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Thread: organising files

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    organising files

    I am starting to build up quite a collection of pics (which will need weeding no doubt). I currently just create a folder with the date they were taken and put them in there but i realise that if i need to find something it is near imposible...

    how do you guys organise your pictures on your computer?

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    For my filing I use a cascading system of

    1. date (YYYY-MM-DD)

    2. Major Sub Category (Diving / Vacation / Animals / Special Events etc)

    3. Minor Sub Category (Location)

    4. A very short description with number for similar photos

    5. A letter for every modification (pp) that has been saved as finished


    Notes:
    All of the above is contained in the file name - thank who ever it is for 250 character file names. The above is also used in the folder names for 1 to 3. Theres also another major category above the above for film/digital/scan/others

    The date as part of the file name is important as when you decide to save a file after PP obviously the Windows file date will change to that date. The file name is left as is.

    The date is necessary in reverse order so that it can be successfully sorted under windows.
    Last edited by MarkW; 24-07-2007 at 2:24pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    mine is:

    Year / month + main topic / file name

    ie: 2007 / 04 great barrier reef / hamilton island 1234.RAW
    2006 / 07 east coast tasmania / maria island 4567.RAW

    I keep the original raw file number in all future versions of the image as that way i make sure i locate the right raw file in need. Using 04 (rather than april) means i can easily sort them into month order. edited versions are kept in a sub folder, inside the main one, these subfolders are called "TIF files" and "JPG files" and retain the naming convension.

    I make sure i tag all my images when they are uploaded from the memory card, this makes finding shots a LOT easier. I use Abobe Lightroom to upload, tag, and add copyright data all at the same time.

    If you are fastidious about Tagging images really well, in theory you could have all your files in one big folder, but i wouldn't recommend that.
    "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

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    do you find having them first under date makes it hard to find a photo if you are after a specific topic? let say you are after a dandelion shot... woulnd you have to guess what date you made the shot in order to find one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    do you find having them first under date makes it hard to find a photo if you are after a specific topic? let say you are after a dandelion shot... woulnd you have to guess what date you made the shot in order to find one?
    Ving
    In my system, "flora" is a level 2 catagory unless it was taken on a holiday somewhere or during a special event etc (here you need to make a little rule of your own). The word dandelion would be in the description - level 4. If all else fails you use a standard microsoft search through explorer on the word "dandelion".

    In the end what ever you choose, you have to stick to fairly rigidly and you really need to develop your own, taking whats best from everybody elses ideas. I did the same after reading some Pro books and used some - not all of their ideas. Mine and Ricktas are very similar but not quite the same. We each use different programmes that work in different ways.

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    PS

    Ving
    I would suggest you make a fairly thought out descision as early as possible because if you decide down the track that what you have doesnt work well, its a real PITA to change file names on a batch basis even with programmes that do batch work.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I have a system where I use a main heading/topic folder, and then within that, I'll have subfolders with various dates and variations.

    We all shoot differently, and I have a vague recollection of where I took a particular image.

    Because I'm on the road all the time, I have a 'location based' structure and put everything under where it was taken.

    But as Rick and Mark pointed out, you can make a folder and call it Topic_YYYYMMMDD

    Another thing handy for viewing Nikon NEF files quickly is Nikon View 6.
    You get an explorer style window(Nikon Browser), thumbnails load super fast, and double clicking an image brings up Nikon Viewer which is fast in loading the image and zooming around...

    Very handy program for NEF's!

    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    I use the following:

    \2007\2007-07\24 some descriptive name\raw\
    \2007\2007-07\24 some descriptive name\print\
    \2007\2007-07\24 some descriptive name\web\

    That allows me to search by date, as well as search by any word in the description, and I keep copies of the raw and processed images.

    Cheers,
    Martin.

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    New Member Craker's Avatar
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    Have thought about making a thread on this topic for a long time but didn’t know how to put it in to words.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    I did the same after reading some Pro books and used some - not all of their ideas.
    Just interested in what pro books you had read on this topic? Would love to get some good books with more info and ideas on this.

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    well i have 90% decided on how to go about this...

    yyyy/topic/subtopic/.../filename.nef
    i'll leave posible scope for a whole cascade of topics i think. the prupose of the yyyy/ would be to make it a bit easier when i back up to CD or DVD.

    I hope i dont get too carried away with topics though... i am after all a librarian! LOL

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    do you find having them first under date makes it hard to find a photo if you are after a specific topic? let say you are after a dandelion shot... woulnd you have to guess what date you made the shot in order to find one?
    that is where 'tagging' your images helps. if i wanted a dandelion shot, i would search my tags for 'dandelion' and it wouldnt matter when the shot was taken or where it was filed in my file structure, i could locate all of the dandelion shots.


    for example, if you go to www.redbubble.com and do a search with the word 'dandelion', the image results you get are because the members tagged those images with the word 'dandelion' and not because of their own or redbubble's file structure.

    I believe efficient, effective and accurate image tagging is MUCH more important than your actual file structure.

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    thanks, you would make a good librarian

    i guess i'd have to be able to identify what i am shooting and thats probably where i'd fall down...

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    Craker
    I can't seem to locate the book I took most from (I think it was one of the Moose Petersen's books or on-line articles - which might be why I cant find it) but the other was the Thom Hogan Nikon D200 Guide (eBook).

