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What do you use?

Jeff Donovan

New member
I'm just starting to take large numbers of digital photographs and can honestly say I don't have any real system at all for organizing them. I have folders on my computer labeling specific events (honeymoon, my wedding, other weddings, the cat...) but that's about it.

Being a complete novice to this sort of thing, can we start throwing ideas out about a simple easy way to organize pictures?

Also, I have many pictures stored on smugmug and have started added labels and keywords to them.

Here is a sample honeymoon pic...I linked it because I can't get the file size small enough to upload. It is overexposed on the lower right but I like it nonetheless. :)

Staircase in the Vatican Museums
 

KrisCarnmarker

New member
I Jeff,

I'm sure Peter will chip in here, as this is his expertise. However, I'll tell you what I have done.

First of all, I think the way you set up things depends on the type of photography you do. For instance, I am purely an amateur, and consequently do not have assignments. Therefore my images are stored by date on the computer's file system. The structure is as follows ...\year\month number-month name. If I ever start taking too many pictures for one month (i.e too many files in one folder), then I will add a week number folder underneath the month folder. Individual files are in the format yyyymmdd_counter.

Now, this is obviously not enough to find a particular image, so I use a cataloguing software to help with that. I tested quite a few and I can't say I found any one that I was completely satisfied with. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses. I finally chose IMatch as my tool of choice. In IMatch I organize the images by assigning them to Categories. Categories are a hierarchical structure of keywords, and an image can belong to one or more categories. After categorizing them, I run a couple of scripts to copy selected categories into EXIF and IPTC keywords, locations, etc.

My category structure is roughly as follows:

-Events
--Weddings
--Birthdays
--...
-Locations
--Europe
----Sweden
------...
--North America
----USA
-Subject Types
-What
-Who
-Version
-Workflow State

This system has worked well for me up until now anyway.
 

Diane Fields

New member
I've come to a fairly simple organization for me---I have a folder named for the year. Within the year I have a folder for each month--then each 'shot' has a folder with date (i.e., 5252006) and a short descriptive name (5252006 NC mt TSE). I use Imatch for cataloging (you can categorize, etc)--which allows me to move folders to other drives, DVDs, etc. and the thumbs are still available and I get a direction to where it is. Within each month folder, I have a 'best'--i.e., May best--where my processed tiffs, native sized, unsharpened reside. They have the RAW reference number, descriptive name. BTW--I edit my RAWs early in the process--so often there are not that many left to archive.

For any commercial client, they get their own folder (I do only parttime commercial work), with the date. When I finish the job, it moves to both DVD and external drive.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I have never used iMatch. I will have to check it out and see if it works for Mac?

I use iviewMedia Pro. I'm trying to follow Peter Krogh's DAM book, but I have some diffuculties doing so.

First I have not, as yet bought Photomechanic for ingesting and duplicating files etc and that is my next task. I now do all that manually and put the files in a folder by year, month, date and then event. "Un-kerghian", yes, but there's a reason.

My iview catalogs, when they have 20,000 file,s are choked and slow down.

I realized that for most uses, all i need to do is get the most uptodated catalog, save it as a new name, remove all the images save, and now I have a blank catalog with all my favorate fields for annotations.

So, for each event I now have something like 2006_05_14_PHIL_Malibu.

The files within are also renamed 2006_05_14_PHIL_Malibu_0001 etc

I am much happier having separate catalogs like that. I will soon merge all the LA Philharmonic Catalogs into 1 Master catalog and that will be very do-able.

However, to join thiese events with Art/runway or architecture shoots is not valid for me until iview is more robust and doesn't crash on me.

As it is, on one drive, each time I start iview, I get asked if I want to open iviewMedia Pro for the first time!

S,o I do take what Peter has written as the goal, but implementation, for me at least, requires a more robust cataloging program.

For now, I'm trying to keep everyting in order and annotated with key words, so as to be able to migrate to whatever is better when it arrives!

Asher
 

KrisCarnmarker

New member
Asher, IMatch is Windows only, I'm afraid. That's too bad, because one of its real strength is its ability to manage huge databases. 20,000 would be a piece of cake for it.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Jason said:
I wonder if the naming convention (iMatch) is an effort to woo people on Mac's over to Windows...:D
With the Intel-Mac, one could easily use the PC programs too.

