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Am I Missing the Boat? I Still Rely on Pure Folders

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GregJ

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I am not a professional photographer but am as good or better (or at least more experienced) than many of the people who make that claim. I have been a photo enthusiast for 40 years and it is now my absolute main hobby that I am very devoted to and passionate about. I love LR. I love the gurus here that teach us so much.

I invest serious money in the latest gear I can get and I don't consider myself old-school at all in terms of digital ability. I'm up on all the latest tech and devour 8 photo magazines every month and receive several daily email letters and posts from the greats and near greats who make money giving seminars, but also share their knowledge if you sign up for their newsletters. I spend a lot of time reading this LR Forum but don't post much. I also read a lot of photo technical books and am trying to learn portrait photography from some accomplished portrait pro friends. Off-camera radio controlled Speedlites is my current kick. I also consider myself very adept at LR and have been shooting RAW and using it almost daily since Jan, 2011, when I finally decided to start shooting RAW and use LR after years of just shooting just JPEGs from 2003 to 2011 (and 30 years of film shooting prior to 2003). I struggled for 6 months with LR and the gurus here were so helpful getting me started. But here is the point of my post....

I don't use Collections. I did at first but I just don't think I need it. I know ... I know.... I get it. I understand the database power of LR and I'm not a low-volume shooter. But I still organize with folders. Here is what I do. For example, we just came back from a trip to Ecuador. I shot 1500 RAW images in a trip across that beautiful country. I got home, created a folder (using LR) called "Ecuador, Feb 2015" and imported all of my cards into that folder. Then I worked in LR in that folder. I deleted 200 or so bad shots, put a Title for each image based on the location of the shot, added Key Words to each image, and renamed all the files in the order they were shot Ecuador 2015-1 through 1230. Then I developed each image in the Development Module. That took a week of work off and on. Then I exported all the images as small 1 MB JPEGS into another temporary folder and copied all 1230 images onto 5 thumb drives and mailed one each to my kids and Mom. I deleted the JPEG temp folder and of course have the Ecuador folder full of RAW files and Sidecars forever. In the future, if I want to view or use(Export) any image for that trip for printing or emailing, I will just go to that folder in LR and do whatever I want. I didn't make a collection. I know where my images are from that trip. I have done that about 25 times in the past 5 years for trips and probably 50 more times for various other shoots, events and Family gatherings So I use folders exclusively. I used to create a Collection with the same name as the folder with the same images in it, but why? Don't need it. I just go to the folder in the LR Library module and do whatever I want. I have never had the need to search for some specific type of image and let LR grab them and form a Collection for some purpose. I also scanned over 30,000 slides negatives into folders of a similar type. It took me ten years but I did it - -all before starting to use LR in 2011. Those are all TIF files that I have not brought into LR yet, but will.

So I probably have around 350 to 400 folders now with maybe 45,000 images total. I feel comfortable that the folders are well enough named that I can go back and relive old trips and events, like my trip to Prague in 1984, Norway in 1988, Kenya in 2002, or my Son's wedding in 2012. It is all in folders and I can find what I need when I need it.

I use LR exclusively now and of course use it as the base for all my RAW work for the last 5 years. I will eventually pull all those old folders full of scanned TIF files into LR. But I won't make any collections. They are still just folders.

What am I missing?
 
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I think you are using the ability to quickly search to find the images that you want. It is not Collections so much as it is keywords and other meta data that make your images actively usable. Smart Collections are complex filters to isolate the images that you need. Anytime you find yourself scanning folders looking for a particular image visually, then you are not using a Data Asset Manager tool you are using Explorer. If you want to continue to use the filesystem to search for images, then you really don't need LR.

Take this test:
Think of an image that you know is in LR. It was Christmas Holiday shot, but you are not sure which year. You are certain that the camera used was a Fuji. The photo is of your Aunt Tilley and her pet poodle. With metadata such as Fuji camera, and keywords of "Aunt Tilley", Christmas and poodle. you can use the filter bar to find that image quickly. You can also create a smart collection to do the same thing. If you instead have to open the Folder panel to scan the names of 400 folders looking for one that might contain the image, then open that folder and scan the thumbnails looking for the particular image AND after not finding it, repeat the process again and again until you eventually do find the image you are looking for. You might begin to see the benefits of using LR to manage your images instead of Windows Explorer's filesystem and your eyeballs.
 

