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Archive 2012 · Optimal, Efficient Workflow - saving files & folders
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Optimal, Efficient Workflow - saving files & folders


Recently I upgraded in my status of amateur photographer.. going from a 13'' macbook to a hand me down 24" iMac which is glorious. I am now running LR3 on it. With my macbook I often went to my college's photo library (or my office, as the Newspaper Photo Editor). Thus I am not a pro photographer, but rather a lover of capturing light in my days off.

I am at a cross roads now, moving files from my old busted WD hard drive on to this iMac's internal HD (and backed up via time machine). Here is why I come seeking wisdom of those FMers. Much like my garage, I use the 'dump method'. That is, I used to just save my photos in files starting with the name of the event or trip followed up a date. This makes it near impossible to find thing quickly. I want to figure out the best and most efficient way of organizing my files and photos before loading them all into LR3 (which makes organization sooo much better).

I remember reading through an article (which I cant re-find) that described a solid workflow. Basically all the photos are in one big folder then with sub folders titled like this: YYYY_MM_DD_EVENT_TITLE.

Before undertaking this giant endeavor, I turn to you all. Any good tips or links online for a solid, efficient folder naming system / workflow?

Apr 20, 2012 at 09:50 PM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Optimal, Efficient Workflow - saving files & folders

You may want to look into the DAM book and site:

Apr 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Optimal, Efficient Workflow - saving files & folders

Manually organizing files in the finder before importing to aperture or lightroom is like manually managing mp3s before importing them to itunes.

Aperture has an amazing auto-sub-folder categorization system that you can apply on import - No need to manually set it up. Just let the software read the metadata of the photo and organize according to your rules. I know LR has something similar.

My recommendation is to let go of the need to even care about folders - if you are using LR or Aperture, you can always right click on the photo (or just drag it in some cases) to "find it" in the finder.

Apr 20, 2012 at 11:02 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Optimal, Efficient Workflow - saving files & folders

By having the photos in subfolders under a master parent folder you can easily point Lr at that parent folder to find any "missing" files should you ever have to revert to using a backup drive.

If your photography is based around events or trips then use them as clues for folder names. Otherwise use folders that indicate how much you like the photos. Why ? So that you can find them easily in other software such as Canon DPP or Nikon View NX2, which each have a few handy capabilities that Lr 3 does not have.

My collection is sorted by camera/star rating and my file names include camera, date, time, camera folder number and camera image number. Lr does the renaming for me, with a preset for each camera. Downloader Pro was better because it knew the camera too but it is a windows-only program. I use a separate folder for new unsorted images from which I delete the crud and process the rest with keywords, ratings, etc., before moving them with Lr to their new locations.

- Alan

Apr 21, 2012 at 02:58 PM

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