I'm looking for suggestions from the forum on how you use Catalogs.
I'm new to LR (former Bridge user, just got LR4) and am trying to decide how to organize my Catalog(s). I'm fond of Keywords but from what I have seen so far I believe that Keywords only apply to the Catalog you're currently in (entering Keyword "tortoise" will only give me tortoise shots in that catalog). This makes me want to set up one big Master Catalog containing every image so I can always Keyword my way down to the image(s) I want. That said, maybe there's some logic to having a set of Catalogs, i.e. People, Flora, Fauna, Still Life, etc.
Maybe one Master Catalog combined with Catalogs for specific shoots?
I'm a hobbyist and I keep all my images on one internal drive dedicated to photos. Each shoot is in it's own folder, and the folder is named with the date and location, but can contain images from numerous catagories.
I am in the same category as you - a hobbyist with about 70,000 images. I save shoots in separate folders with the naming convention "YYYY-MM-DD_xxxx Title". I use one catalog and keyword using the magic who, what, where, where and why depending on the image. With the map module I can likely drop the "where" and the when is taken care of in EXIF and in my naming convention. You want to make your keywording independent of file location, so it should not matter what you have in each folder. I would avoid multiple catalogs unless you have a specific reason to create them.
When I go on a trip I create a new trip catalog on my notebook. I export my keywords from my master catalog and import them into the trip catalog. During the trip I keyword in the trip catalog. When I get back, I import the trip catalog back into the master catalog, with any new keywords added to the master catalog. Then I toast the trip catalog.
One big master catalog is definitely the way to go. There are many advantages, the biggest of which is taht you can search across all of your photos (not possible with multiple catalogs).
And with one catalog, the idea of "organizing" catalogs goes away. Then you can organize your photos, instead of organizing your catalogs.
I would agree - with an exception ...
Photos for unrelated purposes I keep in separate catalogs ...
The first one is my biggest, but the others are not related to it.
i have one big catalog for photos, because i like to search all my photos at once.
when i look for pictures, for example, of my dog i don´t want to open 3 different catalogs.
then i have special catalogs for 3D textures and computer generated images.
i see the reason to organize folders on the HDD after date/time... but i do it for topics.
- peters frankenforters 60. birthday
- lara crofts 33. birthday
- camela and charles parkers wedding
- london 2010
- london 2012
- ireland 1999
you get the picture.
i do that because before i started keywording that was how i have organized my pictures.
and it helps finding stuff when i need pictures and i am not working in LR.
of course i do heavy keywording in LR.
I work at a portrait studio. We also have one master Catalog with all work from the last 3 years (since we started using LR). If someone needs to work on a shoot on another computer, I export it as a catalog, and transfer it that way.
One catalog (23k).
YYYY / YYMMDD <ShootName>
Film / NNNN <ShootName> (where NNNN film roll number)
Scan (one big folder for old scanned photograhs. I have one, so far.)
Anyone using the bucket system?
I don't care what folders things go in. The only reason I can see to have custom named folders is if you have some other editing application that needs to find things without using LR.
Personally I use LR as a front end for everything (I wish they allowed more than 2 editIn's, but I only have 2 right now).
So I let LR define the folder names using year/date and use keywords and collections to manage things.
Means I have fewer things to worry about!
Also 1 catalog, almost 100 k images now.
Same folder structure principle.
I am too timid for a real bucket system, especially when I read of bugs biting people with folders of more than 3000 images...
I usually stay below 1000 per folder.
Any other structure such as Agfaclack I organise by keywords & smart collections.
One master catalog on my desktop, ~60K images currently. Photos are organized using keywords, collections, and Publishing collections - NOT by having separate catalogs.
1) a separate catalog on my laptop for capturing and processing images while traveling. These always get imported back into my master catalog when I return.
2) a separate "temp work" catalog for building Timelapse projects. No need to clutter up my main catalog with thousands and thousands of images of the same slow-moving clouds!
3 catalogs = portability
1) Master - obviously, all images. Folders by year - keyworded, collections
2) Incubation - photos that require processing. Saved to an export folder when complete and then imported to the master. If they are intended for resale or display I will import to the presentation catalog
3) Presentation - photos that will be shared externally via web, gallery, print or iPad. Used primarily as a portfolio.
Although I'd like to take credit for this system, I believe it was either Matt Koslowski or Scott Kelby that turned me on to it. The system has served me well for years.
Thanks to all for your input. When I saw the email notifications coming in almost immediately it was obvious I'd joined the right forum!
I honestly don't know how many images I have, but I guess I'll find out soon. It seems to be pretty much unanimous that you need to keep one big catalog. That's kinda' what I figured. I've decided to continue (with more discipline) my folder naming convention (YYY MM DD <location>). I say with more discipline because I do have some folders by subject that need to be converted/merged/parsed. It was no big deal when I didn't have many images and folders, but I've "seen the light" (pun intended) and realize I have to get serious about the organization before it becomes a nightmare.
Thanks hillrg for the trip/catalog process. I haven't installed LR on my laptop yet so I haven't learned how to do the import and export, but learning that will be a priority.
I also like the idea of a Presentation catalog (thanks Jazzster_1). I might also implement the Incubation catalog. At first I thought it wasn't necessary, but it does seem like a good way to keep track of images I want to work on.
The bucket system doesn't appeal to me. I like seeing folder names that mean something, and I don't use DVDs or BDs for backup.
Again, thanks to all!