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Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?
  
 
KaBudokan
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


A couple years back, I jumped into Lightroom without much of a strategy at all, which probably wasn't the best procedure! I basically just made one initial catalog and every single photo I took went into that one catalog.

After a while, I went to a different strategy for specific shoots. For a specific project or event, I create a new LR catalog, do all my culling in there, etc. It's been working great for those specific shoots - no issues there. (They're organized with folder trees that include the date, type of project, project name, etc.)

I'm a little unsure about what strategy to use for my everyday pictures I take. I'm wondering what others do for photos like this? I was experimenting with creating a new catalog by month, but then I thought - that's going to make finding a specific photo a challenge if I don't know when it was taken.

I dunno - a little lost here.

Suggestions?

Thanks!



Mar 04, 2014 at 04:50 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


this is a personal thing (i think evryone does it differently) but

I use 1 single catalogue set up as follows:-

imports are to a 'work in progress' folder on my fastest (internal) drive . i cull and rate here .

the keepers are moved to my images folder on an external drive . here I have a year and month structure to the folders with sub folders that relate to each shoot .

thats as far as my folder structire for LR goes , but I do use COLLECTIONS for most things as well . i use both normal and smart collections .

i know many here will use multiple Cats but unless i really didnt want my images to cross (ie different wedding shoots ) I dont really see the need for that .



Mar 04, 2014 at 05:59 PM
egd5
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


For specific work related things separate catalogs work fine for many people. But for everything else one catalog would be the way to go. As Ian says, how would you find things if you weren't sure what catalog you put it in. You'd really be defeating one of the main purposes of LR, as an organizational tool.
I still think as few as possible would be better than a separate cat for each shoot though. Like one for weddings,one for events, etc.
You need to think about what kind of a system would help you keep organized and still be easy to use.



Mar 05, 2014 at 03:01 AM
schlotz
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


I have two specific types of photography, sports & landscape which I maintain separate catalogues for. Everything else I put into the third catalog called "main". Regardless of catalog, all photos are maintained in the directory structure of \yyyy\mm\dd. Current year photos are kept on the internal drive all previous years are on an external drobo. I've found that assigning keywords has been very helpful in quickly locating types of photos of either a place, person, thing etc...



Mar 05, 2014 at 03:57 AM
mhayes5254
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


One Catalog, One folder per year, one folder per shoot named so they are listed in chronological order followed by a descriptive title such as "02-28-Central Park". As mentioned, you want everything in one catalog in order to form collections across any theme.


Mar 05, 2014 at 03:57 AM
KaBudokan
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


Thanks for the feedback. It's funny - a friend of mine never started using Lightroom because a mentor of hers said she needed to "have a strategy" in place before she started, so she just got intimidated and never started.

I just jumped in and mainly just used it for editing, never giving any thought to the organizational aspects of it, etc.

At some point I finally got overwhelmed, and when I did, I ended up watching a Creative Live video on editing and organization that some 3rd party wedding editors did. They had a very in-depth system, and I was fairly impressed - enough to come up with my own version of the system.

For the events and specific shoots, I'm generally ok with having separate catalogs, although... I do agree it would/could be useful for creating collections from different shoots. For example - they advocated a rating system of 1* for keepers, 2* for "blog-worthy," and 3* for "epic - portfolio/contest worthy," etc. Part of their system involves saving metadata to the files, so then you could import all the photos into a master catalog, and then separate them this way. Still - I may have to look into my options of keeping a larger catalog and using collections within the catalog to keep shoots separate.

I think I just need to be more vigilant with keywording personal photos, and go back to a single catalog. (Maybe a new catalog each year.)

More feedback/suggestions are welcome!



Mar 05, 2014 at 07:17 PM
schlotz
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


KaBudokan wrote:
...(Maybe a new catalog each year.)....


Doable, if you really think it's important but possibly not necessary. My soccer catalog spans many years. Each is clearly accessible via the left panel in library mode under the Folders section. The Collections section has many groupings some of which are in subsets. My example: collection set called Boys Soccer, many subs in it, e.g. 2013, 2012, 2011 etc... and within each of those are the specific games like '9.28 Carmel-var', '10.03 Brownsburg-jv', etc... YMMV



Mar 06, 2014 at 02:15 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


There are likely hundreds of ways to approach this and the "best" strategy is the one that works for you. My approach is to name files on import in such a way that they give a clue as to their content. (The date is embedded in the file so I really don't understand organizing by date).

I use a single catalog organized around a subject tree and keep the top level categories to a manageable dozen or so. Thus I'm likely to be able to find hawk pix in the bird folder that is a subset of animals. My athletic work is done by sport but I do backup and remove prior year photos. (I'm working with high school sports for a small newspaper.) Past that, sometimes I just have to search

Robert



Mar 06, 2014 at 05:13 PM
lighthawk
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


schlotz wrote:
Doable, if you really think it's important but possibly not necessary. My soccer catalog spans many years. Each is clearly accessible via the left panel in library mode under the Folders section. The Collections section has many groupings some of which are in subsets. My example: collection set called Boys Soccer, many subs in it, e.g. 2013, 2012, 2011 etc... and within each of those are the specific games like '9.28 Carmel-var', '10.03 Brownsburg-jv', etc... YMMV


This is interesting. I've wondered if LR collections can span multiple catalogs.

My strategy has been a new catalog per year. I have also been merging those into a master catalog of all 75k photos, but it's been too large to really fit on my MBP. I've also considered a very selective subset, say 'best of 2013, 2012, . . ., which I could combine into a Best Of LrCat. Collections may be another way to do that.



Mar 06, 2014 at 05:15 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


lighthawk wrote:
This is interesting. I've wondered if LR collections can span multiple catalogs.

