Organizing photo folders

Joltinjess

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I thought that there would be a post on this already but couldn't find one.

When I first got my E-PL1 99% of my photos were of my daughter so they all went in a folder named Brielle and then were broken down in that folder by age in months. Then I started taking more pictures of other things like landscapes and flowers, so I started another folder for that. Then I opened one for other peoples kids. Now I've got dozens of folders and I end up sorting all my photos into them. To complicate things a little more , we are expecting another little one in a couple months. What do you do to keep track of all your photos? Do you sort them by date? Event?
 

wjiang

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I used to do what you do... after years and years I couldn't find anything, and always debated for ages where to put things.
Since last year I've been using Picasa (free) to organise my photos. You can add tags, faces (it even quite good at auto-detecting faces) and search for them, so now I just name all my folders YYYY-MM-DD-EventName. This sorts nicely and is unambiguous. If there's really no event, I just have a YYYY-MM-Misc folder for each month. When I'm travelling I dump my photos directly into folders for YYYY-MM-DD-LocationA YYYY-MM-DD-LocationB, etc, so at the end of my trip I don't have to do any sorting.
 

JuliusP

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Long time lurker here. First post so I hope this helps. :)

I have a similar system to wjiang.

My system that I use with Lightroom looks like so in terms of the folder organisation:
Photos_2014 (main folder)
- YYYYMMDD - Description (sub folder e.g. 20140726 - Studio Shoot)
---- OMD (sub sub folder per camera to store both RAW and JPG files)
---- EPM2 (sub sub folder for a different camera)
- YYYY_Lightroom_LR5 (sub folder to store Lightroom catalog file)

I'll use separate main folders for large groups of photos (e.g. Photos_2014_Travel, Photos_2014_Studio).

The reason I use separate folders for different cameras is purely for workflow purposes in Lightroom. It's quicker to select the camera folder from the directory tree rather than select by camera using the metadata search.
 
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I use basically the same physical file storage methodology as described above with a folder structure of year, date and location, and then camera. To separate images into different categories I use my Flickr account to add tags and put images into albums and albums into collections.

If you ever use a program like Lightroom for Digital Asset Management you want to make sure you get your image file storage structure right at the beginning because it is a pain to re-associate your Lightroom catalogue if you make changes to your image file locations.
 

janneman

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I just have a long row of folders with year-month names (2014-07). For some events with a lot of pictures there might be subfolders inside. In general I tend to know in what year and what season a picture was made, which makes the search a little bit easier. Since I am an old medium format photographer, I tend to make less pictures that I see from other people. I am a bit more selective about actually pressing the release button. It is the heritage of films with 12 or 15 negatives. A day on an event like a kite-fest tends to end with 100 or 200 pics, not with 1000. And a morning walk for taking pictures ends with 20 pics, not with 100.
 

Matero

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Well, I have quite many folders and subfolders. And addition to that also naming structue for pictures. (maybe both belt and suspenders, one might say)

I re-structured my photo folders to allow me using whatever RAW developer or media library solution and ended up in to structure like this:
- destinations/events - this include travel destinations etc and subfolders for countries and cities and inside those 'yyyy-mm destination' subfolder which has folders for RAW, SOOC JPEG and developed pictures in JPEG (if I have all those and will hold them, lately I've started to shoot only RAW, develop full size 100% quality JPEG and smaller version for Flickr and forums, Facebook etc and get rid off RAW)
- kids - I have four of them so everyone has their own personal subfolder of portraits or their activities and common folders for their school etc activities
- ceremonies - and inside subfolders for weddings, funerals, etc, inside 'yyyy-mm event' for particular event
- personal - my own stuff, work related, etc inside 'yyyy-mm event' structure for those
and couple of other folders, but you get the idea.
Then I've started to use picture renaming in my workflow before I do anything else for my pictures. I use naming structure: short-description_yyyy-mm-dd_hh-mm-ss_cameramake_model_lens_aperture_shutter-speed_ISO - this is very usefull in searching, and post-processing when you can always check basics from the filename.

