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Author Topic: Organizing My Hard Drive  (Read 5167 times)
360NikonD300
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« on: September 24, 2011, 08:56:11 PM »
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I am new to Lightroom, having previously used Photoshop and my own haphazard filing system. Do I have this right, that Lightroom is just a database that keeps track of my images? I'm just taking about the Library aspect.

So the question is, when I import the files from the camera, where do I put them and how do I organize them? Probably lots of ways to do this. Does by date make the most sense in terms of hard drive storage? And then create collections, etc., in Lightroom? I Hope this question makes sense!
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 01:15:16 AM »
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Here's what I do: http://bit.ly/LRWFlow  Everyone's a bit different though.

Mike.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 03:13:18 AM »
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You seem to have grasped the basics Smiley

Quite how you organise your files on the hard drive will be down to personal preference and circumstance. The most important aspect is that any system makes sense to you so that you use it and stick to it. Also something that is easy to back up and archive is important.

As an example; I don't shoot big volumes of photos, so I stick to a simple hierarchy of     camera model/year/month_subject
I also never rename files in LR until they have been deleted from the memory card to prevent any accidental re-import.

The other thing to remember is that if you need to move files that are already in your library around the hard drive (maybe you're sorting your old files to suit a new system) do it from Lightroom, then LR will keep track of the new location.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2011, 04:10:17 AM »
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Everyone's a bit different though.
Though that doesn't mean there is not good and bad practice (not saying anything about yours here).

Don't waste too much time getting fancy with your folder system - think of it purely in terms of the physical safeguarding of your pictures (completeness of backup, ease of restoring). Keep it simple - date-based. For organising or categorising your images, forget about using the folder system - use keywords, collections and other metadata.

I'd also recommend a single catalogue (except when you need to work away from base) and setting a couple of preferences - switch on automatic writing to xmp, and tell LR to prompt you to backup your catalogue upon every exit.

John
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Rusty
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2011, 12:34:43 PM »
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Most important is that all your photos are in one folder. How you organize your subfolders is up to you. I organize by year, then month. It is good practice when importing to put a second copy on a separate drive, which I organize in the same manner.
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360NikonD300
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2011, 03:20:37 PM »
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I changed the Catalog Preference to Backup every time LR exists, but the next time I launch LR, if has reverted to the default, to backup once a week. Any idea why it's not remembering my new preference setting? Thanks!
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CoyoteButtes
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 01:51:21 PM »
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I really like the file naming, file organization and importing scheme in Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer's, "D65's Lightroom Workbook
Workflow, Not Workslow in Lightroom 3."

Having a basic OCD personality I had agonized about this subject. So I took their workshop a few years ago. It was the breakthrough for me. And the book has it all in writing for you.

http://www.d-65.com/index.html

Good luck,

Stan
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meyerweb
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 02:21:23 PM »
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Can you briefly summarize the D-65 approach?
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CoyoteButtes
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 02:33:23 PM »
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Summarize D-65's approach? Ugh, this is like an exam in college...

Let's talk about the Library module:

Make a decision on whether you want your catalog file to reside on your desktop computer or be portable and go with you on shoots with a laptop. I do outdoor and nature photography, and I believe that my setup works best with my catalog on an external hard drive. I carry that hard drive and a laptop when I travel.

Establish a folder naming convention for each shoot starting with a date that will insure chronological order of folder appearance in the volume browser. Parent folder will be the shooting year - i.e. 2011.

Establish a file naming convention based, again, on a shooting date followed by a jobname followed by a sequence number. Jobname is all you'll have to enter at import. (There are tons of little details about all this stuff that ends up being important - like setting up the date as YYYYMMDD; this is all in their book) An example would be 20110801_serengeti_0001.nef.

Set up a metadata template that can be applied during import.

D-65 has a keyword set for sale. I chose to retain my own. I amend it as I do new shoots and need additional keywords.

Also there are emerging sets of industry standards that Seth and Jamie have addressed that will simplify your Lightroom life. One example would be file naming. You will probably want other software to recognize your file name at some point. If that file has a standard format file name you're ahead of the game.

