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10-10-2019, 05:15 AM   #1
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How do you organize your images?

I have to admit that I often have trouble finding a particular image I took. I initially got into photography back in film days and it was more of a means to document what I saw in the field as biology student.I needed to know the location and date mostly and that was easy enough to write on the 35mm slide . Film and processing was expensive for me as a student so I was very conservative in my shooting..

Flash forward to today.. My photography became a hobby in its own right. Though still a biologist I take pictures now for a different reason.. just because I enjoy them .Digital has multiplied my images by many many fold. I have images stored on multiple drives. I havent really figured out how best to label and store them. I generally stay with my original formula..
Folders labelled with date and location... Its ok now as I have a pretty good memory but I am sure that will fade.

So if I may ask..how the heck do you all keep track of the images? A professional photographer I know suggested to set up folders by subject which seems like a good idea. If I had a folder called "Herons" I could find that image of a great blue heron I took a few years ago but have since forgotten when.

Al

10-10-2019, 05:26 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by brewmaster15 Quote
I have to admit that I often have trouble finding a particular image I took. I initially got into photography back in film days and it was more of a means to document what I saw in the field as biology student.I needed to know the location and date mostly and that was easy enough to write on the 35mm slide . Film and processing was expensive for me as a student so I was very conservative in my shooting..

Flash forward to today.. My photography became a hobby in its own right. Though still a biologist I take pictures now for a different reason.. just because I enjoy them .Digital has multiplied my images by many many fold. I have images stored on multiple drives. I havent really figured out how best to label and store them. I generally stay with my original formula..
Folders labelled with date and location... Its ok now as I have a pretty good memory but I am sure that will fade.

So if I may ask..how the heck do you all keep track of the images? A professional photographer I know suggested to set up folders by subject which seems like a good idea. If I had a folder called "Herons" I could find that image of a great blue heron I took a few years ago but have since forgotten when.

Al
RAWs going into folders by date, occasionally with a subject added to the folder name but more often I add tags to the folder to accommodate
multiple subjects. Processed images go into subject specific folders, then dated folders, both with tags. Searching for images then comes down
to A) being disciplined to create those tags B) being thorough yet accurate with those tags.
10-10-2019, 05:40 AM   #3
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Until a few months ago, I organized everything by folder structure. Three top-level folders: Family, Creative, Other. Second level by year. Third level would be folders by date_subject (e.g. 20190327_hike). This worked well enough for a long time, as long as I could remember what year did we go on that hike, or when was that anniversary party? However, as my collection grew I wanted to find things like "all the nice portraits of my kids" or "good pictures I haven't edited yet" or "am I getting any good shots out of my plastic fantastic".

Now I'm using a DAM (iMatch) that supports tagging, color labels, robust filtering and searching, etc. It will take some time to go through my collection to tag everything, but in the end I hope to have pictures rated (so I can find good ones), tagged by status (so I can see what editing still needs to be done), and tagged by WHAT/WHO subjects (so I can find what I'm looking for quickly).
10-10-2019, 05:48 AM   #4
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Mine are organized into folders by date. Then keyworded in Lightroom, and organized into different collections as needed.

The keywords make finding things much easier, but are reliant on you actually assigning keywords. I aim to do broad keywords when I import (e.g. "bird", "moth") as these take little time. Then I apply more specific keywords when I'm culling or editing (like species names). This is more flexible than a "Heron" folder as an image could have a Heron eating a Frog, should it go in the Heron folder or the Frog folder? Keywords let you do both, and when you call up either the Frog keyword or the Heron one, you'd get the Heron Eating the Frog.

Collections in Lightroom act like virtual folders, where you can group images together without having to make an extra copy on your harddrive. I use these for various projects (like "Nature Talk 2019-02-14").

Lightroom also has handy tools for searching the metadata. For example if I was lazy about keywording, but I knew I photographed an interesting small caterpillar in the spring, I could pull up everything taken with my macro lens in April/May of 2019 to narrow it down.

Lightroom isn't the only digital asset management tool for photographers, but I think one is essential (for me at least).

