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Binford
Feb 19, 2008, 12:20 AM
For the past 5 years I've been naming folders on my own and putting them folders and subfolders in my own arrangement. I'm looking to progress from that, and hoping many of you will have better ideas and methods. My photos total well over 200gb, including many large raw and jpeg files.

How do you all organize/browse your photos?

Thank you in advance for your suggestions and sharing!



Cloud9
Feb 19, 2008, 02:01 AM
Subject/Year/relevant title(date,location,subject specific name)

weddings/2006/10.07.06 Katie and Mike

Birds/north america/joshua tree N.P.

Nature/Landscapes/solstice fields

Thats What I do.

ETHANUMAN
Feb 19, 2008, 05:28 AM
I am using Aperture and I love it.

OreoCookie
Feb 19, 2008, 05:47 AM
Aperture handles that for me. :)
I'm pretty organized with Aperture, though.
The basic layout looks like this: Continent > Year > Year.Month
I create subfolders for longer trips.

balofagus
Feb 19, 2008, 06:12 AM
I use my own folder arrangement and then have Lightroom reference the files from that.

Pictures > Year > mm/dd/yy relevant event title

I import the photos to the structure using Image Capture.

Maui
Feb 19, 2008, 11:28 AM
As of last week, I do it all in Aperture. Before that, I used folders, pretty much as others have described. I replicated that structure within Aperture as much as possible:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2388/2276927533_c74a5f1e8d_o.jpg

This, plus lots of keywords, seems to work great, and takes much less time than my old system.

Roy Hobbs
Feb 19, 2008, 11:46 AM
Just curious.....why do so many of you manage all the folders manually. Why not just let Lightroom/Aperture/etc handle the organization??

I'm not saying either is better just looking for opinions

HooHar
Feb 19, 2008, 12:32 PM
This is really bugging me at the moment. I need to decide on which way to go for my own directory structure. So indecisive!

I want to keep my folders separate from Lightroom / Aperture and import in current location - might even store master folders on a separate external drive so that I can reference from different comps (eg laptop and desktop). But I'm stuck at the most basic decision - directory structure of master image files.

Current thinking = Data Hard Drive/Pictures/Year/Month/Day and then just use key-wording.

Then ? time machine backup - haven't even got that far yet....

What do you guys think...

I do landscapes semi-prof but also have copious family stuff to integrate somewhere - tend to just use iPhoto for family stuff and use Aperture/LR/CS3 for landscape stuff.

Interested to hear your opinions.

Cheers
Pete :rolleyes:

jtblueberry
Feb 19, 2008, 12:55 PM
Just curious.....why do so many of you manage all the folders manually. Why not just let Lightroom/Aperture/etc handle the organization??

I'm not saying either is better just looking for opinions

I like to maintain control. I have lightroom put sidecar files with my images too. I don't like to my system be dependent on a single software on a single computer. Once the system/workflow is in place it's not any harder or more time consuming to maintain than letting lr/aperture deal with it. You can still use Lightroom's database tools to help i.e. add metadata etc. It also makes backing things up easy and straight forward.

It seems to me this is one of those things...you can do it either way. Maybe right and left brain people make sense of things differently. Lightroom and Aperture are set up to appeal to the way photographers (artistic people) think. I've always considered myself more of a "by the numbers" technical thinker, which is probably why I like to manage my files myself. That and I'm a bit obsessive.

zioxide
Feb 19, 2008, 01:25 PM
Right now in aperture I have folders for each year, and then events as projects in these folders. When I get a dSLR and start taking more pics, I might start separating them by month. It depends.

Whorehay
Feb 19, 2008, 01:46 PM
I just organize them by event in Photos folder. But then again, I use this method only because I could not run Aperture on my Powerbook, and there was a time when Aperture didn't exist! I may consider Aperture or iPhoto now.

Eauboy
Feb 19, 2008, 02:37 PM
Just curious.....why do so many of you manage all the folders manually. Why not just let Lightroom/Aperture/etc handle the organization??

I'm not saying either is better just looking for opinions

What if at some point you stop using LR or Aperture?

I have been using Photoshop Elements+Photo Album on my Thinkpad. Works okay. I can create tags and apply them to groups of photos. Now I'm shooting raw and I am looking into Lightroom. What if at some point (assuming I adopt Lightroom soon) I decide to use another product for whatever reason? Having maintained a logical (to me) underlying manual folder arrangement would help when it comes time to move on.

ChrisA
Feb 19, 2008, 03:30 PM
For the past 5 years I've been naming folders on my own and putting them folders and subfolders in my own arrangement. I'm looking to progress from that, and hoping many of you will have better ideas and methods. My photos total well over 200gb, including many large raw and jpeg files.

How do you all organize/browse your photos?

Thank you in advance for your suggestions and sharing!

People need to move away from using nested folders.