    Rick
    Whilst the tagging, also called a cataloging system is good, sometimes it's limited to a single word or sometimes a character limit (ACDSee uses I think 40 from memory) and not every programme reads the same tagging system. What I mean here is you only get the one tag, you can't allocate a number of different subject tags to the one image. In the dandelion example if the file was a "Scan" of 35mm film taken whilst on "Holidays" in "Victoria", by using these folder headings you would find it.

    Some programmes which were written specifically as image file handling programmes such as Adobe Photo Album do allow multiple tags but then you don't get some of the other features which belong with ACDSee and there are data limits to the databse size. One thing I do notice you almost have to keep a written page of what your definitions are so that you generally conform to your own rules and ont end up with a mess.

    Also with the tagging system many other programmes wont read or sort the Adobe Album or ACDSee tags/catagories but everbody reads the cascading folders and file names and are easily searched using explorer or ACDSee or just about any other programme.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    thanks Mark,

    I wasnt aware of that as ive always used photoshop and now lightroom and i can add as many tags to an image as i want. Lightroom is good, in that as you type a tag word, it pops-up words that are already stored with the same spelling, making it easier to keep your tagging names down.

    I do agree that tagging isn't an ideal solution on it's own, but between a good file structure and tagging combined, you can create a system whereby images are easily located.

    cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    thanks Mark,

    ..... photoshop and now lightroom and i can add as many tags to an image as i want. Lightroom is good, in that as you type a tag word, it pops-up words that are already stored with the same spelling, making it easier to keep your tagging names down.
    Being Adobe products I suppose they use similar cataloging systems as the Photo Album product to create inter-connectivity.

    From my perspective, I never liked the way Lightroom managed modified images and stuck them into other folders - I would rather control that process myself the way I view my system. Although an Adobe product, CS2 never did this, but I suppose maybe CS3 might, it doesn't matter as I am yet to see a very compelling reason to upgrade to the newer version.

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    A lot depends on how you want to organise things. There are two types of DAM (Digital Assett Management) software, Browsers, that just read the info already in the file, and Cataloging software, these read the info in the images and generally build their own independent DB containing this info and links to the original images.

    Here's a list I found with a quick Google search. Here.

    I find IMatch the best image organiser/ catalogue program to suit my needs. From a file system point of view, I store images by date (see below) but do everything else in IMatch. Once you get up and running with it you wonder how you could do without it. The Category system it uses is great and the features in v3.6 are very useful. When using any form of this software it's all about routine and discipline, get into the habit of importing the photo's and adding the Category Data to them straight away. I was lucky as I started using this software when I only had 300 images, so it wasn't that much of a problem to go back and add the metadata to those existing images.

    For example, 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 original images were scattered through 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. In about 30sec I could filter all Jumping Spider shots taken with the 180 Macro at a given aperture.... Why I'd want to do this I don't know, but it does prove useful for keeping track of stuff.

    One downside is the present versions handling of versions of images (ie original image and the edits) isn't as good as it could be, but this is rumoured to be coming in V4 and there a few scripts about that make up for this. You could use categories to tag the files that you post to various forums.

    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. I have modified some of the sample scripts that are provided to suit my needs. I run one script on all of the newly imported images that adds them to three Categories based on information within the EXIF. These Categories are :- Camera Body used, Photographer, and Lens used. As well as the file prefixes (see below) I use to keep all of the shots the rest of the family has taken separate, the DSLR and Digital Camera shots will automaticly go into different Categories. Another example is 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 or images in IMatch and press a button and then I can just paste this into forums like this with all the vBulletin tags etc.

    eg:-
    100-400 mm at 400.00 mm 1/250 s at F 5.60 with ISO 320

    http://www.steadyhands.net/photogall...image16304.jpg

    or another version.
    70-200 mm at 200.00 mm 1/125 s at F 3.50 with ISO 800
    Manual Exposure Mode with Auto White Balance & AI Servo Focusing, using Spot Metering, Flash did not fire

    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:-

    C:\......\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 lots of them.

    This then gives me
    2007
    ----2007_05
    ---------2007_05_04
    ---------------------30D_IMG_16855.JPG

    Notice the 30D in the file name. This is from the {T3} token in Downloader Pro and helps to keep these separate from the A95 Digital Camera shots the family take. The token system in Downloader Pro works well 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.

    You can set up shortcuts and send images to PS or any other image editing program. These shortcuts are independent of the Windows program Associations.

    Well done if you managed to read all that! This might not be what suits you but it works for me for now. Anyway, I hope I've help some.
    Greg
    1DmkIV + other stuff that sticks to the front. | Photogallery
    Clearly I'm cleverly disguised as a Responsible Adult.

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    I organise my files as:

    * Photos of a specific event will go into its own folder
    * Everyday snaps will go into a folder with year+month, i.e. 2007_07. This naming convention allows for chronological sorting in file browsers
    * All aquarium photos go into the Aquarium folder, then into folders as per point 2.

    I can't be bothered with meta tags etc etc since I know I will get lazy about using it in the long run.

    IMHO, file sorting is like file backup. It needs to be easy and fast, else it will just fall by the wayside. So far, my method has worked well for me, and I can locate any of my photos 1st go.
    When art critics get together, they talk about Form, Structure and Meaning.
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