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Thread: How do you organize files?

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    How do you organize files?

    I take too many photos, and I am not the most organized person, which makes finding specific photos sometimes difficult.

    I have a Master Copy Folder, with folders for each year, and in those sub-folders for each month, then each card download is labeled by date and (usually one word description eg dogs, kids, xmas).

    But I take so many photos I really need to adopt something easier...as it is everything from kids, my pets, wildlife, landscape, holidays, christmas, event photography and private shoots are organized the same way.

    I need to separate anything that might be business related away from personal/family, although sometimes the two overlap (family holiday landscape photography).

    I would love to hear how other people organize their personal/business photography files (without copying full size photos to different folders - I now have 1.4tera hardrive but don't want to use it up too quick)?

    Ta!
    Michelle

    Photography | Art | Flickr

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I use Lightroom to import my photos so I can tag the metadata as well. But my process is

    Folder for YEAR, subfolder for MONTH, folder for topic, I can then easily archive months and years to external drives ( I use 3 backup drives- two on site, one off site). Only current year photos remain on my second internal drive.

    So Currently I have:

    2009 / January / Cygnet Folk Festival
    2009 / January / Buckland Tasmania
    2009 / January / xxx & xxx Portraits Engagement
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

    RICK
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    I currently use a basic systen

    USing CS3 - Bridge - I download (raw) by shot date to a folder called "My Photos",delete the crap and add keywords.

    Keepers are then sent to folder by genre / category / subjct.

    D:/My Photos/keep/birds - which will very soon have sub folders for different groups of birds - "Birds Of Prey" "Water Birds" etc etc
    D:/My Photos/keep/people <- which then has some subfolders "family" "friends"
    D:/My Photos/keep/action <- which also then contains sub folders "outrigging" "speedway" <- which then has subfolders for the class of car
    You get the idea.

    I can open Bridge and search by keyword to find a particular photo be it a particular bird or birds from a particular location or a person etc etc

    The key to ANY and ALL systems is discipline - you MUST (I must) add the keywords at the time of download otherwise I will miss a photo when doing the keyword search.
    Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Install One Today
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    Cheers, Mark


  4. #4
    Who me? dbax's Avatar
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    HeHe Michelle I got em everywhere, can never find what I want when I want it, I've tried numerous times to organise and have a number of different systems but none of them tie together.
    Find a workflow that suits you early, and stick to it, otherwise you'll finish up like me....... not recommended!
    Cheers David.

    Canon 40D/EF-S 17-85 mm IS/Kenko Extenson Tubes/Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II (nifty fifty)
    Sigma 10-20mm 4-5.6 /Sigma 70-200/ Sigma 1.4 teleconverter/ some Conkin filters | Adobe Photoshop CS6



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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    My suggestion to those that have a disorganised system (which I used to), is start afresh, but do NOT try and catalogue your old stuff. I created an entirely separate section for my old stuff, called the directory "Pre Catalog" and moved all my existing photos into it.

    Then I started my new cataloging, and only new photos went into it. Now 4 years on, I have a good system that works for me, and I didn't have to stress about the HUGE job of sorting all the old stuff out.

    If you try and catalogue 15,000 existing photos you will give up, so don't bother starting, just start from now, with future photos and catalogue those.

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    Member Kirst's Avatar
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    I did as Rick did. Started fresh I mean. And slowly I am getting around to my older photos but I don't feel stressed about it at all. I know that my photos now are sorted and that's the main thing. I also pick a photo for the folder cover that best depicts what photos are in it. I like the idea of more specific naming though in addition to dating everything.

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    Firstly; delete; delete; delete. Will find time later to add more..

    Cheers

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    I detailed my structure just yesterday here ---> http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ight=structure

    When it comes to "finding photos" though I rarely look through the directory structure. I use Lightroom and let it find them for me. Can't remember the last time I went digging for an actual RAW file. Normally if I want it it's to edit/re-edit/have a look at it and I use Lightroom for all those things.

    So while I recommend a structure that is easy to backup etc when it comes to using the files I use Lightroom to keep track of where they are physically and process them with it instead of hunting for them.
    Michael.

    Camera: Canon EOS 400D w/ Battery Grip (BG-E3)
    Lenses: Sigma 10-20, Sigma 24-70, Canon 50 f/1.8 & Sigma 70-200
    Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.4 and Photoshop CS3
    Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrjorge/

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    dewey decimal classification... i am a librarian

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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    i am a librarian
    That explains a lot!

