Cataloging your photos

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by zedin, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Well I am trying to go through and catalog all my old photos. The question I have is um.. what the hell do I do?! =p
    I am one of those types that has some organizational problems since I tend to try and subdivide everything way too much. I am running into the same problem with my photos. Do I classify one as nature->flower or nature->insect since it is a bee on a flower.. I know with keywords I can add as much as I like but how do you go about then organizing the actual files in a way you can still find what you need?

    Any suggestions/tips or anything would be great. I was thinking maybe some sort of databasing software might work since it would keep track of it all. I don't know how effective just doing a keyword search through the photo comments would work for finding stuff (provided then I even knew the exact keywords I have used before to choose from)
     
  2. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I just bought Adobe Lightroom for exactly this purpose.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One of the joys of the file folder system. I use keywords like birthday parties, in that folder is another folder with the name and the birthday, and within that I rely purely on the date. I don't rename images themselves.

    Not a good system, but so far I don't seem to have a problem finding things
     
  4. Richard

    Richard TPF Noob!

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    I have given cataloging plenty of thought, right before my first daughter was born. I read a book for expecting dads and they suggested to get an organized plan before you start taking lots of pictures. The system I came up with is I label a folder Images 000-0200 then I will put the photos with that number in there for example DSC_0010 would go into that folder. I use to just put all my photos in one folder but after about 1000 photos I realized if I went into that folder my cpu would be working hard for minutes try to pull all the photo data in. So I decided to make folders for every 200 pictures. I am going to be changing my system soon and make it every 400 pictures (since I got my dSLR I’ve noticed that I am taking a lot more pictures.

    Also as far as software Google has a great program for FREE called Picasa. I can honestly say I have tried many programs, my wife complains because it seems every 2 months I would change program. Picasa has some basic editing features and is great for cataloging. One thing I really like about this program is I an manual move files around and add files to folders without Picasa getting confused by changing which folders are watched. After I tried Picasa I deleted all my other programs. It is really great for a FREE program also you get 250mb FREE to upload pictures. Google is a very impressive company, you will have to sign up for a free email account at gmail.com but even that is great for free. Google is the one company that really thinks what is best for the user, they don’t throw a ton advertisement if your face, like MSN does. It almost like there is no catch for any of it. No wonder it is like the #1 company to work for in the USA (at least that is the rumor I heard).

    What’s funny is I told myself this is it, no more programs. I even told my wife this will the last change for a lot time, but less than 2 month I now have Adobe Lightroom, but I am only using that to edit and importing pictures off my memory card. I use Picasa if I just want to browse and to put them on the internet, Picasa makes it real easy just a couple of clicks and their uploaded. Now depending what kind of pictures you shoot you may want to organize flowers pictures and landscape pictures etc. In that case I do that through the program. My setting keywords or making categories. Then if I ever need to copy the picture and move it somewhere else, I just look at the file name and I know exactly where it is. Without trying to remember d:\pictures\2007\plants\flowers\roses I just remember file DSC_1052 go to the Images 1000-1200 folder and I’m there. This works great for personal pictures, I’m sure if I was a pro and did shoots for other people then that would require a different organization system. Of coure when I reach 9,999 picture I will have to change the folder name in some way for example Images2 0000-0200 or something like that.
     
  5. madsox

    madsox TPF Noob!

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    Here's a slight twist - I shoot mostly film, but do have a coupld thousand digital images, including some scans, some shot in digital, etc, on my PCs at home.

    Can one/more of the cataloging SW solutions out there actually go find the images (I can tell it "look for *.jpg, *.tif, *.raw" or similar language) and move them together into one filesystem, putting dupes (by filename) aside for me to manually compare and rename, remove duplicates, whatever?

    I know there are lots of redundant images on my hard drives, and I'd really like to cut down on that so I have more control over my inventory.

    Tell me about 'em, as I google around (yes, I'm a SysAdmin by trade).

    Something I can run on Linux would be best, although I can work with whatever is out there.

    Thanks,
    afm
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I use Portfolio by Extensis and like it a lot.
     
  7. w.pasman

    w.pasman TPF Noob!

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    Really depends on what you plan to shoot and categorize.
    I usually have small "projects", and photos are related to these projects. So I keep all stuff related to that project together on one place (1 folder, 1 CD, 1 DVD, depending on size).

    I would suggest not to start with overdividing, I mean do you want to end up filling up a category with photos or do you just want your photos to be organized?
     
  8. madsox

    madsox TPF Noob!

