Organizing your photos - software used, best methods and categories

Started Jun 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 53,375
Re: I'm absolutely not

Peter Krogh wrote:

Folders can be useful for image organization, for sure, and I don't suggest otherwise.

The biggest problems with using folders as the *principle* method for organization are these, in my opinion.

1. The information is really fragile. Once an image is removed from the folder tree, then the information may be no longer attached to the image. This becomes a huge problem for derivative files.

I disagree with this one.  Folders are much less fragile because everything recognizes them.  If I copy a folder tree to my phone it can show me the tree properly despite being unable to read any file metadata in the files themselves.  When I switched from Elements to RSP to Lightroom, I lost nothing and could continue as though nothing happened.  The same when I lost my Lightroom catalog.

2. Folders as metadata are pretty limited. You can only make note of a few properties of the image before the folder/file naming system becomes too complicated. Many people like to make use of dates, locations, event names and quality ratings to name but a few categories of data that are useful for organizing images.

True.  This is critical for some types of photography (stock) and not for others (events).

3. Metadata, on the other hand, can be embedded in a file and in derivatives of the file. The metadata field can define the meaning of the attached term (is New York the city, state, or Las Vegas resort?). Metadata can also allow for viewing and searching images according to different primary and secondary criteria in a way that folders simply cannot do. (Show all pictures primarily by date and then secondarily by location, or show all pictures primarily by location and then secondarily by date).

Also true.  I use embedded metadata for this.

3. Folders are however, essential in storage architecture, since they are the main metaphor used by most file systems. Therefore an unambiguous, scalable and orderly schema is called for. Folders are *primarily* used for storage architecture, and *secondarily* used for image organization, due to the issues outlined above.

Which is primary and secondary is irrelevant.  My point is that both are valuable and the recommendation to copy the date embedded metadata to the folder names renders that metadata field - the most universally compatible field - valueless.

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