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Going on a trip - need help

allanrube

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I am new to LR so I hope what I am asking makes sense.

I am going on a trip and will take many bird images over 6 weeks. I want to organize my photos by species - reddish egret, snowy plover, wood stork, etc. but I will be importing and working on these images as I take them. I was wondering if it would be easier to label folders by date, import the photos that way, and later move the images through LR into "species" folders or would it be easier to save sidecar files of the images and then later move the photos using the finder into appropriate species folders? If I did it the later way, it seems I would toss my catalog and then re-import the photos into my master catalog when I get home.

Which method would be the easiest for me to use and if I used the second method would I just import the photos with no import settings and keep the changes I created in each file?
 
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Welcome to the forum.
The easiest way is not to organize by folders at all, but use keywords and collections. Importing by using one of the default date named folder schemes is fastest. Once imported, you can assign these bird keywords to individual or groups of images. You are likely going to have some photos with more than one species in the frame. A folder named "White Ibis" containing an image showing one White Ibis, 3 snowy plovers and 2 reddish egrets and a Partridge in a pear tree is useless for organization.

Lightroom is the organization tool not the filesystem. By using the organization tools built into LR, you have a more dynamic organization scheme. The one image I used as illustration above can be a member of 5 or more Collections. The filesystem will only let you put that image on one folder. And further, by using Smart collections with a criteria similar to {Keywords}{Contains}{White Ibis}, your Bird photo collections will automatically populate as soon as you assign keywords.

Your RAW images are not usable outside of LR or another post processing editor. So if you use LR for image management, don't access these RAW images outside of LR because you increase the possibility that you will destroy the management of these image by LR. If you want to create a group of White Ibis images to share, the best way to do this is to export JPEGS from LR. These can be exported into unmanaged folders, social websites like Flickr and Facebook or generated as a slideshow to be viewed on the family HDTV screen. And LR can manage all of that.
 

allanrube

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Is there a better choice between the 2 I suggested. I don't use keywords - never felt a need to. My needs are simple. I just need LR as a raw converter for Nikon, Fuji, and Sony raw files. The catalog system really gets in my way.
 

Selwin

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Hi Allan, welcome!

if you can explain to us why you want to create folders by species, we may be able to help you better.
 
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Is there a better choice between the 2 I suggested. I don't use keywords - never felt a need to. My needs are simple. I just need LR as a raw converter for Nikon, Fuji, and Sony raw files. The catalog system really gets in my way.
If the catalog system gets in your way, you probably should not be using LR. There are other RAW converters. You asked for advice on using LR. LR is first an image Data Asset Managment (DAM) tool and second a non destructive editor. You can get Photoshop Elements for about the same price as LR. It has the same version of AdobeCamera RAW that LR uses for converting RAW image formats.

In my first post I gave you some very typical reasons why organization by folder is limited. So, to answer your question on which folder organization is better, my answer is neither. The filesystem underlying your OS dictates that you need a path for each image file. It does not necessarily mean that becomes the optimum method for finding files. Why do you suppose that OSN introduced tags in Mavericks? Why do you think OSX has Spotlight? it is not because the filesystem was easy to to use for finding files once you copy them on to your HD.

The way I look at it, you can spend lots of time scanning folders looking for files or you can organize them with the right DAM tool for the job and spend that time enjoying your images.
 

allanrube

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If the catalog system gets in your way, you probably should not be using LR. There are other RAW converters.
I have used Nikon Capture NX 2 and Nikon Capture before that. I also have PS CS6. I wanted to start using LR partly because I can't use the Nikon product with Fuji and Sony. I did not want to update PS to the cloud version. LR is a very popular product - there are more plug-ins than for other raw converters I would consider.

I have organized my images in a way that works for me since 2006. I really don't need the dam function.
 

allanrube

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Hi Allan, welcome!

if you can explain to us why you want to create folders by species, we may be able to help you better.
I guess the bottom line is that is how "I think." Below is the folder structure from a month long trip last year. I took photos throughout the month. As an example I may have taken images of reddish egrets on 11 different occasions. After converting the raw and working on the tiffs in PS, it seems "natural" (to me) to have them all in the same file. I use Media Pro to create catalogs and generate web pages based on species. So, all reddish egret images are in one place.

