9 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2015 9:50 AM by dougabel

    Best method to organize image folders by year

    dougabel Level 1

      I've never messed with the folder structure of the photo library but after 10 years it's getting out of control. I must confess my main means of organizing is just keywords, I leave all the folders alone. While many of the folders contain the date, many don't--I migrated from Aperture a few years ago and also bring in images via "auto-import" and they sort of end up scattered everywhere.

       

      Now I'd like to have a parent folder for each calendar year and have all the images originated in that year as sub-folders. We use lightroom with Mylio (a poor man's shared DAM) and having the by-year structure will make it easier to exclude older years for employees who don't need to go back that far. They'll still exist in one catalog on the master LR mac to access, but remote Mylio users can sync with less than the whole shebang by excluding certain "watch" folders.

       

      So the question is... what would be the best method to make that happen. The way I figured out seems to be to use the "metadata" filter to isolate a particular year, highlight them all, and export as catalog. Then at the finder level rename the enclosing folder whatever year and re-import them... deleting them from the master library first. This process seems pretty clunky, tho, I bet there's a better way!

       

      Anyone?

        • 1. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
          wobertc Adobe Community Professional

          There will be plug-ins that can do this I am sure, but to use only Lightroom-

          If you accept that ALL your image files will be re-arranged, you can use Lightroom to re-arrange.

           

          1. In the Folders panel, select the top-most photos folder, right-click and [Create Folder inside....] Name it a Year  eg.2015

          2. In the Catalog Panel, select [All photographs]

          3. on the library filter tool bar, choose [Metadata]

          4. Click the [Title] at the top of the left column to show "Date"

          5. By selecting a [Year] you filter and show only photos dated that Year.

          6. Press Ctrl+A to select all, then drag images to the 'new' Year folder.

          7. Repeat from 1. for other Years.

          and use same procedure for Months in a Year if you expand the Year dates in the Metadata filter.

          ScreenShot016.jpg

          • 2. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
            dougabel Level 1

            Duh, sounds super-simple, will give it a try!

            • 3. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
              dj_paige Level 9

              I've never messed with the folder structure of the photo library but after 10 years it's getting out of control. I must confess my main means of organizing is just keywords, I leave all the folders alone. While many of the folders contain the date, many don't--I migrated from Aperture a few years ago and also bring in images via "auto-import" and they sort of end up scattered everywhere.

              As long as you know where they are so you can make backups of your photos, I wouldn't change a thing. Keyword organizing is superior to folder organizing, and as described above, Lightroom can find from a given year (or year/month, or year/month/date) using the Filter Bar without you doing any work to rearrange your folders. So, I am definitely recommending NOT doing any work to rearrange your folders, you don't need it, from your description you can do everything you want with the existing keyword organization plus the Filter Bar.

              • 4. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
                thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                dj_paige wrote:

                As long as you know where they are so you can make backups of your photos, I wouldn't change a thing. Keyword organizing is superior to folder organizing, and as described above, Lightroom can find from a given year (or year/month, or year/month/date) using the Filter Bar without you doing any work to rearrange your folders.

                I agree! I use Smart Collections with a date range, super easy to now see what 'appears' as a folder which isn't; just a SC created that way as shown below.

                That said, I do believe in a well structured and organized folder structure just in case (or to find photo's outside a DAM). But forcing the images into folders by year isn't at all necessary so you can build the folder structure by content or whatever you wish. Plus, at least on the Mac Finder, sorting by date is easy. SCbyDate.jpg

                • 5. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
                  dj_paige Level 9

                  If I had to find my photos outside of my DAM (which is Lightroom, for anyone who isn't sure what a DAM is), I would have my operating system search for specific keywords. This works because I have turned on the option in Lightroom to write the metadata to XMP. I still wouldn't search for photos in folders by year, as I have no clue what year most of my 28,000+ photos were taken.

                   

                  However, I do recommend importing new photos into folders by capture date because it is the Lightroom default and takes no effort on the user's part. But just to be clear, the nice neat appearance of folders by year or folders by capture date is not of value to me, as stated above, except for the fact that it takes zero effort to create.

                  • 6. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
                    dougabel Level 1

                    Thanks for the further replies.  I don't get alerts of responses, unfortunately, so I missed this.  I tried moving from within LR to completely new/empty folders and several times in a row got tons of error messages. In some cases the .xmp files didn't move, other times it was mostly .jpgs.  I'm moving from one folder to another on the same drive, BTW, not between volumes.  I have to hunt around and see if anything bad happened.  I've done 2015, 2014 and 2013 and will stop while I investigate any issues.

                     

                    The reason I want to split the files up in the finder is because I have given up on Adobe ever creating a shared DAM solution for a small workgroup.  Portfolio would work but requires a dedicated server and is very expensive.  Mylio is a good product for my purpose (getting web-res images synced onto laptops) but only syncs on an all-or-nothing folder basis.  By dividing folders I can have my employees have access to the last few years (i.e. folders for 2015, 2014) but not clog up their drives with older images, yet I can choose to have access to everything, which I do need sometimes.

                     

                    I'm investigating the errors and dreading having to restore the folders as it's a LOT

                     

                    Screenshot 2015-12-16 08.01.33.png

                    • 7. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
                      dj_paige Level 9

                      How does having folders by year help you find the photos? Do you remember what year each of your thousands of photos (tens of thousands?) was taken?

                       

                      Regarding moving photos via Lightroom, there is a rare but persistent and nasty bug that causes photos to vanish when moved. If I were you, I wouldn't trust moving the photos via Lightroom, I'd use the alternative method described here: Transferring photos to an external hard drive, photos lost

                      • 8. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
                        dougabel Level 1

                        How does having folders by year help you find the photos? Do you remember what year each of your thousands of photos (tens of thousands?) was taken?

                        It doesn't, all it does is allows me to have a system where employees only have access on Mylio to the recent photos they're likely to need, thus saving tons of drive space on their macs with small SSD drives.  Mylio syncs by watch folders on the master mac, so rather than having a big "Lightroom originals" folder with 3000 or so folders and 70,000 images, the employees will only have 2015 & 2014 folders on their laptops.

                         

                        Screenshot_12_16_15__8_42_AM.jpg

                        • 9. Re: Best method to organize image folders by year
                          dougabel Level 1

                          Looking further into it, it seems most of the images moves successfully regardless of the messages.  So of ~6000 in each year there are a few hundred that either refused to move or are now duplicated. Good news is nothing appears to be lost or damaged so far as I can tell. Spooky though!