What software do you use to organize your photo library? (for Macs)

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by yuri_kim|1, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Okay, my head hurts.
    I used to be on a PC where I had all my photos in folder based on dates.
    Then I got a mac, where my newer photos were in iPhoto, organized based on events.
    Now, all 4,000 of my photos are in a gigantic mess on an external hard drive.
    I only use my Mac now (running OSX), so for all you mac users, which app do you use to organize your photos? iPhoto? Aperture? Lightroom?
    Also, how do you have your photos organized? Based on dates? Events? Something else?
    I basically need someone to copy off of because I can't seem to make my own decisions on this.
    Thanks for your help!
  2. I use Lightroom.
    My organization and naming is based on dates (YYYYMMDD) and the photos are keyworded to the content of the photos. I also make collections of project, subject, and simialr quality photos.
  3. Yuri,
    I use Lightroom as well and it's very well organized thanks to using Ellis' import protocol shown here - http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00PtoY.
    I tried Aperture as well, but preferred the Lightroom interface.
  4. Lightroom, organized by capture date. My folders are Photos/YYYY/YYYY-MM/YYYY-MM-DD. Filenames are YYYYMMDD-OriginalFileNumber.
  5. I put them in Pictures and-folders using date/event as the main header. No different then I did with windows.
    Example - 2009 01 29 Superbowl party.
    - 2009 02 15 presidents Day
    They always stay in date order if you maintain exactly the date format so pick one you like.
    I use sub folders for originals, photoshop and final Jpegs. I do not remake the sub folder for each event. I use a 2009 13 01 Folders file. By using month 13 it is always at the bottom of the pictures file. The sub folders are premade in this one. Then I select that file, go to file , duplicate this file, and it is duplicated with sub folders intact. Then I retitle it for the next event/date.
    Only put COPIES your final photos into iPhoto where you can do nice slide shows. I have never mastered it`s organizing ability if it exists.
    Photoshop Bridge is the brouser and you tag and star with it also if you are into that.
    You can down load the picture collection to an external drive and then drop them all in mass to Pictures on the harddrive. There are also cables that go ethernet port to ethernet port and the files can be moved via that cable. The Apple Store will be happy to explain all this migration and will even do it for you.
    If the pics are still in the old computer, then put them on an external drive, take them all off the Mac, then download to the Mac. If not, then retitle all the events and move them to Pictures.
    I would recommend "The Missing Manual" by Pogue for new Mac users.
    The files are supposed to be in a nice neat vertical column, but another bug will not let me organize it. Just pretend
  6. Thanks for all the quick answers. I'll look into Lightroom. Now I need to somehow batch create folders and move the images to the folders :x
  7. Both professionally and personally, I use Aperture. Images within Aperture are project based. For weddings, I use one Aperture Library on a 1TB drive for Jan-June and a 2nd for July-December of each year. Folders within Aperture are by month. Each wedding within a month will be it's own project. Within the project I will typically have the following albums: print orders, wedding album, package prints, etc... I tried to use Lightroom for awhile, but I much prefer Aperture.
  8. When using Keywording to identify a specific image, can a search by keywording be performed using the software at minilab kiosks?