Does that make sense Selwin? I know it is not what you would do but I would like to make LR work for me.

i-dvZstLC-L.jpg
 
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If you have CS6, you have (or can have) the latest ACR (v8.3) found in LR5.3, The new part that LR brings to the table is the image organization. If you don't want to use keywords or take advantage of the flexibility of Collections, you already have all of the other pieces in CS6 with Bridge, ACR8.3 and PS13.

It is a difficult concept for some people to grasp at first, but letting LR organize and manage your image inventory rather than managing the images manually is a paradigm shift from the old way most of us did things. It took me two tries at LR with a sojourn through Bibble Pro and iMatch before it clicked for me and I found LR more efficient than trying to manage my ever increasingly larger image inventory. LR is flexible enough to let you continue to manage your own folders. But then so will Bridge.
 

Denis de Gannes

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If you have PS CS6 then the ACR plugin provides the same functionality as LR develop module for processing raw files.
 

allanrube

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I know that. But the ACR in PS CS6 doesn't work with the newer cameras, that is why I want to start using LR.
 
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I have used Nikon Capture NX 2 and Nikon Capture before that. I also have PS CS6. I wanted to start using LR partly because I can't use the Nikon product with Fuji and Sony. I did not want to update PS to the cloud version. LR is a very popular product - there are more plug-ins than for other raw converters I would consider.

I have organized my images in a way that works for me since 2006. I really don't need the dam function.
Hi Allen, welcome to Lightroom Forums.
I have to agree with with Cletus and Selwin.
If you are using Lightroom to do RAW converting then you owe it to yourself to learn its Digital Asset Management capabilities.
As your image collection grows ANY type of folder-based organisation becomes increasingly unwieldy and unusable.
What do you do with images that really need to be in more than one folder? Duplicate the image? That is a recipe for chaos! As Cletus mentioned Collections allow a single image to be present in several collections (actually as many as you need) without the need for duplicating any image on file.
How do you find that one image of the Ibis with the golden halo of light that you shot four, or was it five years, ago? Using Lightroom's capabilities finding that image will only take a couple of seconds - provided that image is appropriately keyworded.
I won't deny that building a good keyword hierarchy takes some time - as does actually keywording the images themselves - but that time and effort more than pays for itself later, particularly as your image collection grows larger and larger.

As a matter of fact I am a keen bird photographer who has EVERY species of bird in the world in a taxonomic keyword hierarchy as well as comprehensive keyword hierarchies for geographical location and a myriad of other categories of keywords. This approaches 50 000 keywords currently.
I can find ANY image I care to search for in a couple of seconds since every image has between 40-100 keywords attached to it.
The penguin wearing a polka-dot bikini cannot hide!
Organising and keywording my images after a day's shoot does not take much longer than the time it takes the computer to download the images in the first place because Lightroom allows so much to be automated or alternatively synchronised between images.
Recently, in the Okavango Delta, I was shooting about 700 images a day.
In the evening, in the half hour between returning from game drives and dinner, I was able to cull the rubbish, rank the decent images, keyword comprehensively, and complete all the metadata fields in that time.
After dinner I was able to enjoy myself - and part of that was to be able to show others my picks for that day.

On my return from Africa NO further organisational work was required.
Some images needed more work in the Develop module to prepare them for printing but that was it.
10 000+ images sorted!!

I thought it worth sharing these experiences with you because, like Cletus, it wasn't so long ago that I was in your position in being unable to use Lightroom as it was designed as well as doubting the necessity for it.
I can only encourage you to investigate in more depth the crucial importance of all aspects of digital asset management since it will only be a matter of time before some sort of disaster strikes and you lose your images (I am not necessarily referring to something like a hard drive failure, although that would do it, but in your current circumstance knowing that somewhere on your HDD lies some images that you need but you cannot find them - these are lost just as finally as if they had been deleted).

Tony Jay
 

wianb

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Update PS CS6 to ACR8.3 ... Same version used by LR5.3.
 

allanrube

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Hi Allen, welcome to Lightroom Forums.
If you are using Lightroom to do RAW converting then you owe it to yourself to learn its Digital Asset Management capabilities.
As your image collection grows ANY type of folder-based organisation becomes increasingly unwieldy and unusable.
What do you do with images that really need to be in more than one folder? Duplicate the image? That is a recipe for chaos!
Tony Jay
I am glad this works for you. I don't need or want this. The problems you mention are not ones that matter to me. Folder-based in not too much for me.