10-10-2019, 06:00 AM - 1 Like   #5
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badly

the intended plan:

they all go from the sd card into an external hard drive

placed in a yearly folder

and subdivided by subject/where taken and by date

and copy placed into file for each lens

any processed are sent to folder for forum and flickr

by date

at times I back up the external drive to another external drive as a back up

[ not saying I keep it all up to date ]
10-10-2019, 06:10 AM   #6
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I use the ACDSee program.
Year folder
Month folder
Date folder with brief description
Each images gets a catalog name ie People....fauna................
Most images have Keyword also.
When I want to find an image I just click on Catalog or Keyword and them do a quick scroll.
It works pretty good, I've got 250 GB of images (many years) and I haven't 'Lost' an image Yet
10-10-2019, 06:14 AM   #7
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All my family pictures are arranged by month and year. Each month I create a new folder (e.g. Oct - 2019). Other pictures I try to group by event - e.g Yellowstone trip - 2006, Zion visit - 2008 etc. There are also folders - eBay, Tilt shift, For printing ( where I store pictures that are worth of printing on canvas. They are ~40-100 MB of size), Pinhole, Scans etc.
For the sake of saving of space the size of family pictures is 1800-1200 as an average.
10-10-2019, 06:15 AM   #8
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One folder for the events, one for miscellaneous.
Each folder organized per year
Only one catalog in lightroom

10-10-2019, 06:31 AM - 1 Like   #9
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On a not serious note: They are randomly organized, using the digital equivalent of a shoe box like I used for negatives.


Seriously though, by date. Then name the folder by the event/activity/location, whichever fits the situation the best for me.

I've tried categorizing them with flags in Lightroom but I've never been consistent enough for that to work well for me.
10-10-2019, 06:40 AM   #10
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I sense that this is likely not what the OP is after, who seems to be seeking a more elaborate and searchable system, but mine couldn't be much more simple and straightforward.

The path to an individual RAW image would be
Pictures/yyyy/yyyy-mm-dd/IMGPxxxx.DNG
and that's basically it. Surely, from the time I was using Lightroom I had a catalogue, but I found that I never bothered to tag images and instead relied on my memory of the year and the rough month an image had been taken.

I do create topic- or occasion-named export folders for my processed JPEGs and upload the keepers to similarly-named galleries on my SmugMug website, which also effectively acts like an informal "index" that makes it easier to locate individual images.

Sometimes, it will take me a moment to find a specific image, but this has never been a serious issue as I don't have to work for clients, and the "lean approach" has made me independent from RAW converters with cataloguing functions, which would consume considerable hard drive space that I would rather use for images.

Last edited by Madaboutpix; 10-10-2019 at 06:48 AM. Reason: Precision
10-10-2019, 06:46 AM   #11
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I do it all by date, with years at the top level, but I also then append the subject and sometimes the lenses used to the date e.g. 10-10-19_dog_walk_20-40_PLM. I've found this pretty effective for finding things.
10-10-2019, 06:47 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I make a folder with the format YYYY/MM/DD RANDOM NAME. I usually give it some name that will make me remember what's in it. I have a fairly good memory.
10-10-2019, 06:52 AM   #13
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Thanks for the great feedback and sharing your systems. I feel a tad stupid though as I never once considered using tags on my images. Its not that Im not familiar with them as I use them all the time on another forum I am involved in.. I just never thought to use them like some of you do.Hmmm.. something to consider at least at some level in my storage.

Al
10-10-2019, 07:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by brewmaster15 Quote
Thanks for the great feedback and sharing your systems. I feel a tad stupid though as I never once considered using tags on my images. Its not that Im not familiar with them as I use them all the time on another forum I am involved in.. I just never thought to use them like some of you do.Hmmm.. something to consider at least at some level in my storage.

Al
I use Lightroom. All my photos are tagged and most are in collections. If I want to see all pictures tagged with my dog Rio, easy. If I want to see all pictures of my holiday in Ischia I go to my Collection "Ischia", easy. It is like a big photo album.
10-10-2019, 07:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
Lightroom also has handy tools for searching the metadata. For example if I was lazy about keywording, but I knew I photographed an interesting small caterpillar in the spring, I could pull up everything taken with my macro lens in April/May of 2019 to narrow it down.
I'm afraid this is what I do most of the time. The metadata search in Lightroom is actually quite powerful.

Tags are brilliant when I remember to add them. Collections are nice, too, as they allow images to live in multiple "folders".
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