    And if you don't have the software like Lightroom or any other app that generated the original keyword entries, are their other software that can read the originating apps keywording data? Like say can an OS X search using the keywords generated by Lightroom or Bridge find that one specific file among a 1000 images off of any storage media.
  9. I use Filemaker Pro FMP which is origionaly a Mac product but works on my PC. Files are stored in dated folders 2009\2009-01\2009-01-19 with a simple name. I then put details of the job, who, what, where, etc on a field on a record so it is searchable. Each record is numbered and I burn all the folders in that record onto a CD with the same number for backup. I also back up to an external HD twice a year that goes into my saftey deposit box.
    You could use any database like this.
  10. As you import into Lightroom your photos wil lself organize in tto the date shot assuming your camera was set forthe right date.
  11. lightroom.
  12. Lightroom.
    You can have LR move and organize your files into a folder structure organized and named by date when you import them.
    I organize photo files into folders named by date of transfer to the computer with an optional tag appended, 'YYYYMMDD-tag', e.g.: 20090101-NYE_party would be "files put on computer on the first day of 2009, mostly of the New Years Eve party".
    I have Lightroom rename files on import too, with a name pattern 'YYMMDD-tag-fnum', e.g.: 090203-sjmoa-1015 would be "photos made Feb 3, 2009 at the San Jose Museum of Art".
    I also have LR embed keywords into the metadata at import time which indicate generally what the subject matter in the exposures might be. So for the set of files imported from the museum visit on Feb 3, I might inject "people, still life, museum, color, cafe" as a default set of keywords as those were the subjects I was shooting that day. Keywords become more specific and refined after I finish the import and start looking through the shots.
    The basic rule is to use the folder structure to layout the picture archive by date (and optionally event if a tag is added), and then use keywords and metadata to categorize subject matter for use when searching.
  13. Lightroom too.
    I love the Folder Name token. That way I can put images into folders with that folder having a descriptive name which I can see in the finder. I can rename any image based on that folder name. I use: Folder Name Tolken>Date>000:
    That way I know the image content from the finder, the data and the number (I use three numbers since for me, its rare I'll shoot more than 999 images in one day).
  14. Can all software with search capabilities be it third party image browsers or OS apps search the keyword entries embedded by Lightroom and Bridge?
    Has anyone tested this to verify?
  15. > Can all software with search capabilities be it third party image
    > browsers or OS apps search the keyword entries embedded by
    > Lightroom and Bridge? Has anyone tested this to verify?

    The simple answer is yes, but understanding what's what should be articulated as this is not a simple question. When you add metadata in Lightroom, various things happen depending upon what you are doing and what kind of file you're working with.

    - Metadata is recorded in the Lightroom catalog file (database) for each image.

    - If you have LR set to synchronize metadata with the files on the hard drive automatically, it is written to disk in the appropriate manner (see below).

    - If you use the LR Metadata->Save Metadata To File command, the metadata is written to the files in the appropriate manner (see below).

    - When you Export a file, metadata gets written to the file or not depending upon the options you've set in the Export dialog and in the Keywords list. You can minimize metadata export and you can set various options for whether keywords get exported.

    How metadata gets written to the files "appropriately" ... Each type of file format that LR can handle has different capabilities with regards to how they can handle metadata.

    - Native raw files are considered "read only" by LR. Metadata saved out to these files is written in XMP format into .XMP sidecar files named the same as the base file they are paired with and put in the same folder. An .XMP sidecar file is essentially a plain text file containing XML tagged data structured according to the published Adobe "Extensible Metadata Platform" schema, Adobe's standard for processing and embedding metadata in various file formats. XMP contains all the other metadata format structures.

    - DNG raw files are designed to be container files: the metadata is written into the base file itself as an XMP metadata section.

    - Similarly for PSD and TIFF files, metadata is written into the files themselves in the accepted standards based forms. This includes XMP (which means EXIF, TIFF, IPTC, etc. as well).

    - JPEG files can contain a more limited set of metadata constructs organized by metadata standards for EXIF, TIFF, IPTC, etc. Again, these are written into the file in the standards based forms for these metadata constructs.

    Applications and OS utilities that can read these standards based metadata structures can all search for keyword and other entries in all files which have been exported or 'saved to' with the metadata entered in Lightroom. A quick test is to export a TIFF file from Lightroom, fully populated with all metadata and keywords, and then open it in the Preview application. Using Preview's Tools->Inspector command, a window appears which allows you to browse all the contained metadata sections. The keyword panel allows you to add or remove keywords.
    Similarly, I know that Bridge, iView Media Pro (aka Windows Expressions Media), Extensis Portfolio, and Cumulus all can read and manipulate metadata injected into image files by LR.

