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Thread: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

  1. #1

    How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    I have about 5,000 completely unorganized images in the "Pictures" folder of my MacBook Pro. I have Lightroom 2 and have been importing folders randomly into my catalog whenever I felt like editing them, but now I want to have all my images in Lightroom, neatly cataloged. What's the best way to get started? Start a new catalog and organize everything from there? I'm going to want to probably erase a lot of images, create new folders and rename old ones, etc... if I make all these changes in Lightroom, they will all be changed at the system level too right?

    Thanks very much.

  2. #2

    Re: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    Quote Originally Posted by oliviagw91 View Post
    I have about 5,000 completely unorganized images in the "Pictures" folder of my MacBook Pro.
    I think I need a few more of those little critters... That's better.

    Doing anything for the next month? Apart from Xmas, that is.

    I don't use LR, I use CS5 and Bridge. I'd start off by removing the shots that are definite duds. Don't delete them, just move them elsewhere. Then make sure you have a suitable folder structure to cover everything, before you start to edit/move them. Does LR gave keywords as bridge does? I find keywords very useful, and this might be a good chance for you to put proper keywords in.

    I can't say I envy you.

  3. #3

    Re: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    Yeah, I know it's horrible. I think I could completely erase half to two-thirds of them though, so that should help... and free up some hard drive space as well.

  4. #4
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    Olivia(?)
    I have been through this process and did quite a lot of reading on the web. This is the solution I came up with based on the recommendations I found.
    1. My files are all stored on an external hard drive and then backed up on to DVD.
    2. The files on my external hard drive are split into main folders for each year e.g. MJBpics_2010, MJBpics_2009 etc.
    3. The yearly folders are each then sub-divided into DVD sized folders (approx 4.6Gb) e.g. DVD_2010_001, DVD_2010_002 and so on. These are the folders that I then burn to individual DVDs for back-up once they are 'full'.
    4. The DVD folders are then further sub-divided into folders containing each shoot or memory card. I also use the American dating method which sorts chronologically. I add the camera I used and the card number and rough description e.g. 10121601_D2Xs_River Thames, 10121602_D2Xs_River Thames and so on. (So that's 16th Dec 2010 card 1 and card 2)
    5. I import each shoot folder into Lightroom individually, adding general keywords as necessary. Shot specific keywords are added at the edit stage.

    By using this method my file structure is clearly visible in the navigation panel in Lightroom and all in chronological order.
    It sounds complicated but once up and running it is very simple and it is so easy to find things, and to back them up. I probably added about 5000 images into Lightroom when I set up the system, renaming the folders on my hard drive to this new convention at the same time, over the course of a couple of weeks.

    Hope this helps. PM me if you need more advice.

  5. #5
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    Re: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    I've been putting off sorting my snaps as I couldn't get my head round the best method. Thanks for this tip Mike, it might just kick start me into sorting them out once and for all.

    As a newby, I'm yet to commit to any editing software. Do they all recognise the same tags that you apply to any photo. I'd hate to have to redo it all should I change program !!

    Trev

  6. #6
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    Re: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    Have you considered using Picasa as your organizational tool? Picasa is a free software package from Google. Its photo editing features are OK but not great. However, its organizational features are very good and it includes a search engine. So for example, if you had a photo called PICT0049 and you've changed that to several versions and put it in several folders, as long as the 0049 is in the name somewhere, you can search 0049 and the software will find all the copies for you. (And any other photos with the 0049 in the name.) Right click on the image you want and open with Photoshop to do some real image manipulation then save as a new name. As long as you save to a folder being scanned by Picasa, the new image will be picked up in your next search.

  7. #7
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    Re: How to begin organizing photos in Lightroom?

    You've made a wise choice is Lightroom. I'm now using LR3 and love it. I've tried all the others but this one gives you the best overall package. All my photos are first placed in chronological files by month, 2010 01, 2010 02, etc. Once there you can use keywords or several other rating systems. Best, you can stack multiples of the same scene/person. It's great for picking the best of a dozen shots of your model, or mother. You can also make collections as you go, earmarking only those photos you want, irrespective of their location or folder. I've got thousands and thousands in LR and although I also have Bridge I don't use it as often because its catalogs and library files are slower to update, and with lots of files that's an important point for me. And as to your final question, will the changes be at a system level too, keep in mind that LR never works on the original unless you tell it to, so all RAW files remain virgin, no matter how many times you've tweaked them. Nice.
    It will take you weeks to catalog your photos, but a year from now you'll be happy you took the time. Enjoy.
    R

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