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How do you organize your photos?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by David_N, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. As some of you may have read in the general discussion forum, I've had a little technical problem... With my new hard drive, I plan on being much more organized than before, because I was getting a little sloppy towards the end.

    I plan to keep shooting in just RAW for personal work, but I will occasionally shoot in RAW+Jpeg Basic to avoid having to convert files to email to people. What would be the ideal way for me to organize my photos (They will have their own hard drive, and will be backed up this time :wink:) 

    I was thinking something along the lines of this:


    What are some other ways to organize pictures within folders? I haven't found any information or suggestions on the topic, and I have used the above method before, but am not too fond of it.

    Thanks for any help, finding a way to organize and easily find my photos would be great : )
  2. I've been using Iview Media Pro for cataloguing all my stuff. I keep the actual pics in folders by year then month 2007/01, 2007/02... then assign labels/keywords/data in Iview for location, subject matter, etc.

    This book might help you a lot:
    The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers by Peter Krogh
    A LOT of valuable information in this book!
  3. Ghunger


    Apr 2, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I organize mine purely by date as far as folders for the files go. I keep my jpg's seperate and they're sorted by topic (family, cars, etc..). I pretty much only make jpg's for photos I'm posting on the net or otherwise sending out though. I keep all the originals as NEF files. I'm using Adobe Lightroom for most my post processing so I use keywords and metatags in Lightroom to find the pictures I'm interested in and organize them.
  4. By date - 200706, 200705 and so on. I occasionally add a sub folder for one offs below the date, such as Disney, USA, Christmas, etc...

    Thats about it - I really need to get round to cataloguing before its too late, and getting 2 more hard disks, and more DVD's....the list never seems to end
  5. DBrim


    May 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    -Date - Location
    --(actual files)
  6. Vote #2 for MediaPro - very powerful, database-driven application with great features. Now that MS bought iView and rebranded it as Expressions Media, you can buy MediaPro at a lower cost than what it used to sell for.
  7. I use IMatch, it is a very powerful product. It does a great job with mainatining an invntory of all of my archived pictures on CD and DVD. It does have a bit of a learnig curve, but once you master it, you won't need anything else. I tried IView, and found that it did not do a good job with offline media like DVDs and CDs. Both it and IMatch offer a fully functional free trial period. I would suggest that you take advantage of the free trial to make up your mind. I have over 200 offline DVDs of picture files, and IMatch was the product that did it for me. Good luck.:smile:
  8. Raw photos are strictly maintained by file #, backed up to external drive and sort of put on DVD {my biggest failure}

    All jpgs are organized by subject matter, sub organized by date, backed up to external drive, and stored online.

    For over a year and 12k photos this has worked very well.
  9. tommyc


    May 2, 2006
    Another vote for iView. I'm just not too sure where its going now that Microsoft has bought it since I use the Mac version. Another good one is idImager. Inexpensive and has some neat features that I wish iView had. Does stacking/versioning, handles offline media, etc...
  10. Another vote for iView Media Pro. Great program!!

  11. iMatch gets my vote. Amazing piece of software, if it doesn't do something I need out of the box, I can always write a script to do it.

    The only problem with it, it's Windows only. I moved to MacBook Pro for a laptop recently, and while my home server is still WinXP, and will remain so for a foreseeable future, I'd really like to see iMatch ported in the next few years.
  12. For PCs Thunbsplus if you want the best bang for the buck, iMatch if you want the most powerful and are not intimidated with a little programming

    For Macs Photo Mechanic hands down the best.

    I arrange my images:

    Drive/Images/"2007-08-05 Short phrase describing the photo shoot"
    Inside each folder shoot images are arranged:
    __Culls delete a year after
    ____2007-08-05-(0001).tif and/or .jpg
    __Working (mostly for previewing) I usually delete
    ____all the original .jpgs

    Thanks, Rich
  13. jcdoss


    Feb 20, 2007
    Kansas City
    I use BreezeBrowser to view/cull/organize photos. I store all RAW files in one folder, all JPGs for the web in another. I rename them based on what they are, but I leave the counter tag on the end (ie, SUBJECT_1234). In BB, I can sort them by subject or timestamp instantly.
  14. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Greetings. I'm a firm believer in putting as little effort into organizing as possible... Because if there is an organization overhead that needs consistent application over a long period of time, its greatest chance that it won't break down is if it is (for me) almost completely mindless.

    I use Lightroom, sequentially number my images in camera (don't change the name, helps with recollection.. oh, I took this before that). I let Lightroom make folders and such by date shot. Keep processed (jpegs, psds, etc) in the same folders (for the most part, LR does this for me), unless the jpegs are throwaways...