GregJ

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Cletus. Trust me. I need LR. I can't survive for a day not using LR. I use it for everything. I am really good at Photoshop but now hardly use it at all because LR is so powerful. Everything you said about the relational database and its powerful search tools I know. I understand the power of LR in that regard. I personally just never have the need to find a single image like that. Besides, I can do what you just said. For the past 5 years I have shot only Raw and used LR and all the images have key words. So if I needed to I could do what you said for the 20,000 RAW files I have shot since 2011. Prior to that the scanned TIF files are just sitting in folders, but when I bring them into LR it will still be by that folder name. But I get the point. But are you suggesting that I don't use folders at all for my imports into LR from my cards out of camera? Certainly you must import into a named folder. Don't you? If you went to Ecuador for 3 weeks and came back with 2000 RAW files, would you import them into LR in a folder called "Ecuador 2015" or just import them in mass into some huge anonymous pot? I understand how to make collections from searches of specific Key words, metadata, camera type, faces (new feature), names, locations, lens type, or whatever ... but you still start with a basic folder right?

Thanks, Greg
 

Jimmsp

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I am like you in many ways - I import all my raw photos into named folders which reside in a year folder. But if I return to a certain place a few times during that year, the new shots go into a dated folder within the named folder. With luck, I have given them all a reasonably complete set of keywords.

Now, I do use collections, most of them Smart and based on years, my keywords, ratings, and color labels. This allows me to easily bring them into a single "folder" where I can view them rather quickly. These in essence are collections which look quickly through all my folders and "pull out" the ones I want to view again.
I certainly could do the same thing with a Library find, but if I have a few keywords or years, this gets a bit tedious.
And if I want to rework a few, a collection stays around even after I quit LR. I can come back tomorrow and the collection remains. I'd have to reinitiate a complex find without my collections. And I toss some collections after I am done with them.
 
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I just got back from a three week trip to Scotland and the Shetlands with over 3400 RAW images. These are imported into date named folders (YYYY/MM) So, I have 3400 images and VCs in one folder. For the most part, the folder panel remains hidden and un used by me. Each image has or will have at least two keywords. Some keywords were added in the Import Dialog. This trip, I used my GPS and each image has a Lat/Lon and shows up in the Map module. I use a modified version of John Beardsworth's Workflow Smart Collections I can track which images have or need develop adjustments, crops, keywords titles and Captions using this work flow. I use labeled to indicate the processing state of each image from "To Be Worked", to "Work in progress", to "Complete" and "Published". I use Smart Publish Collections to accumulate images for publishing in various forms like Flickr, or my local camera club competition. If necessary, I create ad hoc smart collections to isolate special use images. I just did this to decide which of 146 images of the Kelpies that I wanted to render in B&W and Print for club competition tonight. I shot the Kelpies on three different days.( Four if you count the Kelpie Maquettes at the horse farm) These are scattered throughout those 3400 image files in 4 large chunks of images. A Collection such as this is indispensable on isolating the 146 images from the rest. When I import the camera card at the end of the day, a typical card might contain 6-10 different locations and anything from birds to landscapes to man made structures at this locations Separating these into unique folders is impractical and would really slow down the import process. My import process consists of three steps: inserting the camera card, choosing an import preset and perhaps adding an additional keyword and pressing the {Import} button. And it takes longer to type this than to do it.

