Solution for digital clutter: Moving away from Apple's Photos/iPhotos libraries

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by bryce_lee, Aug 12, 2021.

  1. Hey all,

    I'm looking for a program that I can transfer all of my iPhone libraries from Photos/iPhotos to as well as many other folders of photos taken with various cameras. Nothing professional, just normal use.

    I'm really looking to get organized but having a difficult time finding what I'm looking for.

    It seems Adobe Bridge might be the best solution as I can add tags, create libraries, edit metadata etc. however, I'm really wanting a program that I can import libraries/photos to that will then create a brand new library. At the moment, it doesn't look like I can accomplish this with Bridge.

    My thinking here is that I have soo many libraries and photos to go through, I'm looking to merge duplicates and have one central location for all my photos. With my new library, I can then begin to create tags and get much more organized to locate pictures moving forward.

    I recognize my thinking here might need to shift a bit so if you happen to have a better solution, I'm all ears.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. I use and love Adobe Bridge, which somehow is a very close fit to my pre-computer cataloguing and filing system.

    But it's not something current. There must be something more up to date. I'll need that too when my old Adobe software pegs out so....
  3. Adobe Lightroom
  4. LR is what you are looking for. I am somewhat amazed it has never occurred to you.
  5. Ahh, c’mon. Not everyone keeps up on software or gear or thinks about it much until it’s necessary.

    Just think about the joy of the moment when a lightbulb’s gone on in your head at a new discovery or thing learned. There’s lots of stuff that’s never occurred to all of us … until it does.

    I use Bridge. It’s occurred to me to use Lightroom, so no amazement required, and I’m pretty sure it would be better than Bridge, but I stick with Bridge out of familiarity and because, so far, it’s met my needs.
  6. He basically wrote the blurb for LR in his request for information
  7. I prefer not paying a monthly fee but thank you for the suggestion, albeit a condescending one.
  8. If you use a Mac you can look at Photos, but I have never used that app, so I can't say what it's good for. I do know that on modern versions of iOS, the organisation capabilities are quite useful, and it even uses facial recognition.
  9. I use Lightroom (licensed V.6) but frankly, everything is still helter-skelter. Many folders are labelled originally by dates. Then I have bunches more folders labelled by topic. I've rarely used tags.

    What's the best way to reorganize and label what I've got and what's the best way of handling new images?
  10. 10 years ago when the number of my digital images began to seriously accumulate, I began to organise my files the following way:
    In my photo library folder I have one folder per year, inside that, I have a folders with the naming convention YYYY-MM-DD <event a, event b, ...>.
    One folder for each time I dump a card or the phone memory. Date is alway the dump date, never event the date - unless the two are the same.
    The folder structure looks like this:
    2021-08-17 British Museum, Botanical Garden, Leica Summar test

    This structure has served me well as it is independent of metadata and technologies. I don't think that I have ever not been able to find an image that I know exist from this basic information, but a photo library tool is a convenient add-on which at times allows me to re-discover things I didn't remember existed.

    When you have the structure in place it is easy to let any photo library tool "import" and organise the data.

    I used Picasa when I used PC and also when I migrated to Mac. Now with Picasa long out of support, I recently moved to MacOS Photos.
    All the Picasa meta-data was lost, but by maintaining my already existing file structure within Photos, I can still navigate comfortably in my archive, and with the additional geo and face navigation etc. that Photos provide it is even easier to find my way - plus I can add keywords etc. should I wish to build it again (but I won't because I don't find it worth the effort).

    A few lessons learned:
    • Don't let your library tool organise your files - maintain the file structure outside your tool and manually ask the tool to "import" or index when you add a new folder.
    • Accept that your legacy organisation of data will be imperfect, but by spending a an hour or two each day over one week on renaming folders to this structure, you will likely have a 90% organised library after that week - which is quite acceptable IMO.
    • When "importing" or indexing your data into a new tool for the first time - do it in small chunks - the tool will likely choke on something and you may need to troubleshoot and start all over - I probably used a full day to import my photo archive into Photos because Photos was confused by some old legacy video files and terminated without warning.
    I don't think it is too hard to stay organised with reasonably little effort, and I don't think I would trust a photo library tool to make order of an already messy archive.
    Ed_Ingold and David_Cavan like this.
  11. I agree with Niels: I organize the data structure myself.

    Different structures work for different people. Mine is simple: all photos are organized under one parent directory. Under that are directories with topical names, e.g., "flowers after X date" or the name of a location or region where I do a lot of shooting. Under that are directories that begin with a date in a standard format (yyyy_mm-dd), followed by whatever text I want to use to identify the images in that directory. For example, directories that have landscapes taken with a drone all have "drone" at the beginning of the text, followed by a location or subject.

    However, I often need a collection that doesn't conform to that--say, a set of photos that I want to use in a class, or photos that are currently exhibited. For that purpose, I use Lightroom's "collections" function, which works very well. These collections are virtual, just pointers to the original location but with a thumbnail at the site of the collection.
  12. Though some do not like Adobe's prescription service, for $10 USD a month you get Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge, which I think is a great deal if you are processing a fair amount of images.
    ajkocu likes this.
  13. While pharmacists might like this one, I think most photographers prefer the *subscription* service. :)
  14. DOH!
  15. It seems I made the mistake of not reading the question correctly. Sorry about that! It does happen...
  16. I just have a folder on the desktop and I put my pictures in there. Every year I start a new sub folder. I separate the photos by topic and that way I can find my family photos fast as they are the most important. In addition I keep a duplicate folder on an external hard drive. Not very fancy I suppose. I average 1 roll of film a week more or less and out of the 24 photos I generally print 2 of those photos in the darkroom on 8x10's. I store the prints in Archival photo boxes that hold 50 prints which is about 1 year per box. Stacks very well lying flat. I do make 4x6 inkjet prints of the family and keep them in Pioneer Space Saver albums from BHPhoto. . The album slips into a hard cover and it stores upright just like a book.
  17. If I took 50 photos a year I'd keep them on the memory card, and download the contents every decade or so. With 30,000 or more it takes organization off line and on, using the same methods as NHSN above (and for the same reasons). I use Lightroom for easy access to these photos, as well as 90% of any processing, and access to several specialized extensions (e.g., negative conversion).

    Having worked with large and small relational databases before retirement, it is perfectly natural to do the same for my own purposes. I can usually retrieve a given photo, subject or topic in 15 minutes or less (out of 200,000 images). Lightroom is a convenience, not a necessity for that process.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  18. I don't pay a monthly fee. I pay the annual fee. It is a bargain really for what it and PS do.
  19. I use the exact folder structure you do and am always able to find - or rediscover my work. Now I just need to take the time to kull duplicates and bad photos.
    David_Cavan and NHSN like this.

Share This Page