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    what I'm doing is just have a folder on my desktop, make a sub folder for every day I shoot, the shots I choose to upload I'll edit them and then drag both that and the orignal into the sub folder as well as other shots I choose! it's a bit annoying but it works fine, I'm going to purchase an external hard drive soon for tafe etc.
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    Member Calxoddity's Avatar
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    You didn't say whether you're a Mac or PC user. If you're Mac, Aperture is great for organising. In the past 3 months I've taken my ad-hoc structure and have so far keyworded, rated and organised 95% my photos back to 2003.

    Similar to Rick's structure I have folders for Year, with individual projects within each year. For anything that's just been imported or hasn't been organised yet, it lives in my Work In Progress folder until keywording and rating has been completed. Then, I move it to it's destination folder/project.

    Importantly, if you're going to use keywords, set your taxonomy up properly before you start - arbitrary keywording on the fly could end up in tears a few months down the track... (this applies to any keywording approach, not only Aperture)

    Regards,
    Calx (who is a process designer)
    Calxoddity
    Concert Pianist, Test Pilot, Pathological Liar


    Nikon D40, Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4.5 HSM, Nikkor AF-D 50mm f1.8
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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJorge View Post
    That explains a lot!
    and that is supposed to mean what exactly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    My suggestion to those that have a disorganised system (which I used to), is start afresh, but do NOT try and catalogue your old stuff. I created an entirely separate section for my old stuff, called the directory "Pre Catalog" and moved all my existing photos into it.

    Then I started my new cataloging, and only new photos went into it. Now 4 years on, I have a good system that works for me, and I didn't have to stress about the HUGE job of sorting all the old stuff out.

    If you try and catalogue 15,000 existing photos you will give up, so don't bother starting, just start from now, with future photos and catalogue those.
    Brilliant idea, Rick... that's what has been putting me off starting, sorting out my current disorganized muddle. ( well I spose a muddle by definition is disorganized. ) They say the best ideas are the simplest!
    Cheers, Lani.
    Bodies: Nikon D700, D300 Primes: Nikon 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4G, 105mm VR 2.8, 300mm f4. Zooms: Nikon 14-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200VR II 2.8, Sigma 10-20mm Processing: Photoshop CS5 extended, LR 3.2.


  15. #15
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    Looks like I have some organizing to do. I like the idea if sub folders. Never thought of that. I'm getting started on it today. Thanks, was wondering what I was going to do today.
    Thanks for looking....Cheers,
    Julie-Anne / Julie / Jules / Julesy / JAS

    MY ..... MY BLOG..... Feel free to look.
    Canon 40D / 24-105mm L IS / 70-200mm L IS / 75-300mm / 50mm 1.8 / Sigma 10-20mm / Manfrotto tripod / Bits and pieces to fill the bag.


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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I reckon using some DAM software (thats DAM not DAMN) - ie Digital Asset Management software is a given. Aperuture/ Lightroom/Bridge are all designed for this. When you import your photos as well has having a good directory structure, also tag them with relevant tags

    ie,

    Flowers, botanical gardens, Lillies
    Sunset, tasmania, derwent river, water, sea, rocks, slow shutter

    How much tagging you do is up to you, but the more accurate, the easier it is to search. Nothing better than putting into your DAM software a search for tulip, red, bee..and it finding your red tulip photo with the bee on it for you, rather than hunt through several folders that it might be in

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    I've lucky that I started very early and have used the same Image Management Database for the last 4 years. Everything is in the Catalog.

    Import
    I use a dedicated card reader to transfer the pictures from the CF card to the PC. As soon as I plug in the card reader Breese Systems Downloader Pro starts up. Downloader Pro can be setup to run automatically when a memory card is placed in a card reader on Windows XP systems.

    In Downloader Pro I have the download directory set to:-

    ........\My Pictures\{Y}\{Y}_{m}\{Y}_{m}_{D}

    and the file name set to:-

    {T3}_{f}_{r6}

    These are called tokens and Downloader Pro has many to suit all types of situations.

