Home use - how to clean up this mess?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by robo456, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. robo456 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2008
    New Jersey
    Hi guys... not sure if this is in the right forum, because this isn't really a professional photography question... so be gentle!

    I currently have several hundred digital pics on my PC that I've wanted to organize for a long time now. Basically, whenever I moved the images from the camera, I'd make a folder in XP with the date for the name. At first this was fine, because if I knew 'around the time' I took the picture, I could find it easier.

    Now as time has gone on, I have a tons of 'dated folders' in my My Pictures folder that just looks like a mess. Would iPhoto be a good solution if I moved everything over to the mac? Or is that Apeture a better way to go?

    Like I said before, this isn't professional, this is just for home/family/friends pictures. I guess regardless of PC or mac, I'd have to go thru each photo manually to tag n' bag it?

    Sorry for the newbness of my questions, I've had a Mac Mini I bought a while ago, and just recently dusted it off; trying to give myself a reason to use it.

    Thanks for ANY info!!

  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Even the Mac Mini would allow you to browse through photos faster than you do in Windows, due to the architecture of Mac OS X.

    You should try iPhoto and see whether it works for you. It probably would.
  3. robo456 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2008
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the quick response.

    I figured I would take a few folders-worth and see how it goes. Any suggestions as to 'how to organize' pics? Should I keep it similar by date? Do I need to 'describe' each pic with tags? (sorry again, not really familiar with the process)

    I can always jump in head first, but I usually like to try to get others opinions or maybe read some 'noob-guides' before I try something new. :)

  4. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    The dates aren't particularly important. What IS important is you put "keywords" on those photos. Most photo apps - even the free ones - will let you do that. If you're going to stay on Windows, try Google's Picasa (or, if you're going to spend some money on something like Photoshop Elements, Adobe Bridge can handle those organizational tasks). If you're going to switch to the Mac, then you'll get iPhoto - that'll really help you get organized.

    Keywording a bunch of old photos is painfully tedious; but in the end I suspect you'll be quite happy.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Open the app. Go to the menu on top, select help.
    Apple software's help are actually very useful.
  6. reclusivemonkey macrumors 6502


    Jun 2, 2008
    Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK
    If all your photos have been taken with a reasonably modern digital camera, then the EXIF data contains the date they were taken and you can search on that. iPhoto likes to import your photos as "Events", and it generally easier to work with that than fight against it. Once you have imported all your photos you can add keywords/create albums and organise things however you like, there is quite a bit of flexibility. I would say that you should try and give up thinking about the need to organise your photos into folders; both Picasa on Windows and iPhoto on Mac offer you so much more flexibilty and power than can be achieved with a folder based organisational system. I have around 3000 photos on my Mac Mini and I find it very easy to manage within iPhoto. I spent a good few hours sorting them out after I imported them, but they weren't in any kind of order and its really easy to find what I need now.

    Whatever you decide, make sure you use that Mac Mini for something and keep the mini alive!

    I would like to echo Westside guy's comments; tagging a large batch of photos is tedious, but once it is done it makes life a lot easier and then you can do it as you add new photos.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Move all the folders over to the Mac's desktop then tell iPhoto to import them. Then delete them off the desktop. iPhoto will oaautomatically oganize them by date The next steps you have to do manually

    Think up a keyword system. Add keywords to each image and comments too. I use keywords to describe the type of image, macro, citysape potrait, group photo and alo the general genre like "under water", Vaction or ediorial. I use comments to describe the subject also rate each image with 1 to 5 stars. It helps to write down your rating criteria

    Next you can make any number of "smart albums". Like say photos of "cats rated 4 stars or more." Photos will sort them selves into these smart albums based on your keywords and comments. You can place the smart albums inside folders and folders inside folders

    Note that a photo can be inside any number of smart albums but it will only exist on the hard drive once. This is the key concept in iPhoto (and Aperture) that you can file the photos as many ways as you like but there is only one copy on the disk. You can also search in iPhoto but I find that the way I like to search is to create a new smart album and then refine the definition of the album untill it holds just what I want. Then I save the album.

    You can also make non-smart, or normal albums just by dragging. the photos do not physically move and yo can have one photo in 10 albums. So there is not extra cost to putting that photo of bob and his dog spot in both the bob and spot albums

    In is easy to change a smart album's content, you only have to edit the definition. The hard work is adding the keywords and comments and rating stars. Think a while about a good standardized way to do this, write it down and have some one else read it to see if it make sense and is clear.

    Next step. before you toss the PC in the trash salvage the hard drive. But in in a USB or Firewire enclosure and then plug it into the Mini. Now you have an external disk and can use Time Machine. It will make a backup of your iPhoto library. Get another drive and make another backup and take it towork,leave it there
  8. robo456 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2008
    New Jersey
    Thanks everyone for your responses! Even tho it's going to be alot of work, I'm excited to get started on this project...

  9. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    What he said ^^^^^

    My photos are stored as year/month/day, keywording via Lightroom is what I use to search. iPhoto is a good and free (so long as you have a Mac) way of starting.
  10. agore macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2006
    I swear by a shareware program called Jalbum for photo organization. Don't use iPhoto, because it mashes all of your image files into one huge proprietary lump. Use an image sorter/finder like Adobe Bridge to get your picctures storted, then use Jalbum to create slideshows that you can archive onto DVD while retaining your original files. The Jalbum slideshow format is scripted HTML that will play equally well on OS X or Windows, using only your favorite browser.
  11. mr.666 macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2007
    funny how in both this post and the other (about the kid doing the internship) The bridge is just looked over las if to say "ok bridge... what else is available".
    the bridge is all you need. take a class, learn how to use it! it's all you need large library or small (they could all be dump into one place with no subfolders!) bridge's metadata handles all the sorting. iPhoto will choke on a fraction of the photo's the bridge can sort.

    oh and edit RAW there too? fuggetdaboutit!
  12. RVRoadie macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2008
    I just went through this moving my Picasa pics to iPhoto. First watch the Apple tutorial video for iPhoto, understand events, and don't try to fight them. Once you figure it out, it is very handy.

    Each Picasa folder will import as an iPhoto event. Also, be sure to save your Picasa edits first. You will then have to get rid of all the Original Pic folders from Picasa, either before the import, or after if you want them initially in iPhoto.

    Dates are important, because iPhoto has an option to sort both Events and Photos by date. For old scanned pics that don't have real dates for when the picture was taken, you can use the Batch Change feature in iPhoto to at least get those pics in the correct year.

    Then you need to go through your Events and merge/split them to make more sense of your pics.

    I also wrote an Applescript Studio program to replace the iPhoto Title (file name) with the Picasa Caption the is hidden in each jpg file. PM me if you want to try it (I need a couple of people to try it before I make it public).
  13. NicoArgMad macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2009
    I have a pretty big collection to test!

    Hi RVRoadie,
    Your program is exactly what I'm looking for. I've tried to set the caption field with java and exiftool, but I couldn't get it right. I'm new in Mac so haven't begin to play with applescript.
    I'd be glad to help you testing it.

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