Photo organization

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by radek42, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. radek42 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Greetings,

    I am finally migrating all my/our (read: family) pictures into Aperture. These are mostly family and various trips pictures with some landscape photography as well. The photos are more-less sorted into directories according to "events", but I am looking for more structure. I should say that I will go for referenced library with all my maters on the the second internal (non-system) drive on my mac mini server.

    They will go into /year/yyyy-mm-dd-event/ directories.

    I am not quite sure how to treat images from different cameras. I shoot most of mine in RAW, but our p&s generates jpegs. So far, I spit everything at the top having /D70 and /Fuji directories. And then there are iPhones/iPad ...

    So the question is: Should I keep that way or should I just use one directory structure? I would keep them separate and the "yyyy-mm-dd-event" level. I suppose, one can always separate images using metadata.

    The second question: Should I use a single project for all pictures or separate them into say: "fine-art", "events", "family", ... and place images there regardless of the camera? I almost feel that should work better than "D70" and "Fuji" projects since camera/image format is irrelevant ...

    I would greatly appreciate your insights especially from folks keeping their family pictures together with photo-hobby. I would rather get it "right" now rather than reshuffling everything later (although I suspect it should be possible).

    Thanks, R>
     
  2. twitch31 macrumors regular

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    Feb 12, 2013
    #2
    I think the camera you use to take the photo is irrelevant, so embedding a camera type/name in a directory structure is silly. As you say, you can always use metadata to identify which camera was used to take a photo.
     
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #3
    There are already lots of threads about the merits and issues of using the old-fashioned nested folder structure (can you tell I'm biased?). Doing a search for them, and reading, will give you lots of background. My username will appear in many of these threads. I have an opinion (which you be evident in threads) Whether or not you follow my advice is not important, but if you read up and make up your mind you will be lots further ahead.

    Happy Reading.
     
  4. Razeus macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #4
    First off, I would use two pieces of software for organizing:

    1) Exif Sorter
    2) Hazel (perhaps)

    First off, use Exif Sorter to RENAME all your photo files. Since these are personal files and not professional files, rename your files to a year-month-day hour.minute.second. So instead of having a file named _IMG1234, you'll have a file named 2013-08-26 08.45.13.

    Using that scheme will make it easier for Hazel to do its job and easier to for you to see what year the photo was taken simple by using Finder/Explorer.

    2) Second, use Hazel to automatically put the files into months. I personally use the Year-Event folder structure as using a Month does nothing for me. It's much easier to remember what the event was by looking at the folder name instead of a folder named August. For example, if my family goes on trip to the beach, the folder will be in 2013/Day at the Beach. Using 2013/August tells me nothing, especially if I know I want to look at photos from the beach or "Christmas at Grandma's".

    Using #2 depends on how extensive your photos go back. Mine go from 2009 until present so I can remember alot of the events. Sometimes you'll have random photos. For this I make generic event folders, such as "Family Shots", which are just shots of us doing random things in the house, backyard, at the park, what have you. Nothing that really an "event". You'll need to decide how you want to handle those kinds of photos.
     
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #5
    Or, you could use a Digital Asset Manager, like iPhoto, Aperture, Capture One, Lightroom, etc. instead.
     
  6. Razeus macrumors 601

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    #6
    Or not.
     
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Personally, when I see something written by snberk103, I stop and read it... and it generally make sense.

    I second snberk103's recommendation of a DAM. Using silly tools to rename pictures out of a camera seems like a waste... when you can use a DAM to do that for you upon import.

    Aperture in particular... excels at this.

    /Jim
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #8
    Since a DAM means you don't have to rename your files, and will automatically keep track of the dates so you don't need to refile into a date sequence.

    A DAM also means you don't have to choose which one single folder a photo goes into should the include stuff that might be in more than one folder (photos of your kids at Disney world - kids folder? family folder? or Disney folder?) - with a DAM you can either meta-tag or simply locate a single photo to reside in as many folders as you want without making copies (hence saving space).

    And of course a DAM allows you to have multiple crops of a single folder - with no or minimal space penalties... One version for your screen saver, one for your website, etc etc... all photos neatly tucked into a single easily locatable location.

    But - go ahead.... do things the hard way. Personally, I rather be taking photos than creating filing system that is not as powerful as the one found in iPhoto - which is the weakest of the DAMs.

    Like I said... there are a bunch of threads that cover this topic already very extensively, showing the pros and cons of both approaches.
     
  9. Razeus macrumors 601

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    #9
    Well gee, guys, let me re-read the OP again. Nope. No mention of him wanting to use a DAM (I personally use LR only to process and then export to a Dropbox file based system). I answered the OP according to what he wrote, and since he didn't mention wanting a DAM or even wanting to spend money, my post was to suggest he stick with his CURRENT file directory, and use the software I suggested as a way to better organize what he has.

