Organizing your photos - software used, best methods and categories

Started Jun 23, 2013 | Discussions
Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 53,203
Re: Exactly

happypoppeye wrote:

Ok ...how can the software organize better?

I see no way it can do anything better than I can do myself ...that I need it too.

Well, maybe you just don't need much.

The biggest thing it can do is use metadata (embedded or that you add yourself) to very (very) quickly search and filter your library of images.

I'll give a couple of examples.

The most common form of metadata to add is some sort of ranking system. You go through your images and rank them, say, by stars (or pick/reject flags, if you like). Let's say your keepers are 3 stars and up, and your deletes are 1 star. You can filter on no stars (you haven't ranked them yet) and rank them. When you are done, you can filter on 1 star and delete them. Then you can filter on 4 stars or more and see your favorites - in a flash.

Another example is this. What if you're looking through your images for a particular picture you remember taking, but can't remember what it's associated with (you know, holiday, trip, whatever) so you don't know which folder it's in directly. Well, can you remember anything else? Let's say you remember it's a relatively wide-angle shot, taken with your dSLR, and that it was taken in dark conditions. You can very quickly filter your entire library down to just the images taken with that camera, at focal lengths less than, say, 35mm, and at ISOs of 800 and above. In an instant you have a screen full of thumbnails that meet those criteria. You can do this on any criteria (just videos, just raw, just apertures of f/5.6, just a particular lens, shutter speeds slower than xxxx, just portrait orientation, whatever).

And none of that requires you to add keywords. If you do keyword your images, then you can search for them and filter them on mixed criteria of keywords, metadata, and attributes like star rating. It's all very fast (a search/filter takes perhaps one second on 100,000 images) and it's very powerful.

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happypoppeye
happypoppeye Veteran Member • Posts: 3,894
Re: Exactly

ljfinger wrote:

happypoppeye wrote:

Ok ...how can the software organize better?

I see no way it can do anything better than I can do myself ...that I need it too.

Well, maybe you just don't need much.

The biggest thing it can do is use metadata (embedded or that you add yourself) to very (very) quickly search and filter your library of images.

I'll give a couple of examples.

The most common form of metadata to add is some sort of ranking system. You go through your images and rank them, say, by stars (or pick/reject flags, if you like). Let's say your keepers are 3 stars and up, and your deletes are 1 star. You can filter on no stars (you haven't ranked them yet) and rank them. When you are done, you can filter on 1 star and delete them. Then you can filter on 4 stars or more and see your favorites - in a flash.

Another example is this. What if you're looking through your images for a particular picture you remember taking, but can't remember what it's associated with (you know, holiday, trip, whatever) so you don't know which folder it's in directly. Well, can you remember anything else? Let's say you remember it's a relatively wide-angle shot, taken with your dSLR, and that it was taken in dark conditions. You can very quickly filter your entire library down to just the images taken with that camera, at focal lengths less than, say, 35mm, and at ISOs of 800 and above. In an instant you have a screen full of thumbnails that meet those criteria. You can do this on any criteria (just videos, just raw, just apertures of f/5.6, just a particular lens, shutter speeds slower than xxxx, just portrait orientation, whatever).

And none of that requires you to add keywords. If you do keyword your images, then you can search for them and filter them on mixed criteria of keywords, metadata, and attributes like star rating. It's all very fast (a search/filter takes perhaps one second on 100,000 images) and it's very powerful.

I got to admit, I have no reason to add any type of metadata like that and never needed to search for anything like that. I guess I can see why people would need it, but I just don't. I sell images on place, not on any type of technical aspect. I guess it's good for advertising and stock type images, but otherwise, its always been the subject and what the photo contains, not what it is taken with.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 53,203
Re: Exactly

happypoppeye wrote:

I got to admit, I have no reason to add any type of metadata like that and never needed to search for anything like that.

I rarely need to search across the entire catalog, but it does happen occasionally.

