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How do YOU organize your pictures?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Binford, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    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!
  2. macrumors regular

    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.
  3. macrumors newbie

    I am using Aperture and I love it.
  4. macrumors 68020

    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.
  5. macrumors regular

    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.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    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:


    This, plus lots of keywords, seems to work great, and takes much less time than my old system.
  7. macrumors 68000

    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
  8. macrumors member

    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.

    Pete :rolleyes:
  9. macrumors regular

    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.
  10. macrumors 603

    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.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    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.
  12. macrumors regular


    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.
  13. macrumors G4

    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
  14. macrumors member

    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.

  15. macrumors regular

    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.
  16. macrumors G4

    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.
  17. macrumors regular

    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.
  18. macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    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.
  19. macrumors 6502

    I like to separate it between job and recreational shots and sub divide that between semesters

  20. macrumors member

    thi sis aperture, right?
  21. macrumors 6502

    Yes, though I have the exact same organization scheme in Lightroom :D

  22. macrumors member

    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
  23. macrumors 6502


    I either label it by occasion and then year, or just use Bridge to do the same thing.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Year/Month/Name of Client/Event

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


  25. macrumors member

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

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