22 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2018 5:51 AM by cmgap

    Looking for workflow suggestion(s)

    Looty81 Level 1

      Currently using Lr Classic CC on a new iMac and I have things configured pretty well. We all know that there is no right or wrong way to go about doing things - it's simply a matter of personal preference and what we find works best for each of us. However, as I learn more and more about how Lr works and watch tutorials, I ask myself if I should maybe take on some of the "tips and tricks" I see done.

       

      At the moment I have all my raw photo files in one main folder on my hard drive. No subfolders exist. I import images into Lr and use collections to essentially create albums. Occasionally I use smart collections. I've determined that if I were to be creating subfolders on my hard drive within my main photo folder at time of import, those would appear within folders in the Library module and I could use Collections to get even more granular instead. Example: Let's say I have shots from the 2017 Chicago Auto Show and the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. I could import those as separate folders (but don't currently) and then use Collections to parse out photos one more time by whatever I want..i.e. blue cars, red cars, american cars, foreign cars, etc.

       

      Given that I don't currently have subfolders, if this is a path I wanted to pursue, what would be the best route to go? I obviously don't want to lose any existing meta data, edits, etc. It doesn't seem there's a way for me to create folders (in Lr and on my hard drive) based on what images exist currently in my Collections. This would be ideal. So, let's get very technical. For the most part, I get how Lr files work. If I create sub folders on my hard drive in the main folder path I refer to, when I launch Lr with my current catalog file, will Lr need to be re-pointed to the various subfolders for each respective image or will it automatically map to those files as long as the raw files stay within the main root folder, with the exception that they've been moved at a more granular level?

       

      All feedback is really appreciated. Please also share with me how you have your workflow setup.

       

      cc: kentdesign Just Shoot Me JimHess Jim Wilde dj_paige

        • 1. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
          dj_paige Level 10

          A couple of comments, where I explain my opinions and how I do things

           

          • All photos in one large folder with no subfolders is a poor idea. The larger this folder gets, the slower it will be to access photos in the folder. This is not a Lightroom causing this slowness. This is your operating system slowing down the access of the files in that folder, and since Lightroom uses operating system calls, you will see things slow down in LR.
          • So it makes sense to me to begin creating subfolders for your photos at the time of import, and if desired, subfolders of the existing photos. Subfolders at the time of import is just a matter of telling LR to do so. If accessing photos is not too slow now, I would not bother to create subfolders with the existing photos; if accessing photos is slow now then you should create subfolders of the existing photos. If you want instructions on how to do this, please ask.
          • However, I have serious issues with your approach. I do not like the idea of collections as your organizing tool, because collections don't exist outside of Lightroom, and there are fewer tools available to find photos in collections. I do like the idea of keywords as your organizing tool, because keywords can be written to the photo files or xmp files, and read by other software including your operating system, and keywords have other advantages including more search tools in Lightroom. So the idea of creating subfolders to match your existing collections seems like a poor use of your time: if you use keywords, creating subfolders isn't necessary, and keywords have other advantages. So I would recommend converting collections to keywords, and in the future, assigning keywords and other metadata (titles, captions, GPS locations, etc.) as your primary organizing and search tools. Also I point out that using folders as an organizing tool has limitations, such as a photo can be in only one folder, never more than one; while keywords don't have this drawback. So I strongly un-recommend using folders as an organizing tool, they should be used only as a storage location. All of my subfolders are by capture date, because this is a Lightroom default, it takes zero effort on my part, and furthermore, since I never search by capture date (because I can't remember the capture date of my 30,000 photos), the subfolders are not used in searching for photos; they are simply storage locations with no actual meaning, and simply prevent the problems discussed under the first bullet item.
          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
            JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Everyone has their own idea on how they should organize their images. I won't even attempt to suggest how you should do this because only you understand how you will feel comfortable organizing. The only thing I will say is that as long as the images remain imported in Lightroom, any adjustments that have been made will remain with the images regardless of where the images are moved. All that is necessary is to ensure that wherever the images end up they get linked up again if the catalog loses track of where they are located.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
              Looty81 Level 1

              Thanks. At the moment, I don't have that many photos - about 1,150 in total. I also have a new iMac with the 3.4Ghz quad core i5, 8 gigs of ram (soon to be at least 32) and had it custom built with their 1TB SSD. I can't imagine the system will get slow anytime soon. When I began using Lr, I was using their defaults. However, I wasn't a fan of how the application was importing everything by capture dates. As you know, it results in A LOT of folders being created in the storage location and also makes things messy in the Library module.

