How to clean up photo organization?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jazzer15, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. jazzer15, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014

    jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    This is partially an Aperture vs. Lightroom question, but not completely, so I did not post in the sticky thread. I hope that doesn't offend anyone :)

    I have about 4800 images or so in iPhoto from various older cameras dating back about 10 years. Almost all, if not all, are JPEGs. I imagine there are probably any number of shots that are not great and can be deleted, but many are also from family events and vacations that I might keep for the memory.

    I purchased a Sony NEX 6 about a year ago and not long ago started shooting RAW (or RAW & JPEG) and switched over to Aperture. I probably have about 700 images in Aperture. My files on iPhoto and Aperture are non-referenced. They are obviously in events, and a few have key words, but for the most part, they are otherwise kind of a mess. I am getting more interested in photography as a hobby and before everything gets completely out of hand in terms of organization, I need to set something up that makes sense.

    At the same time, I am wondering if I should jump ship from Aperture to Lightroom because (1) some of the the Sony lenses really can use lens correction which is not available in Aperture except through a plug in like PT Lens, which results in huge TIFF files; and (2) Although I find Aperture somewhat intuitive due to my prior use of iPhoto, I have a lot to learn and don't have much time invested in it yet. So I wonder if I am going to spend my limited time learning a piece of software if Lightroom is the better bet.

    I have few basic questions (with subparts, of course :)): (1) how can I get a workflow going so that things are organized and I don't feel so overwhelmed with all of my current and future photos? Should I just ignore everything from before and move forward?

    (2) In Aperture, I have a lot of imported RAW & JPEG pairs. For most photos I have used the RAW as the original, but for a few I have used the JPEG (primarily because of the in camera lens correction). Is there any way to easily delete the version of a photo I am not using?

    (3) If I want to move over to Lightroom, will it be easy to do or, again, would I be better off leaving all of the photos I currently have in their current programs rather than transferring them over and just start fresh? And the controversial answerless question -- would you recommend Lightroom rather than spending my time learning Aperture? I am sure I can get used to either program if that is what I spend my time learning.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
  2. HantaYo, Mar 29, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014

    HantaYo macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2012
    Answer to your specific questions:

    I would pick one program and run with it. Iphoto libraries can be migrated to Aperture so it comes down to a decision of Aperture or Lightroom. I would organized all your photos in one catalog and one directory on the hard drive. I organize all my photographs by year and then have sub-directories below of say trips, wildlife pictures, family events, etc. Having a plan of how you want your picture library organized is key before migrating. I would migrate everything you have.

    Here is a link to some Aperture training I just received:

    I have hundreds of RAM/Jpeg pairs in Aperture. I do not believe you can delete one of the pairs- but check this out more. I just imported both in lightroom. I'll likely delete the jpegs when I create a preset I like for my raw files. You could change your primary photograph in Aperture and then export that one to Lightroom.

    For me migration was easy. I just migrated over from Aperture. I migrated 18,000 pictures, RAW, tiffs, jpegs and jpegs/RAW pairs. I went with the Adobe CC photoshop and lightroom for $10.00 a month (this expires end of March and the price will double). My aperture photographs were not referenced but managed. I bailed from aperture because Apple communicates ZERO information on their commitment to aperture. It is obvious aperture ranks very low priority to Apple.

    Migration to Lightroom went without any issues. I decided to convert my raw files to DNG so that increased to import time significantly.

    The biggest draw back of migrating to a different software is you will loose post processing edits to your photographs. You can export the edited versions though. Luckily I have been way behind in editing, some of that due to lack of information on Apertures future. Meta data transfers without any issues; however You will loose any meta data hierarchies you built in Aperture.

    Lightroom is the better program overall all and I know Adobe is committed to it. Apertures DAM is better but with ZERO information on the programs future it was time for me to bail. I needed to move on and get back to editing my photographs.
  3. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010

    I want to thank you for taking the time to read through my, admittedly, long and difficult to slog through post and for responding in detail. You have given me some helpful ideas. I will give some serious thought to the organizational structure before I do anything. The Lightroom/Aperture debate is never ending. I have the same concerns as you and many others about Apple's committment to Aperture. If Aperture had lens correction, I think it would be an obvious solution for me. But it doesn't and so I am very tempted to jump ship before I have devoted too much of my time on it. No doubt a new version of Aperture will come out and catch up with Lightroom as soon as I do so :).
  4. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    Great thread. I can relate to much of the topic.

    I've taken lots of photos and after using iPhoto a while, decided to jump up to Aperture last year. I wasn't the best at naming and organizing and with probably 20k jpegs and photos that need to be cleaned out of the slightly blurry or not great shots. I started shooting more manual photos, RAW and actually understanding the photo management part.

    Anyway, I am wondering if Apple will continue support for Aperture. Thinking all the edits over the past year will be lost (I suppose I can export the versions but then i would still ant the originals --maybe, one day to go back to them).

    I don't have any real help here. I was in your shoes and I'll be sticking to Aperture for now...hoping to see a release this year with some of the things that make Lightroom "better".

    And a good read. nice to see what others here have to say.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    The way you "organize" photos is with meta-data. You add keywords, date, location, the names of the people in each image and the kind of shot.

    The trick is to WRITE DOWN you system for keywords and tags and stick with it. The more meta-data the better.

    Don't bother using folders. You will just make a mess of things. You will never find anything. For example that shot of Mary and her do Spot, is that in the Jun-2003 folder or the July-2004 folder? Or in the "mary" folder. But no, you were in Denver, CO when you took that so possibly the Denver folder. Just dump them into the big library and keep metadata tags then you create "Smart Folders" and the photos just show up with no work into as many smart folders as they should. They move between smart folders if you change a tag.

    Star rating are also very important so you can cut the clutter of less than really good shots. But WRITE DOWN your criteria for assigning stars. I reserve 5-strs for publishable work that has general appeal. Not family snapshot would ever get 5 because no one else would want it. 1-star is kind of like the tracy can I've not emptied out yet. It means I've looked and don't like it. 0-stares mean un-rated. I've not looked or decide. 2-stars s a poor phot but is to be kept because it records some event or object, a "record shot" 3 and 4 are better

    Use any system you like, just stick with it.
  6. FWRLCK macrumors member

    May 2, 2011
    As a counterpoint, if your metadata is good, you can ignore the folder structure. I personally do Year/Month/Shoot and that works very well for me. My ratings are very similar to yours except that one star is a "meh, keep it it anyway" rating rather than a delete it (I just reject/delete those). I do some keywording, but not tons -- b&w, portrait, cityscape, landscape, etc.
  7. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    I also have photography as a hobby. For me, the easiest way I've found to organize my photos is:

    1. Make a folder for Family > Year > Event
    2. Make a folder for Hobby > Year Event
    3. Make a folder for Work > Year > Event. In here I put the photos I take at my work (not professional photography, simply of coworkers, etc.).

    - My Family and Work photos are not tagged, just rated and every now and then I make an effort to select faces so I can more easily find photos of someone.
    - My Hobby photos are tagged (location, subject, etc.) so I can easily find them later.
    - All my photos are rated.
    1 star means it will eventually get deleted.
    2 stars will most likely be deleted, but I'm still not sure.
    3 stars are OK photos.
    4 stars are photos I particularly like, but that because of a certain reason are not perfect.
    5 stars are photos I like very much. The ones I'm proud showing around when someone wants to see my photos.:)

    I've been taking photos since 2008, and after 30,000 photos, this system has worked for me. I use Aperture BTW.

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