5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 22, 2015 2:45 PM by dj_paige

    Organizing Photos

    Murwin

      I recently started using Lightroom and I am having trouble organizing photos. I understand that the catalog is not the file, but it accesses the original and LR is nondestructive and blah blah blah.

      I am wondering if anyone can please explain how collections, smart collections, folders, catalogs, libraries, etc. work?

       

      Should I import all of my photos into the same folder on my hard drive and use one catalog?

      Should I have multiple catalogs for different types of shoots, or would I just use collections?

      I just want the most organized and simple workflow before I get started too heavily and it becomes too big a mess for me to clean up.

        • 1. Re: Organizing Photos
          dj_paige Level 9

          You import your photos into whatever folders you want. For me, these are folders named by capture date, all under a single master (or parent) folder. I do not recommend all photos in a single large folder, this can cause problems.

           

          Definitely, use one catalog. This is so important, I will say it three more times.

          Definitely, use one catalog.

          Definitely, use one catalog.

          Definitely, use one catalog.

          Definitely, use one catalog.

          Definitely, use one catalog.

          Definitely, use one catalog.

           

          Use keywords and other metadata (captions, titles, etc.), not collections, to identify the content of your photos. Apply keywords consistently and rigorously, and as soon after the photos are imported as is practical. You will use keywords and other metadata to allow you to find your photos quickly when you need to search for them.

          • 2. Re: Organizing Photos
            Murwin Level 1

            So say I could have a folder for 2015 then some sub folders for different events. Like this:

             

            1. 2015
              1. Weddings
              2. Senior Photos
              3. Family Portraits

             

            Or would you recommend the other way?

             

            1. Weddings
              1. 2015
                1. month
                2. month
                3. month
              2. 2016
            2. Senior Photos
              1. 2015

            Ect like that?

             

            Or just do by date, and let metadata sort out the rest?

            • 3. Re: Organizing Photos
              dj_paige Level 9

              No, you have keywords for weddings, senior photos and family portraits and any other descriptions of photo content. (Some people use collection, I prefer keywords)

               

              Your folders can be the Lightroom default using the capture date of the photo, which takes zero effort on your part. Don't do work that you don't have to do.

              • 4. Re: Organizing Photos
                Murwin Level 1

                So do you ever use the "folder" section in the left hand panel?

                Or do you just search by keyword. Because I just did a shoot last week fro some friends and put the key words. "October, 2015, Engagement"

                Would that be good enough to find later?

                • 5. Re: Organizing Photos
                  dj_paige Level 9
                  So do you ever use the "folder" section in the left hand panel?

                   

                  Almost never. In your case, if you are doing wedding photography, the bride or groom can tell you the date of the wedding, and those photos are easy to find. But I do not think there's any way that a human can memorize and make use of the dates of thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands) of photos, so the date is mostly irrelevant to me.

                   

                  Because I just did a shoot last week fro some friends and put the key words. "October, 2015, Engagement"

                  Again, I think you are doing work that doesn't need to be done. The folder can tell you when the photo was taken, and the EXIF metadata in the photo also can tell you when the photos was taken. So there's no need for a keyword that indicates year or month or date. As far as the keyword Engagement, that makes sense to me, and you want to add to the keyword or caption or title field that this is the Smith-Jones engagement party, or something like that. If you have the date (in the folder name or in the file EXIF) and you have the fact that its an engagement, and you know who the parties were in the engagement, you will have no trouble finding the photos (in fact, you rarely need ALL of those pieces of information, any two ought to work, or if you know it's the Smith-Jones engagement, you don't even need the date, you can find it that way).