Advice on the big picture of a clean-slate workflow

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crosenbaum New Member • Posts: 1
Advice on the big picture of a clean-slate workflow

Photography, like most topics worth learning, definitely features the feeling of the more you know, the more you feel you don't. I've made solid progress in my ten years of taking photos, but am about to reboot my DAM/processing workflow from scratch, so before I jump in I'm hoping for feedback on an overall approach.

I switched to Mac six years ago and began this journey with Aperture, which was deprecated shortly thereafter and so I stopped that workflow, and despite some trials of various usual suspects, I haven't yet gotten over the hurdle on a new one.

I'll say I've done a ton of reading on this forum and others, and have developed good theses on bits of pieces of the below, but I'm a bit paralyzed on connecting the dots. Surely it's a long game that I'll revise over time, but a firm foundation is at least worth a best shot. I know folks on here are kind with their time, so I don't want to take advantage of it since there's a lot of info here, but brief guidance is most appreciated. My day jobs have been in the realm of education, tech and product management, so I'd even be happy to trade expertise if someone is in need.

The background:

  • Library is ~35k files = ~20k photos (most in both RAW+JPEG) = 380GB. Most all on Canon cameras.
  • Up until now, that has all fit on my Mac (backed up on Synology NAS and then Backblaze), but I'm maxed out, so how I (easily!) manage storage and splitting of RAW and JPG files across laptop/NAS is a big question.
  • My first aspiration is to really catalog everything -- culling, rating, metadata, organizing, etc. -- and do basic processing to get everything presentable. Only later will I look to advance my skill in the advanced editing (Photoshop et al), so this is an expansion desire but not a critical near-term need.
  • Mostly landscape/travel work. I do some bracketing for HDR, the occasional pano spread, and have a litany of old apps/plug-ins that are a mess of a workflow (Hugin, Photomatix, Luminance HDR, etc...)
  • I'd like either native or plug-in functionality to do easy geo-tagging, as I have photography from over 65 countries that I'd like to better catalog. Facial recognition is a nice plus.
  • I'd like all the meta data mentioned above portable across ecosystems, whether by sidecar files (which I haven't yet personally used but understand their function) or otherwise
  • I also take a good amount of casual photography on my phones, and I'd like that not to be entirely isolated, I'd prefer the concept of a 'unified' photographic universe. 
  • Casual access to the entire library through the cloud would be awesome, just to be able to pull up an old photo on my phone even if just small version. Whether that's through iOS and OS X by having Photos / iCloud simply sit on top of whatever master system I use, or by something like Adobe's cloud offering (which seems to have a lot of detractors)

Over a year ago I was down this research path, and after weighing a lot of opinions -- the nuance and detail of which I've since mostly forgotten -- I ordered ON1 RAW 2017 with high hopes. While many both hail and criticize Adobe and LR, I understood even from some of the fans that they were there from momentum, looking for the alternative when it finally came along, and many cautioned they wouldn't pick it to start from scratch. So ON1 it was, but then I had to go abroad for work for a year, and nothing happened. From what I've read, I didn't miss much with RAW 2017. So here I sit, with a free upgrade to ON1 RAW 2018, but the money spent is now far less important than making the best choice I can today.

Choice paralysis, but I don't want to spend several hundred hours moving in a poor direction if I can prevent it.

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