And yes, I spent way too much time with my hobby, at least according to my wife :)
 

GBarrington

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I have a hierarchy of folders Of year|Month|day Then I use ACDSee Keywords and categories to identify people, places and things.

This way, I keep photos stored in a chronological order and am still able, via ACDSee's search and filtration tools, to quickly find photos of people, events, etc. This works well for me.
 

lightmonkey

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on lightroom i set import to rename each with prefixof Year_Month_Location/trip_Photo#
Folder on disk are named similarly Y_M_L
And each folder corresponds to Lightroom "Collection" named Y_M_L

the beauty of collection is they are non-exclusive.... that is, a photo can be a member of multiple collections

so within a YML collection, photos of people e.g. can also be added to collection of "families" or "friends" or "barbara" or whatever. or "hotels" or "landscape" .....which spans multiple trips and occasions etc



there is also the concept of tags. but collections is sufficient for what you want
 

robbie36

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I thought that there would be a post on this already but couldn't find one.

When I first got my E-PL1 99% of my photos were of my daughter so they all went in a folder named Brielle and then were broken down in that folder by age in months. Then I started taking more pictures of other things like landscapes and flowers, so I started another folder for that. Then I opened one for other peoples kids. Now I've got dozens of folders and I end up sorting all my photos into them. To complicate things a little more , we are expecting another little one in a couple months. What do you do to keep track of all your photos? Do you sort them by date? Event?
Ok here is my advice.

I would use Lightroom to sort your photos. This is how I would suggest you proceed.

1) Place all your existing folders in one all encompassing folder - say called Lightroom photos
2) Back up this folder structure. This is important in case you screw up.
3) Open a new catalog and import all the photos by selecting the Lightroom picture folder with all your other folders. Choose 'add' rather than 'copy' or 'move'. This will maintain your existing folder structure.
4) Now key word the photos according to their existing folder structure. In other words select your 'Brielle' folder, select all the photos in it and keyword them 'Brielle'.
5) Once you have finished, press save metadata to file. This will write the metadata into the actual metadata to file.

.....Now....
1) Exit that catalog. And start a new catalog from the same folder structure. But this time choose 'move' and a destination. This time Lightroom will sort all your photos by the day you shot them. This is how Lightroom likes its folder structure and the one that I think makes the most sense.
2) You can then go through and add what the day was about to the folder in Lightroom
3) The good news is that effectively your old folder structure will still be in place. Putting 'Brielle' in to the text search will show all the photos of 'Brielle' due to the metdata you have written to the file in the first stage.
 

Joltinjess

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Ok here is my advice.

I would use Lightroom to sort your photos. This is how I would suggest you proceed.

1) Place all your existing folders in one all encompassing folder - say called Lightroom photos
2) Back up this folder structure. This is important in case you screw up.
3) Open a new catalog and import all the photos by selecting the Lightroom picture folder with all your other folders. Choose 'add' rather than 'copy' or 'move'. This will maintain your existing folder structure.
4) Now key word the photos according to their existing folder structure. In other words select your 'Brielle' folder, select all the photos in it and keyword them 'Brielle'.
5) Once you have finished, press save metadata to file. This will write the metadata into the actual metadata to file.

.....Now....
1) Exit that catalog. And start a new catalog from the same folder structure. But this time choose 'move' and a destination. This time Lightroom will sort all your photos by the day you shot them. This is how Lightroom likes its folder structure and the one that I think makes the most sense.
2) You can then go through and add what the day was about to the folder in Lightroom
3) The good news is that effectively your old folder structure will still be in place. Putting 'Brielle' in to the text search will show all the photos of 'Brielle' due to the metdata you have written to the file in the first stage.
Thanks for your detailed response Rob. Unfortunately I'm not a photoshop guy, I use Gimp and Olympus Viewer II.
 

