How do you organize your work?


TPF Noob!
Sep 12, 2004
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Durham, UK
I take two kinds of photos. Family/holiday snaps and then the more serious stuff like things I migt want to put in a portfolio. I was just wondering how you guys seperate your "work" from your "pleasure" photo's, if you know what I mean.

I used to have everything in one library in iPhoto, but I realise now that it's unpracticle. I've just downloaded Adobe Light Room beta 2 and I'm thinking about using it to organize my more serious shots and leave everything else like family and holiday snaps in iPhoto. Makes it easier to organize and I like having it seperated.

So how do you do it? Do you seperate them or keep them all in one place?
Organise?? Nah, I've got thousands of folders with millions of pictures scattered all over the place. Maybe one day...

I store nothing on hardrives, at least not permanantly. As each job/session is complete, the duds (as if) deleted and a bit of touching up here and there, I then burn them to CD ...three copies. Two are stored at seperate locations and the third stored near the PC for quick access.

I am trying to come up with a database type thing that can easily tell me which CD and where.

I use Photoshop Bridge right now. I only shoot digital.

Two primary folders: My Pictures, and My Images.

My Pictures is family stuff, My Images is my creative work.

Each has the same sub-folder structure. For My Pictures, each folder is named with the date leading, and then I have a special event name, or a general folder, so:

2006 02 JDR B-Day Party
2006 05 Yellowstone Park
2006 Q1
2006 Q2

The Q folders are calendar quarters, so 2006 Q1 is has all general family snaps in it from Jan 1 2006 - Mar 31 2006.

Each folder in My Pictures has two sub-folders below that. So 2006 Q2 has "2006 Q2 RAW" and "2006 Q2 PSD." I keep JPEGs in the respective folder. It's easier for my wife to find pictures that way if she wants to e-mail them to friends and family.

I basically do the same thing in "My Images." The folders are sorted by date-name, with a general dump folder for each calendar quarter. I also create sub-folders within each of the dated folders, with one major difference: The primary folder (say "2006 Q2 - Images") has three sub-folders: RAW, JPEG, and TIFF. I keep the PSDs in the default folder, it's easier for me when I work with them. I rarely do JPEGs of the stuff I work on for myself. One discipline a photographer taught me is to finalize a printable version by collapsing the layers in Photoshop, and saving it as a TIFF. That way you'll always know that it's a final version (if there is such a thing) and you can send it to friends or clients without showing the steps you took to get to the final image.

Oh, and of course bakc them up - once to another external hard drive, and once to DVD.

Ok, did any of that make sense?
All files from the camera are downloaded into D1 or 5200 Temp (names of my cameras). The Temp folder is backed up to a hard drive. I throw nothing away. The keepers are fairly nonsensical in their titles. My saving grace has been to include as much file info in the photo as possible. After the main edit I may also create usage folders like for magazine or for web. Sort of works, bit it is far from productive. We use Portfolio 7 at work. Definitely a drag to startup, but it works wonders as far as searches go.
Pictures folder/Year/Month/Event/Raw, Tiff, Main Jpeg, Web Jpeg
...with of course, backups on CD and/or DVD's.

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