Anytime you find yourself creating a folder name and moving image into it or Scanning the Folder panel to find images, you are not using LR at the highest level of efficiency. While this might be OK for a thousand or so images, it becomes impractical when you have 30,000. If you can think of a group of images needed for a purpose, the characteristics that you might use to describe these images can be used to create a collection (e.g "Give me all of the images that were shot on the Shetlands of scenery that need to be made into a Panorama." or "Give me all of the images shot in the last month/year/5 years/ that still have not been post processed". ) If you look back at how my workflow functions, folders are irrelevant. Lightroom does not care which folder an image file is located and because of the constraints imposed by the filesystem. an image can only be located in one folder at a time. Yet that same image can belong to several groups. This is where the power of collections is found.
Cletus. Trust me. I need LR. I can't survive for a day not using LR. I use it for everything. I am really good at Photoshop but now hardly use it at all because LR is so powerful. Everything you said about the relational database and its powerful search tools I know. I understand the power of LR in that regard. I personally just never have the need to find a single image like that. Besides, I can do what you just said. For the past 5 years I have shot only Raw and used LR and all the images have key words. So if I needed to I could do what you said for the 20,000 RAW files I have shot since 2011. Prior to that the scanned TIF files are just sitting in folders, but when I bring them into LR it will still be by that folder name. But I get the point. But are you suggesting that I don't use folders at all for my imports into LR from my cards out of camera? Certainly you must import into a named folder. Don't you? If you went to Ecuador for 3 weeks and came back with 2000 RAW files, would you import them into LR in a folder called "Ecuador 2015" or just import them in mass into some huge anonymous pot? I understand how to make collections from searches of specific Key words, metadata, camera type, faces (new feature), names, locations, lens type, or whatever ... but you still start with a basic folder right?

Thanks, Greg
 

GregJ

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Thanks Guys. You are awesome and Cletus, you gave me a similar LR database power lecture years ago when I was first learning LR. I understand everything you are saying. But I just can't shake these folders out of my brain, and I can't resist naming the folder after the trip or event, Like "Lacey's Wedding May 2014" and importing the RAW files into it. I still can look in "My Pictures" and see 400 folders, but I never use windows or any other organizational tool to do anything -- only LR. I create the folder and do the import in LR of course, and I do add Key Words to all my images. I know... I get it. That's why I posted. I knew you guys were going to jump on me and I knew I was screwing this up. But you know what I'm doing right now? I'm up in DC on a 4-month job for the Army (I'm a Civil Servant Department of the Army employee) and my wife and I are renting as a very small furnished condo downtown for this short stay. Our home is in San Antonio. Anyway, I started shooting all the monuments and inside museums and all the great DC views and sights and history. I made a folder called (DC 2015) and for 5 weeks almost every day have imported a few shots I take into it. I add Key words, develop them and then rename the files keeping the order as I go. I'm up to "DC 2015-1453." So for 5 weeks I have imported 1453 keepers into that folder and developed them all. There they all sit with their sidecars in that folder and I have never left LR the entire time. Never once went to Windows Explorer, or Photoshop. Every now and then I export a winner as a 1 MB JPEG and send it to my friends and family. I left the big Canon at home and am walking around with that wonderful little Fuji XT-1.

Anyway ... thanks. You guys are great Lightroom teachers.
 

sizzlingbadger

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I don't use collections, only smart collections based on metadata (not keywords) and not many of them either. My strategy is folder based and its great because I can use other software outside of Lightroom and still see the same system of management. I can open all my images in CaptureOne or Aperture or Bridge and still know exactly where everything is. I can copy and backup parts of my structure very easily onto other machines and re-sync knowing I haven't left anything out.

Its a choice you can make there is no right or wrong way, just the way that suites your needs.
 
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I import into date-based folders (YYYY/MM/DD). The thing is: LR does this automatically. I don't have to do anything. After a two week trip to Vietnam I have maybe 2000 photos from several different cameras, on several different memory-cards. Maybe I also have some old, non-imported photos left on some of the cards. But I don't have to do anything. I just let LR import into appropriate date-based folders that it automatically creates as needed. I don't have to worry about naming folders. I don't have to worry about importing in several batches from the same card, just because there happens to be two or three different "events" on the card. And so on. And then once everything is imported, I start keywording. And that's really how I find photos, in combination with dates (which are already present).
 

swteven

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I guess I will chime in on this as the topic is similar in scope to my recent thread that I started. I agree that it is difficult to make the transition from titled folders. It took me some time to understand and then trust Lightroom to do what it is really designed to do.
 
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davidfarquhar

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Like you I use named folders in my file structure, although I have them in a folder per year. I've started using collections to help me process my images as I go through various stages of workflow. This is partly because I'm a bit behind in processing my images, and also because I think collections are safer.. it is harder to delete the original image from a collection which feels better to me.

