Lightrooom organization: am I missing something?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phrasikleia, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #1
    I switched to Lightroom 3 (from Aperture) a couple of weeks ago and am mostly very happy with it, at least for processing raw photos. However, so far I'm finding its usefulness in selecting and organizing photos rather limited. Since those functions are really the program's reason for being, I'm surprised it's so limited, but perhaps I'm missing something?

    As far as I can tell, the designers of Lightroom expect you to organize your photos after you've sorted through them all and have chosen your best shots. For example, it's apparently impossible to organize different folders of images on your hard drive under an 'umbrella' folder within LR; "Folders" in LR must correspond with actual folders on your hard drive. I have all of my 50,000+ photos in folders on my hard drive organized by date, but I'd like to be able to cut the cake a different way within LR, putting different dates together under location headings. So if I visited a location three years in a row, I'd like to be able to compare images of that location across years. Now, I could create a "Collection" with a certain location heading, but then I lose all of my stacks. Without stacks, the process of sorting through images for the best shots becomes really messy.

    It is possible in Aperture to file different projects under folders and still have stacks working within those projects. Is it really not possible to do the same thing in LR without changing the folders on my hard drive? Is there a better way of doing what I want to do?

    Would appreciate any advice on the matter. Thanks.
     
  2. OrangeCuse44 macrumors 65816

    OrangeCuse44

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    #2
    This is what made me switch from LR to Aperture, the organization was horrible. I'd be interested to hear as well, but Aperture organization is top notch.
     
  3. RHVC59 macrumors 6502

    RHVC59

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    #3
    I think you might want to look at the Collections section of the program.

    Matt Kloskowski as a tip on this subject somewhere on this page
    http://lightroomkillertips.com/

    and here at National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)

    http://www.photoshopuser.com/

    http://www.photoshopuser.com/lightroom3

    Sorry I do not have the direct link, but I have the git the garbage out to the curb before heading off to work.

    cheers
     
  4. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Important question - do you keyword your photos?
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Phrasikleia has already considered collections, she wrote that she loses her stacks when creating a collection.
     
  6. danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

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    #6
    keywords is the method I've used to create 'sets' of pics.
     
  7. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #7
    Right, when working in Collections, you lose the stacks functionality.

    Yes, but not systematically. And how would it help this particular problem?

    Fine, but keywords would only enable you to create that "set" within the Collections part of LR, which means losing your stacks.
     
  8. raxafarian macrumors regular

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    #8

    I initially use stacks while marking "best shots" and then the best shots get marked accordingly and moved into collections. I rarely go back to the stacks so losing them in collections doesn't matter to me with my workflow. Of course I could be missing out on something <shrug>.
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #9
    In Aperture, if you select one pic from a stack and you, say, drag it to an album, all the pics from the same stack are moved as well by default. This is quite useful if you have several versions of the same pic, for instance (one sepia, one crop, whatever). I suppose Phrasikleia has gotten used to this and integrated this behavior in the way she works.
     
  10. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I actually think it's THE way to do anything in LR, unless you're militant about your folder structure on your HDD.

    Okay, let's use your example. You are going to post to POTD and you want to pick a photo among your best captures of the Temple of Ephesus (since you seem to be into "classics" as we call it here). What you'd do is launch Lr3, display the filter bar in the Library module, filter by multiple criteria: keyword = ephesus, capture date = 7/16/07+, rating = greater than or equal to 4 stars, color code = some defining factor you may have picked when you imported it. Now you'd have a new grid with the results of your search. Pick one, export, and you're done. Unless you really labor over your choice, that process for me takes about 5-7 minutes.
     
  11. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #11
    OK, so I think my assessment of LR is correct, then. The app's design presumes a linear type of management in which all organization comes after sorting and selecting. If that works for you, then you're not missing out, but that method of working is a bit inconvenient for me.
     
  12. raxafarian macrumors regular

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    #12
    Ok... I can see doing it with different versions (sepia, crop, etc).

    Thanks a bunch... now I want stacks in my collections too :mad: lol
     
  13. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    Actually my scenario is more like this:

    1) I do a shoot in a museum that produces 1,000 images over the course of three days. When I get back to my office, I first process the best shots of whichever objects I was commissioned to shoot and then cherry-pick other objects that I think have good stock value. There will then be a lot of "B list" items that don't fall into either of those two categories; they might be great photos, but the objects they represent aren't immediately important to me, and I leave them for later.

    2) I go back to that museum a year later and shoot 1,000 more images, with some overlap of what I did the previous year. Again I process what's most important and leave a lot for later.

