What's your process for storing archiving photos?
/forum/topic/1178482/0



taylorman22
Registered: Oct 29, 2011
Total Posts: 123
Country: N/A

I currently use Adobe LR 4 and now that I'm starting take more photographs, storing them and keeping them organized is becoming an issue. I'm fairly new to LR, so I have a lot to learn.

How are you guys storing your photos and keeping them organized? I do shoot almost everything in RAW format, so once your photos have been processed, do you keep the RAW image or just the final shot?

Just looking for tips on how to stay organized!



cwebster
Registered: Oct 03, 2005
Total Posts: 3394
Country: United States

I suggest you read "The DAM Book - Digital Asset Management for Photographers" by Peter Krough for lots of info on ways to keep track of lots of photos.

I use Lightroom with collections to organize and search my collection of ~15,000 photos.

I keep the RAW photos, and discard the JPEG and TIFF export files as soon as they have served their purpose. They can be recreated on demand, so there's no real reason to keep (and back up) them.

<Chas>



mhayes5254
Registered: Dec 06, 2004
Total Posts: 1690
Country: United States

I am not sure what you mean by "keeping the final shot". If you are using LR as intended, you should have only RAW files. As cwebster mentioned, you may generate various derivative files as you work (for posting on the Web, etc) but these are generally throwaway files. You have the Raw's, with their processing in the catalog.

The one other thing I did (which is a bit of a contradiction to the above ) was to export all the family photographs to disk as JPEGS so my family members could have copies on their computers. If you have LR, and use it as described above, images can only be viewed on the LR computer. This can be done in several ways: by putting them in the same folder, a sub-folder of the catalog folder, one big folder with a numeric sequence before the file name, etc. This is done after processing the set.

As for how they are organized, I have just over 40,000 images in a single catalog. The folder structure is by year, then divided by shoot. The descriptive shoot name is preceded by a numeric month and day. So a vacation in August would be "08-18 vacation"



Alex de Groot
Registered: Nov 01, 2005
Total Posts: 83
Country: Netherlands

My structure is folders for every year (2009 / 2010 / 2011 etc), under that folders for every month (like 2009_01, 2009_02, 2009_03), and if needed under that a folder by shoot. I dont use lightroom, I do everything in bridge now, editing with camera raw / photoshop.

After import on pc, i try to sort the files / delete really bad stuff. But most of the time I dont have time for that so I keep almost everything.



jasonl82
Registered: May 09, 2012
Total Posts: 2
Country: N/A

I'm always so scared my HD will crash on me and I will lose everything. So I copy a max quality JPEG to my flickr pro account for every single image. I default them to private and only make public the images I want to share.

I still keep RAW files on the HD but you never know what could happen.



WAYCOOL
Registered: May 15, 2004
Total Posts: 2421
Country: United States

jasonl82 wrote:
I'm always so scared my HD will crash on me and I will lose everything. So I copy a max quality JPEG to my flickr pro account for every single image. I default them to private and only make public the images I want to share.

I still keep RAW files on the HD but you never know what could happen.


Hard drives are cheap if you don't back-up your data your nuts. Go to Costco and get yourself a 3 TB external USB3 currently $119.00 and back-up your sh*t.

As for the OP same answer hard drives are cheap save everything.



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33640
Country: Thailand

WAYCOOL wrote:
jasonl82 wrote:
I'm always so scared my HD will crash on me and I will lose everything. So I copy a max quality JPEG to my flickr pro account for every single image. I default them to private and only make public the images I want to share.

I still keep RAW files on the HD but you never know what could happen.


Hard drives are cheap if you don't back-up your data your nuts. Go to Costco and get yourself a 3 TB external USB3 currently $119.00 and back-up your sh*t.

As for the OP same answer hard drives are cheap save everything.


+100



Jman13
Registered: May 02, 2005
Total Posts: 10316
Country: United States

I keep the RAW and any processed saved versions as well. I have often gone back years later and reprocessed images again...and I'm always glad I've kept the RAW.

I originally organized my photos by camera body, then by subject, which turned out to be sort of dumb once I started carrying multiple bodies. When I switched to Micro 4/3, I lumped them in "micro 4/3". Now, I have two LR catalogs of my earlier photos, one with my Canon shots and one with my m4/3 shots. So, last year I made a new Lightroom Catalog for 2012, and I just started my 2013 Catalog. This keeps the catalogs relatively manageable, so they don't start bogging down due to size (originally, my LR catalog was over 100,000 images, which started getting slow...I split that into two smaller ones, and my 2012 catalog ended up around 25,000 images).

So now, I categorize thusly: Year -> Subject type -> Date.