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    I do agree with not over-dividing things, that's a good point. What I most need to do is reduce the level of duplication my digital collection currently has. As an amateur, I have always just filed my negatives by date, keeping one or more binders for each year. Projects get a paper list of which rolls (numbered with a scheme like "1978-March-02C" for the second roll of color I shot in March 1978, for example) apply to them.

    Something like that on the computer would be nice - folders with each dump of files from the camera, then catalogs that point to the actual image files. So multiple pointers could be in there, but there would ideally only be one of each file (okay, one raw, then one copy of each edited version).

    I know I'll never get rid of all my dupes, but if I can keep that down to 10% or so, that'd be good enough.

    Portfolio looks like a possibility. Or maybe I'll just have to roll my own solution. Won't be as elegant, but I can write up a shell script with some duplicate-checking subroutines that would do the job. Maybe this is the time for me to really learn Perl at last? Could do case-insensitive regexp matching on filenames, multiple directory traversals, could even determine likely dupes based on checksums? Hmm...

    andrew, geekin' all the way.
     
  9. vladiator

    vladiator TPF Noob!

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    Zedin,

    I agree with w.pasman...you have to think about what you're trying to categorize. What is criterion for organizing the pictures...is it nature object...like bee or flower? Is it an event like some birthday party or some hiking trip? You need to have a criterion for using a folder based system. Folders are pretty much one dimensional meaning that one picture can fit in only one folder unless you copy it in multiple places. This is why "they" came up with tags so you could have one picture belonging to multiple tags.

    However, I would always try create a consistent and efficient folder structure based on one criterion that works for me and then create a collection of tags on top of that in order to assign more tags to one given picture.

    Here's my example of an efficient folder naming convention: Efficient folder naming convention. This naming convention is event based and will work for most beginner photographers since most people shoot events. In your case it wouldn't probably work since you seem to need a different criterion.
    I wrote an article a while ago about finding a criterion for your folder structure...you might find it helpful. Divide and Conquer for efficient pictures organization.

    And while you're pondering tags and folders this also might help:
    Tags vs. Folders - the great debate

    As far as software goes...Picasa has never worked for me. I have been using Faststone Image Viewer for a long time now and I find it very fast and easy to use...not great for editing but great for image manipulation...doesn't deal with tags though. I have relied on folder based organization of my pictures for years and I find my images pretty fast. But I'm mostly interested in event based photography...so I'm no professional photographer.

    Well...I hope it helps
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For me, I used to put everything on DVDs but recently went to a 1 TB external drive for my laptop as a temporary location. The real location is my 18TB SAN at home.

    I still put my pictures on DVD, though... lol

    I simply catagorize the folders by year-month-day - (topic or location).

    Inside I used to just keep the RAW files, now I have 3 folders, one for the original RAW files, one for the TIFFs that I convert and play with and one for the JPGs. Hard drive space is not going to be an issue for me for several years. By then, I will likely increase it's size to whatever I need (it can be increased up to 1500TB, if my wallet permitted it... lol).

    I don't know where this "data won't last on CD" argument comes from. I have CDs that are 22 years old (some pretty scratched up too!), and DVDs that are 11-12 years old, and I can access all data on it at will.
     
  11. chinpokojed

    chinpokojed TPF Noob!

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    This is essentially how I do my backups as well, unfortunately I don't have an 18TB SAN, but a couple of external hard drives is stemming the tide for now (but a moderate sized SAN is in the near future).

    After the DVDs are burned I index them using a piece of software called "Disc Tracker." It takes about 2 seconds a DVD and then anything on any of your DVDs is now instantly searchable. That way if a drive fails or you need an original file it's not a headache sorting through the DVDs to find the right one.
     
  12. Stranger

    Stranger TPF Noob!

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    mine is very simple but great to find things (for me at least)

    I have a photography folder which leads to hobby or events (hired)

    under events i have Birthdays and Church (only events i have done so far). Birthdays i have "Dads Birthday *date*" and "Darrens Birthday *date*"

    inside both i have "originals" "edits" "for web"

    inside edits i usually have keep a "resized" and "original size" because i often re-edit or recrop since i am still learning and it makes it easier when client wants another copy.

    so it will look like Photography > events > birthdays > dads birthday > original


    for hobby i go in and have "Macro" "portrait" "still life" etc. etc.

    inside portrait i will have "clients name" inside that i have dates and locations or something.. depends lol.. then i have originals, edits, for gallery, and usually a psd folder because i am still playing with editing and learning it

    Photography > hobby > portrait > gretchen > 3/20 light testing > originals
     

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