Recently there was a discussion in The Lilypad forum about Photo Organization. This is a common topic and everyone finds their own system. I got some questions about mine so thought I’d share it here.
First of all, I am not a super neat person. My husband claims that I am the most “disorganized organized” person he knows. I have piles and piles of “stuff” but can always manage to put my hands on anything that is needed. It is a touch of chaos and that’s just how I roll. My hard drive, on the other hand, is truly a work of art, hehe. It makes me twitchy when things are not where they belong. And again, the peanut gallery named my husband comments on that as well, saying “it seems all you do is move stuff around on your computer”. HA. Well yes, I do that alot. But it makes me happy to have a small sliver of life that is completely within my control. With a demanding “real” job, a high maintenance man (don’t tell him I said so), and four kids ranging in age from 6 to 15, I need my little utopian space… even if it is virtual.
And I love pictures and scrapping (you’re shocked, right?). Finding a system that worked for me was a must. When I first transfer to Mac computers in 2006, I was all about iPhoto. And while it is great program, I quickly discovered it’s drawbacks. Namely, that it held my pictures captive and was it was a booger bear to get my images out of there when I needed to. I still have half of 2009 trapped in iPhoto that I never exported. (Thanks for the reminder and another To Do List item.) Then I decided that organizing on my hard drive was best and I still do that. But I managed my images with Adobe Bridge, even doing an excellent job with my tagging. Well, poo. Bridge (at that time) did not write the tags to the metadata and that was unacceptable to me. Of note, I did a quick search and it appears this this is no longer the case, so that’s good.
Regardless, I ended up with Lightroom a couple of years ago and quickly became a convert. I love, love, love it and although my photo editing skills have a way to go, it has helped keep me organized.
It doesn’t really matter which program you choose to use, or if you simply do this on your hard drive. These little tips can still be helpful. I really enjoy seeing and hearing about how others organize their digital files and images and it was a combination of inspirational sources that eventually lead to my current system.
So, let’s get to it… First of all, I try my very best to upload my photos often. I personally don’t have a set time or day to do this, but I try to plug my memory card into the iMac at least once a week or more. I also upload from my iPhone at the same time. I upload using Lightroom and I always, always, always tag each photo as I upload. I have a new memory card right now so there are not very many images on it. Let me show you…
I have 3 new photos to upload. Pictures taken of me and my husband this weekend on our way to a wedding rehearsal. Note that if the images are already on my computer, they are darker. There are some above that are still bright, but those are photos I rejected earlier and just haven’t deleted from my memory card. So I won’t upload those again. Now, because there was just this one little series I am able to tag these as they are uploaded. I used the tags of Brad, Jen, Us (this is what I use for images of just my husband and myself). I also named this series “Brad_Jen” (creative, right?) and I have my program set up to start each name with the date and end it with a sequential number. Of course, I want to make sure they go into the correct folder so I checked 2014 -> June14 -> June14Pics (this is my random photo file with images that are themeless therefore do not have a folder of their own).
Once they are imported, a couple of things happen automatically. First, they will go into my Project Life week 25 collection that I have set up. And they will show up on the screen as the “Previous Import” so I can play with them more.
Here’s where I take a minute to look at them up close and decide a couple of things. First of all, do I need them all or can some be deleted. I actually marked the 3rd in this series to delete. And I will chose the best in a series with a STAR attribute. Usually I give 3 stars to the best in a group. Rarely, I’ll give more. In this case, I marked the 2nd image with 3 stars because the close up was better (hello, my muffin top was already cropped out). These stars allow me to quickly look at a set and see which image is best. Also, I tagged that middle image with a RED label. This means that I FOR SURE want to scrap this photo. These labels are used sparingly, but since I don’t get many photos of me and hubby, I want this one in the book :).
Here’s what they look like now before I hit the delete button…
Note, my partial keyword list is on the right side. It’s HUGE because if I think it, I keyword it, LOL. Gives me way more options in searching. I keyword people, places, colors, events, emotions… you name it, I’ve probably keyworded it. This example was simple, but you can get the idea.
Why do I do all of this? Well, the next time I want a photo of the two of us, I will never ever remember that we took one in our yard before this wedding in June of 2014. But I can easily search for images of “Us” and they pop up like magic.
And I can narrow my search to include only those images with 3 or more stars…
And finally, once I scrap with a photo, I change the color label to YELLOW. This I’m not quite as diligent about, but I do try. Just so I’ll know :). I also choose to edit my photos when I’m about to scrap them, not on upload. This gives me freedom to allow the image to fit the page in my mind if I go beyond basic editing.
So there you have it. My Photo Organization in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed it.