kstano83

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I have recently reorganized my whole photo folder in Lightroom from a complete mess into folders sorted according to dates - YY/MM/DD and keyworded every single shot. Now I'm trying to create collections and smart collections but I can't seem to figure out how to use/mix rules. What I would like to achieve is to have a smart collection of our son with only him in the collection. What I've done so far is that I created a rule to match a keyword with his name but now there are other family members in the collection as well. Is there a simple way to mix rules so that there would be only our son and no one else? Does that mean I have to create another rule ''exclude'' with all other keywords that I have in the list? Which is like...a lot. :) Or is a basic collection and dragging photos into the collection with every import the only possible way?
I hope it makes sense.
 

alan1972

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Do you mean that you want a collection that includes solo photos of your son, but excludes photos of your son with other people? Seems to me that if this distinction is important to you, one way would be to tag photos with more than one person as (for example) "group", then add a rule to your smart collection to exclude photos with this tag. Or maybe add a tag such as "solo" to photos of just one person. As you are already tagging with names it would not be too much extra work to tag with a "group" or "solo" keyword at the same time, then you can filter by any combination you need in smart collections.
 

agentlossing

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I used to do what you do... after years and years I couldn't find anything, and always debated for ages where to put things.
Since last year I've been using Picasa (free) to organise my photos. You can add tags, faces (it even quite good at auto-detecting faces) and search for them, so now I just name all my folders YYYY-MM-DD-EventName. This sorts nicely and is unambiguous. If there's really no event, I just have a YYYY-MM-Misc folder for each month. When I'm travelling I dump my photos directly into folders for YYYY-MM-DD-LocationA YYYY-MM-DD-LocationB, etc, so at the end of my trip I don't have to do any sorting.
Does Picasa do some sort of minor auto-editing within the program? I used to use it and I thought the photos looked different within Picasa than they did outside of the program.
 

GBarrington

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Does Picasa do some sort of minor auto-editing within the program? I used to use it and I thought the photos looked different within Picasa than they did outside of the program.
Most programs do SOME auto tweaking, even if it is just very light sharpening and NR. Of course, some do more and some do less. But this is even true of software known for not doing very much (and who have a reputation for not doing any pre processing!), I suspect we just couldn't HANDLE the truth!
 

tkbslc

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Does Picasa do some sort of minor auto-editing within the program? I used to use it and I thought the photos looked different within Picasa than they did outside of the program.
Not unless you click the button.

Where they RAW files? Picasa has a poor RAW rendering engine. I do not view RAW files in Picasa, I just use it to organize all my JPEGs.
If they were JPEGs, Picasa should display color properly, but I've found my images look softer in Picasa than in some other programs. FastStone renders them nice and sharp.
 

agentlossing

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They may have changed a bit, I used Picasa quite a few years ago. I think it was raw and jpeg files, but honestly it's been so long, I may need to give it another go.
 

kstano83

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Do you mean that you want a collection that includes solo photos of your son, but excludes photos of your son with other people? Seems to me that if this distinction is important to you, one way would be to tag photos with more than one person as (for example) "group", then add a rule to your smart collection to exclude photos with this tag. Or maybe add a tag such as "solo" to photos of just one person. As you are already tagging with names it would not be too much extra work to tag with a "group" or "solo" keyword at the same time, then you can filter by any combination you need in smart collections.
Yes that is exactly what I meant. I too thought of using a special keyword but I would like to have another smart collection with me, my wife and our son only. This way it would be too complicated to keyword I guess but I can't think of any better solution. Or maybe I should stick to a basic collection and put shots in it manually.
 

bassman

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LR lets you create smart collections with multiple rules. You could write:

Keyword = {sons name} & Keyword does not contain "Group"

Or:

Keyword = {son} & Keyword = {me} & Keyword = {wife}
 

wjiang

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Does Picasa do some sort of minor auto-editing within the program? I used to use it and I thought the photos looked different within Picasa than they did outside of the program.
As previously mentioned, it doesn't do any edits unless you tell it to, but it also has a really poor RAW rendering engine that doesn't follow any manufacturer or Adobe adjustments. I don't use it to view RAW files at all - they happen to live in the same folder as the JPEGs but are hidden from Picasa.
 

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