  16. Thanks for your thorough answer, Godfrey.
    So I take it that metadata that includes keywords is searchable using the OS search engine.
    Can the sidecar XMP file for raw files be searchable as well?
    You seem to imply only Lightroom must originate this searchable metadata to make it searchable. Originating the keywords in Bridge won't right metadata in such a way to make it searchable?
    Just want to pin things down. I don't have Lightroom, only Bridge. I'ld like to change my organizational ways seeing I'm shooting more images than I'ld planned. It's piling up and I'm now finding renaming each file with a descriptive name in the Mac finder is becoming limited and cumbersome.
    You're right this stuff is complicated.
  17. I spoke specifically of Lightroom as its image management functionality is much more complex and full-featured than Bridge. Bridge writes metadata to files in the same ways but it is a an browser and workflow coordinating tool, not based on a database engine, so the way it works is somewhat less complex.
    Since the .XMP sidecar files that are written to encapsulate metadata and adjustment parameters in Lightroom and Bridge (and Camera Raw) are ultimately just plain text files, any tool that can be used to search and manipulate text files can search them. Of course, understanding the data written in .XMP files does require some study: just doing a text file search for a particular string in a bunch of .XMP files isn't generally all that useful.
  18. I like lightroom, but it's my understanding that Lightroom's keywords don't get written to the metadata until you export the file, meaning that its search capabilities are limited to the files within the catalog you're actually looking at. While this is fine for some things, a catalog with 5000 images in it seems a little unwieldy and nightmarish if it goes down.
    Am I wrong about this, or is there a way for LR to add that keyword data to the .dng without exporting? Otherwise, that info won't be accessible to other programs or for search/etc. (?) That's a big reason (besides my own shooting style, which is project-based) that I haven't gotten much into the keywording game...
  19. while I haven't bothered to look closely, the LR catalog is nothing more than an SQLite database so any tool that can read (or write if you're gutsy) it should be able to get all the information out.
  20. Brad, see the discussion I wrote up about Lightroom's handling of metadata above.
    Howard, someone has written a set of tools to do just that. Can't remember offhand what they're called, but they're out there. It is, however, somewhat complex to do queries like that.
  21. Lightroom 2.0
  22. You could look at MS Expression Media 2. www.thedambook.com
  23. Lightroom, but my image library is a horrible, horrible mess right now, in dire need of reorganising.
  24. I tried Aperture and gave it to my son. I couldn't figure it out. Now I just use Bridge and leave dates on new folders until I sort and edit them, then file them in named folders for subjects...and for landscape photos I file them by geographical locations. My son is more Mac proficient, and he loves Aperture. I'll stick with Bridge and hopefully try Lightroom someday.
  25. OK, this is a freakin' confusing mess.
    Watched the Bridge video tutorial on how to assign keywords to my Pentax PEF's. Pretty simple. Assigned keywords to a PEF by first creating a keyword image describer and placed a check in the box with the PEF selected that had no xmp sidecar because no editing was performed. Did a Mac OS Finder search using the keywords and got nothing. Then I assigned keywords to a PEF that had an xmp sidecar. Did the same search. Nothing. Don't know what I'm doing wrong.
    Simply put this is what I want to do. I have a bunch of PEF's with their own xmp sidecars that have the image setting's I've applied but didn't process into tiffs or jpegs. I want to back up these PEF's to CD with their xmp sidecar that will hopefully preserve the ACR exported xmp image settings for later processing. I also want to embed keywords into these sidecars that describe the image and have it searchable by the Mac OS.
    Is this possible or do I have to fork over $300 for Lightroom to accomplish this?
    Other than that I'll just go back to giving describer names to each file through the Mac Finder leaving the number of the file as the beginning entry.
  26. Got the Mac OS to find a test file entering the keywords in Spotlight only after saving PEF to tiff on the desktop. Tried it on a DNG conversion saved to the desktop and couldn't search.
    Going to try and see what DNG conversion preference I'm missing that allows embedding of keywords. Now reading Bridge Help on the subject of keywording.
    Geez, something so simple made to be so complicated.
  27. tim,
    The Finder isn't designed to read metadata out of image files or XMP files. You search on metadata with Bridge or other image-aware tools.
  28. I would also go for Lightroom. I keep my images like most people by date
    2009 + 200901 + 20090104-partyX
    and I put a very short description in the en of the day folders. I am very strict in this. If an events last until the next day, they go into separate folders. (very nasty for new year parties)
    Next to this, I have my collections. for each event I have a collection.
    I also add keywords to all images. The structure of the keywords is worth a separate discussion. But don't worry. With lightroom, you can change the structure and content of your keywords very easy on your entire library. 4000 is not that much after all.
    Good luck with organizing your pics!
  29. Picasa
  30. I use iPhoto, for its ease of use, for personal photos. I like how everything just gets organized for me in events. The new features in 09 are also a fun addition to all my personal stuff. Whenever I come across a photo that I deem worthy of a little extra effort I export it and use either Lightroom or Photoshop, depending on wether I just want to do adjustments or adjustmenst AND manipulation. If the photos are from a job I use Lightroom only. That way I keep my personal and work photos separated.
  31. None. As soon as I finish post processing, I move the files to an external disk. The disks are organised according to a theme (holidays->Cambodia->2008, country->Laos, family, etc). Other folders hold copies from those main folders, e.g. Portraits, Landscapes, HDR, but only copies that are real keepers. I am now using 1TB drives.
    Some, special, photos go on DVD. I am not faithful to any one software program, hence I find no value in subscribing to any one method. Being an IT professional I am used to handling files, folders, mounting disks, etc.
    Since I use Linux, not Mac or Windows, I have loads of (command line) commands available for searching and sorting.
  32. ACDSee Pro to browse and edit.

