It seems a common problem that for many less experienced photographers; our methods of importing, organising and archiving images are often less than perfect. I have not yet settled on a method I am happy with, hence this thread.
The problem I have found is that even if you have a certain method apparently working, something changes and it all goes out the window
I'm am trying to arrive at an optimum workflow to provide these steps:
1) memory card thumbnail review (with tick boxes)
2) import only ticked files (repeat step 1 and 2 as necessary)
3) easy review (of RAW) to delete 'duffers' or grade 'keepers', with one click 100% loupe view
4) easy bulk grouping, tagging, keywording, etc.
5) filter for highest graded
6) work on those and save as psd/tif or jpg (in say, Elements Editor)
7) easy access to that version history
8a) easy searchability to find an image (using date, tags, keywords, thumbnails, etc.)
8b) even if on an external HDD (or DVD?) that isn't in the computer at the time
Elements should do most of that, except possibly 8b (but LR can)
Given the high volumes of files I generate, it needs to be slick, I don't want to spend longer on the above process than it took to take the pictures!
The workflow also needs to cope with varying content; when I go out, I come back with intermingled shots of say; birds, insects, people and landscapes from one or more locations on the same day. When reviewing, I want to cull all but the best shots of one thing, say swans, or geese, so I need to be able to see these all next to each other (no matter when in the day they were taken), step through them and continue to delete the less good ones. Ultimately I would also include comparison to shots taken on other days too.
The questions are:
Should the files be stored in subject specific named folders (e.g. /Birds/, /Insects/, /People/, /Places/, /Events/ etc.), or import named folders? (e.g. /059/, /060/, etc.)?
Should this process include any file re-naming; e.g. "DSC_3456.nef" become "Swans_3456.nef"? One DSC_ looks much like another when all mixed together in /060/
Such renamings, or copying/moving of the keepers into subject named folders will be most easily accomplished after step 4 - after I have deleted the duffers and have an easy method of selecting all of a similar ilk.
Or do I just rename (and/or save elsewhere) ONLY the ones I have processed?
My feeling is that file renaming, or even moving into subject named folders en-masse ought to be unneccesary IF the Organiser's database works reliably.
The problem is that having suffered problems with RAW files and/or large volumes in one folder, I have lost faith somewhat; I have bad experiences with both Elements 6 Organiser and ViewNX. See my next post for details.
If I can't rely on the Organiser and its database, as now, I end up looking at file and folder names in Windows, which is where I am currently at times and they all look so similar
So: what do others do?
What do others think I should do?
I am, for the moment, ignoring archive/back up processes, I just want a basic working plan first.