A lot of these replies pre-suppose that you will always be using LR into the forseeable future, or that the LR catalog will never fail or become corrupt or that if it does your backups are bound to work. But if you are relatively young and at the beginning (or even the middle) of your career, who is to say that a newer, better DAM might not come along? IT and software development doesn't just stop. Supposing that you want, sometime in the future, to transfer your archive to a new platform? Or that the worst happens, and you find that all your catalog backups are corrupt, too?
Then you might be very grateful for a folder system which is intelligible and in plain English. For example - Extensis Portfolio can auto-generate catalog keywords from folder and file names. So if you have the subject of each image in plain English as part of the filename, and the images in sensibly named folders, you can completely automate 90% of your keyword generation. If all you have is a bunch of numbers for filenames, forget it.
Indeed. And I think in the later tutorials with Seth, I think there is actually an advantage to the meaningful names that I hadn't quite realised but that I think you're touching on. Once you've saved all of your meta data out into XMP side-car files, the information from the LR database exists in two places: in the catalogue and in the XMP side-car files. The advantage of that is that you're not then bound to using LR all the time - anything that recognises and understands the XMP files should be able to reconstruct the image the same way (modulo variations in the rendering engine of the software.)
There's also the additional fact that having the directories named in a meaningful way gives you a useful place to store the .TIF, .PSD and .JPG files that you generate from raw, rather than needing a separate tree.
I don't recall mention being made of non raw/xmp files being stored in those directories, but neither do I recall seeing them elsewhere.
I suppose I've come a full circle with this...
- if you're shooting raw, having the xmp files created on disk by LR allows them to be used in a meaningful way by other applications to build upon what you've done in LR
- thus if you want to open the raw file in something other than LR (bridge, C1, etc), then those xmp files are of immediate benefit and it becomes worthwhile being able to find raw files on disk without using LR
- if you're working with photoshop and generating psd (or other) types of files, there's merit in keeping all the different file types associated with the raw file in the same directory
- the only draw back on this is that thumbnails generated from non-DNG raw files are not likely to look anything like what they would with the xmp recipe applied, thus you can't use folders to reliably search for a specific photo/look. In that case it becomes necessary to have rendered final image JPG or TIF files that we can easily browse thumbnails for and thus find the original raw with its xmp.
So for folks that never move outside of LR, maybe it isn't such a big deal but having spent some more time thinking about it, the rationale put forward in the LR tutorials becomes evident. I don't recall if either Jeff/Seth go in to why they recommend doing it this way?
In the past I organised directory trees that related to which DVD files were backed up to. That kind of worked ok with images under 10MB (450-500 per disk) but with images around 30MB (~150/disk), DVDs are not as beneficial so I'm exploring new ideas. Maybe if I use double-layer discs, maybe. And BD-ROMs do offer a tantalisingly large amount for storage... but perhaps it is time for something new.