What dos the public library do? You should copy their system. They have a set of card catalogs. Typically three catalogs but there might be more. One catalog is organized by autor, another by subject and another by title. Notice that a book could have three or more subject cards all for the same book. No reason to have only one. same for multiple authors, one card per author.

With digital computers you can go a step further and build custom card catalogs on the spot when they are needed. Apple calls these custom catalog "smart folders". So O might have a "folder" for underwater animal that are rated four stars and higher and another for picuters of a family member and another catalog for image taken in Tokyo.

Where are the actually picture files? Why care? Maybe "folder x inside folder Y" but who cares.

The key here is that you have to add keywords, comments and titles to every image. and you have to use a system of keywords that is well thought out and stick with it.

So how are my images filed? They are filed in whatever way they need to be for the given project I'm working on. I keep them sorted about a dozen different ways

Dave B
Feb 19, 2008, 03:47 PM
People need to move away from using nested folders.

Where are the actually picture files? Why care? Maybe "folder x inside folder Y" but who cares.

Depends what your shooting I think.

For me I shoot sets of pictures, so they need to all be in one place and kept together with the date they where taken. If I get a phone call on a certain set I need to be able to go straight to that folder and look at them while am on the phone.

For my landscape stuff I agree, I don't really care what folder they are in as am usually just searching on keyword.

Dave

jtblueberry
Feb 19, 2008, 04:08 PM
People need to move away from using nested folders.

What dos the public library do? You should copy their system. They have a set of card catalogs. Typically three catalogs but there might be more. One catalog is organized by autor, another by subject and another by title. Notice that a book could have three or more subject cards all for the same book. No reason to have only one. same for multiple authors, one card per author.

With digital computers you can go a step further and build custom card catalogs on the spot when they are needed. Apple calls these custom catalog "smart folders". So O might have a "folder" for underwater animal that are rated four stars and higher and another for picuters of a family member and another catalog for image taken in Tokyo.

Where are the actually picture files? Why care? Maybe "folder x inside folder Y" but who cares.

The key here is that you have to add keywords, comments and titles to every image. and you have to use a system of keywords that is well thought out and stick with it.

So how are my images filed? They are filed in whatever way they need to be for the given project I'm working on. I keep them sorted about a dozen different ways

A dozen different ways? I guess I can see that if you don't do much photography and its just a hobby. A pro that takes photos every day certainly needs more workflow than that. What happens when your hard drive fills up. How do you keep track of everything and back it up?
Why do people "need to move away from nested folders"? You can do everything you're talking about and still have a workflow to keep everything clean and tidy too.

ChrisA
Feb 19, 2008, 06:05 PM
What if at some point (assuming I adopt Lightroom soon) I decide to use another product for whatever reason? Having maintained a logical (to me) underlying manual folder arrangement would help when it comes time to move on.

The problem is that unless you do let Aperture/LR do this work for you, you will see little reason to use Aperture/LR because it is not saving you anything over Adobe Bridge. Bridge is the way to go for those who want to maintain control at the file and folder level

You installed this automated system and then don't use it, sure enough you find it is not saving you any effort so you stop using it. The way it is with both LR and Aperture is you have to drink the whole one galon pitcher or cool aid. Half of it was no effect.

jtblueberry
Feb 19, 2008, 06:17 PM
The problem is that unless you do let Aperture/LR do this work for you, you will see little reason to use Aperture/LR because it is not saving you anything over Adobe Bridge. Bridge is the way to go for those who want to maintain control at the file and folder level

You installed this automated system and then don't use it, sure enough you find it is not saving you any effort so you stop using it. The way it is with both LR and Aperture is you have to drink the whole one galon pitcher or cool aid. Half of it was no effect.

Not true. LR, to me, is a way to edit and process raw images efficiently. For me it is a RAW processor and the extra database/organizational tools are a bonus. There are way better batch editing features and the workflow is way faster when editing/processing large numbers of raw photos than with ACR.

Digital Skunk
Feb 19, 2008, 09:49 PM
Just curious.....why do so many of you manage all the folders manually. Why not just let Lightroom/Aperture/etc handle the organization??

I'm not saying either is better just looking for opinions

Easy.... Bridge CS3, and Capture NX are browsers that I use every once in a while to quickly breeze through my library.

Also, I have other files in my Freelance drive that can't be viewed in Aperture.