    This then gives me
    2009
    ----2009_01
    ---------2009_01_04
    ---------------------40D_IMG_19875.cr2

    Notice the 40D in the file name. This is from the {T3} token in Downloader Pro and helps to keep these separate from the 40D or the wifes G9 Digital Camera shots. The token system in Downloader Pro allows you to rename the files almost any way you want, as you download them. All of the DSLR and Digicam shots are in the same directories but have different file names. Also of great use is the {r6} that adds an extra value to the image sequence number field in the file name. This additional value now makes these 5 digit numbers so therefor retains sequential numbering even once past shot 9999.

    I store the images in folders by date and use IMatch to do the rest. That is I rarely use Explorer to view, copy etc the file. Once the files are on the computer most work is done in IMatch.

    Sort and Delete
    I use EXIFPro as a light table to quickly delete any real bad shots before running IMatch. EXIFPro is a very fast image viewer that views RAW files. It supports IPTC and the same rating systems (stars and colours) as both Imatch and Lightroom. Any good shot I'll tag with CTRL+3 to give it 3 stars. This stars appear on the thumbnails in Imatch. It also has a tag feature that places the tags into IPTC Keywords.

    Import to Image Database
    Now the files are on the PC I start IMatch. I then go to the Root directory (usually the month ie 2007_05) above the newly created directory, ie 2007_05_27 and Right Click. I then select One Click Rescan. This tells IMatch to rescan the directory structure and add any new Images. The new directory will now appear in IMatch, and some of the EXIF metadata has been added to the IMatch Property Database. Once it is there I run a custom script I created/modified that scans each new image and then adds information about to the Database. It adds the following categories to the images:-

    Camera Index
    Canon - Canon EOS 40D DIGITAL
    EXIF Focal Length
    24-105 mm
    Version
    Original

    This script intelligently adds these categories, ie it looks into the EXIF data stored within the image and then takes the Camera Make/Model and adds that to the Database and then also looks to see what Lens was used and adds that information also. If the Category does not exist the script will create it. The 40D shots and G9 Digital Camera shots are treated in the same way. Not only can I tell the difference from the file names but IMatch categories also.

    I then use IMatch to add additional Category information to each image such as the Location where it was shot, the subject matter, key people in the image, the plant or animal in the shot etc etc etc. If I want the kids photo's I just browse that category, I've even added rating to the better images so I can select an other Category called Best - <childs name> that uses IMatch Category Formulas to only show the better images based on XML rating data.

    I've set up categories for my kids and then dragged / dropped the dynamically sorted images in these categories to my CD burning software when I wanted to send these to family. BTW, the images were all in different folders on the PC to start with. Just few minutes is spent after each download to categorise the new shots. It's very quick and easy to build searches for images ie category (CAT and DOG) not FARM to find all images with a cat and a dog in them but not at a farm.

    I have also added Categories for the type of flash and which Kenko Tubes I have used on each shot. I can quickly find photos that match the following:-

    40D+180L+36 Kenko Tube+MT-24 Twin lite

    I have categories set up to indicate which shots are edits and the edits are saved in the same folder as the originals. I can filter on the edits and only show these. I also have specific categories for things like Black & White, Colour Tone etc.

    Full IPTC support as well as XML and EXIF. There's heaps of different web gallery creation scripts and you can customise these as much or as little as you want. Most people find the interface a little hard to get hold of at first but usually master it. Supposedly a future version this year is going to revamp the interface.

    The scripting side of things makes it even more of a winner in my book. Very VBA like and quite useful if you are into this sort of thing. For example I wrote a simple script that copies the images EXIF to the clipboard. I second line of clipboard data is the http path for the shot when it's on my web gallery. All I do is select the image and press a button and I can just paste this into here.


    From here it is onto the image editing software. I use Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom, why both? Each has it's own strengths, I don't use LR for it's DB side but for it's quick processing of multiply images.

    PS. I am not affiliated in any way with any of these Software Manufacturers.

    Web Links
    DownloaderPro
    http://www.breezesys.com/
    ExifPro Image Viewer
    http://www.exifpro.com/
    IMatch Image Management
    http://www.photools.com/
    Greg
    1DmkIV + other stuff that sticks to the front. | Photogallery
    Clearly I'm cleverly disguised as a Responsible Adult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    and that is supposed to mean what exactly?
    Nothing, nothing at all.

  19. #19
    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    suuuure!
    us poor librarians are always coping it
    lol

  20. #20
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    suuuure!
    us poor librarians are always coping it
    lol
    And so you should be. All our problems in life can be traced back to a nasty librarian in grade 2. Vicious nasty people, the lot of ya

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