So I'll import my photos into a folder, and then I drag that folder down to the Collection Set called "_To Process". This sits at the top of my collections, so it is easy to find. The dragging bit creates a collection automatically. In this collection I'll do my rating and organising of images. I typically end up with ratings of 1, 2 & 3 stars, and then I delete the 1 star photos from the collection. They are still in the folder if I want them. Then I drag the collection to a Collection Set called "_To Edit" - these are the photos I know I want to edit in the Develop module. Usually I'll delete out the 2 star so I only have 3 star photos left to edit. Once I'm done there I drag it to a Collection Set containing my final photos, and I'm done.

I know I could do a lot of that with filters and keywords, but its quite simple just to know the images in the Collection are the ones I'm interested in, and then be able to filter those as I want, rather than having to apply a filter / smart collection to get to the starting list each time I want to edit. I can also sync some of the To Process collections to LR Mobile to let me do initial selections while travelling.
 
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I guess I will chime in on this as the topic is similar in scope to my recent thread that I started. I agree that it is difficult to make the transition from titled folders. It took me some time to understand and then trust Lightroom to do what it is really designed to do.

Question of value. Folders match how I export and organize my folders to share with friends and family.
I can also search folders just as well in LightRoom as I can keywords.
I will probably switch to keywords, in fact I started a thread about the steps to do it a while ago, but I have no driving reason or justification to actually do it.

Tim
 
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GregJ

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I appreciate all the information and I was already well aware of the data base organizational and search powers of LR. However, I can tell you I will never name and import to folders that are date codes. Those who choose to do so because they think that is the way LR was intended to be used might have an argument but I don't buy it completely. LR works just fine using traditionally names folders. What is funny is you are still creating folders and still importing into them. I'm just not naming them as date codes. However, that said, I think the way that Cletus and erro and other LR gurus who do use date folders and many key words are teaching it the way it should be taught. LR is a way of thinking and organizing, so they are correct in their academic approach. But folders are folders and you guys are still using folders. I just want to be able to look at my folders (even if there are 500 of them) and know something about what is in them from the name. LR doesn't need that but I still do. Is that a matter of trusting LR? Maybe. That folder convention may not be required with the power of LR, but I'm still doing it. For example, when I travel to Annapolis this weekend and visit the Naval Academy, I guarantee you that when I return to my desktop and stick that card in the slot, I will create a folder called "Annapolis June 2015" and import my RAW files into it. The folder will not be called "20150613." That ain't happening.

Now, I will say this. If I were a busy professional portrait photographer with 4 or 5 clients a day, I would have to do it the way Cletus and EOS described. They all do. I have read many articles about how these daily shooting pros manage their thousands of sessions and use LR to organize and find everything. Some download into one folder per day, named like LR names them with the date code. Others create a folder for every client, still using a date code with a numerical extension for each client. But its still folders folks. In fact, I think most pros do use a separate folder for every client or every session or shoot. They name it by date though, just like Cletus and erro said.

Plus, remember, I still have 200 folders from trips and events past that I scanned in as TIFF files before I started using LR. Those folders are sitting there with event and place names from things 25 years ago, Like "Vienna May 1988" or "Rome 1992" When I bring them into LR, what good would it do to bring them into a folder called "20151825"?

And I do put Key words into every image now. I just don't use them yet because I don't do many searches.
 