    And I use Digital Image Mover to move images from the CF cards, into a year\month-day folder structure. Images are renamed to YYYYMMDD-hhmmss-XX.ext, so that even if I drag them around, I know where it's from.
  33. I do it in a hybrid fashion.

    I have about 20gigs of personal photos which include family, kids, friends, holidays, vacations, etc. I import my photos from the cards, export the keepers to jpg and store the raw files offline on my raid backup. I use ACDsee for viewing, etc.

    For work shoots, I use Lightroom to import them, save the raw keepers to another raid backup (work only) and then use lightroom to manage my files from tweaking to full edits thru CS3. Once I'm done, I export those to tiff and store them on my work raid. Each job is stored by date and title of person/family/product shot. However, I then delete the index files and directories out of LR. If I ever need to view them again, I just ACDsee to look at the tif.
  34. Godfrey wrote:
    Howard, someone has written a set of tools to do just that. Can't remember offhand what they're called, but they're out there. It is, however, somewhat complex to do queries like that.
    I think you're probably think of Marc Rochkind's ImageReporter .
  35. tim,
    The Finder isn't designed to read metadata out of image files or XMP files. You search on metadata with Bridge or other image-aware tools.
    Agreed. Looks like I'ld have to upgrade to Leopard to get Spotlight to search keywords embedded in DNG which is the route I was going to take if it meant I could search this way. Here's the link to an Adobe forum discussion that confirms this, see post #11:
    I just don't like the idea of relying on one application to conduct a search for files years down the road when I've shoeboxed all my images to CD's. If one day several years from now someone or myself wants an image seen in an old gallery on the web or in a print and we're trying to remember from where that was taken years ago, I'm not going to remember the year, date or file number. I may not have access to Bridge or Lightroom at that time and may have to rely on someone else's computer to search for specific files by description. I'm going to need an OS based search be it Windows or Mac.
  36. Because Adobe writes the metadata in formats that follow industry standards (per my extensive note above), you will not be locked into just Bridge or Lightroom in the future to retrieve metadata. As these things progress, more and more utilities and features like this will be incorporated into many applications and into basic OS services. We're just not there yet... Worrying about it excessively will not make it happen faster. ;-)
    As it is right now, there are quite a number of apps that can digest and present this information, and several that can use it to allow searches and manipulation. This is the state of the industry at present. It is growing quickly.
  37. I prefer to place the photos into a folder heirarchy before importing and then import in place into Lightroom as done above.
  38. I've needed to organize my digital photos but could never find a software that would actually organize them on folders on my system rather than just organize virtually within a catalog.. Until recently when I came across Nerxy File Organizer www.nerxy.com .. An amazing physical organizer that moves my files into special folders using rules of my choice.. I like them organized by date and this SW simply scans and automatically organizes them easily! I love it and recommend it..

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