This all talks about catalog and import strategy, but that is the big hurdle to image file management that enables you to do that stuff routinely and concentrate on the fun image editing in the Develop module.

Seth and Jamie have simply thought the whole process more thoroughly than some others.

Good Luck,

Stan

« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 02:36:13 PM by CoyoteButtes » Logged
meyerweb
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 07:23:10 PM »
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Thanks Stan.  Appreciate the info.
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MartyGrivjackLRInstructor
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 09:02:34 AM »
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360: Heed Rusty's advice. In addition to being a photographer (and Lightroom instructor), I've been a computer tech/nerd since the days of CPM, 8" floppies and punchcards. One thing I've learned over the past 35 years with bits and bytes is that drives will wear out and fail. From experience, I replace them every three years (or at least not in the critical workflow), replacing both internal and external. That being said, if you let LR organize your images into [Year\Year-Month-Day] format (seen as 2011\2011-10-20) then you'll have SO many positives going for you down the road, starting with ease of migration to new media.

Benefits:
1) Your annualized images will be organized by day. Most of us us calendars for our work. If you need to find a particular day's session, get that date from your calendar/planner and scroll down in your LR Folder, Explorer or Finder window until you find that day's images by its folder date. Simple. That's how computers think - sorting by numerical then alphabetical. If you follow #3 below, this will be the only time you look at your folders again.

2) By having your sub-folders in ONE folder (i.e. "2011"), when you, as Rusty says, migrate that folder to a new drive, it's just a matter of seconds to point LR to the new location for those assets. Again, simple. If you don't use one master folder and they're all in different folders, then when you copy those individual folders to a new drive you're condemned to spend HOURS reconnecting Lightroom with the myriad of individual folder locations. If you don't believe this, try it and see. Painful. Be good to yourself and use ONE folder with sub-folders and you'll love LR life.

3) If you use COLLECTIONS and Collection Sets (containers for collections) to organize your images, you've eliminated the drive wear and tear of using folder organization because you use the LR database (speedy, fast) instead of the computer's base operating system (slow and tedious). Now you have a whole new world of unlimited access to creating virtual copies of your images for versions (which take up virtually no sizable disk space to speak of relative to copying CR2s,NEFs or DNGs), as well as unlimited versions of sets of your images, great for doing breakouts of wedding image sets (bride's album, groom's mom's album, etc.)

Heed Rusty's advice and use one master folder. Then make collections on EVERY import. It's the only way to go, and it conserves on drive space and usage.
Marty
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JRSmit
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2011, 06:47:11 AM »
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Just my couple of cents. Use a few master folders, this to assure you can spread your priceless images over multiple physical disks. There are still physical limits to disks, and if performance is a issue, you do not want to fill ypur physical drive over around 60%
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howardm
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2011, 09:20:03 AM »
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Let me add one more thing........

Most computer operating systems do not really like having multiple hundred's or even thousand's of entries in a single folder.
It tends to slow them down.  So, you may want to consider a structure that includes an extra level of per-month

top_of_main_folder/2011/2011-10/2011-10-day_of_month

this puts almost an upper limit on the # of images in any one level (instead of a whole month of images in 1 folder esp. if you shoot a lot)

My LR import renaming handles it all automatically
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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2011, 11:15:30 AM »
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I really like the file naming, file organization and importing scheme in Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer's, "D65's Lightroom Workbook
Workflow, Not Workslow in Lightroom 3."

Having a basic OCD personality I had agonized about this subject. So I took their workshop a few years ago. It was the breakthrough for me. And the book has it all in writing for you.

http://www.d-65.com/index.html

Good luck,

Stan

Also check out Michael and Seth's  "Where's the #*#% are my Pictures?" tutorial available from LL. Have been using Seth's system for awhile, and it has made life easier.

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jjj
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2011, 01:44:30 PM »
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Summarize D-65's approach? Ugh, this is like an exam in college...

