Quick file pics to 1 of 4 sub-folders?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by CavemanMike, May 13, 2016.

  1. CavemanMike macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    I have a folder of 2,000 pictures.

    For each one, I want to file it into 1 of 4 sub-folders: Family, Condo, Favorites, Junk.

    Is there any Mac App to make this task easier? (Maybe assign a macro task to one of four function keys so whatever photo is highlighted, it will move it into one of the sub-folders?

    Thanks for any tips or suggestions,
  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    You've imagined one way to do it, but there are lots of other approaches. I prefer organizing photos using database search methods over putting them into specific Finder folders. Search means the images can be located in many different ways.

    To me, Finder folders are way too rigid - what happens when you want the same photo to be found in two different folders? After all, you may want the same image in "Family" and "Favorites," right? What do you do, make an extra copy of every 5MB file? What if you then edit the image - you'll then have two different versions of the same image. Will you remember to replace/update the copy in the other folder?

    You could give up on the idea of using physical folders, but instead use the Photos app (or iPhoto) to sort those images into Albums. Very fast and easy - just mass-select, drag, and drop. The same images can be put in multiple albums without using significant hard disk space, since the contents of albums are lists of links, rather than image files. If you edit the image, the updated version appears automatically in both the Family and Favorites Albums.

    Instead of creating Albums, you could also use Photos' Keyword function to categorize them, and simply search on Keyword when you need to find them by that keyword. Again, you can mass-select the images and assign the same Keyword to all of them. Photos makes it easy to flag (and un-flag) images as Favorites. iPhoto makes it easy to assign star ratings... so many ways to mark/un-mark and categorize images without using additional space or shuffling them from one folder to another!

    You can also create Smart Albums - these automatically populate as you categorize your images - no need to drag them anywhere. Photos' Favorites album is an example of a ready-made Smart Album, but a custom-made Smart Album can include multiple criteria, including date ranges (all Favorites of Family for May 2016, let's say).

    If you'd rather not use those apps, you could also use the Tags feature of Finder. Each tag could be a different photo category. The images could be anywhere at all. After categorizing, you could view the Tag "folder" by clicking on it in the Finder sidebar. You could then do a Select All, and drag all those files to the "physical" folder of your choice. Or, just leave them where they are, and access that Tag "folder" when you need to find them based on that particular criterion.

    All you have to do to take advantage of all this power (at least, I consider it power) is to abandon the notion that you have to put one image file into one folder.

    Of course, plenty of people can't wrap their minds around the notion of using "virtual" search/keyword/tag-based methods, instead of a physical-seeming folder. The fact is, those folders are total illusions - there is not a physical location on a HDD set aside for the contents of a folder. There is no envelope, drawer, or box holding those files as if they were film negatives. The files are scattered all over the physical HDD - if the file is particularly large, it may even be in multiple pieces! The disk directory simply knows where to find them.
  3. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    I can't argue with any of the awesome points @ApfelKuchen made.
    I really appreciate such a thoughtful and comprehensive reply.

    In my case, my master pictures folder is on my synology NAS (network attached storage).

    I like having the pictures stored in a timeless, multi-platform fashion (e.g. folder of pics).

    I'm concerned about what I perceive as the precarious nature of tags. I don't know enough about them to have valid reason why I think that if my mac os gets trashed, somehow maybe custom tags might get messed up too.

    And, I don't want my library tied to a particular program like iPhotos, or photos or something that in 5 or 10 years could be obsoleted.

    And, I'm really just trying to efficiently file the last 2,000 photos.

    You might be horrified to read that I've had it with iCloud, iPhoto and deleted my library which was getting to be a mess across my iPhone, macbook & iMac. I copied all the photos from my iPhone onto my mac and erased them from may iPhone.

    What I hated the most about photos on my iPhone is what you mentioned as the chief benefit: albums are only links, and all the photos still remain in all photos. If I put 300 of 2000 photos into an album on my iPhone, I don't want them still in all-photos. That's why I decided to wipe them from the phone and organize them on my computer.

    BTW, pathfinder really does seem like the best method (two panes), view as large icons, single click one to preview, drag to the main categories.

    I really am surprised that trying to manage photos on why iPhone was so hard for me.

    Thanks again for a great post,

  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    You do what makes you comfortable.

    There's no reason to think tags would go anywhere if your OS gets trashed (trashed how - the file system burned beyond recognition?) - they're file attributes, no more or less robust than a file's read/write permissions, filename, date, or file type. There's a long list of things that could conceivably go wrong with a computer's file system. That's why we make backups. (But I did give you a sort method that makes just temporary use of those tags - categorize the images, then move everything with that tag into a "regular" folder.)

    This whole 5 or 10 years thing... Nothing is "timeless." These are computers. You expect permanence? Stick to quill pens and India ink. Technology changes, and we adapt. We port whatever we have to the next platform or the next app. Photos is here today, and I find it dead useful. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

    As I already pointed out, the "timeless" folders you describe are purely metaphors. They're not real folders. So, someone hangs a timeless metaphor on a bucket of bits and you're comfortable, and if they use an unfamiliar metaphor, you're uncomfortable. I guess that's human nature.

    I have always found a computer's file system to be inadequate for organizing images. To me, that file system is little more than the shelves of a public library - a book must be shelved in a specific place so that it can reliably be found. Sure, you can walk into the library, and if you know how the stacks are organized, you can browse until you find what you want. But what happens if you're trying to find every book written by Isaac Asimov? He wrote fiction and non-fiction, in many categories. His books are all over the place. What do you do? What makes a library really effective is its index - the old-fashioned card catalog, or the modern database. Cross-referencing. Searching. Photos (and iPhoto and Aperture before it) makes that very easy.
  5. CavemanMike thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    Ok. You convinced me (informed me) persuasively that the tags are attributes of the files, and remain with the files, whether stored on the mac or on my synology NAS. That makes sense to me now: If my macbook got trashed, the tags associated with each file remain fine, and fully accessible from my iMac.

    How much work would it be to change metaphors for my existing photo library:

    150 gigs, 5 top level folders, one folder, for example has 300 sub-folders.
    I presume I could select one of the root folders and assign a tag and it would be applied to every file in the root & sub.

    Is there any easy way of assigning each sub-folder-name as a tag for the sub-folder? For example, root folder= Family, a sub-folder might be "2013-MIke-Birthday-Party". I wouldn't want to navigate to that sub-folder and have to manually type in that tag name. I presume if I didn't tag all the sub-folders, if I just did a search for "Family", I would get a random search result of all family in all sub-folders (that would be a mess :)

    So, as I try to wrap my head around managing my photos in a better, more modern way, it sounds like there's two separate tasks: 1) assign tags for all root and sub-folders, 2) pick a tag-aware photo viewing / managing app.

    Let's say I get all my tags setup, and I search for "family" and "birthday", and I get a search result of photos from any number of physical folders, I'd want to be able to right-click edit in photoshop elements.

    @ApfelKuchen , you really piqued my interest in this topic.

    Very interesting thread!!


Share This Page