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03-27-2012, 03:05 AM   #1
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What does your photo storage folder list look like?

Hi. I was just wondering what sort of folder system use for storing images, as I feel my current system is getting a bit messy and is on the verge of being unusable.

I used to just store everything by date, a legacy of using iPhoto at first (and my commiserations if you ever used it and had to sift through all the folders to get the images out) but then that didn't really make sense anymore because I have a few 'projects' that account for most of my pictures - my child, local wildlife, old cars, and things I have photographed for my business.

Now I have a sort of hybrid system where I save most images by date (they tend to be the family/child ones) and I have another folder for Cars, with subfolders for each manufacturer, and another folder for Stock.

So - I have lots of date folders - in previous years I've had one for each day I've used the camera, but in 2012 I've got one per month, a Cars folder with lots of sub-folders and a Stock folder. Finally every folder of RAW images has a subfolder with the processed images in.

2012 (no images)
- - 01 RAW (images from January 2012)
- - - - Processed (JPG from the RAW files)
- - 02
- - - - Processed

Cars (unsorted car images)
- - Austin (RAW images of Austin cars)
- - - - Processed (jpg images of Austin cars)
- - BMW

etc

I'm not entirely happy with this though as it seems daft to sort them by date when the date is part of the file and the EXIF, so I can easily search by date anyway.

I have thought about putting everything in one folder and using tags to filter out what I want, but that seems too far the other way.

I just wondered how you sorted yours so I could get some ideas before I re-organise mine.

Cheers

03-27-2012, 03:26 AM   #2
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Event or Subject type / event or subject name / date_minor-subject (last one optional).
e.g.
- Weddings / 2012-01-01_Johnson/
- WashingtonDC / CherryBlossoms / 2012-03-24
- WashingtonDC / Monuments / 2012-02-01

I mainly use Lightroom to do my categorization, but if that goes down I need some human readable way to find what I want. So a sensible yet simple naming convention is more than helpful.

I generally shoot RAW so I don't have any RAW folders. I process files to Photoshop PSD if/when necessary into the same folder of the original DNG.
When I need to display, print or sell, I save the final JPEGs to a Web folder, or to the Print folder, etc... as a sub-folder within the main folder as the DNGs.

Beyond that I don't try to over-think the process or sorting. It has to be something simple to remember when I need to find an image.

If you want a very well thought out, perhaps an overly thought out, method... check out the book "The DAM Book" by Krogh.
No reason to follow his method to the letter, but it might give you ideas or even allow you to feel you're good with your own methods.
03-27-2012, 07:42 AM   #3
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I save images in dated/described folders. The file name also starts with yymmdd.

I avoided tags for a long time, then finally went with it about a month ago. After getting over the hump of tagging 35,000 images, it's not so bad to do it on the fly.

I haven't used the star-rating system much at all, though I can see possibilities beyond the good-better-best assignments. In Elements, and I'm sure most any other tagging software, you can also search on captions or titles, among other things.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/176131-tagging.html
03-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #4
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Mine are generally organized by YEAR\DATE\image_files. For example, 2012\01-31\IMGP1410.dng, jpg, etc. I don't separate RAW from JPEG, all go in the same folder. If the photos are from an event or a trip, then I will add the event name or destination after the date, for example, 2012\01-31_Rome. If the event or date spans multiple days, then I just name the folder by month and name, for example 2012\01_Rome.

It's fairly simple, and I usually remember the photos by date, so it's easy to find older photos. It also helps me remember events by date since that's how the photos are organized.

03-28-2012, 02:17 AM   #5
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Original Poster
Thanks for the input.

I think tagging may be the way forward, along with a folder structure something like:

2012
-- Jan (for general shots)
-- Feb etc
-- Month-Event 1
-- Month- Event 2 etc

and then separate top level folders for

Cars
-- Manufacturer

and

Stock
-- 'roll'

I don't need to keep the stock ones as they end up on the website anyway.
03-28-2012, 08:33 AM   #6
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the only difference between my system and the OP is as follows:

I store by year\month\event\subevent as relevent and this is where all my oprigonal shots go, nothing gets deleted.

If I am working on a project, I copy relevent files from that directlry, into a project directory and work on them to my hearts content, knowing that the origonals ares tored by date.

i have done the same with scanned images, where they are stored simply by the processing number on each strip of film, or in sequence in the books of slides I have, and then separately sorted (as best I can recall / reconstruct) by year and month separately, without ever disturbing the origonal files.

