This gets back to the age old question of how to organize photos -- try to create a hierarchical folder structure by subject, or just throw them in one big folder (by date, say), and use keywords to find specific images.
Throwing them in a big folder is a bad idea IMHO (I've heard Kelby recommend it, he's usually more interested in doing something super easy now, not thinking about the results later). As I said, the biggest reason I think having a well organized folder structure is to aid in finding my data outside
any DAM, using just the Finder or Explorer. Doesn't hurt one bit inside either. Often I need to find an image without having to resort to even launching LR. And if I migrate from LR or something goes south, or they go subscription or I find a better product, I want a belt and suspenders approach so I don't get stuck. Proprietary solutions are less flexibile and why I rarely use dumb collections but do use Smart Collections which are based on metadata that lives within the data itself.
It doesn't matter a lick IMHO if you use dates, names, whatever, just as long as you can find the images. There are no rules in how to do this for images, your overall data stored on a computer or the paper file cabinets which store your records. It has to make sense to you (or someone else if they are doing the searching).
Folder dates are totally meaningless to me. A folder called "Dogs
" or "Epson Print Academy
" makes perfect sense to me and I suspect anyone else who might stumble on said folders.
For me, the main issue with creating the subject-based folders is what happens when an image or set of images can go into more than one folder. What do you do then?
Sub folders or use what the DAM does well; find by keywords, with smart collections (I rarely every have dumb collections), by file name (using Dogs
in the file name along
with putting them in the dog folder again provides me with additional means of finding images without having to resort to LR.
If I have, for example, a folder of Students and a folder of Professors, where do I put the photo of a professor and a student together? Create a new folder called Professors and Students?
It doesn't matter, just pick which method makes more sense to you and most importantly, consistently move forward with that process. For example, I have a folder called Epson print Academy.
Within that are sub folders from each event, nearly a dozen. Each folder's name has the location of the event. If I click on the main Epson print Academy.
folder in LR, I see all
those images and if I only want to see the images from Atlanta, I can click on just that folder alone. Same if I'm searching outside of LR! If you put a gun to my head, I couldn't tell you the date of the Atlanta Print Academy
but if I know I need an image from that event, I know easily how to find the folder (or do a search) for Atlanta
, or Epson Print Academy Atlanta
. If you find working with dates is better for you, use that. I don't.
You could have a folder called "School
" and two sub folders called Students
. Or one of just each: Student and Professors and divde up via keywords. Your call. With the main "School
" folder, you could select that root within LR and see both
groups OR select just the one folder to see only those Professor images. You could also have a keyword for each which I think is a very good idea. Or you could build a Smart Collection (Name contains Professor
At some point the level of granularity starts to get ridiculous, especially when I can just have multiple keywords (professor, student) and the images will come up if I search "professor AND student" and also when I am just looking for either prof or student shots.
The search could contain one but not the other. But again, with separate folders for each, pretty easy to find one versus the other or both.
The bottom line in this disucssion is, what to name the folders indicating that you'll attempt to find images using that process alone (otherwise, if you're in LR, use can use keywords or smart collections or search by file name etc). As such, sorting by date is easy despite any name you give to the folder. The folder name just allows you to drill down outside
Further, there's a really neat file naming template in LR that builds upon the folder name! Genius for my approach. The image name should match the folder name in part. I have a folder named "Dogs
" guess what kind of images you'll find inside? Example of a filename is: Dogs_10June12_018-2.dng. First part of the name tells me what the subject is based on the folder (which is based on the subject), plus there's a date! If I move images from one folder to the other for whatever reason, the template will quickly rename the images based on that folder. Student
are somehow mixed up. Or you import a dozen images of Professors into the Student
folder. Move offending images into correct folder from with in LR, use the template, boom, the file name is now fixed with a single command. You want to search for students outside of LR? You can navigate to the folder you yourself built and named Student
. You could use the 'Find' command or Spotlight outside LR and find them via the name (it contains Student).
That said, there is nothing wrong with organizing your photos in any way that makes sense to you, as long as you can find them again. I would suggest using a robust set of keywords on each image, if only because they can get separated from their original folder structure. I use full captions, too, but most photographers think that's too much work.
Exactly! The idea that you're better off avoiding trying to use your folder system to categorise your photos doesn't wash for some of us. There's no reason I can think of for not naming folders that give me a clue what's inside! The use of a folder system to categorize means you are not depending on the DAM to find your images or other files. In my experience with the way I work, it's actually quite critical. But again, there are no right answers or methods if they cause you difficulty finding what you're looking for. Anyone who tells you it's wrong probably doesn't think the same way you do. And not thinking the same way make finding your stuff, be it images, a receipt for your accountant or a text file you wrote 10 years ago difficult and frustrating.