               

              I just wonder how I can better streamline my current process.

              • 5. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                kentdesign Adobe Community Professional

                HI, I agree with Jim Hess that each person has their own way of organizing and it makes it difficult to make recommendations.

                The one thing I can recommend is to sketch out - I mean paper and pencil - a flow chart of how you might want your organization to go - OF you choose to organize a different way in folders.

                 

                Personally, I usually make a folder on my internal drive of a new shoot. Then (not using LR) I copy the new images from the card and put them into that folder - I prefer not to have LR import them from the card. I then launch LR, "add" those images where they are to my Main Catalog. I make all the previews and cull the images, deleting those I do not want to keep at all. I "Develop" my favorites, and then when I am  done looking through the images and editing the best from that shoot, I shut down LR. Then using the finder, I copy the images inside that desktop folder to a folder on my external drive where all my images reside. Then I  move the desktop folder inside another temporary folder just so LR won't see it. I relaunch LR and the ? 's are on my images. I select the first and then relink them all to the new location on my external drive. When I see that all the photos are in the catalog without question marks and I look inside that external drive folder and see all the photo files are there, I can delete the first folder of images on my internal drive as they are copies.

                It may not be the fastest method, however, I do not lose photos.

                 

                Really, try the paper and pencil method of charting out how you would like your images to be organized. Think out side the computer box! Old school but it works!

                • 6. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                  kentdesign Adobe Community Professional

                  Also, remember that your photo files will get larger....!

                  • 7. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                    john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Looty81  wrote

                     

                    We all know that there is no right or wrong way to go about doing things - it's simply a matter of personal preference and what we find works best for each of us.

                    No, there might not be one way to do things, but there are good and bad ways, and it's not simply a matter of what works best for each of us. We all develop bad habits and can make things work, but let's not recommend them generally.

                     

                    As an overall approach, think of folders purely in terms of storage, the physical issues of using space and ensuring you have a reliable backup and can restore everything reliably. Take advantage of Lr's Import process to create date-based folders - if you don't do so now, you will later when you have more photos - and don't try and do anything clever allocating photos into folders. Just use them to make sure you never lose your photos.

                     

                    Think of keywords and other metadata as the way to categorise and analyse your photos. A photo containing both a Ford and Ferrari can be found easily if you use those terms as keywords, but you'd have problems if you had Ford and Ferrari folders and had to choose which one to put the photo into.

                     

                    Think of collections in terms of gathering and grouping pictures for specific uses, a slideshow or presentation, a shortlist for your web site, a quick way of getting to all your sports cars with rating >3 and so on.

                     

                    So folders for safekeeping, keywords and metadata for categorising, and collections for gathering.

                    • 8. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                      dj_paige Level 10

                      Looty81  wrote

                       

                      Thanks. At the moment, I don't have that many photos - about 1,150 in total. I also have a new iMac with the 3.4Ghz quad core i5, 8 gigs of ram (soon to be at least 32) and had it custom built with their 1TB SSD. I can't imagine the system will get slow anytime soon.

                      If you keep adding photos into a single huge folder without subfolders, you will see accessing photos from that folder get slower and slower.

                      When I began using Lr, I was using their defaults. However, I wasn't a fan of how the application was importing everything by capture dates. As you know, it results in A LOT of folders being created in the storage location and also makes things messy in the Library module.

                       

                      I have the opposite opinion. Folders by date is a good thing.