    3) Repeat of #2. Now I have some 3,000 shots from three different years, some I've sorted through and some I haven't.

    4) A client asks if I have a photo of a particular object in that museum. I know I shot it one of those three years (maybe all three), and I'd like to click on a folder to see everything from all three years, with the stacks still intact.

    Obviously, without the stacks in step 4, I'll have a big mess on my hands.
     
  14. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #14
    One idea- did you know that it is that it is possibe to select more than one "source" folder from the left column? Same way as any multiple select in OS X: command + click.

    So in your situation, you could simply click on all 3 years' worth of folders, and get a result showing the total contents of all three of those folders. You can then continue to narrow down the choices by using the filters (flag status, attributes, etc).

    As you're really browsing multiple folders at once and not using collections, stacks are not affected.

    Aperture and LR are not exact replicates of each other. If switching between them, some adjustment of workflow/file management may be necessary.

    Ruahrc
     
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #15
    Keywording.....

    When you import the shots, you set the museum name as a key word - and whatever else is common to all the shots. Perhaps a city name, etc etc. At this point all 1000 shots have the museum's name attached to them, and you haven't had to look at the photos yet. As you work through the images the keywords will be attached to any new virtual copies of the images you make from the original, plus you can attach new keywords as you work through the images. The next years, attach the same museum name as a keyword when importing.

    As you work through the images, you then attach the name of the object as a keyword. Perhaps you add keywords that describe the media, etc etc. If you make a changes to an image, for example crop it as a panoramic, you add a keyword to describe that. Keywords can be added to groups of images, as I suspect they can be done in aperture.

    Keywords can be nested. So you could have a city name, with all the museum names under that. And under each museum name you might have the gallery names. You could have a keyword for 'Sculpture' and then nest 'Marble', 'Bronze', 'Wood', etc etc under that.

    You can also keyword which images have already gone to which clients.

    Now when a client calls and wants an image of an object, you just search for the keyword(s). If they want a panoramic, you add that to the search criteria. You don't even need to remember which museum the object resides in .... you just search for the name and it pop up.

    On the Adobe Lightroom support website, do a search on "Keyword". They have a good collection of tips by pros using LR, all of whom use keywords, collections, etc slightly differently. I'm sure one of their tips will help you. I've become a keywording fanatic since reading through some of the articles. You don't have to do all the keywording at once, just a little bit every time you are working on a set of images.

    Good Luck - Sounds like a really cool job.
     
  16. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #16
    ...can be made simpler as you get used to LR by using presets when you import (where you can keyword broad swathes of photos at a time too).

    I find ratings indispensable too.
     
  17. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #17
    I would put it differently....

    Aperture and Lightroom are designed by two different groups of people, so their basic design assumptions are different. I don't think one is better than the other, just different - in the same way that OS X and Windows think about files differently.

    Why did you switch from Aperture to Lightroom? Was there a feature in LR that you must have?

    Regardless, I think once you start thinking in a LR way you will find things easier. There is a tremendous amount of good information on the Adobe LR site, or just call up the Help feature and start reading. I think if you spent a couple of afternoons reading how other pros use some of the organizing features you will figure out the best way to do things to fit your workflow.
     
  18. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #18
    Well, I can think of at least two museums for which I have nine or ten folders already, so that's a lot to find and click on. Nonetheless, I didn't realize I could select multiple folders in LR that way, so many thanks for the tip.

    Keywording puts the onus on me to be absolutely systematic about something extra that I didn't have to do in Aperture. I actually did start out (years ago in Aperture) keywording every object by repository, iconography, date, and material. That lasted all of about two months, when I realized I couldn't possibly keep it up. I just have too many images to do that kind of keywording all by myself (along with all of the sorting, processing, and delivering). However, I think I will have to start keywording with at least the site/museum upon import. I can probably manage to do that much without forgetting.

    Yeah, I think I"ll have no choice but to do at least some minimal keywording upon import. I do use ratings a lot, but again, I sometimes forget, so it's hard for me to rely on it for sorting.

    I switched to LR for a couple of reasons. For one, I was completely exasperated by some bugs in Aperture 2. Secondly, I discovered that the raw processing gave rather grungy results in some situations in Aperture. I commiserated with other Aperture users on this forum and elsewhere, and these issues turned out to be fairly common. Perhaps they've all been resolved in Aperture 3, but I lost trust in Aperture, which is a pity because I do think the interface is superior to LR. I ultimately came to prefer ACR for raw processing and for the last year was using Aperture only for sorting and organization.