    This practice does this:

    - Launch point for post-processing is LR so first step in pp is same as organizer, adds photoshop'ed files to collection
    - Photos can be filtered by metadata (such as file type, jpeg, lens, camera, iso speed, etc.)
    - Photos can be filtered by star rating (0-5), color label (5 colors and none) and/or flag (pick, reject, unflagged)
    - Keyword filtering
    - Collections - virtual collections, collections on the fly
    - etc. More organization options than I care to use

    The requirement on me to maintain this is minimal - import is nearly automatic, and I scheduled database backups once and LR takes care of that, copy to two locations on import so my 1st level backup happens automatically... works pretty well for me.

    Of course, Ive only been working with about 10K images so far, LR does have some blemishes, but all in all I'm happy with it...


  15. My files are Numbered
    2007 D01 (first folder of D200 pics) Then a description of the shoot

    I use Adobe Bridge for adding keywords to be searched by Adobe CS3. Anyone else using Bridge to catalog pics?

  16. iaukrust


    Jan 20, 2006
    I use a folder structure when importing:

    -> 2007
    --> 2007M08
    ---> 2007-08-17

    To begin with I didn't use a folder with shooting date, so those files are just in the "month-folder". The files are named with DATE_[number from camera]

    I import the files to Iview and apply the basic metadata there. Recently I bought Lightroom so right now it's sort of a double archival system. I find Lightroom faster than Iview when previewing photos and better for RAW-files. It also gives you the option of not having to convert every RAW-file for viewing/browsing so I don't really convert many files to JPGs unless I'm putting it up on the web or for printing. I don't have to work with files very much (meaning in a professional way) and not filling the hard disks with both RAW-files, TIFFs and JPGs. i used to do that but it gave me an extra job when I was adding keywords...
  17. folder structure:
    ... so that is 19-Aug-2007, but it keeps the folders in order
    ... but I don't keep my jpgs anywhere near that.

    I pop my cards into my USB card reader and drag the files over to the HD of my iMac. Then when done, copy that 070819-ClassicCars folder over to my external drive. The external has all the raws and they are never touched.

    Then in LR I can import the files from my HD and play, delete the ones I don't want (safe in the knowledge that I have a dupe of all my raws on an external drive).

    I have a folder for my exports called:
    this is where the select few of my RAWs get converted ready for PhotoShop

    I have a folder for my jpgs called:
    this is where my web ready images will be saved to from PhotoShop.

    So workflow.
    - copy files from CF to MacHD (into a folder for that shoot)
    - copy that folder out to an external firewire drive
    - open LR, view, select, play
    - export a few to the TIFF folder, then when I'm done in LR - quit
    - open PS, open my new TIFFs, have a tweak, resize for the net
    - save out to my JPG folder
    - open iWeb or iPhoto and arrange the images for the net
    ... job done.

    And of course I can just do the LR bit, and play in PS the next day. Depends on the length of the shoot. That might look a little long winded and I'm using lots of apps there, but its real quick.

    When I'm finished with a shoot, I delete the shoot from LR and delete the images from the MacHD. I tend to process a shoot, pick out the keepers, and then leave it alone. Might pop back to it one day. I can always find the shoot due to my folder naming.
  18. Tintop

    Tintop Guest

    I do this.

    1. Originals
    2. Picks
    3. Edited
    4. Web Versions

    These are my top level folders (numbered to make them sort in the order I work through them). In those I create folders in the following format.

    YY-MM-DD - Location or Event Name

    e.g 07-08-20- NikonCafe

    This makes it easy to sort them correctly by date. I copy all the photos from a holiday or event into that one top level folder under Originals (if it's multiday, then I still use a single folder, with the date showing the first day involved).

    I don't bother renaming the images.

    I then go through all the photos I have downloaded in the 1.Originals\07-08-20 - NikonCafe folder. Copying the ones I want to process into the 2.Picks\07-08-20 - NikonCafe folder.

    I then process those images saving them into 3.Edited\07-08-20 - NikonCafe

    I resize and sharpen these images (for web publishing), storing them in 4.\Web Versions\07-08-20 - NikonCafe

    This means I have a record on disk (without being tied to any photo management tool) of all my original photos, all the photos I've picked, all the edits I've done to them and the web sized versions of those photos.

    It uses more space, but space is cheap compared to the time it would take to move all my selections and edits between Picasa/Photoshop Elements/Raw Shooter/Lightroom.
  19. dailydooer


    Aug 23, 2007


    Photomechanic is a great program for organization on Mac or PC. It is used by pros and consumers alike.
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