Organizing photos in Lightroom

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zefelder Regular Member • Posts: 253
Organizing photos in Lightroom

I wonder how everyone organizes their photos in Lightroom.

This is how I do it:

1. I keep all photos in a single catalogue (300K+ currently)

2. Folder structure is <year>/<year-month-day>, such as 2022/2022-07-04. For special events like birthdays it can be 2022/2022-07-04-adam-bd and for multi-day events it can be 2022/2022-07-visiting-NYC/2022-07-04.

3. I store my photos on a hard drive, except for the photos taken during last couple of years which are kept on a SSD and the top level folders (such as 2021, 2022) are mapped to the hard drive (next to 2018, 2019, 2020...), so Lightroom thinks all photos are stored on HDD. LR cache is on SSD of course.

4. When I import photos I quickly go through all of them and mark with a 1-star all photos that I think should not be deleted. I never deleted photos yet (HDDs are cheap), but if ever I need, I can easily do so. I then add "sorted-1" label to all the imported photos, so that I know that I did the 1st pass.

5. I then add semantic labels to the photos such as "kids", "at-home", etc, but only for the starred photos. I also add a special label "tagged" so that I know I did put all the necessary labels. I normally also tag people using LR's face recognition feature or manually.

6. When I have more time I do a second pass over the 1-star photos and mark more interesting photos with 2 stars. E.g. if there are s few very similar photos in sequence, I'll keep only the best one. I may do a quick PP at this stage such as correct the exposure if it is off or make the highlights/shadows sane. I then label all these photos as "sorted-2".

7. On the last, third pass, I mark real keepers with 3-starts, do full PP and export. I mark photos as "sorted-3". If I really love the photo it gets 4-stars. I yet to give a 5-stars though..

At any moment I can see what photos I did not yet pass for labeling with 1-, 2-, or 3- stars.

For backup I have an automated daily backup to another PC. I also copy the entire catalogue to a separate HDD as a cold backup time-to-time (like yearly or so).

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