My strategy has been a new catalog per year. I have also been merging those into a master catalog of all 75k photos, but it's been too large to really fit on my MBP. I've also considered a very selective subset, say 'best of 2013, 2012, . . ., which I could combine into a Best Of LrCat. Collections may be another way to do that.


No a ollection cant span 2 LRcat files (or if theres a way i cant find it)

if you have 75k of images then yes thats going to take up alot of space on your MBP (assuming your talking RAW)
you could have them on an external drive and Smart Preview the cat onto your MBP . i have 75k (ish) of images and the smart previews for those take up about 60gb



Mar 06, 2014 at 07:02 PM
lighthawk
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


This is interesting. I've wondered if LR collections can span multiple catalogs.

My strategy has been a new catalog per year. I have also been merging those into a master catalog of all 75k photos, but it's been too large to really fit on my MBP. I've also considered a very selective subset, say 'best of 2013, 2012, . . ., which I could combine into a Best Of LrCat. Collections may be another way to do that.


No a collection cant span 2 LRcat files (or if theres a way i cant find it)

if you have 75k of images then yes thats going to take up alot of space on your MBP (assuming your talking RAW)
you could have them on an external drive and Smart Preview the cat onto your MBP . i have 75k (ish) of images and the smart previews for those take up about 60gb


From Adobe: Catalogs are different from collections. Collections are an organizational tool within a catalog

Thanks, Ian. I read your post about using smart previews to work back and forth between the MBP and you iMac. It sounds like a good way to go. I'm curious which catalog you are using when working with 75k of smart previews. Is it a master LRcat?

I picked up an iMac i7 with 1TB fusion drive and my first priority is organizing my data files.
Currently they are duplicated across numerous external drives. I would like to get them consolidated onto a drobo or similar. That's a whole discussion right there!

I also shoot RAW, so storage is an issue. I've looked at my data storage per year and it averages ~700GB per year, so one year can fill up my MBP which has a 750GB drive. I like the idea of a work in process catalog, which merges into the annual catalog.





Mar 06, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


^^^^

OK, ive posted my methods before so for those that already read them sorry if im repeating myself but here goes anyway.

yes im working from the master LRcat file . I copy it over to a memory stick and when Im done i copy it back to my imac and overwrite the one on there . important to have good backups of the cat file but ive not had a problem yet .

Adobe seem to say that when working with smart previews you should export a cat with the collection of images and then merg that cat when you done . but ive found this not to work for me . anything over a few hundred images and the merg either fails or takes so long as to be unfeasable .

so here's what i do .

simple version: (how i was doing things)

1: Create smart previews for anything im ever likely to work on . my whole catalogue is flagged as either a pick or a reject (rejects are kept for a while until i decide they are ok for deletion) . only the picks are smarted .
2: I have a 128gb external SSD that i have a program called 'folder watch' keep synced with my folder that contains the LRcat file /smart preview file and the normal preview file) . this means that i have the 3 files i need ready when i close LR and go mobile.
3: when working mobile I open LR from the cat file on the SSD and everything is as if i was working on my imac(well pretty much).
4: when i get back to my imac i copy the LRcat back to my imac . i do a straight copy/paste overwrite rather than just letting 'folder watch' sync things up because i know for sure that the cat file copied over to the imac is the upto date one rather than risking FW syncing the cat file the other way round . I leave the preview and smart files alone as these wont have changed while mobile .

thats pretty much it . all my edits are carried over as are any keywording /rating and flagging . like i said its just like being on the imac with my files other than a couple of things . if you export from a smart preview you have to be aware your exporting from a 2540 long edge file which is about 4mp i think. (fine for alot of exports like emails and flickr type uploads) . and as your dealing with a 4mp file you really dont want to be doing NR or sharpening on it .

now as i said thats my 'simple' method . I have moved onto a method that works for me on my Surface pro so i dont have a drive hanging off of the USB port . it allows me to work from a few SD cards (or memory sticks) . PM me if you want details (ive probably bored most of the readers by now anyway )

cheers



Mar 07, 2014 at 01:02 AM
KaBudokan
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


Looks like I need to do some learning/re-learning about creating/managing collections, general workflow, etc.!

The single catalog per shoot workflow I have is nice for large volume shoots, as it uses smart collections to move files as I work on them. (Starred files-> "To Do"; To Do's are flagged and/or marked for PS or SilverFX--> "Need NR"; Edited PS or SFX go to a Tiff that goes to "Need NR"; NR is applied through a batch preset that also keywords for a filter--> "Ready for Export") It works well for that.

Need to learn how to manage collections in a larger catalog.



Mar 07, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


you could probably house all that lot in 'collection sets' .
I have my smart collections arranged in collection sets . each set is 1 year (but could be anything you want) and then i have smart collections that all have a date range in them . that way anything I rate/pick/reject/keyword etc will stay within that particular year collection .

again what works for some wont be good for others , but its worth looking at



Mar 07, 2014 at 03:52 PM
_Rob_S_
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


One catalog for me. I tried using multiples before but saw no advantage. Biggest disadvantage to multiple catalogs is the loss of search function between the catalogs. I have over 60k images in my catalog and have used a pretty consistent rating/keywording system from the beginning. Because of that, I can locate photos very quickly. A couple of smart collections keep certain types of photos at the ready for me.

Rob



Mar 07, 2014 at 04:10 PM
SoccerTees
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


Just the one catalog works for me too

Never really tried multiple.



Mar 08, 2014 at 02:19 AM
KayakerChuck
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Lightroom workflow/organization for general/personal photos?


Thanks!


Mar 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM





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