Asher
 

Jason Anderson

New member
Sure, provided you have a dual boot environment, but as of yet, apps written for windows code still dont work on the intel based mac.

I read an interesting article recently that spoke to the ability to boot windows on a mac finally gave the ability to compare each OS on identical hardware setups to see which performed better. I should write up a review of the article and post it here as the results were very....well, interesting.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Jason, reread the meta.editorial concept in FAQ anf the entrance to the site, then write a summary of curret status uand remaning issues,
This shoud be easy for you and then options and proposal and then plan wih defined next steps. We would then edit it together.

Asher
 

Daniel Harrison

pro member
If your on a budget, picasa is good for organizing photos.

If you have the cash Portfolio works very well and actually inbeds information into the jpeg so that wherever it goes it has all you data with it. It also has a very personalized user interface so you can sort by keywords, jobs and add your own personal fields like. proofs, ready to print, printed, completed etc. You can also run this program much better on a network as well. All in all it is pretty good, lacking a few things but overall good.

Plus it makes organization SO MUCH EASIER, you just type a keyword and there it is. Or you can go to your job list and there are the photos.

As far as how you put together your file structure... it depends on whether you think by events or by dates. If I was using portfolio, I would use dates, If I was using nothing. well.... I would use events and dates :) I am natrually a very messy phot organizer!
 
Jason said:
Sure, provided you have a dual boot environment, but as of yet, apps written for windows code still dont work on the intel based mac.

I read an interesting article recently that spoke to the ability to boot windows on a mac finally gave the ability to compare each OS on identical hardware setups to see which performed better. I should write up a review of the article and post it here as the results were very....well, interesting.
While dual booting has some value, virtualization has more. A company called Parallels currently has a virtualization solution for OS X out which will allow you to install XP or other OSes on your Intel based Mac and run the apps at the same time you are running OS X. You can find more info at:

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/

Albeit, this will require you to have an extra GB or two of RAM to be truly useful. With such a solution you could share files between the OSes in real time unlike the reboot that other solutions require.

some thoughts,

Sean
 
Last edited:

Sid Jervis

pro member
I am an iView Media Pro user on Macs. The only issue I have with dual booting with OSX at present is that it is still Beta software. I happen to be using Adobe Lightroom, which is also beta software, in neither case do I trust my current real work to these systems/applications.
Yes they run on a test Mac, but certainly not with live data.
For me, I have most of the software that I need to support my workflow, it is my choice that the software is Mac based. Adobe need to sort Universal binary Photoshop, and Lightroom looks like an application that has finally been designed for photographers. When leopard arrives I will test it and most likely use it, but as far as I can see I don't need MS applications.
I appreciate that others may do.


NB. I don't do PC / Mac wars.
 

Jason Anderson

New member
sdemerch said:
While dual booting has some value, virtualization has more. A company called Parallels currently has a virtualization solution for OS X out which will allow you to install XP or other OSes on your Intel based Mac and run the apps at the same time you are running OS X. You can find more info at:

http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/

Albeit, this will require you to have an extra GB or two of RAM to be truly useful. With such a solution you could share files between the OSes in real time unlike the reboot that other solutions require.

some thoughts,

Sean
Certainly a viable alternative, but as you indicated, the necessity of increased RAM to compensate is a seriously mitigating factor. This is further confounded by the possible limitations of motherboards. Some boards are limited to 2 or 3 GB...if you are already at or near that, the additional RAM won't help you in real time since they wouldn't be enough to compensate. Additionally, VM solutions , while certainly viable, also stress the proc more because in essence you are running two OS'es at the same time as well as the virtualization layer in between which further degrades performance. I like what Parallels is doing, butfrom a fundamental perspective this is nothing new as other VM solutions have existed to this end for some time. While they may claim to offer increased performance and such, the underlying concept is still the same.