Lastly, I have a few more computers in the area and they all need to be able to access my main library on my G5. My MBP's Aperture library is stored there as well unless it's a project that I am currently working on, so I have the previews of 7000+ images, but not the entire image files taking up 50+ GB of space for no reason.

redrabbit
Feb 20, 2008, 12:00 AM
I like to separate it between job and recreational shots and sub divide that between semesters

http://i32.tinypic.com/n6xda9.png

Binford
Feb 20, 2008, 12:18 AM
I like to separate it between job and recreational shots and sub divide that between semesters

http://i32.tinypic.com/n6xda9.png

thi sis aperture, right?

redrabbit
Feb 20, 2008, 12:35 AM
Yes, though I have the exact same organization scheme in Lightroom :D

http://i25.tinypic.com/2m2xo1x.png

Binford
Feb 20, 2008, 07:49 PM
so i've been checknig out the aperture 2 trial (never realy tried older versions either). i really do like it. going to check out lightroom soon, it doens't seem TOO different in terms of organizing at least...

thank you everyoen for the input

soms
Feb 20, 2008, 08:06 PM
I either label it by occasion and then year, or just use Bridge to do the same thing.

seany916
Feb 20, 2008, 08:20 PM
Year/Month/Name of Client/Event

spotlight makes it easy to pull it up by event & name

personal:

year/month/event

Binford
Feb 20, 2008, 09:33 PM
Year/Month/Name of Client/Event

spotlight makes it easy to pull it up by event & name

personal:

year/month/event

do you do this just within your own folder heirarchy? or withing aperture/lr?

GavinT
Feb 21, 2008, 04:43 AM
I have a relatively simple folder structure, and work with metadata a fair bit. I do photography as a hobby, not for work.

External Drive 1/Pictures/1976mmdd_1997ddmm
/1976mmdd_EventName1
/19761224_0001.dng [This was converted from a scanned photo of my childhood]
/19761224_0002.dng
/19761225_0001.dng
/19761225_0002.dng
/1977mmdd_EventName2
External Drive 1/Pictures/19980101_19981231
/19980324_EasterForExample
/19980324_0001.dng [This was converted from a JPG file, with no source RAW]
/19980324_0002.dng
etc etc
External Drive 1/Pictures/20080101_20081231
/20080101_NewYearsDay
/20080101_0001.raw
/20080101_0001.xmp
/20080101_0002.raw
/20080101_0002.xmp

I work with Lightroom, which just references that folder structure on the external HD.
My Time Machine, on another External Drive then is setup to backup both the Lightroom 'library' which sits on the Mac's HDD, and the entire contents of External Drive 1/Pictures.

Also, each folder under External Drive 1/Pictures is backed up to a DVD as well once it's 'complete'. Sometimes, there will be more than one of those folders on a single DVD, because I have less photos from my childhood for example.

I'm also using Metadata a fair bit, which then allows me to find stuff quite easily. So, each time I grab stuff of the camera, I'm copying to the External Drive (and Lightroom is pretty good in that I can tell it create those folder names like that, or pretty close too, and I manually name them afterwards). Then I edit, but also ENSURE that I set of the IPTC data, captions etc etc, plus add the Metadata tags.
Of course, I still have a HELL of a lot of old photos. Some are scans from the photos, some are earlier JPGs with no orginal files etc. So, I'm in the (long) process of sorting those out. A lot of my own photos from 1998 to 2002 are have been scanned from the photo (that was shot on film). Those are JPGS which have been cropped and edited too much and are a mess. So, I'm going to use the orignal negatives and go back and rescan them again, convert to DNG, then post process as I would with RAW files.

My metadata tags themselves are in a nice hierarchy too, as Lightroom supports that:
Something like (not complete list):
Event
Event:Party
Event:Wedding
Event:Christmas
Event:Other
People
People:Family
People:Family:Me
People:Family:Wife
People:Family:My Family
People:Family:Wife's Family
People:Friends
People:Friends:My School Friends
People:Friends:My Uni Friends
People:Friends:My Work Friends
People:Other
Subject
Subject: Dawn Shot
Subject: Dusk Shot
Subject:Night Shot
Subject:Animals
Subject:Buildings
Subject:Cars
Subject:Other

Keebler
Feb 21, 2008, 08:47 AM
I use Aperture and from a pure hobbyist point of view, I have all my pics from 2001 to now, organized by year-month-day-sequential #

Some of them are tagged with keywords, but that is my big project while in vacation (kids and wife go to be early so what's a guy to do?).

I'll then create smart folders based on the keywords for events etc...

i find it makes sense for me to do it this way b/c I can go either by date which is the default or by smart folder if i know the specific event etc..

btw, in terms of backup - all aperture files and original files are stored on Mac Pro HD, then backed up to an external. All original photos, before importing into aperture are backed up onto another Hard Drive and then I have DVDs burned for each year. Just in case :)

cheerios,
Keebler

mactastic1971
Mar 25, 2008, 06:48 PM
I use the following:-

User/Pictures/<year_month>/<event>/RAW
User/Pictures/<year_month>/<event>/RAW/PSD
User/Pictures/<year_month>/<event>/RAW/PSD/JPG

I rely on tagging heavily !!!

Boblister
Mar 26, 2008, 08:16 AM
This thread is very interesting to me as its hopefully answering some questions I was ready to ask myself.