I guess I can see why people would need it, but I just don't. I sell images on place, not on any type of technical aspect. I guess it's good for advertising and stock type images, but otherwise, its always been the subject and what the photo contains, not what it is taken with.

So this just happened to me.  My grandfather died.  I wanted to make a sort of a collection board of images of him.  I have images of him from birthdays, holidays, trips, with my kids, and so on.  If my images had been keyworded, I could have had all images containing him up in a flash.  I didn't, so I just searched a few folders based on a couple of technical aspects (recent images, taken with SLRs, ranked pretty good).  Even without the keywords, I reduced my 160,000 image catalog to a few thousand to search through visually.

There are lots of uses for this even for people like me that don't shoot stock and primarily organize by event.

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Create Dont Imitate Junior Member • Posts: 28
Re: Exactly

I create a folder with My Grandpa's name on it and store all files pertaining to him on it.

They are all there.

Modern operating systems file systems and external hard drives is all I need. I have everything cross filed under date - project desctription - client/subject. I have never had any difficulty finding exactly what  I want.

If I for some reason cant remember exactly when I did something... then I can look for it under a project description... and if I cant remember what I did or what the purpose was [which has never  happened] then I can look for it under the name of the client or subject.

It's easy and free.

cplunk Senior Member • Posts: 1,834
Re: Well, one pesrson's "Nuts" is another person's "Gold"
1

ljfinger wrote:

Glen Barrington wrote:

I've discovered that, especially, my older photos, have mysteriously had their metadata stripped from them and I' have had to recreate, as best I can that "taken date".

Using a tool like Lightroom, that doesn't touch your original data, prevents this sort of thing from happening. Further, backups, executed wisely, would detect this sort of change.

Dates drive how I find most photos. sorted into year\yyyymmdd-description\filename, often if there's nothing too unique that day, there's no description.

I remember when I met my wife, within a few months, I remember when we were engage, and married.

I remember when I bought my house, when my son was born, when the dog was put down, when my father died.

I usually can remember where/when we were in a place on vacation within a couple years.

So, if I'm looking for pictures of my visit to Singapore, that's about 2004, maybe 2005.

Pictures of my father, work my way backward from when he passed, pictures of my son, I choose how old I want them. Pictures of my ex girlfriend, well, I think you get the idea. I can't remember when the cat passed away, but it wouldn't take me too long to find that out scrolling through a couple years.

I've been organizing photos like this for over 10 years now. And have moved the entire catalog from computer to computer, restored from backups after crashed disks, and used a variety of different programs to sort them, some early ones before I understood how "metadata" was being kept. Of course, all these picture are mine (I am not a professional), and if I'm taking pictures of local landscapes, flowers, etc., I gotta rely on keywords because the dates don't help.

I've used Google's Picasa for the last 6-7 years now, it doesn't support my new camera's RAW yet, but I'm patiently waiting (it supported RAW on my last 2 cameras). I also use the face detection on it, especially for people I know other than my immediate family.

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Jeff Veteran Member • Posts: 5,091
Re: important use case ...

Jack Hogan wrote:

Jeff wrote:

Barry Margolius wrote:

happypoppeye wrote:

Glen Barrington wrote:

I'm impressed that you're so smart that you can actually remember which photos have attributes that lie outside your basic file folder structure. Not only WHICH photos have the desired attributes, but where they are stored. It must be wonderful to be so brilliant. Personally I have to rely on memory aids.

Thank you. Not brilliance, just memory and common sense. Other than that, they are all stored in folders in the same place. Try it sometime, it works for me.

What do you do when "Cousin Bobby" graduates from college, and you want to present his parents with a folio of the best (say) 25 pictures, out of the hundreds you've taken over his last 22 years. Do you really remember where each of those pictures is: in which folder(s) in which years?

I raised this same scenario several times on this thread, and the silence has been deafening.

