Staying organized in Lightroom

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by stockcerts, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm a new Lightroom user, and so far I really love it! I've been adding photos to my Lightroom envronment that I took years ago. It's fun practcing what I've learned by watching several of the Adobe training videos.

    Prior to moving to Lightroom I was using iPhoto. Everything in iPhoto was organized by events. I'm just wondering how most of you organize in Lightroom. Do you use collections or catalogs? So far I've started making use of smart collections that are based on meta-data keywords. Just wondering if this is the approach others take.

    I appreciate any input!
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    I use collections only for the top photos, organized by subject type (like sunsets, flower or even a specific location). My raw files are organized by camera, subject, and date.

    I downloaded Aperture when it was released, but when I saw the event organization, that it wasn't color managed (it is now), and that it wouldn't open my medium format Kodak files, that was the end of that.
  3. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    I use LR for more serious work and use iPhoto for snaps of my family and friends.

    I make a Collection Set for 2013 and make ANOTHER Collection set for "Personal" and another for "Professional".

    Inside of Personal, I'll make a Collection for the event, so if I take my family to the beach, the Collection is titled "2013_Day At The Beach". I do this because it's easier to find a photo by the event that just leaving it by Year/Month/Day (a photo on October 13, 2013 tells me nothing).

    Inside Professional, I'll make a Collection for the various types of photography I'll shoot. So I'll have a set for Street, Portraits, Still-Life, etc.

    Only the good stuff goes in Collections to keep them clean. I use a Flag for the photos I want to process, I flag an "x" for the files I want to delete but leave them for a few pass through before I finally delete. The best photos are flagged with 5 stars and are used (delivered to someone or uploaded or printed). I keep it simple.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I have similar system as Razeus - in that I have one Collection Set for "Clients" and one for "Personal Projects".

    Inside of these two Collection Sets I typically create another Collection Set. For example, I will have a Collection Set for my client John Doe. If John Doe is a one-off client, or if their jobs are simple then I will just have Collections and/or Smart Collections within their Set. Sometimes I have create yet one more Collection Set for particular project. Inside this Set will be the Collection that has all the images, plus print jobs, etc. As well as the Smart Collections that have final images (based on rating and flag colour).

    For personal projects I tend to shoot to a theme, so I have Collection Sets based on theme within my Personal Project Collection Set. Within each Theme Set I will have Collections and/or Smart Collections based on what I have done with the images, intend to do with the images.

    I tend to ignore the built in date structure, except when I need to find an image that I know I shot at about the same time as one I am looking at. I don't separate my images by camera or anything since there are built in filters for that. I tried multiple catalogues to help keep things sorted, but found having top level Collection Sets was far easier.

    I use keywording extensively, and have Smart Collections that use the keywords along with rating and flag colours.

  5. stockcerts thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Great information, thank you. I just finished watching a YouTube video and they suggest only having one catalog file, and as many collections as needed. I got a little mixed up in my head regarding collections and catalogs, but I understand it now. I'm going to give more thought as how to rate pictures, but I'm off to a good start with meta-data tags.

    I'm sharing a catalog file between my MacBook Air and my iMac. The catalog file lives in DropBox and this approach is working well.


    Another question for you guys. How do you use the color ratings? So far I've made use of "red" to mean that I've imported them, but haven't done any processing to the picture yet.

    I'll be glad to finally have an organized process/approach that I feel comfortable with and I can still with for continuity.

    Thanks again!

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