I took the plunge over the weekend and bought a Mac Pro after many years using a PC. My sons Aperture demonstation on his iMac was enough to convert me. For years I have been using a structure similar to what others have done here. My Docs/pictures/originals/year/month
I used software from a company called Breezesys. Downloader Pro for the importation of the images. It would rename as required, sort into my desired folder structure creating directories as required all with a lot of safety built in. You cant overwrite or delete anything by accident using this software. The other piece of software was Breezebrowser Pro which is very nice for image manipulation, raw conversion and very simple editing. So to me Aperture is going to replace the Breezebrowser package giving me better editing and a better cataloging system. However where I am not clear, with me being a Mac newbie is how Aperture will store my images if I leave it to its own devices and let it import them. Do people use other software to import the images then tell Aperture where they are. I know its sacralege, but I em even tempted to run my old favourite Downloader Pro on a PC to store the pictures on an external drive then take the drive with images to the Mac. Or I could even run Downloader under Fusion. Are there any equivalent downloaders for the Mac?

Flowero4ka
Mar 28, 2008, 06:58 AM
I organize my photos by topics - VOYAGES, PEOPLE, FRIENDS and etc.. Inside I name folders in next way - year/date/subject. For example - 2006/12/12/wedding Mike and Jane...

stcanard
Mar 28, 2008, 05:52 PM
What dos the public library do? You should copy their system. They have a set of card catalogs. Typically three catalogs but there might be more. One catalog is organized by autor, another by subject and another by title. Notice that a book could have three or more subject cards all for the same book. No reason to have only one. same for multiple authors, one card per author.

Ahh, but you're missing a point here in your analogy.

How does the library have their books sorted? Non-fiction in order by the dewy decimal system, Fiction hierarchically in order by Genre / Author.

They then provide a keyword system for random searches, or allow you to browse based on an organized hierarchy. You can't get away from the need for a physical organization of the items.

Generally I'm physically organized:

(Blue Folder) Year / (project) Date-Shoot
(Blue Folder) Special Event / (project) Date-Shoot

Keywords, for each photo:

Location, Contents, Mood, Event, Descriptive, Backup Location

It allows me to quickly navigate at organized hierarchy to find a specific shoot if I want, or use keyword searches to find something I need.

ChrisA
Mar 28, 2008, 07:51 PM
For the past 5 years I've been naming folders on my own and putting them folders and subfolders in my own arrangement. I'm looking to progress from that, and hoping many of you will have better ideas and methods. My photos total well over 200gb, including many large raw and jpeg files.

How do you all organize/browse your photos?

Thank you in advance for your suggestions and sharing!

Folders don't work. Let's day I wanted to find all the images I have of a hermit crab. Having folders organized by data or locaion is not going to help me.

The best way is to assign keywords and comments to every image then just thrown them all into one big bucket. The you can pull them out of the bucket using some kind of asset managment software. Smart albums help too. But i think keeping image files organized on foldrs is a total waste of time. I'm using Aperture now to keep my images organized but there is other software that would work.

I do use smart albums to group related images. If I go on a trip I keep all theimages from that together but an image can be inside any number of albums all at the same time without making copies so I can organize the images 18 different ways so I don't have to decide i I want to organize by dae or subject or location I can do all of those. It's like the way a public library uses card catalogs. Three card files sorted three ways and one tack of books sorted a forth way. but one with a computer I'm not limited to only three card files. I can make card files on the fly when ever they are needed.

nutmac
Mar 28, 2008, 07:51 PM
Count me in as another Aperture user relying on Aperture to manage folder structure. For me, manually managing the folder structure is not worth the efforts (Aperture lets me do that easily if I want).

I organize my Aperture library as follows:

At the top level are "camera model" folders (e.g., Canon EOS 400D), and specialized "Smart Albums" folder that houses smart albums.

Year folders (e.g., 2008) at the second level. I've tinkered with month folders in the past, but I don't shoot nearly enough photos to justify that level of micro management.

Underneath the year folders are projects themselves (e.g., "Christmas at Whistler"). For larger projects (e.g., "Summer in Italy"), I create albums underneath (e.g., "Rome", "Florence"). I always set city, state/province (where applicable), and country EXIF tags during import.

HooHar
Apr 12, 2008, 06:43 AM
Is there any advantage in having nested folders from the file structure / speed of searching / file safety perspective.

e.g. Does it slow searches down if you have say 10,000 large 20Mb images all in the same folder (say PICTURES/RAWS/...)

:rolleyes:

eddx
Apr 12, 2008, 08:33 AM
I use Lightroom - its the way forward. I have tried using Apple's Aperture and before Lightroom I used the normal file structure.

Now I just put them in titled folders in a folder entitled 2008. Previous years works are in other years folders.

Try Lightroom for a month and I am sure you will love it.