Let's talk about the Library module:

Make a decision on whether you want your catalog file to reside on your desktop computer or be portable and go with you on shoots with a laptop. I do outdoor and nature photography, and I believe that my setup works best with my catalog on an external hard drive. I carry that hard drive and a laptop when I travel.
Alternatively, have a master catalogue at home and simply import your location catalogue into the master catalogue when you get back. To crete the location catalogue simply export a single image as a catalogue and delete the lone image from your pristine catalogue. Faster backing up too when on location.

Quote
Establish a file naming convention based, again, on a shooting date followed by a jobname followed by a sequence number. Jobname is all you'll have to enter at import. (There are tons of little details about all this stuff that ends up being important - like setting up the date as YYYYMMDD; this is all in their book) An example would be 20110801_serengeti_0001.nef.

Seth and Jamie have simply thought the whole process more thoroughly than some others.
But not apparently the legibility of dates. 20111001, 20111010, 20110111, 20110110 are dreadful to try and read [or even type correctly] if you are human.  Wink
2011-10-01, 2011-10-10, 2011-01-11, 2011-01-10 is much easier to read.
thereisagoodtreasonforcapitallettersandwhyspacesareleftbetweenwordsinsentences

20111001_serengeti_0001.nef  or  2011-10-01 Serengeti 0001.nef.

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jjj
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2011, 02:08:34 PM »
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Most important is that all your photos are in one folder. How you organize your subfolders is up to you. I organize by year, then month.
No need to do that. And as my and many other people's work will easily fill several of the largest availble hard drives, not even possible.

Quote
It is good practice when importing to put a second copy on a separate drive, which I organize in the same manner.
As LR bizarrely imports the backed up files in a completely different way to how you organise your main import it's a waste of time and effort to use LR to do this if you have multiple date images. Much easier to import your files in an organised way [LR can import files into the folders with the date naming of your choosing], rename the images and then back up your now organised work either by simply dragging and dropping in your file manager or use one of the many useful syncing tools that can automate such things. Very painful having to sort out the non organised LR duplicate import to match the main import. I'm baffled as to why it is done this odd way in LR.
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jjj
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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2011, 02:14:07 PM »
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Let me add one more thing........

Most computer operating systems do not really like having multiple hundred's or even thousand's of entries in a single folder.
It tends to slow them down.  So, you may want to consider a structure that includes an extra level of per-month

top_of_main_folder/2011/2011-10/2011-10-day_of_month

this puts almost an upper limit on the # of images in any one level (instead of a whole month of images in 1 folder esp. if you shoot a lot)

My LR import renaming handles it all automatically
I will do several folders per day, if I've been shooting different subjects. Which also makes finding a specific subject easier, particularly if not browsing via LR.
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allegretto
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2011, 03:59:13 PM »
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Let me add one more thing........

Most computer operating systems do not really like having multiple hundred's or even thousand's of entries in a single folder.
It tends to slow them down.  So, you may want to consider a structure that includes an extra level of per-month

top_of_main_folder/2011/2011-10/2011-10-day_of_month

this puts almost an upper limit on the # of images in any one level (instead of a whole month of images in 1 folder esp. if you shoot a lot)

My LR import renaming handles it all automatically

I was not aware that computers cared a lick about this. Do you have any citations on this?

Don't get me wrong, organize any way you wish, just let LR know about it and it should be no problem as long as you're reasonably consistent. I just was not aware of the computer becoming confused due to # of files/folder.
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MartyGrivjackLRInstructor
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2011, 04:20:37 PM »
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I agree - I've not had issues with this premise either. However, to the writer's posit, I'll do my due diligence and ferret out why this position may exist. I've had no issues with either Leopard or XP (I'm still old-school on my PC harem) with thousands of images or 365 folders representing any issue I've ever run into. But you never know. I've had every operating system since DOS 1.0 and have never had to troubleshoot OS problems that ended up with the verdict that there were too many files in the folder, regardless of the respective OS's limitations.
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John R
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« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2011, 05:09:12 PM »
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Here's what I do: http://bit.ly/LRWFlow  Everyone's a bit different though.

Mike.
Hey Mike and everyone else, thanks for that information. More complex than I thought.  I am debating whether I should jump to CS5 and Lightroom or not, and this will help.

JMR
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