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...What is funny is you are still creating folders and still importing into them. I'm just not naming them as date codes. However, that said, I think the way that Cletus and erro and other LR gurus who do use date folders and many key words are teaching it the way it should be taught. LR is a way of thinking and organizing, so they are correct in their academic approach. But folders are folders and you guys are still using folders. I just want to be able to look at my folders (even if there are 500 of them)...
And I do put Key words into every image now. I just don't use them yet because I don't do many searches.
The OS files system requires a folder concept. It is a virtual organization imposed by the filesystem for locating the chunks of data scattered throughout the disk volume. Folders do not really exist either. It is an organization scheme that was developed to mimic the real world filing systems of the paper office. I use one of the LR default naming schemes for expedience. Since LR will automatically create a folder for my imports, any time I spend before imports manually creating a folder structure for LR to use is an inefficient use of my time. With an import preset, all I need to do is insert the camera card and press the {Import} button and I am done with that step of my workflow. Sure, you can spend time up front creating cute and "meaningful" folder names and possibly having multiple imports from the same camera card for different events or you can put that time to more efficient use by carefully keywording your imported images. And you can put them into collections. Collections can be like folders. They are a virtual concept like folder too. However, LR collections overcome one of the biggest limitations of the filesystem. In a folder system, a file can reside in one and only one folder. LR collection is a one to many concept. An image from my recent trip to the Shetlands can be in a Collection of Shetland photos, a collection of Puffin photos, and a collection of bird photos. You can't do that with the limitations imposed by the filesystem.

I don't use the filesystem with LR. The Operating System imposes a filesystem on me and LR, but once I have committed to managing my images in LR, there is no need to manage them in another system. In fact, careless use of the filesystem outside of LR can be disastrous to the LR organization. And for this reason, accessing your cataloged images outside of LR should be avoided.

I'm not saying that you should not give your folders cute names, I'm just saying that it is an inefficient use of your LR time to do so. It is not an academic approach, it is a practical approach. I recognize that it is not the only approach, but I have discovered that I have more important thing to do with my LR time.
 
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GregJ

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Cletus,

I have been reading you for years and that post you just made was maybe the worst one in your long history. You are getting a little carried away and you dilute your own argument by calling my folder names "cute little folder names." They aren't cute. They just have meaningful names that provide visible meaning in a visible graphics-oriented operating system and software. It is for me, not LR, and LR deals with it just fine. With these "cute little folder names" I can still search dates, folder names, Key Words, Metadata and anything else I can think of. As far as workflow time goes, it takes less than 5 seconds in LR to create a folder name. Maybe 10 seconds max. The time argument is silly. Having a sensible folder name by subject might be silly but it is meaningful in certain circumstances. But, I get it....

Anyway, enough said I suppose. I actually want to ask a question now about how to export a developed file as a JPEG and its exact undeveloped counterpart without having to "reset" the development back to its base and then starting over again. You know ... export the "before" like when you see it in the before and after view. I want to send some friends of mine some before and after shots taken of the National Cathedral with a 10mm lens. I want to demonstrate the power of LR's vertical, horizontal, rotation, distortion and lens/perspective corrections. The images are developed and I can export them. I want to export the base "before" version and the developed version in an email. The differences are amazing at ultra wide angle. I should ask on another post.
 
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To export two versions of the same image you need to create a virtual copy. You then have a master develop history and a copy of that history result On one of these copies (probably the virtual copy otherwise you lose the develop history steps), you press the {Reset} button and the Develop adjustments will be set to the state just after import. Note: this is not the SOOC JPEG image, but the image created when LR demosaic'd the RAW file and converted to RGB. You then export both the master copy and the virtual copy. Unless you rename on export, both exported files will have the same name.
 

NJHeart2Heart

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GregJ-

If the way you are organizing works for you and you are content with any needs you have to find particular photos or groups of photos, then leave it be!!

In my opinion the very best feature of Lightroom is it's flexibility to meet the needs of users who have different personalities and workflow styles.

But I'm curious about something: Your post title belies a desire to be convinced that there is a better way - yet all your responses have been "I appreciate your opinion - which I've heard before - but it works for me".

If you're content with the way you do things, and if you are happy with the level of efficiency you have with your organizational system, then why post this particular thread?

I sincerely think it's terrific that you have a way that works for you and that you can keep up with the flow of photos (I on the other hand am still horribly behind in my own keywording, after using LR for years now!). If you posted in hopes of gaining validation that the way you do it is OK, then you got that from me, with applause for whatever techniques you use in Lightroom which allow you to keep up with workflow...which is, after all one of the main points of using Lightroom.

From your introduction, you are very experienced and knowledgeable about what you do, and are aware of the techniques that have been touted on this message board previously. You know that many of the gurus will (because they're such a great, responsive group) reply at length, to try to educate you on why they believe certain techniques are best when using Lightroom - yet you've already stated from the beginning that you've heard their arguments before and are not convinced.