    Geezus. You guys kill me with your ridiculous posts. It's like you guys can't wait to bash someone's post.
     
  10. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    Scotland, UK
    #10
    Please don't take this as post-bashing, but the OP did say he was migrating all his family photos into Aperture and that he wanted to use a referenced file system.

    You're wise to try and get things right from the outset. Unfortunately I speak from experience when I say this can be hard to do right off the bat, but on the bright side it is indeed possible to move your referenced images at a later date from inside Aperture.

    Will you be putting all of your images into Aperture? If not, one suggestion I would make is to have a top level folder called "images in aperture", or something similar. Within this folder you can use whichever structure you like. The reason I suggest this is that when you're dealing with referenced files you definitely don't want to move something accidentally and risk breaking your referenced link. Adding this folder at the top will remind you never to touch these photos unless you're doing so through Aperture. Anything outside of this folder can be moved around freely because you instantly know that the files are not referenced.

    I haven't made a suggestion with regards to your referenced folder structure because once the images are inside aperture it doesn't matter too much. Just use whichever method you feel makes the most sense. Once your images are referenced you can easily use smart albums to show all photos taken on a specific camera and to group content by date, label colour, keywords, or any other exif info. The big advantage of these tools is that a single image can appear in any number of albums / smart albums making it easy to find. The physical file, on the other hand, can only live in one location, so it's easy to continually question whether you've got it in the most appropriate place, or whether your folder structure should be modified.

    Bottom line - once you're images are in Aperture you really don't want to worry too much about the folder structure any more (because any changes you make to that structure outside of Aperture will break your referenced system).

    Hope that makes sense and is of some help.

    Best regards.
     
  11. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #11
    This is a really important point being made. Once in Aperture... you absolutely do not need to worry about your Operating system's file structure of the location of your files. Aperture does that for you.

    Also... it is very easy to create a "project" structure... and then change it at will whenever you want within Aperture. Aperture keeps track of where the files are stored.

    For some people... it can help to compare it to your computer's file system determing where to put your files on a HDD. Would you ever care to personally manage which tracks and sectors hold your data? Of course not... the file system does that for you.

    Likewise, Aperture does all that work for your photos... in a way much better than you can ever do it yourself. You manage your data from within Aperture, in an extremely efficient manner. Everything else is managed for you. It does not matter if you use references or managed files... because you would never touch the (through finder) anyway.

    /Jim
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #12
    Well, actually ... they did talk about using Aperture, which is a DAM ... if you want pick nits.
    And you will note that I suggested to the OP that they read the already extensive postings on the subject to make up their own mind. There are some really good reasons listed in those posts for graduating to a more modern system of filing images. Your situation may be the exception of course, but I didn't see anything in the OP's first message that made me think they would benefit from using a filing system first used in the days of DOS. Or was it before that... I don't know. ymmv, of course.
     
  13. radek42 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Thanks for all replies.

    I intend to use DAM, but I'd like to keep organized file structure to keep my analytical mind sane. I am not sure if I need to rename all my files since DAM will take care of that; just a folder hierarchy.

    I am still a bit puzzled by project/library/gallery/album stuff ... I just need to work with it a bit longer. I will run a small image subset to clarify that.

    I still would like to hear from folks who use different cameras or, more precisely, different image formats. I tend to agree with Twitch, that camera does not matter, but still ...

    Several people touched already another issue: how to categorized certain images. Is it "family" or "vacation" or "kids" etc. I suppose this goes partly away once images are in DAM. I was more worried about "random" snaps one takes here and there. Razeus touched on that and it makes sense ...

    How do you treat iPhone picture/videos? Do you still load them into your DAM? These images are prime example of more-less random shots. Perhaps sorting them by month ....

    I always appreciate advice and comments from people using similar tools.
    Keep them coming.

    R>
     
  14. flynz4, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #14
    Of course you can choose to organize your storage folders... but it is a pointless exercise. However, there is no harm... except you are spending your time on a pointless task... that only distracts you from the task at hand.

    You MUST get your head around projects, albums, folders. That is the key to using a DAM effectively. First, just read Robert Boyer's ebooks before you go poking around... and then start watching ApertureExpert videos. I promise you that it will "click into place"... and you will stop being confused. Just do it now.

    Personally, I organize my projects (NOTE that every image in Aperture "lives" in one, and exactly one, project. However... it can be viewed in any number of albums. Albums are your friend. Albums are "free" as in they take ~0 space.

