shot between 1 Jan 2016 and 31 Jan 2016, using the EXIF data of the files themselves).
I can create my Smart collections for each month ahead of time so each month as I add new files to the RAW folder the smart collections automatically add them to the collection for me.

I can also have other smart collections that look for JPEGS which may have specific keywords, ratings or other criteria.
Amazingly powerful.

If you can get into the habit of using at least basic keywording then you can very quickly find things in huge catalogues.
Whenever you have an amazing shot you are really proud of, keyword it with something like "portfolio" or similar, then you can have a smart collection group any images with that keyword - an easy way to instantly bring up the best of your work all together.

Of course this is heavily reliant on LR but I don't see myself moving from LR anytime soon so for now I think this method is working well for me so I'll keep persisting.
I also rename every image and always include the original file number in every image or copy, so they can be easily cross-referenced.
For example, DSC_12345.NEF (I am a Nikon shooter), when I output it will be renamed as 12345_web (if it is to be used for online use), or 12345_8x10 (if it is a print-ready file that has been resized for printing at 8"x10" size).
This way, if I am looking at a JPEG and I want to re-edit it I can very easily find the original RAW file because I know the original file number.
As my shotter count has surpassed 9999 clicks, I have an auto-import rule that renames the file and adds 1 in front of the original file number.

If you are new to LR this method may not work for you but it shows you what is available and gives you an idea on what you could do.

Keywords, ratings and flagging are great ways to identify your images and smart collections just continually monitor folders and add anything that meets the set criteria into that collection automatically.

Dave
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Matt. K on Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:19 pm

I am about to embark on the same exercise. I have tens of thousands of images scattered all over the place on numerous hard drives and am about to organize them into a meaningful structure. I have not yet decided exactly how but simplicity will be the key. Against the best advice I have been given I will most likely place the files into something like a series of folders titled....FAMILY..FLORA..ANIMALS..ARCHITECTURE..OBJECTS..ART.
Each image will be key worded and smart collections can be constructed from the metadata, date and key words as required. Having previously constructed a database of over 60,000 images for the company I worked for I know what joy I am about to experience.
Regards

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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby TonyT on Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:02 am

I started with year - month - canberra zoo and an excel spreadsheet of the structure. Over time as the catalog got bigger this was not working, so then went to my current folder structure likes Matts is thinking of. I import all my photo's into a folder called Assorted reason it starts with A so it's at the top of the tree. In this folder I rate, delete (X), keyword and then move the photo's into the folders - subfolders or create new sub-folder as required. Smart collections is a very strong tool to use all my pano sequence shots are tagged green and the stitched pano are tagged yellow and therefore are capture by a smart collection.

You can also search the catalog by year, camera, lens, F-stop, etc.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Mr Darcy on Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:09 am

One issue with LR keywording is that while they allow synonyms, it is still not possible to search on synonyms.

So if you have a photo tagged
Animals -> Birds -> Cracticus tibicen with the last having the synonym "Magpie"
then a search for "Magpie" will not find the photo.

People have been complaining to Adobe since at least LR3 about this.
There is a third party fix though.

As for backups Tony,
I use two 6 disk RAID6 NAS drives Each is backed up using independent backup software.

I no longer do an offsite backup. I just found it too cumbersome in my situation.
I will probably do a one-off offsite backup prior to the fire season.

Within LR, I keep all my photos sorted by date. That makes it easy to move older photos offline, but still leaving them searchable.
I search by keyword.

Now all I need to do is get back to taking photos. Sigh.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby ozimax on Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:08 am

Thanks all. My question is to whether or not I knuckle down and learn LR. I couldn't locate my 2009 image folder but upon cleaning up my study (which is also my wife's sewing/craft room and her junk is spreading like an uncontrollable virus) I found an old HDD containing the aforementioned folder, so happy days again.

