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April 06, 2009


I use Lightroom. I know that's a several hundred dollar software solution but it does the job for you. Of course you have to do a careful keywording first but then you're just a few clicks away from any of your images. And scanned tiffs or jpegs can also be imported to a Lightroom library.

(BTW, after reading many of your flash photography posts, the other day I grabbed my good old Nikon FM3a with the SB-28 attached to it and did some flash bounce/fill-in shots with my kids. I enjoyed it big time! I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration)

I’ve been using my process for over 45 years starting when I was in the Marines and this was their filing procedure. I’ve modified it over the years to fit my needs but it is still the same idea.

I use a very simple naming procedure. Basically it’s the date followed by the image number.

The format is: YYMMDD-DXXX. Year, Month, Day followed by a three-digit image number. The ‘D’ before the imaged number is for digital. I use a slightly different file number system for film but it’s basically the same.

Each folder on the hard drive is for one day. So the folder name is just YYMMDD.

The naming of each image is done using Nikon’s Picture Project during import of the images from the camera. This is the utility that is provided with their digital cameras. It’s the only utility that I have been able to find that will name a file EXACTLY that way I want them.

This procedure may not seem easy to search for a certain image but it really is. Even if you add no tag info to the images you usually can remember when you took the images – kinda.

Now the hard part adding tags info to each image. Such as wedding, birth, laguna, etc. If you do this then finding an image or a group of images is quite easy. At times I have lost track of time and hadn’t added tags for several months. Even then it took me just a couple of days to get caught up.

All this filing, tagging and searching is done using Picasa. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s fast. Adobe Bridge fails on all three levels.

Form here it gets a little fuzzy. What if I archive images to DVD and remove them from the hard drive how do I do a search? I’m still working on this. Currently I still use Picasa to search each DVD. That’s a little slow and you can only access one DVD at a time. Picasa lets you load a DVD and add it to its manager. Since the tags go with the images it takes no time at all for Picasa to sort through the DVD.

I’m looking at an old text based database program called askSam to do some kind of database. I would use the same tag info to search for an image. You would still have to open DVDs one at a time to find the exact image you need. Slow, I know, but there it is.

As long as I can keep images on a hard drive finding an image has been very quick. Currently I do long term disk storage on a 1TeraByte satellite hard drive. I also back up to DVD.

That’s it. If I’m a little fuzzy on some part of my system the send me an email and I will try to clarify it.

ACDSee has a family and pro version. Keywords, ratings, etc. can be used to index your picture files.

I use Lightroom as well. Yes, it does cost some money, but for me it not only handles cataloguing but most of my post work as well. And what it doesn't handle, it fires off software in which I CAN handle that task, and then stores the new edited image, along with the ratings and key words, so I can find both the old original image as well as the new edited image. For me, this eliminates most of the foo-ups I've managed to accomplish without help over the years.

For digital images, I've found that both Capture One and Lightroom do a decent enough job, though I think Bridge can do it as well. All I do is rename them to something a little more meaningful than DSC_0893.nef.

I use the following naming system when sorting my images.
The 0000 here would be a sequential number. It's probably a bit more long winded than what most people use, but I find it keeps me from losing files.

Also, since I tend to do multiple edits on a single file, I will also add a brief description to the file name. So 20090406_example-image-name_0048.tif might become 20090406_example-image-name_0048_bw.tif.

Not for you, probably (available only for Linux I believe), but I find F-spot to be a pretty good solution nowadays. It does a fairly good job of saving and tagging images so they're easy (or at least feasible) to find. It saves all imported images in a year/month/day/ directory organization, which is comforting as I can get at the images without the program if need be.

It's not locked to any particular image editing tools either so I can use whatever suits the particular image with the same workflow. Lots of irritating quirks and bugs, but the important bits work well and that's all I can ask for.

Apple's Aperture for me.

I use capture one. All files are stored on removeable internal hdd. The drive is by year and has the same folder list, within the folder list are the folders by location, then folders by date, all folders have same tag line as file. For instance Photos by landscape= landscape_lndscp_43, Stradbroke_lndscp_43, dd/m_lndscp_43, file name_lndscp_43. Might sound complicated however it works for me. Any edits are stored in the same manner in seperate folder on same drive. Ie: Raw_2009, Edits_2009. Once drive is full or year ended the drive is removed and replaced a backup copy of the folder list is then placed on new drive and away we go again.
it works for me. I think my way of naming can be done with any software.

Lightroom. The number one reason I still use Windows instead of completely switching to Ubuntu.

lightroom here also. file structure on my external harddisc looks like below. /1_camera_model/01_0001-1000 everything is taken as raw. tags and structure through lightroom. works excellently for me.

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