Of course if that's what you need to do tagging really helps, I agree. But that's just good practice that can be implemented on virtually any system, should one have the need, inclination, discipline and time - including effortlessly and freely on plain old vanilla Windows7+

Folder structure: YYYY(\Client)\Event
File structure: (Cllient\)Event_YYMMDD(SS)_frame#.NEF

both set automatically on import (I omit the Client and SS part). Tagging optional for special occasions or if one is keen

Jack

Hi Jack -- let's see if I can reply to both your replies in one message.

Exactly.  If you're tagging then were doing the same thing with different tools. Folders as storage objects, files with unique names, and metadata tags for searching and retrieval. In my own system I'd leave out the Event part of your filenames, but that's not an important difference since the approach is virtually the same. I happen to do this in Lightroom with an option set to store keywords and metadata with the image files.

My guess is that if I shipped you my hard drive that you could search my files my files using your favorite tools. And if you shipped me yours, I could import into LR and do the same on your files.

LR makes keyword tagging relatively painless since you can select a group of images and apply a keyword to the whole selection. Plus you have the list of keywords right there making easy to reuse your keywords.

I happen to like LR, but the strategy (filenames as permanent ID's, folders as buckets in which to store files, and metadata for search and retrieval) can be done a lot of different ways.

Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 53,203
Re: Exactly

Create Dont Imitate wrote:

I create a folder with My Grandpa's name on it and store all files pertaining to him on it.

They are all there.

Not possible.  What about family portraits?  Do you copy the same image and file it under everyone's name?  What about shots primarily of others that happen to also have your grandpa in them?  In my case, a large number of photos of my children also have their great grandpa in them.  Should I store copies of all of those in his folder as well?

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Dave729 Regular Member • Posts: 197
It took me a while to realize it, but the delete button is the best tool...

I ve used LR since 1.0, and while not large in comparison to many commenting, I have about 21k photos in the catalog.  The single biggest change I've made that really is making a difference in retreivability is using the delete button ruthlessly.

I read this process online somewhere but can't remember who to give the credit to.  If I'm repeating what you already know, forgive me.

It's three stages of RUTHLESS DELETION of photos:

1. Delete  it in your camera.  If you review your photos in camera, either chimping or scanning through them, RUTHLESSLY hit the delete button for those that are obvious non-keepers. The never see the input side of a card reader.

2. Delete during the import process. When the thumbnails are displayed, you have a slightly larger view of the picture to make a judgement on the fly about its retention-worthiness, particularly since you can see each photo in context with the other shots. RUTHLESSLY uncheck the import box. After everything is imported, erase the card.

3. Delete it in tagging.  I generally tag specifics after I import. You can blow up to full size and once again, RUTHLESSLY ask yourself if the photo is worth keeping. We all usually take multiple shots of the same thing.  WHich one would you print in a photo book? Hit the "X" button in LR and it gets flagged as a reject. Takes all of a couple of seconds.  In doubt? Keep it. Then periodically have LR delete the rejected photos FROM YOUR DISK.

I've moved to probably keeping less than 40% of my shots, making tagging and adding metadata faster.

On your file method question, I started with directories by year and sub folders by month, but I swiched to just using a year as the lowest level folder.

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JudyN Veteran Member • Posts: 4,520
Re: Windows Explorer/Mac File Manager is all I need!

ljfinger wrote:

Lost images? Lightroom doesn't lose images. The images are always still in folders as always. You can delete LR and the catalog and the images remain.

The images remain but not the edits you did in Lightroom.  Even if you did write out the metadata the edit metadata is not readable by anybody but Adobe so far, as far as I know.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 53,203
Re: Windows Explorer/Mac File Manager is all I need!

JudyN wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Lost images? Lightroom doesn't lose images. The images are always still in folders as always. You can delete LR and the catalog and the images remain.

The images remain but not the edits you did in Lightroom. Even if you did write out the metadata the edit metadata is not readable by anybody but Adobe so far, as far as I know.

That part is true (mostly) but that isn't the same as losing images.