So, I say use that valuable time of yours (and responders too) to work on doing awesome photography. After all, the only person's opinion that matters in the end is your own- you are the best judge for what works best for you and Lightroom will certainly help you with that - whatever that may be!

Good luck and happy photography!
 
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GregJ

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Dawn,

Why did I post? Who knows. Its not that important. These are not weighty issues on this LR Forum and not many people read it. Like all tech forums, people post for two reasons, to get an answer to a specific technical questions or to muse or talk about how best to use the product. Besides, what made you think I have made up my mind? I have not. I have long been thinking about the way one is supposed to think about LR. I think looking this over again that it is a pretty good post. Newcomers to LR can learn from it. I have a bit of a different problem than most people. I have been shooting since 1975. I'm 58 years old, and not a pro, but like I said ... I shoot like one. I also spent ten years scanning 40,000 negatives and slides into named folders because that is the way you did it then. I have a My Pictures folder with literally hundreds of folders in it and over 90,000 images -- 2.3 Terabytes of image data. You see what a monster task that is? I spent 10 years scanning every image into Photoshop and working on each one and saving it as a TIFF (destructive editing, which was a big mistake, but I didn't have LR). I wish I had had LR back then when I started that scanning task but it didn't exist. In fact, like I said, I didn't start using LR until I started shooting RAW just over 4 years ago. So you can see why I have spent some time thinking about this. I'm still thinking about it right now. I haven't even brought the 40,000 TIFF file scans into LR yet. They are just sitting in folders as developed TIFFS with destructive PS editing already having been done on each image. You know how much work that was? Since I started using LR, all of my RAW images from the last 4 years are organized in LR exactly as Cletus and Jim and other Gurus teach, except I name the folders I import to. Yes, maybe I'm too defensive because I don't really know what to do here and I'm just thinking out loud. Thanks Dawn -- Miss Heart to Heart.... Did we just have a heart-to-heart young lady?
 
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Hi Greg,

Just so you know that you are not alone, I also use a place/date folder structure. It's probably heavily influenced by having used that structure for images long before Lightroom, but as an amateur with relatively few images, many of them travel related it does work for me.

I mostly use Collections for projects in progress.

Another aspect is that I have thousands of other files, nothing to do with photography, which are also in subject oriented folders - and it feels right to have the photos the same way.

None of this is to deny the wisdome of Cletus's approach, just that another way works for me.

Dave
 

mcasan

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I have well over 100,000 images spanning more than 15 years. They are all in folders by year, then date. I never try to invent folders based on shoot locations, subject matter. who was with me....etc. So the file structure gives me a huge search advantage.....I know the last time I was in Moab or South Africa...etc. The other very import bit is keywords. Once I have culling images I do not want to import at all, I import using a preset that does my basic adjustments, fills out my copyright info...etc. Then I can easily in Library put in the high level keywords that fit groups of images.

For me collections and collection sets are not storage aids. They are for sorting potential outputs. The wife and I do photo contexts where there are a variety of topics. So we create a collection set for our local club and a collection for each of the monthly photo review topics. For the Western North Carolina Foto Fest http://www.wncfotofest.com we create a collection set and a collection for each of the 6 contest topics. Those collections will contain our candidate images for easy comparisons and final output to a file or print.
 
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I think a large part of the struggle is why people organize the photos, and what information they attach to the images.
I do not have an interest (at least not yet) to attach sunset, desert, insect.... to the images.
Location, date and the event are my primary interests in terms of meta data, with people a secondary factor.
I do not participate in photo competitions, I do not make custom outputs and custom collections on the fly.
I output the existing images in a logical folder structure that family and friends can easily navigate online and find what they need. So simple is the name of the game for me.
The only reason I even tag people in photos is because I do get requests from extended family to find a picture with so and so in it. This effort will reduce search time eventually.

Tim
 

GregJ

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I guess Dawn got me. I should probably redo all my folders and sub-folders into date formats like so many pros seem to do. See -- I'm still thinking about it.