I need to follow Matt's example and do a complete clean up and archive of everything. Actually, I might ask Matt to get some practice in by doing mine first... :biglaugh: :biglaugh: :biglaugh:
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby biggerry on Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:17 pm

I organise by folders and then via Lightroom (sort of) - i tend to rather spend my time shooting then cataloguing and its unfortunately getting the better of me :( Lightroom seems to be one the better software packages out there, however what I like about view NX is than when you import you images off the SD card and keyword them, those keywords are embedded in the raw file, whereas in Lightroom its all in the catalogue file, meaning no other program can utilise it.

My basic process is to import off the SD card using view NX, this automatically applies some standard keywords and metadata, i then review in NX and sometimes add more keywords (i should do this all the time) then finally import these into LR - I use LR for some editing mostly bulk stuff, but use PS and captureNX for serious images :)

some good information in this thread :) reminds me of the good old forum days :)

Mr Darcy wrote:Now all I need to do is get back to taking photos. Sigh.


that can be arranged - fancy a waterfall shoot this weekend ;)
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Mr Darcy on Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:48 pm

biggerry wrote:that can be arranged - fancy a waterfall shoot this weekend ;)


I didn't know there were any waterfalls at Mullion Creek. Anyway I will be too busy.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby biggerry on Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:39 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:
I didn't know there were any waterfalls at Mullion Creek. Anyway I will be too busy.


lols :) but there is lots of canola there at the moment, every better than waterfalls :)
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Aussie Dave on Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:21 pm

biggerry wrote:.........however what I like about view NX is than when you import you images off the SD card and keyword them, those keywords are embedded in the raw file, whereas in Lightroom its all in the catalogue file, meaning no other program can utilise it.


I believe if you save/convert to DNG format then the metadata will be included in the DNG file, so any program that can read DNG files should have access to that metadata.
The downside to this method (from what i understand), is that by saving the metadata inside each and every DNG file, everytime you make a change to the image it has to overwrite the entire DNG file again.....and from further reading this can occur even if you syncronise a folder in Lightroom that has DNG files inside (for some reason the syncronisation triggers the DNG files to be updated/re-written).

Personally, I think using sidecar files/catalog files is fine (as long as you remember to backup both your images AND your sidecar files or LR catalog).

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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby ozimax on Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:48 pm

Aussie Dave wrote:Personally, I think using sidecar files/catalog files is fine (as long as you remember to backup both your images AND your sidecar files or LR catalog).

Dave


What is a sidecar file?

(I don't even have a motorcycle any more...)
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Mr Darcy on Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:01 pm

When when you edit a photo in Lightroom, it doesn't actually alter the photo. Instead it creates a second file with the instructions for all edits in it. This is called a sidecar file. It has an .xmp extension. If you simply copy the raw file you will lose all the edits.
When you export a file from Lightroom it applies all the edits to the new exported file.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows unlimited undo even if you close and reopen LR. Even if you use a different copy of LR on a different computer. It also means that the edits are non destructive. A big advantage for jpgs and even RAW files.

The downside is that if the photo gets separated from the sidecar, you will lose all your edits.
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby Mr Darcy on Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:04 pm

biggerry wrote:
Mr Darcy wrote:
I didn't know there were any waterfalls at Mullion Creek. Anyway I will be too busy.


lols :) but there is lots of canola there at the moment, every better than waterfalls :)


Thanks for the reminder. I must take a camera. However it's a birthday party. Two actually. So I doubt I will get time for extracurricular activity
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Re: Cataloging your photos

Postby ozimax on Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:18 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:When when you edit a photo in Lightroom, it doesn't actually alter the photo. Instead it creates a second file with the instructions for all edits in it. This is called a sidecar file. It has an .xmp extension. If you simply copy the raw file you will lose all the edits.
When you export a file from Lightroom it applies all the edits to the new exported file.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows unlimited undo even if you close and reopen LR. Even if you use a different copy of LR on a different computer. It also means that the edits are non destructive. A big advantage for jpgs and even RAW files.

The downside is that if the photo gets separated from the sidecar, you will lose all your edits.



Aha. Now I get it. I always wondered what an .xmp file was. Many thanks.
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