                       

                      The fundamental flaw, in my opinion, of your entire approach is that you want folders to have meanings, and you want to find photos using your folders. You are choosing the LEAST CAPABLE TOOL that you have for organizing, a tool that has a severe drawback that a photo can only be in a single folder.. Collections are more powerful than folders. Using keywords and other metadata are more flexible and powerful than collections. Therefore, again I recommend (and apparently John Beardsworth recommends) you use the most flexible and powerful tool you have, which is keywords and metadata.

                      2 people found this helpful
                      • 9. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                        Looty81 Level 1

                        dj_paige kentdesign john beardsworth thank you so much for all the continued feedback. It's definitely helping me to continue to brainstorm a better workflow for myself.

                         

                        Question: If I did away with the fact that Lr automatically creates folders by default of capture date when I moved to my new computer (and kind of started over from scratch), is there anything I can do to retroactively get those folders created/move the photo files into them? Technically the capture date exists in the metadata of each of the files...

                        • 10. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                          john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          You can do it by reimporting.

                           

                          First, select the images and Ctrl S / Cmd S to save any work you've done on them. Then remove them from the catalogue - taking care to remove, not delete. Now import the folder and choose Move or Copy - this gives you the choice of moving into a date-based structure.

                           

                          Use Copy for extra safety, but you should be backed up anyway.

                          • 11. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                            dj_paige Level 10

                            Looty81  wrote

                             

                            dj_paige  kentdesign  https://forums.adobe.com/people/john+beardsworth  thank you so much for all the continued feedback. It's definitely helping me to continue to brainstorm a better workflow for myself.

                             

                            Question: If I did away with the fact that Lr automatically creates folders by default of capture date when I moved to my new computer (and kind of started over from scratch), is there anything I can do to retroactively get those folders created/move the photo files into them? Technically the capture date exists in the metadata of each of the files...

                            I don't think you want to do this. This would have to be done manually (and don't make a mistake!) In my mind, there's no point in performing manual work to create dated folders. This has no value to me. New photos should go into dated folders. If you ever want to find photo by date (do you really do that??? I don't, you can't possibly remember the dates of thousands of photos) you can use the filter bar and this will find photos by date regardless of the folder they are in.

                             

                            The disconnect we keep having is that you seem to feel folders have some meaning, and they have no meaning to me. If space aliens beamed down and (in Lightroom) renamed all my folder to have Martian names, I wouldn't care a bit.

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 12. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                              cmgap Adobe Community Professional

                              If you're thinking that you'd like to implement some of the tips and best practices as you are more comfortable with Lr and you're working with less than 1500 photos, why not give it a try? Take one year's worth of images, create a parent folder by year, a nested folder by year, month, shoot name and see if that is working for you.

                               

                              If you don't like organizing by year, an alternate method could be by categories... Terry White has this example here: How to Organize Your Images in Lightroom CC - YouTube

                               

                              And you may have already seen Julienne Kost's tutorial on organizing by year here: Video Tutorial – Organizing Your Images in Lightroom 5 « Julieanne Kost's Blog

                               

                              The point is that your catalog is small enough that you can give both methods a try and see what works best for your workflow.

                              • 13. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                                As most have said, "It really up to you how "YOU" organize your image files (and for that matter all your files) on "YOUR" computer.

                                 

                                I'm not sure having all your images in one folder is good or bad or whether it will or will not slow down your system. I personally don't do that with any files. I look at a hard drive like a Filing Cabinet. Top Level folders, those directly in the ROOT of the drive, as like Filing Cabinet Drawers and then Subfolders under the Top Level folders as Folders in the Filing Cabinet Drawer that you would store paper in, in this case Computer Files.

                                How you organize this is up to each person.

                                I use different Physical Hard drives for different purposes. My main drive, a SSD, is partitioned into 2 drives, C & D. On those partitions I have the OS on C and try extremely hard, If possible, to install all Program onto the D partition (Some programs don't allow you the choice of where to install them and those will be installed to the C partition). The D drive also holds the Documents (My Documents) folder where all my personal files are stored and have multiple subfolders for different things, Personal, Home stuff and ect. The LR Catalog and Previews folder is also on the D partition of the SSD. Before I retired I also stored work related files on the D drive.