Thanks for the info though, I will add it to the list of resources available on an article I am writing to address the dual boot scenario now avaiable thanks to x86 Macs! :)
 
Jason said:
Certainly a viable alternative, but as you indicated, the necessity of increased RAM to compensate is a seriously mitigating factor. This is further confounded by the possible limitations of motherboards. Some boards are limited to 2 or 3 GB...if you are already at or near that, the additional RAM won't help you in real time since they wouldn't be enough to compensate. Additionally, VM solutions , while certainly viable, also stress the proc more because in essence you are running two OS'es at the same time as well as the virtualization layer in between which further degrades performance.
Most modern virtualization solutions use hypervisors which are a thin device virtualization layer and let the actual virtualized OS run on the hardware. This yields 95% or more efficiency and with a dual core CPU it should be non-issue. This is especially true in comparison to Rosetta Stone which emulates a CPU.

Jason said:
I like what Parallels is doing, butfrom a fundamental perspective this is nothing new as other VM solutions have existed to this end for some time. While they may claim to offer increased performance and such, the underlying concept is still the same.
The new element is having it run on OS X. Other than that, I agree it is more of the same.

Jason said:
Thanks for the info though, I will add it to the list of resources available on an article I am writing to address the dual boot scenario now avaiable thanks to x86 Macs! :)
You are welcome. :eek:)
 

Mike Spinak

pro member
I manage my files simply with folders inside of folders, arranged hierarchically, down to specifically what the subject is. If applicable, within the subject's folders, there will be further hierachies and categorizations based upon age, sex, and activity/relevant environmental notes. Finally, within its folder, the subjects will be arranged in the order the picture was taken.

So, for example, my pictures of a screech owl from this morning will be arranged as follows:

Organisms
Animals
Birds
Screech Owl

Then, in the Screech Owl Folder, it will be arranged as follows:

Adult
Male
Perching


Mike

www.mikespinak.com
 

trb

New member
I store my raw photos in a numbered hierarchy relating to the shot number.

For example:

1/5/img_5483.cr2 for shot number 05483 (should have been 0/5/img_5483.cr2 but somewhere along the line the current format stuck and changing it would confuse me for months)

2/3/img_3453.cr2 for shot number 13453

This does have the drawback of having to remember how many ten-thousand shots you've gone through :)

Plus changing camera midway, like I did from the 300d to the 5d, you have to be careful that the new camera starts at the correct count - at least for the number used in the filename - so that you don't accidentally overwrite anything (I suggest setting all photos to readonly/immutable/undeletable once saved on the hard disk).


To catalogue them, I wrote my own software as a gallery style website.

The software is simple but it does what I need the most:
- quick and easy viewing of the embedded jpg hidden in the raw
- therefore can quickly find the best shot/s to shove through the raw decoder
- easy to show photos to friends/family
- runs on linux/freebsd :)
 

Tony Fiorda

New member
I use Extensis Portfolio for my DAM. I ingest using PhotoMechanic and it's in PM that I enter IPTC data, keywords, copyright info and rename using a "yymmdd-description-xxx.ext" format. The folder heirarchy is "YEAR\MONTH\DATE\JOBNAME" for a structure that looks like "D:\2006\May\31\Mayflowers\060531-Mayflowers-001.jpg". This structure allows me to have multiple jobs on the same day without intermixing the files. Yes, it requires either ingesting using the incremental option or multiple CF cards to keep the jobs separate.

Then in Portfolio when I add them to the database, it grabs all the keywords, and creates new ones from the filename and directory structure. Finding files is as easy as entering a keyword search and, voila, all the files with that keyword pops in the contact sheet.

Tony...
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In portfolio you don't have the issue of larger catalog files being non-robust and crashing as in iview.

So in this case, why not use, as Per Krogh proseletyzes in the DAM book, use one continuous sequence of numbers for the whole year?

Asher
 

Jason C Doss

New member
I don't exactly have a LOT of photos, but I organize most of mine by place/event, then by date. For example, photos taken on a trip to Mt. Magazine (here in AR) on Jan 15, 2006 would be in this folder:

C:/photos/mtmagazine/20060115

I might have even more subfolders for edited photos, photos for printing, and photos converted from RAW. But I try to keep it as simple as possible. I am a firm believer in KISS.
 
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