Organizing your photos - software used, best methods and categories

Started Jun 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Osvaldo Cristo
Osvaldo Cristo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,347
Who and how to retrieve?

As any data bank the most important question is "Who and how to retrieve?" followed by more technical questions as the size of the data base and the kind of relationship to be constructed in order to support the people that will retrieve the information according the chosen way.

So it is obvious the photo data base from National Geographic will demand different approach than the data base for family snapshots made by Uncle Ben.

In my personal case:

  1. I am amateur. The single user from my data base is myself. I do not care about what will happen with my data base when I eventually pass away
  2. I have only digital photography in my data base. It is quite different from digitalized one: digital photography has embedded into it information on date it was shot, Digitalized photos, per default, no: when digitalizing a film the date of shooting is not embedded into the file. I do not need additional data for date anywhere, either in the file name or other structures as folder
  3. I shot raw but I have JPEG edited version from each one: if does not worth to spend a couple of minutes in a raw shot, it does not worth to maintain in my data base. It is my criterions to avoid (much) crap. I store something between 25-30% from my shots. They are my "keepers"
  4. JPEG images are organized in folders according the overall subject. For a vacations with the family, for example, it could be a single folder "Vacations in Amazon" or distributed in more folders as "Vacations - Amazon River", "Vacations - Manaus", "Vacation - Fishing in Rio Negro" - it will depend of the amount of pictures and the level of my own interest
  5. Each 1,000 keepers also will generate one 100 pictures folder named Favorites xx, where xx is in chronological order
  6. My search criterions are date (Windows will find directly any data range you look for), Key words (part of the folder name) or visual using my "Favorites" as even it is not included into the several Favorites folders, usually I can associate with some one made in the same photo session and as all files maintain the same unique name (raw, JPEG large and JPEG small for the Favorites) I have direct access to all two or three versions from the same picture

I use this system since 1998 and my current data base has more than 52,000 original files, mostly raw. Usually I can retrieve any one very fast - just a few times I would need more than a couple of minutes and never I failed to retrieve any picture I was looking for.

I do not need any fancy name scheme and no data base with some crazy format to be maintained. Only the (crap) Windows system. Noting more.

On the other hand, if your needs for retrieve are different from mine, almost certainly you will need a different scheme.


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O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

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