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Full Version: File Locations - Do you care where your photos live?
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Image libraries are growing at an increasing rate, and management of all the image files can be a nightmare. One way image management products are trying to simplify it for us is by taking over control of where your images are stored. An example of what I mean is with iPhoto or even Aperture, the default scheme is for you to import your photos directly into it, and it automatically chooses where to store your files for you on the hard disk.

The logic behind this is that they also use metdata embedded within photos - e.g. camera models, dates and present that to the user instead - allowing them to logically sort and organise their photos, as opposed to physically where they are stored. This is much more meaningful to the average user.

What about you? Do you care where your photos are stored on disk? It may seem trivial, but for me, I prefer to have control over where my images are stored. I import my photos manually into a directory structure - organised by my various cameras models, then by date. After I import them, I also append a meaningful description to the directory name, so I can easily tell events apart by just looking at windows explorer. e.g.
Quote:Canon 7D / 2010 / 20100511 - Olivia at the Playground
After I do this, I open up Lightroom and then do "synchronise folders", which automatically finds the newly imported images and adds them to the catalog. Picasa is even more friendly in that respect - it automatically watches folders for changes and brings them into your catalog automatically.

I really dislike how there's no similar function in Aperture (and also iPhoto) - I have to manually drag my new photos into the library for them to be imported. It gets even more frustrating if I move a folder or rename it, or even just delete a few photos directly outside of Aperture - you'll get lots of "broken" images inside Aperture the next time you open it up.

Anyway, I won't go into the "whys" yet for the sake of keeping this post to a reasonable length - I'd love to hear about everyone's image management strategies and whether you care about where your files reside on disk.
For many years, I lived in fear and trepidation of my image library - frankly it defied organization. Occasionally, I would organize a particular vacation by subject - but for the most part my images resided in huge unorganized folders.

I bought LightRoom - fired it up and let it organize all my images by date: YYYY-MM-DD. This is many thousands of times better - it is still hard to lay my hands on a particular image - but so much easier than it was before - and with zero effort from me.

My own little gripe about LightRoom organization: everything is saved by the date that the original photo was taken. If I work on an image in PhotoShop years later and do a major change to it - the changed image is still stored by the original date - which makes it pretty hard to locate. Thanks goodness that I can search for photos by name as well...
My pictures are stored in external disks, and the bigger one has the backup of all I have. Pictures, catalogs, presents, etc. My folders are by year and sub folders by day. I import all my pictures with LR and I use a keyword tag for all files, it is generally the name of the place I took the pictures.

When I take pictures in the lake I tag all with Luetjensee, then I have a keyword set called Luetjensee with words like reflection, trees, leaves, landscape, birds, etc. When all my pictures are imported I just select my reflection pictures and tag them, then trees and so on. I also give them a flag to my picks and a green color to the ones that are ready to post. So my pictures can be found by place and subject, from there I can select the best ones and finished ones.

The tifs live together with the raws. I have my pictures file in C only for jpgs re sized for web. The folder has my pictures by year and each year has sub folders by topic (people, lake and forest, flowers) all images in these folders are ready to post.

As my catalogs are by year, the only thing I am a bit disappointed with is that in LR you can't see two images from two different catalogs.
Neat thread.
My most important bit is waiting for a couple of weeks after shooting, then pruning hard and deleting anything that's half-decent: it's then easy to blat anything that's out-and-out tripe and bin that too. I save as 16-bit tiffs any images I count as exceptional, I save only websized(780pixel) jpegs of everything else, keeping the raws, on the grounds that I can work out how to re-pp the image again if it's good enough to get into print or in a frame.
Tiffs, jpegs and raws just live in a folder that has a memory-aid title and the month; the month folders then get put into a year folder, and I'll bang that into my storage drive and a copy to an external drive.
My "Image Drive" on my primary HD is only purposefully a partition of 17GB or so: it helps me clear out ruthlessly and often, making me have to do a sort out and backup every month or so! It's also darn easy to de-frag, as I find image files get fragmented really quickly.
I often find I've deleted some really good images by these methods: I quite like that feeling, as it trains me mentally to "let go" and shoot better next time..If I were a magpie, I'd have a big pile of rubbish and I'd get used to keeping stuff that's not my best.
I'm certainly quite spartan and ascetic, as I find it keeps me "fitter" photographically.
This is my problem... Smile I take so many pictures and I try to keep their originals, and then what I did later etc. They are all in the external disc. I was giving title to my pictures at the beginning but later I noticed that it would be problem and now, I just keep the numbers of the images, just I give a title of that day/or event... I am not professional photographer Smile

I am reading you all, I try to learn... your experiences and your sharings are so important and precious for me.

Thank you,
with my love,
Because a lot of my best stuff comes from mining images (cropping little bits from large photos), I never throw anything away. Sometimes a junk image has a *golden* pixel or 2 in it.
Toad Wrote:Because a lot of my best stuff comes from mining images (cropping little bits from large photos), I never throw anything away. Sometimes a junk image has a *golden* pixel or 2 in it.
should be a very big files dear Robert Smile I usually delete.... even they are too many; even I am a new one too...

with my love,
Wow, I admire your discipline, Zig! Now more than ever, I've been trying to delete the dud ones up front but my photo collection seems to be growing each time I look at it.

One of the reasons why I care so much about where my photos are located is precisely what everyone else has mentioned - i.e. I prefer to keep a working set of my more recent images on hand, and maybe archive off the older ones to another disk. Knowing where they physically live as well allows me to effectively manage my storage media as well.

Up until just recently, I used to store my entire library on my internal 320GB hard disk, but I ran out of space and had to relocate it to an external drive. Now I'm afraid it'll keep growing uncontrollably!! Big Grin