Sometimes subject gets broken down...for instance, my 'location' photos, be it travel or around town, are broken down further. If I take shots today in my hometown, they'll go into the following heirarchy: 2013\USA\Columbus\2013-01-08\

The dates are done automatically by Lightroom, so I just point it at the USA\Columbus folder. Shots of my daughter go in their own folder, then I have things like: Family, Macro, Misc, Shots of gear (mainly for my blog), abstract, etc.

Then, after I import, I go through all the images and star all the 'keepers' with higher stars for most favorite images, though most just get one star...then I can filter my 'keepers' very quickly if I need to find an image. I should keyword, but I usually don't.

All of these images are kept on a single 2TB hard drive, which currently is about 85% full. When I reach saturation, I'll probably move the pre-2012 photos to a different drive, and then my 2TB drive should be good for another few years. I backup EVERYTHING photo wise to CrashPlan (it automatically starts uploading to the cloud as soon as I import), so I have an off site copy of all my photos within a day of import. I also have an external hard drive I use to make local backups, and when I fill my external, I bring it to work, so I have all my photos from January 2011 and earlier at work as well. Then, each year, I make an export of all my 'keepers' and burn them to blu-ray discs and bring those to work too, so I generally have 3 copies of my photos at all times in case of a HD crash or fire.



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33640
Country: Thailand

I also save all the RAW files and any processed saved versions of those also. I have a few Drobo's that I use to all my photos



escandon23
Registered: Oct 22, 2012
Total Posts: 34
Country: United States

anyone using a cloud service if so which one and what file capacity have you chosen? thinking about cloud after 1 session (3 families) went 25 gb of DL disc and also backed up to HDD. thought?



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3741
Country: Norway

I'm just in the process of re-organising now actually. I was storing in separate folders according to subject, but it was getting a bit out of hand. Now i'm going with folders for years and subfolders for upload date. Then i will organise according to subject etc using collections.

I was trying to avoid becoming too invested-in/committed-to LR so as to retain the ability to move to another package if i like, but i realised i was fighting a losing battle, hence the reorganisation. I also don't see the point to keeping both RAW's and jpegs when the jpegs can be regenerated easily, and for shots where i prefer to process with C1 or need to edit in photoshop, LR can still organise and catalogue the final version in lossless tif or psd format. I sync to my zenfolio site using jeffrey friedl's LR plugin, which again generates jpegs on fly.

In terms of hardware, i have a hotswap removable 2.5 inch 640Gb drive which contains everything and is SATA when docked and USB2/esata when unplugged. This backs up to a second hard disk in the PC and to a RAID drive in a second PC in the house. Backups are done via microsoft's synctoy.



mhayes5254
Registered: Dec 06, 2004
Total Posts: 1690
Country: United States

15bit - sounds sensible. The only thing I would suggest is when you name the subfolders, include a short description in the name. Also, I use event date which may be slightly different than upload date. This gives some cover for the scenario you mentioned, which is if you want to move away from LR someday. Then your file structure has some ID information besides date.



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3741
Country: Norway

mhayes5254 wrote:
15bit - sounds sensible. The only thing I would suggest is include is when you name the subfolders, include a short description in the name. Also, I use event date which may be slightly different than upload date. This gives some cover for the scenario you mentioned, which is if you want to move away from LR someday. Then your file structure has some ID information besides date.


Sensible, and indeed the system has already adapted to do exactly that



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9793
Country: Australia

If you are working primarily with Lr then you have the option of applying key words and collections to your images so that it matters relatively little where they exist physically.

It pays to have all of your images in a folder structure that has a single parent folder so that you can copy the entire structure to backup drives and very easily point Lr to that other structure should the need arise and still apply all of the "edits" and so on that in your catalog.

If you have different structures on different drives then it gets hard to manage should you need to use a backup drive because finding any one file or folder will then not help Lr find the rest.


My storage structure involves the camera model so that I can easily find only the relevant images with software from the camera manufacturers. Normally, however, Lr does nearly all of the work and the other programs are only for help with features that don't yet exist in Lr, such as showing the focus sensors and manufacturer-specific exif data.



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9793
Country: Australia

escandon23 wrote:
anyone using a cloud service if so which one and what file capacity have you chosen? thinking about cloud after 1 session (3 families) went 25 gb of DL disc and also backed up to HDD. thought?



Too slow.
Too expensive in terms of ongoing charges and internet fees.
Too risky (lack of control).
If they ever fold then you'll have to download everything in a short time or forfeit it.
For a laptop user you'll find yourself outside mobile internet coverage or at least outside speedy mobile internet coverage sooner or later, and perhaps for longer than you anticipate.

I keep multiple backups on multiple drives in multiple locations, but I've seen what bad things can happen and want to avoid them happening to my data. Relying on someone else to manage everything for me is not a guarantee of data safety no matter what they promise you.