I need to be more disciplined on adding Key Words too. I'm too general. Like I might just add "DC" to 900 shots from DC, like I just did. Need more than that. Maybe DC; Washington Monument; Teresa; Night
 

Jimmsp

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I guess Dawn got me. I should probably redo all my folders and sub-folders into date formats like so many pros seem to do. See -- I'm still thinking about it.

I need to be more disciplined on adding Key Words too. I'm too general. Like I might just add "DC" to 900 shots from DC, like I just did. Need more than that. Maybe DC; Washington Monument; Teresa; Night

Personally, I wouldn't advise you to redo your folders and subfolders. Lightroom handles what you have just fine. Future folders are another question, though I prefer names on most of them. Software comes and goes, and a good naming system is pretty universal.

I would strongly recommend that you spend that same time (for renaming) on developing and adding a good keyword structure. Then save the keywords to sidecar files.
 
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I guess Dawn got me. I should probably redo all my folders and sub-folders into date formats like so many pros seem to do. See -- I'm still thinking about it.

I need to be more disciplined on adding Key Words too. I'm too general. Like I might just add "DC" to 900 shots from DC, like I just did. Need more than that. Maybe DC; Washington Monument; Teresa; Night
If I take a camera card full of images in one location I will add that keyword in the import dialog or use an existing import preset that does. Later, when I am reviewing individual images I will add those other keywords like "Washington Monument; Teresa; Night".

I recently returned from a trip to Scotland and the Shetlands with over 3400 photos. Before the trip, I prepared two Import presets, one for Scotland and one For the Shetlands. Those keywords were added to each Import preset. (sort of like creating special folder names right?). Each night as I imported the contents of the days shoot, I might add a location that represented the contents of that card (like "Firth of Forth Railway Bridge > Scotland") With keywords I can quickly filter the Scotland photos out my inventory no matter which folder they might have been imported into. Using another filter, I can find the "Firth of Forth Railway Bridge" photos by just clicking on that keyword in the keyword list panel. Just from this trip, I've added over 40 location keywords, probably as many or more objects from bridges to birds.

FWIW "Firth of Forth Railway Bridge > Scotland" nests "Firth of Forth Railway Bridge" inside the "Scotland" keyword.
 
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I guess Dawn got me. I should probably redo all my folders and sub-folders into date formats like so many pros seem to do. See -- I'm still thinking about it.

I certainly wouldn't. I've still got "named" folders going back to my start in digital photography, before I started using Lightroom. They simply got added in place, but later (much later) the images in those folders were keyworded along with the rest of my library.

I converted to using a date-based folder structure back in 2008, and have used a couple of different formats since then....but never had any inclination to going back to all my pre-2008 folders to convert them to my date-based structure. I'd regard that as a waste of effort.

My advice to you would be to put your energy into thinking through how you want to move forward, i.e. change your structure or not, but if you want to bring all those scanned images into Lightroom, just leave the folders alone and add them in place. Then think about keywording them.
 

Hoggy

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They simply got added in place, but later (much later) the images in those folders were keyworded along with the rest of my library.

Yup. When I discovered LR ~3 years ago it was like finding a pot of gold or finding the 'Holy Grail'. Before that I had images strewn about not really looked at on the HD in folders named either by card copy-date and/or "on CD-r", or "on DVD-r". Now I just keep the folders and filenames as date based (like "YYYY/MM/YYMMDD-OrgFn.dng - of course I'd add days to the folder structure if I shot often enough) and use keywords instead. .. And now the keywords are more like "backup status"/"on BD-r" or "on 50GB BD-RE yymmdd". :)

I did end up just importing and renaming those to date-based folders/files, but I didn't have all that many and they mostly weren't named anything more advanced than date and original filename, anyhow.

I agree with others - don't really worry about the past files unless you have free time on a rainy day to play around with them after much keywording first. With 'proper' (to me alone) keywords, the date based folder&filename now means nothing to me except where to VERY quickly find the actual file outside of LR and to make backups and possible future catalog splits easier. Keywords are the real meat-and-potatoes now. What I did do though was to create 2 (and only 2) different top-level folders for LR - one called "old (mostly JPG)" and the other called "New Imports". All new [raw] imports go to, guess where, "New Imports"!
 
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