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Thread: Processes for storing your digital images

  1. #1
    Member jaimedormer's Avatar
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    Processes for storing your digital images

    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 Nikon 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.

    Jaime Dormer
    jsdhome@bigpond.net.au
    www.jdphotographics.com
    Jaime Dormer MAICD JP(Qual)
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  2. #2
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Thanks Jaime.

    I am presently discussing with Seagate about holding a webinar on Ausphotography on storing digital photos, Seagate products, and how to go about the whole process. We are hoping to get this happening during February.
    "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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    Member gypsygirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the brief - I have recently spent too much valuable time searching thru two different external drives to find some originals, and started to feel the lost photo palpitations - they were found but not after a good dose of high blood pressure and lost time.
    I will try your system - it makes sense and is nice and simple.

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    Ausphotography Veteran Speedway's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Jamie. I am presently going through the computer upgrade process including 2 1Tb internal HDD's plus the original 200 and 320 Gb drives. I have everything saved to 1Tb and 500Gb external drives and am looking for a system to sort all my files when I import them back to the computer. Your system might be what I'm looking for.
    Keith.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Good info Jamie, and apart from a few insignificant details, my system is more or less similar.

    I use Nikon's Transfer for transferring the images off the card/camera to the PC, but always to an internal HDD first.
    I've found that (on at least one occasion) the external link can be flaky, but that was USB, and now I also have an eSATA external drive too, and primarily use this for the backup images.
    I have 4 internal drives too, one of which is my current years photo storage.

    For backup, I tried a few software, some freebies and some trials, and found RichCopy4 to be 'the best' and then just stuck with it as it serves my needs perfectly.
    Backup software is backup software, and as long as it does it's job, most anything is good(and more to the point!!.. better than copy and paste, or mass transfers via the OS)
    You being on Mac tho, I don't think RichCopy is any good on that platform.. it's based on M$'s file backup/copying process, but has been tweaked over the years... very configurable(for a free program)

    The other thing I do differently(now) is to rename each file based on the camera I used to take the photo.
    D300 is ok in naming convention,and I like to keep files from one camera separate from any other(and others I may acquire in the future too) so each file name is as is off the camera with the camera suffix added(via Nikon's Transfer).

    so DSC_0001 becomes D300_DSC_0001. I have too many DSC_0001's from both the D300 and the D70s, and the main problem is that the D70s can't be configured to rename the files in a flexible manner(as the D300 can).
    On a few occasions I've tried to place files from both camera's into the same directory(eg in a 'gallery' or 'for print' folder) and without knowledge of files from the other camera being in there, and get the message do you want to replace file X with file X .. etc.. One less logistical step to stuff up I 'spose(for me at least).
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Nice post mate

    I've used a very similar system from the start; something like: ["--->" denotes sub-folder]

    Main folder with overarching context/theme (e.g. Sport, Cars) ---> Year+Event ---> Date and/or Location within that Event (for different days or locations) ---> PP or the RAW files (separate folders)

    On top of that, Windows 7 has a much better tagging system (for JPEGs anyway) which uses the EXIF data (it looks like??) because it has things like camera model, image dimensions, and date taken in the bottom of the folder window when you hover over the image. It also transfers/keeps the tags you add in LR so you can see the same tags in the folder with the image.

    Maybe as I start to get more files I'll refine it a bit more, but for now it's working fine
    Last edited by Namus; 04-02-2011 at 10:29am.

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    Thanks Jaime. I've only been into photography for a few weeks and already things were getting pretty messy. I implemented your system last night, now everything is neat and tidy
    Canon EOS 40D - Canon EFS 17-85mm f4-5.6 - Canon Macro EF 50mm f2.5
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    jaimedormer's Avatar
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    Well done, I am sure that you will find it a very workable system, it has serverd me well so far, cheers

    Jaime

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    Member paulgh's Avatar
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    Thanks Jamie. I have the same computer as you (27" iMac) and do something a bit similar for storage and backups.

    All my photos are stored on an external hard drive, dedicated for photos only. 1TB seems like it will do me for a while - I am only an amateur. Time machine does hourly backups to a second hard drive. Once a week I connect a third drive and backup the photos to that one as well, then disconnect and store the drive. I use chronosync for this backup - it pops up a reminder once a week to do the backup so I don't forget.

    I think the most important backup is the one that gets disconnected and stored. It gives me peace of mind that if some unforeseen event happens that fries the computer and everything connected to it, or if my computer (and everything connected) was stolen, then I still have one backup to restore from.

    Paul
    Canon 5D | Canon 50D | Canon lenses : 17-40 f4L, 24-105 f4L IS, 70-200 f4L IS

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