    You asked about "Family", "vacations", "kids" as examples. This is exactly where a DAM shines. If you follow the old fashioned method of storing picures in windows/finder folders.... where do you put a picture of you family having a vacation at the beach? It belongs in all 3 of the examples that you mentioned.

    With Aperture... it can be viewed in albums in all 3 in a very trivial fashion. You do not need to predetermine where you store it in "family", "vacation" or "kids" location. Once you get your head around this, a light will go in in your head and things will be clear.

    Personally, my "projects" are similar to iPhoto "events". My imports go into a project that has meaning to me. For example, this past weekend we watched the end of the "Hood-to-Coast" race... an ~200 mile relay race where 18,000 people run from Mount Hood Oregon to Seaside Oregon.

    All of the pictures are in an Aperture project labeled:

    2013-08-24 | Seaside Hood-to-Coast

    All pictures from my 4 day weekend are in that project... which is the first day I began taking pictures.

    When I look at my 2013 folder... I will see something like this:

    2013-01-01 | Misc
    2013-01-02 | Cats
    2013-01-12 | Whister Ski Trip
    2013-01-28 | Walt Disney World
    2013-02-14 | Valentines retreat at Newport
    2013-03-17 | St Patricks Day in Dublin
    2013-03-30 | Easter Sunday Family Gathering
    2013-04-28 | Maui
    ...
    2013-08-24 | Seaside Hood-to-Coast
    ...
    2013-12-25 | Christmas


    See how nice it all lines up and is easy to follow? BTW, you asked the question about not knowing where to file "random crap photos". I stick the into a 2013-01-01 folder... which my equivalent of a "junk drawer". Getting those crap photos stored in a "year" granularity is "good enough". Also, I create a Jan 2nd folder because I have a wife who insists on taking hundred of pictures of our cats. This gives me a convenient place to stick them. Once again, yearly graularity is good enough. Doing it on a monthly basis is too fine.

    Note... the "project" structure above is not where I really "view my pictures". The problem is that it is largely filled with crap... and if I wanted to show that to someone (including myself)... I would put them to sleep.

    First step... in those projects, you will rate, stack, keyword, geotag, etc...

    Then.... you can create smart albums that have your best work... with a theme.

    Example: All pictures rated 3 stars or higher, with pictures of the kids, while on a vacation anywhere in Hawaii, between the years of 2005 and 2008... and you will instantly... with zero extra space used... your best kids pictures over that time period in Hawaii.

    See how that solved your problem of trying to decide whether to file specific photos under "family", "kids", or "vacations"? Any single choice would be wrong, because the picture would only be in that one place.

    What I just described is well under 1% of the value of using DAM. Read the ebooks that I mentioned... and once you have your head turned straight... start watching the videos. They are all dirt cheap, and you will soon have a great knowledge of how to "use" your pictures... rather than "store" your pictures. The difference is nothing short of amazing.

    /Jim
     
  15. radek42 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    I will look into that.

    Actually, I thought it made sense until I started reading either Ap manual or Getting started guide ... At some point (which I cannot find right now) they described projects, alba, folders, etc. It just seemed backwards that what they said earlier. Perhaps I misunderstood "folders". I thought they meant file system folders, but they referred to "virtual folders" within Ap ... folders can contain projects and also folders can be inside projects ... I think that was the confusing bit ...

    This is very helpful. I like the random folder ... I'll have to look, but you might be right that monthly folders might be too fine ... even with iPhone pictures.

    I am planning to do that. Just curious, do smart alba update automatically? I tried creating couple to check which focal length I use the most. If more pictures are added, will they automatically appear in appropriate alba?

    The 1% comment is almost scary :) Live and learn ... that's what I've done with photoshop (still learning) so Aperture will eventually give in as well :).

    Cheers, R>
     
  16. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Yes, Smart albums continually update. You can constrain their reach based on where they are located. For example, smart albums can live in projects, and be restricted to just those projects if desired.

    I might use use a smart album to get a collection of pictures, but then put them into a fixed album for further culling, or for adding other pictures... then put them into a book or slideshow... then delete all the albums bringing me to that final collection.

    Other times I might have smart albums that live forever. "All pictures of Jim"

    Any pictures in albums are "free".

    /Jim
     
  17. snberk103, Aug 28, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013

    snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #17
    I'm going to say this again. This topic is well covered here already, and if you take the time to search there are some very good discussions about the pros and cons of various approaches. I am normally very happy to repeat myself on this topic... but I'm not able to at this time. But it is all here already. One of the dynamics of these forums, in my opinion, is that once an important topic is well covered some of those people who really know this stuff don't participate in new threads (like this one) as often as they did in the earlier threads on the same topic. Just saying...
     

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