Perhaps a little over the top, but it ensures I can go back to origonals any time I want
03-28-2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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For years I've used a folder for year and a sub-folder for each month (sometimes I'll create a unique event- or vacation-based folder). May not be the best but I can generally find things fairly quickly that way. Since I started using LR last year, I also have an "auto-import" subfolder in each month's folder. At the beginning of each month I set up Auto-import in LR for the current month's folder (the source folder has to be empty to activate auto-import) and then I move or copy photos into that folder throughout the month. LR automatically creates the auto-import folder and moves the photos into that folder. I like not having to "manually" import the photos every time...
03-28-2012, 07:47 PM   #8
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I used to have only categories and then sub-folders based on dates.
Eg.
Landscapes > Sunrise on 24Dec2011
> Sunrise on 15Apr2011

Ended up to be a mess as the sub-folders piled up over 3-4 yrs.


Now I am trying Year>Month > Category > sub-folders
Eg.

2012 > Jan > Family > At the park on 11Jan

03-28-2012, 08:11 PM   #9
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Folders get messy very quick and are very limiting. That's why I like LR, I can put photos in collections, which are kind of like folders and the best part is that I can keyword photos. So I can search for certain things and find all of the photos I want instantly. No more going through hundreds of photos trying to find where have I placed that photo that I shot around 6 to 8 years ago...
03-28-2012, 09:15 PM   #10
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I wrote a perl script to automate my workflow. It extracts the capture date from the raw/jpg files and then sorts them on my NAS as year then mm-dd like so:

2010
-- 01-02
-- 02-26
-- 03-12

2011
-- 11-14
-- 12-31

etc...

I then use Lightroom to import the files and group them into events (if I want) by marking them with keywords and creating smart collections to look for those keywords. This layout is simple and extremely flexible. I have no regrets.
03-28-2012, 10:59 PM   #11
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Jeff, by default, at least on my system, LR imports the photos into directories sorted by year and then month-day. It uses the exif data too. I import the photos from my SD card straight into my NAS using LR without any middle steps like the one you have and the result is the same. I'm not sure if I had to set an option somewhere in LR to do it....
03-29-2012, 06:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nuff Quote
Jeff, by default, at least on my system, LR imports the photos into directories sorted by year and then month-day. It uses the exif data too. I import the photos from my SD card straight into my NAS using LR without any middle steps like the one you have and the result is the same. I'm not sure if I had to set an option somewhere in LR to do it....
Yeah, I think that came out with a later Lightroom version, I started with LR1. I thought about switching over, but I have my script also extract the preview JPG from the PEF (which is full res btw) and places it in another directory tree for DLNA viewing and safe keeping. I then run the Adobe DNG converter on each PEF file with the option for no JPG preview at all to save space. My script also takes the MJPG videos and converts them to x264 (H.264 compatible), and moves it to another tree.

That said, if I didn't need the jpeg previews or the video conversions, I agree that letting LR do it makes more sense.
03-29-2012, 08:38 AM   #13
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for all you lightroom users, when importing through lightroom, does it save the file with the file date set to the import date, or the origonal photo date. Many import tools use the current date when importing, which some times makes sorting a PITA.

As I said, my preference is to put the files where I want them, under the year\month\day or event criteria.

theonly processing I do, upon importing the files is to modify the file name, based upon the odometer reading, adding a leading 1, 2 etc. so the filenames are sequential for my camera, and on my *istD and K10D, adding an istD or K10D prefix to replace the IMGP prefix. the K5 and K7 permit custom file names so I have them programmed already with the model as the prefix. this way I can avoid duplicate file names when shooting with more than one camera at a time
03-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #14
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It uses the date of the photo taken. But once you use lightroom, especially with RAW files, you will not touch the filesystem ever again. Since it so much easier to find photos through lightroom. Just got to keep on top of keywording photos and you are set. The biggest hurdle for me was keywording the first 8000 or so photos when I've initially started using LR, that took a while...
03-30-2012, 04:58 AM   #15
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Because I don't like wasting storage space, my folder list looks like this:


2011
-- 01 - January
------ 02 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)
------ 13 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)
-- 02 - February
------ 14 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)
------ 27 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)


2012
-- 04 - April
------ 18 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)
------ 23 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)
------ 29 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)
-- 05 - May
------ 01 - Event (RAW files + .ini files from PDCU4 + .dop files from DxO)


etc...

My RAW files from my K10D are usually 8-12 MB large, and the sidecar files from the post-processing programs are usually 1-6 KB. When I need some pictures in jpeg I post-process the RAWs with PDCU4 or DxO using the sidecar files next to the RAW files. This way I don't waste storage space with 4-6 MB jpegs...


And I use exiftool to rename the RAWs according to the shutter count, so my filenames contain 5 digits (e.g. IMGP18020) because my shutter count are about 18000.

Last edited by Penty; 03-30-2012 at 05:09 AM.
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