Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lost and found

blue bokeh
Originally uploaded by borealnz
This isn't what I had intended to post today, I wanted to process a photo of a conifer with raindrops, but after searching through countless folders for what seems like hours it refused to show its face. I know it's lurking there somewhere because I saw it only last week.

This leads me to my problem, how do you sort your photos so you can find things easily? At present my photos are sorted into folders by date taken and each individual photo is named once I've processed the Raw file, the problem is that the names I give them are usually very general, flower, beach, garden and as a result I can't find anything easily. So when I want to do a manipulation and want to lay my hands on a certain type of landscape to use as a background, do you think I can find it without having to spend forever searching?

So what's the secret to organising your photos, do I have to bite the bullet and learn how to use Bridge properly, or is there an easier way?

And the conifer....I've still not found it!


paulgrand said...

A plaintive cry of the modern day photographer!

David Peacock said...

Adobe Lightroom 2.

Trust me.

The power of organizing photos, lies not in folder management. It's all about metadata. Lightroom 2 allows you to tag, colour code, make sets, collections, smart collections, rank, not to mention the fact that it has a *ridiculously* powerful and efficient search ability for finding your work. What to see all photos you took between June and August of 2006, with your wide lens, that you ranked 2 stars? No problem.

Trust me. Try it, be fair and give it a real go. It will change the way you work.


fernando [ pixelstains ] said...

I also concur on the Lightrooom... you can import the photos with the same folder structure that you have now and then be able to reorganize within LR, and it changes how they show in the hard disc (folders).

I used to do the date thing, and it became a nightmare. So, I went to an organization by location, then dates, that way, the LR "catalogs" are smaller, and things go faster. This is good if there are many events that are edited and distributed once.

Your needs can be quite different... in that you may benefit to organize more by elements in some instances? If you can have all the photos in one catalog... then tags are great for recalling things you need, but if you have tooooo many photos, then think hard first :)

Any questions, just shoot an email any time!

David Peacock said...

I also highly recommend Martin Evening's book on Adobe Lightroom 2, if you choose to go down this route. Forget the Scott Kelby version, unless you like his braindead 'humour'! ;-)

Evening is far more intellectual in scope; he targets people with brains, and doesn't try or need to dumb things down for mass appeal.

Of course, I am probably the only guy on the internet who dislikes Kelby's books, so your mileage may vary. :-)

Borealnz (Jill) said...

Thanks guys! Great suggestions! Two votes for Lightroom so I'll definitely look into it. I used to have it but couldn't get my head around it but am willing to give it another chance.
Is there any advantage in using it compared to Bridge which I already use to process my raw files?

David Peacock said...

I cannot comment on Bridge, as I have never used it. But from what I understand, Lightroom 2 will remove your need for Bridge, and indeed a significant amount of the work you need to do as a photographer can be achieved in Lightroom with a lot less fuss and no hassle. Of course, for layers work and blending, you will need a tool suited to more graphic design such as Photoshop (but I use Pixelmator - way cheaper and to me a lot easier to use).

Photoshop is a cumbersome beast these days, and it's popularity is largely a holdover from the days when it had no competition. Photographers don't use 90% of it's functionality, it's really a graphic design tool.

Adobe saw this, and that's why they came up with Lightroom; it's a photographers workflow tool from import to presentation (and it even has hooks into the likes of Photoshop or another app) for when you need the graphic design side of things.

All this praise sounds like bias, so I will give you two areas where Lightroom 2 sucks.

1) The Slideshow feature. It's effectively useless, as you cannot export a truly finished product from it. All you can do is export something into PDF (hardly the most popular format for presenting a slideshow), and whatever fancy stuff you did by way of adding music or whatever will not be exported. So unless you are showing the slideshow on the very computer you do all your work, it's utterly pointless.

2) The Web feature. Also utterly bland and ugly. There's nothing wrong with it per se, but unless you long to have a canned website that looks identical to every other website made by every other person with Lightroom 2, you will be sorely disappointed.

So as for workflow, I use the Library, Develop, and Print modules. And I love them all.

It's an amazingly powerful, yet simple application.

The Tango of Photography said...

Jill, your blog on this subject of organization is great and much needed by me!