    Now that I'm using LR, I'm hooked on the ability to do lens corrections to raw files, and to be able to copy and paste those corrections to multiple images. I really dislike using plug-ins that only work on a TIFF or a JPEG. That's probably reason enough for me to stick with LR.

    I've already picked up a good tip or two right here, so yeah, I'll keep inquiring. However, the short answer to my question has turned out to be "no": I cannot organize folders in LR; they are a direct reflection of whatever organization I have chosen for my hard drive, period.
     
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #19
    Do you know that A) You can nest folders in LR, so you could have all the galleries (or whatever the folder is) for a museum as sub-folders under the museum folder. B) You can drag and drop folders within LR to move them around? I think its a 'one folder at a time' thing - but I'm not at that computer and so I could be wrong. You can also create folders, which is done by right-clicking on the folder panel, and/or clicking on the plus sign in the folder panel while in the Library module (iirc - I can't check).

    I don't play with the folders in LR (mine are created as Year/Month) because I use keywords instead. If you used keywords simply as a substitute for the folder organization you are used to using - and which seems to work well, then you would retain the functionality you are used to - plus leave the door open for adding even one or two more layers of detail. I do understand the about the hassle of going into the level of detail I would like to have.... but found that it's easy to group photos, and apply common keywords to those. And sometimes I might get to individual images.

    I don't, however, shoot quite as prolifically as you do....
     
  20. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #20
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if I do any of that "in LR", aren't I just using LR to make those changes to the actual directories on my hard drive?

    I don't want to make any changes to the directories on my hard drive. I need them to remain strictly chronological for our backup system.
     
  21. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Any change you make to your folders in LR will be represented in the folder structure on your HDD.

    I look at LR and keywording/colors/ratings the same way I think about iTunes. It's not a perfect analogy, but I want all my "folders" (albums) to stay constant, the way you do. However, I'll put together playlists, based on my criteria/selection. LR works similarly, except that you have to make sure you are diligent in assigning the criteria to your photos. LR makes it pretty easy to at least minimal keywording (when you import).

    When I shoot, I'll usually come home with, say, 100 photos. I'll import them with a preset, and/or keyword the basic location (los angeles, griffith, observatory, sunset, etc.). I'll go through them in the Library module, and use X or shift-X to immediately mark the worst shots for deletion. Next I'll rate them. Then I'll take any 3 4 or 5 star rated photo and see if I need to do any post processing. Then I'll filter by 4 or 5 stars, and export to smugmug.

    Just those steps will allow me to go back in the future and use those keywords to see if I approached a particular subject better. In Library, I'll filter by "griffith," "last two years," >= 4 stars. Voila.

    I think you get the point - if you don't do these things right when you start, it's hard to go back and do it days/months/years later.
     
  22. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #22
    Thanks to everyone for the tips and input. Apparently in this one regard at least, Aperture has the advantage. It is possible in Aperture to create parent folders that retain the stacks functionality and that make no changes to actual hard drive directories. I'll miss that feature. Some extra work on my part can make up for it, at least until Adobe makes LR's folder organization more flexible. Oh well. I'm still enjoying a net gain from having switched to LR, so I'm mostly happy.
     
  23. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #23
    One tip regarding this behavior is that if you do make any changes to your folder structure, make sure to do it within LR and not in the Finder. Moving files/folders around in LR actually moves the files on your disk, and also updates the LR catalog at the same time so LR is aware of the changes. If you move things around in the Finder, the LR catalog is not aware of those movements so if you go into LR and look in that folder- LR complains that everything has moved and you need to redirect it to the right location. If you moved a lot of folders via the finder, this can be a tedious process to update.

    I thought there was a way to prevent LR from doing this (maybe it's on import) but I can't seem to find it.

    Phrasikleia I'm still not 100% sure exactly what functionality you're looking for (I'm not familiar with Aperture) but it looks like you have found some workarounds.
     
  24. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #24
    One other thing that's worth mentioning - I was very impressed with Adobe's betas for LR3, but maybe the most impressive part was how user feedback really fed into the final product. I was surprised to see Adobe TV productions between the beta releases that detailed out what they were changing and why, and how user feedback dictated a lot of it.

    I'm not saying that feedback on some of these points would result in wholesale changes to the way LR functions (though engineers and Adobe reps will occasionally respond in Adobe's help forums), it's things like this that give me a lot of confidence that LR will be a product that will be continually improved in the future, and that maybe some of my ideas will be heard.
     

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