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JudyN Veteran Member • Posts: 4,520
Re: Your Brain is much better than software...

happypoppeye wrote:

Just put them in folders by event/trip/etc ...I never understood why you would need software to organize your photos ...event folder/jpeg folder/tiff folder

Even though I have a PhD in physics (not kidding...) my brain isn't good enough to do what I want to do.  If you're happy, fine.  But I wasn't happy.  I almost think the requirements for personal/family photos are even greater than for professional photographers.  Wedding photographers have it particularly easy.

Let's have a race.  The project is to make a booklet out of images of a particular child, grandchild, friend.  How long will it take you to find all of the photos with that person in them, collect them, decide which ones to print.  Properly tagged in Lightroom I could get all of the photos of a particular person in seconds.  OK, my tagging is not completely up to date, but I have used this method to make such booklets.

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JudyN Veteran Member • Posts: 4,520
Re: Windows Explorer/Mac File Manager is all I need!

ljfinger wrote:

JudyN wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Lost images? Lightroom doesn't lose images. The images are always still in folders as always. You can delete LR and the catalog and the images remain.

The images remain but not the edits you did in Lightroom. Even if you did write out the metadata the edit metadata is not readable by anybody but Adobe so far, as far as I know.

That part is true (mostly) but that isn't the same as losing images.

True.

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Judy

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JudyN Veteran Member • Posts: 4,520
Re: It took me a while to realize it, but the delete button is the best tool...
2

Dave729 wrote:

I ve used LR since 1.0, and while not large in comparison to many commenting, I have about 21k photos in the catalog. The single biggest change I've made that really is making a difference in retreivability is using the delete button ruthlessly.

I read this process online somewhere but can't remember who to give the credit to. If I'm repeating what you already know, forgive me.

It's three stages of RUTHLESS DELETION of photos:

1. Delete it in your camera. If you review your photos in camera, either chimping or scanning through them, RUTHLESSLY hit the delete button for those that are obvious non-keepers. The never see the input side of a card reader.

2. Delete during the import process. When the thumbnails are displayed, you have a slightly larger view of the picture to make a judgement on the fly about its retention-worthiness, particularly since you can see each photo in context with the other shots. RUTHLESSLY uncheck the import box. After everything is imported, erase the card.

3. Delete it in tagging. I generally tag specifics after I import. You can blow up to full size and once again, RUTHLESSLY ask yourself if the photo is worth keeping. We all usually take multiple shots of the same thing. WHich one would you print in a photo book? Hit the "X" button in LR and it gets flagged as a reject. Takes all of a couple of seconds. In doubt? Keep it. Then periodically have LR delete the rejected photos FROM YOUR DISK.

I've moved to probably keeping less than 40% of my shots, making tagging and adding metadata faster.

On your file method question, I started with directories by year and sub folders by month, but I swiched to just using a year as the lowest level folder.

I am a saver.  I'm 72 and it's probably hopeless for me to reform me at this point.  So I will give the why delete arguments that I can think of off the top of my head...

Disk is cheap.  Really cheap.  It takes me time to delete.  Re saving time tagging, to an extent, but Lightroom allows one to select multiple images at a time for tagging and I usually do that.   Location fields go in from GPS.  I do other tags in mass when I import.  My folder structure also provides some information.

I can't necessarily judge with a quick look.  Something that looks good in a thumb may be out of focus.  Something that looks uninteresting in a thumb may be not that bad.

Deleting in camera? That to me is particularly stupid.  Get a big enough card.  I have a friend who wastes all of our time peering at his LCD, running down his battery, wasting all of our time, to delete photos while looking at an LCD screen.  To me that is a BIG waste of time.  Even if you want to delete, at least do it when you can actually see them.

Now what DOES get me is my friends and relatives who expect me to look at ALL of their uploaded pictures from a trip/event/whatever.  PLEASE select only the best to show us.  You don't have time to select but WE have time to look at all of them after downloading them on our not-very-good DSL?  I don't even take a peek.

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Jeff Veteran Member • Posts: 5,091
There's an important LR option to know about ...

JudyN wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

Lost images? Lightroom doesn't lose images. The images are always still in folders as always. You can delete LR and the catalog and the images remain.