                                 

                                Then next physical drive is my E drive, a Rotating HDD, where I store 99% of my image files with some also on the D drive in the work related folder (although I have cleared most of those out as I no longer need them in any way).

                                I have a couple of other internal physical drive in my desktop system that I store other files on and some backups of my main drives.

                                 

                                Then I have 2 external drives and a second desktop computer where 99% of all these files are backed up to.

                                 

                                I then do backup images of the SSD as if that drive fails I would need to Reinstall everything (Something I don't enjoy doing). So with backup image files if that SSD fails all I have to do is replace it and load the most current image of the OS, Programs and my most important files.

                                 

                                All of this is how "I" do it. How you do it is up to you.

                                • 14. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                  Looty81 Level 1

                                  All, again, thank you so very much for the continued input. I'm sorry if I was unclear earlier. I'm not looking to create a better folder structure on my hard drive for sake of organizing. I'll be using the power of Lr for all of that. It's just that I tend to be a neat freak and perfectionist. While Lr may by default create folders for capture dates based on import, that seems messy to me. I didn't want to have it function that way. I appreciate the feedback suggesting that having all my raw files in one main folder isn't a great idea. I would not have thought that, over time, that could impact performance.

                                   

                                  At this juncture, I think I'm going to create a folder structure in my main photography folder (using Lr) on my drive (and use filters in Lr to call them up and move them into those folders) like the following:

                                   

                                  • 2017
                                    • December
                                  • 2018
                                    • January
                                    • February
                                    • March
                                    • April
                                    • etc.
                                  • 2019
                                  • 15. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                    cmgap Adobe Community Professional

                                    That should work just fine... although you may find that you'll have to open your nested folders by month to see what's in them. If you use Lr's feature of importing by date and go with something like this you'll know the month and the contents:

                                     

                                    2018

                                    • 2018 Jan 15 Plum Island
                                    • 2018 Jan 25 Boston
                                    • 2018 Feb 01 [name of the shoot]

                                     

                                    You will have to add the name of the shoot...

                                    • 16. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                      john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Seriously, do not use the month names - because the folders won't sort correctly. Use the year and the month such as 2018-04, and within that YYYYMMDD or similar. Each folder level should fully identify itself.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 17. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                        Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                                        It would be greatly appreciated if when you reply to a post that you click the Reply link at the bottom right hand side of the post you want to replay to.

                                        You seem to continuously Reply to YourSelf. Which makes it extremely hard to know which person/post you are actually replying to.

                                         

                                        Reply to post 1.PNG

                                         

                                        So exactly who were you making this reply to?

                                        • 18. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                          Looty81 Level 1

                                          The reply was to the entire thread.

                                          • 19. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                            Looty81 Level 1

                                            John, I want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly. When you say "won't sort correctly", where exactly? In the finder or in Lr? How would they sort? After all the detail I've learned here, I'm not sure I'm looking to get that granular (by day date capture) in folder structure. I agree that 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. identifiers may be a good idea, but couldn't metadata be used to rely on deeper filtering in Lr?

                                            • 20. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                              cmgap Adobe Community Professional

                                              When you import you have a variety of choices in formatting by date. Look into the pull down menu under By date... the format that I wrote out is a choice and is searchable. Adding the shoot name after the import with something memorable will allow you to know what is in the folder without having to expand it. And yes you can use the metadata in your search filters along with any keywords you've added.

                                              1 person found this helpful
                                              • 21. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                                john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                In the folders panel (and Explorer/Finder). So for example, you wrote:

                                                 

                                                2018

                                                - January

                                                - February

                                                - March

                                                - April

                                                 

                                                But that's not how it will look in LR's folders panel, these month folders will sort alphabetically like this

                                                2018

                                                - April

                                                - February

                                                - January

                                                - March

                                                 

                                                If you use numbers, the folders will display correctly

                                                2018

                                                -2018-01

                                                -2018-02

                                                -2018-03

                                                1 person found this helpful
                                                • 22. Re: Looking for workflow suggestion(s)
                                                  cmgap Adobe Community Professional

                                                  It will look like what is highlighted... with the exception of the shoot name: