Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Need help revising my file management/workflow

Photographer

Ev Murkov

Posts: 24

New York, New York, US

I'm trying to revise my file management and its been driving me crazy so I'm curious as to what everyone else is doing. I have a smaller ssd and would like to keep it as clean as possible, opting to store everything on an external (which is backed up via time machine or other). Is anyone else out there in the same position? What's your process? My priorities are:

1. I'd like to store all shoots off the computer and on an external drive instead.

2. With that said...I would like to have copies of my current shoots stored on my laptop for all the current editing I'm doing - which I would dump to the external after LR/PS work.

3. I definitely want to backup my computer (either excluding the photo folder or including them) via time machine and would also like to backup the external as well. Or is it better managed a different way?

The only other questions that have been confusing me are: should I store the images in LR directly or a separate folder? If I'd like to keep a copy of the originals, how many folders should I be using (RAW's, LR's, PS edits, etc)? If using LR as a primary file management system....what's the easiest way to create a temporary folder for the images on the laptop until I replace them with those from the next shoot(s)?

Thanks for your advice - sorry if I was a bit unclear, my head's spinning with trying to figure this out.

Nov 13 12 01:58 pm Link

Photographer

Red Panda Photography

Posts: 176

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Hey there,
I've just recently given my whole file management system a revamp and hopefully a few of the things i've learnt might help you now....


If your on windows there is a program called 'Sync Toy' it's windows based, simple to use and basically what it will do is "sync" two folders in different locations, i use it for backing up (pretty much everything).

If you want to add stuff to lightroom (to keep locally) and then move it, just make sure you move it from within lightroom, then everything will move with it.

The way i store/sort my photography is basically like this

Type (model or other) / Year / Then in folders with the date coming first for example '2012-11-15 - Bianca Fashion

As for raw/jpg etc i just usually split into folders. Since i use colour codes in LR for my edits and virtual copies i just keep them all in the same folder and use LR to find what i need.


Something i am starting to realise is that LR gets a little sluggish after a year of shooting, so i will also be starting a new light room catalogue for the new year.


Hope this helps some what and if you have any questions just ask.

Nov 18 12 03:34 am Link

Photographer

Richard Klein Photo

Posts: 175

Buffalo Grove, Illinois, US

This is what I like to do:
1. Make folder for subject on USB 3.0 external drive
2. Copy all images into that folder ( I usually shoot raw.) from memory card using USB 3.0 card reader
3. Make subfolder called J-pegs
4. Make subfolder called Edits
5. Import all images into LR4
6. Make edits on images I like using LR4.
7. Export all NEF files into J-peg folder on external drive
8. Copy edits into Edit folder
9. Copy entire folder with raw, j-pegs, and edits into 3 other external drives, one of which stays off site
10. Burn DVDs of all folders: one is marked Archive, One is marked Working
11. After this is all done, I format the memory cards and get ready to use them for the next job.

I generally do not do ratings in LR unless I feel the need to do so.  In that case, edits are done on those images.  I do like to keep all images from a shoot unless there are some that really suck.  Those get deleted.  With external drives so cheap now, I don't mind keeping all my images.  This may seem like a lot of work, and it is if I have many images from a shoot.  But I can work pretty quickly and I feel secure in my workflow.

Nov 18 12 08:00 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

No "one" way is best. Develop a storage and workflow that suits you best. I shoot weddings/Engagements, Portraits and lot's of commercial stuff. I have a separate catalogue for each of those categories.

Storage starts with ingest on my main machine to a 2GB WD Green drive. Once it's been tagged, culled and named the remainder of the shoot is pushed to my Drobo box. Edits ( final artwork) is pushed to my server box where I can access it from laptops, iPad, S3 phone and from the machine at the studio.

For stuff I move around a lot I also have a 50GB Dropbox account and a Google Drive...makes it easier to share with clients for proofing.

The trick isn't to copy someone else' set-up and workflow. Understand how/why Lightroom works and modify it to your needs. The rest is gravy...people sometimes make the process to complicated and when it all crashes your entire day goes to shit.

Nov 18 12 11:46 am Link

Photographer

Ronald N. Tan

Posts: 2746

Los Angeles, California, US

I agree as well. The primary purpose of organization is being able to find what ever you want at any given time.

You don't need a complex and often confusing organizational system. Just as long as you can find so-and-so image on (year) for (client) for (so-and-so purpose).

When you shoot enough, your sessions could be categorized into large, parent categories. For me, they are: PORTFOLIO and PERSONAL WORKS. Any photoshoot session that isn't commissioned or is personal to me is a "personal work." My current two personal works are: DEFIANCE and MR. BOLLYWOOD. Inside each is a folder with its own session of folders: Capture, TIFF, Selects, and Trash.

Capture contains images from the tethered session. If the session wasn't tethered, the folder name based on YYYY-MM-DD is used. Any images that I liked or moved to the "Selects" folder. TIFF folder is where my processed TIFFs are stored. Trash is self-explanatory.

Based on my organization, I am able to find images my way. When I need to find specific sets of images, I use PhaseONE MediaPRO. If I wanted to find images of male models in CK underwear, MediaPRO will list images fitting the criteria.

I back up to external hard drives: simply copying and pasting the two master parent categories from drive to drive works well.

Nov 18 12 01:39 pm Link

Photographer

Ev Murkov

Posts: 24

New York, New York, US

I def don't want anything confusing, overly complex or cumbersome. I need something simple and to the point. I'm embarassed to say it, but I'm actually still using the IMG_xxx extensions right from the camera and while it's been working and I can fairly easily locate my files I definitely need a new system. My problem is that I'll dump to an external, start editing on my macbook, forget what was backed up and what was not. I'm a very organized guy but when it comes to my digital mgmt...it's a bit messy.

I think I'd like to adopt something along the lines of using LR as a complete mgmt system. Meaning taking my CF card and importing right to LR, delete the bad apples, tag/edit the selects and export them to an external which will then be backed up (therefore freeing up my macbook). Does anyone have a similar setup?

My final questions are:

- Is there any advantage of importing the files into LR directly vs storing them in a separate referenced folder?
- Does it make sense or is there any advantage to starting a separate LR catalog at the beginning of each year? So one for 2011, 2012, etc...?
- What's the best way to manage the external drives?

Nov 19 12 10:03 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ShotForShot wrote:
I def don't want anything confusing, overly complex or cumbersome. I need something simple and to the point. I'm embarassed to say it, but I'm actually still using the IMG_xxx extensions right from the camera and while it's been working and I can fairly easily locate my files I definitely need a new system. My problem is that I'll dump to an external, start editing on my macbook, forget what was backed up and what was not. I'm a very organized guy but when it comes to my digital mgmt...it's a bit messy.

I think I'd like to adopt something along the lines of using LR as a complete mgmt system. Meaning taking my CF card and importing right to LR, delete the bad apples, tag/edit the selects and export them to an external which will then be backed up (therefore freeing up my macbook). Does anyone have a similar setup?

My final questions are:

- Is there any advantage of importing the files into LR directly vs storing them in a separate referenced folder?
- Does it make sense or is there any advantage to starting a separate LR catalog at the beginning of each year? So one for 2011, 2012, etc...?
- What's the best way to manage the external drives?

LR can do all of the above including managing USB keys, CD ROM etc. I have HDD's going back to 2008 that are offline. Anytime I need something I pop the drive into SATA dock and LR instantly updates it in my storage list.

As for importing, some people like to use the Windows/Mac file import then use LR to ingest into a catalogue...tried it that way and directly with absolutely no consequences...except wasting time making a simple one-step process into two.

LR has improved a great deal and you can handle 95% of your work with it alone. The other 5% being specific editing in PS.

Again...go right back to the K.I.S.S rule.

http://youtu.be/dRsKs4GunyQ

Nov 19 12 12:40 pm Link