The images remain but not the edits you did in Lightroom. Even if you did write out the metadata the edit metadata is not readable by anybody but Adobe so far, as far as I know.

Depends on how you've set your options. You can have LR store the develop changes within the image files xmp fields.

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/lightroom/using/WS638E3AC9-A04C-4445-A0D3-F7D8BA5CDE37.html

Adrian Van Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: ACDSee Pro is a good sorting, management and basic editing program
1

Have both Mac and PC versions for 2 computers. ACDSee Pro 6 for PC which I love is very stable on a newer i7/i5 system or system with lots of ram memory. Mac with Acdsee pro 2 is good, however sometimes a bit quirky on demanding memory in processing image, but none the less, I like it and use it. I still also have Mac with ACDSee Pro 1 still installed as it is less prone to freezes or lag time, and the smaller program is faster to run so I use for simpler tasks like sorting/basic edits.

Of both systems, my new PC with ACDSee Pro 6 is faster and works great on my new 2013 i7 Dell XPS 64 bit system and opens instantly with no lag on images at all, loading shot to shot or editing.

My imac 2009 27 inch works well with ACDSee pro 1 for mac, but bit sluggish sometimes on processing with ACDSee pro 2 (although has extra features which I use sometimes) but viewing/sorting is okay with version 2. I have SSD for the Dell, but I only a regular hard drive for the imac so this could make some difference. You need a fast system for best use of this program.

For file management on mac or pc, ACDSee Pro is very good software which I really like on both and have used for a few years.

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v steffel Senior Member • Posts: 1,276
Re: It took me a while to realize it, but the delete button is the best tool...

Excellent, especially points 2 and 3.

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Jack Hogan Veteran Member • Posts: 6,681
Re: important use case ...
1

Jeff wrote: ... the strategy (filenames as permanent ID's, folders as buckets in which to store files, and metadata for search and retrieval)...

Closure

fotoRich Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: ACDSee Pro is a good sorting, management and basic editing program

Thanks Adrian, Glen.

While not discounting Adrian's first hand experience, there is a mountain of dissatisfaction on the ACDSee forum and Mac Ap Store about the stability, usability and functions of the current Mac version (ACDSee Pro 3).

I don't feel tempted to invest time in trying it, even though I like sound of the features.

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fotoRich Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: Organizing your photos - software used, best methods and categories

Jack - I can't find a Mac equivalent the Nikon Raw codec. Do you know if there is such a thing / are its EXIF search functions matched by something else?

Cheers

Richard

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Adrian Van Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: ACDSee Pro is a good sorting, management and basic editing program

fotoRich wrote:

Thanks Adrian, Glen.

While not discounting Adrian's first hand experience, there is a mountain of dissatisfaction on the ACDSee forum and Mac Ap Store about the stability, usability and functions of the current Mac version (ACDSee Pro 3).

I don't feel tempted to invest time in trying it, even though I like sound of the features.

thanks for reply Glen.

I am currently only using ACDSee Pro 1 and 2 on the mac, as although I bought the Pro 3 upgrade for mac version, after buying it I found out it will not install on Snow Leopard, only on Lion. I will keep it for my next OS update, as I may get a mac mini later on for portable solution to big monitor for shows etc.

I do like the program, but I can say it is quirky and sometimes slow in processing (version 2 mac) and the occasional freeze. I can otherwise live with that as I know lots of programs have a few quirks and my system is relatively fast with ram.

If you do not have a fast system on mac with power or ram, it could be even less performing.

On the other hand, with ACDSee Pro 5 and 6 for windows, I have run Pro 5 or 6 on a dual core with little problem on a PC. It is great on PC. They have different software developers team in the company working each system I could only guess as menus/layouts look somewhat different, and windows ACDSee Pro 6 has far more features over mac version 2 (so far).

The only other comment I can make is that ACDSee Pro software is nearly always on sale most months it seems, so not at all expensive to buy (or try for a free trial).

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