I have just finished reading an article in a regular magazine that I read on "Digital Overload" and am pleased to see that others have acknowledged the post work required to maintain, edit, keyword, catalogue & archive a library of images that is taken from a short or long field trip, so I thought I might share my thoughts with others.
It use to frustrated the hell out of me, and I was surprised at the amount of time that it would take to manage a library of files post doing what you thought was the hard bit, taking them, I normally take between 200-500 photos a day when on a trip, and if at an event this could be up to 2,000 a day, so at a two day event I might take as many as 5,000 images with several cameras, and thus I needed a method to be able to manage them well and efficiently.
I have been asked this question many many times in the past and I thought that I might share this method with other forum readers & members, so how I do it is detailed below;
The equipment I currently use in this procedure is as follows; Hardware: iMac 27", 1 x 2Tb, 1 x 2Tb Western Digital External HHD, Portable Acer Ext HDD 750Gb, Software: A Better Finder Rename 8, WD Anywhere Backup
I save all of my photos directly onto an external hard drive into a folder specifically named after the event, the naming convention that I use is reasonably simple and allows for me to locate the original photo in the future very easily just by looking at the filename, so if I were to do a shoot of Surfing at Narrowneck, on the 15th of January, 2011 the name of my folder would be "20110115-SurfingNarrowneck" and it would be located on the external Hard Drive under "PHOTOS/2011", I always separate the date and the details with a hyphen & I never use spaces in filenames, new words always start with a capital.
Once I have uploaded all of the files to my first Ext Hard Drive, I will then go through them with a quick viewing software as supplied by the camera manufacturer, in my case ViewNX2, I delete any photo that has any major defect (ie out of focus, shot of my foot, etc), once this process is done I then use my renaming software "A Better Finder Rename 8", to rename all of the files in the folder, the convention I use is the same as above with an additional sequential 4 digit number at the end separated with a hyphen, ie "20110115-SurfingNarrowneck-0001, 20110115-SurfingNarrowneck-0002, 20110115-SurfingNarrowneck-0003, and so on.
By using this convention I can always find the original photo very simply and very quickly, because the photo filenames are always proceeded with the date, I know to look in the 2011 folder, January the 15th, simple, so therefore I already know where to find this file before I even get to my computer.
The backup software I use is WD Anywhere Backup, this software mirrors the first External HDD, thus creating an identical copy of the original files on a second external HDD.
And for peace of mind I periodically make an additional copy/mirror of the files for the current year on an External HDD, and Acer 750Gb USB drive, this then becomes my third backup of the current year, at the end of the year I then keep this as a final reserve 3rd backup of that year.
Believe me, I have dremped-up & tried numerous versions of doing this job without success, this method has served me well since I implemented it 4-5 years ago, I now have no difficulty in locating files, it is simple to do and very time efficient.
Hope that others find this useful, feel free to email me if you need any more information.