I just want to know which of the 2 methods in my first post would be easier to do.
 

wianb

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You can't do that. You need PS CC (the rental version) for ACR 8.
I beg to differ my PS CS6 is at ACR8.3.0.141
Someone has been feeding you bum info :)Capture.PNG
 
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I just want to know which of the 2 methods in my first post would be easier to do.
Possibly the second one, however you need to be aware that when you create the sidecar (aka write XMP) not all the data that you might have created is written to XMP. Data which is excluded: stacks, flags, collection membership, virtual copies, and the develop history (the final edited state IS preserved, just not the steps that got you there).
 
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Jimmsp

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I guess I do things a bit differently than many of who have answered, and differently from you. I am both a folder person and a keyword person.
I like the folder strategy, as Lightroom is not my only processing software. But I also use keywords, but in a more limited sense where each photo has 10-15 keywords max.

I could better answer your question if I knew more about how you would use these in the end; eg, some prints of some birds, a book with the best of each bird, a web slide show, etc.
I'd start with a master upper level folder, like Trip to xx in Feb 2014
As to your question, and without knowing more, I would organize the shots into folders named by date and location, eg, 2-5-2014 Refuge 1.
I would then add keywords to each photo that included species, location, and any other info I thought I would have an interest in later such as lake, tree, bif, ...
I'd then save all the metadata including ratings into sidecar files.

I would not make folders for different species, but I would use collections. Any movement of photos into other folders would be done in Lightroom, and not via the finder, as I would not want LR to lose track of them.
I would just import my catalog when I got home after I copied all my photos into an upper level Folder with the same name back on my main hard drive.

Anyway - have fun.
 

allanrube

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Adobe is keeping CS6 up to date the latest ACR is version 8.3 which is the same one used in LR5.3
http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2013/12/camera-8-3-for-photoshop-cc-and-photoshop-cs6-available-now.html You can update yours vis the PS updates link in PS.
My mistake - Adobe is presently upgrading ACR so that CS6 users can use it with new cameras. However, that could end at any time and that is one of the reasons I wanted to use LR instead of PS CS6. I will upgrade to new versions of LR but not PS.

Also, there are new features of ACR which are not included in the CS6 updates:
However (and this is a big "however"), there’s a catch. The version of Camera Raw 8 that Adobe has made available to Photoshop CS6 users is mainly to fix various bugs from Camera Raw 7 and make Camera Raw compatible with both high resolution displays and the latest digital cameras and lenses. While that’s great, the CS6 version of Camera Raw 8 is missing the new features available exclusively to Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) subscribers, like the new Radial Filter, the improved Spot Healing brush, and the new Upright options for easy perspective correction. Also, Photoshop CS6 itself is missing the new Camera Raw filter that’s been added to Photoshop CC. So, that’s just something to keep in mind. If you want the brand new features in Camera Raw 8, you’ll need to upgrade to Photoshop CC by subscribing to the Adobe Creative Cloud. I’ll be covering these new features in separate tutorials but for this tutorial, we’re going to look specifically at the version of Camera Raw 8 that’s available with Photoshop CS6.
 

allanrube

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I guess I do things a bit differently than many of who have answered, and differently from you. I am both a folder person and a keyword person.
I like the folder strategy, as Lightroom is not my only processing software. But I also use keywords, but in a more limited sense where each photo has 10-15 keywords max.

I could better answer your question if I knew more about how you would use these in the end; eg, some prints of some birds, a book with the best of each bird, a web slide show, etc.
I'd start with a master upper level folder, like Trip to xx in Feb 2014
As to your question, and without knowing more, I would organize the shots into folders named by date and location, eg, 2-5-2014 Refuge 1.
I would then add keywords to each photo that included species, location, and any other info I thought I would have an interest in later such as lake, tree, bif, ...
I'd then save all the metadata including ratings into sidecar files.

I would not make folders for different species, but I would use collections. Any movement of photos into other folders would be done in Lightroom, and not via the finder, as I would not want LR to lose track of them.
I would just import my catalog when I got home after I copied all my photos into an upper level Folder with the same name back on my main hard drive.

Anyway - have fun.
As I said at the top I am new to LR. I never used collections not even learned what they are. I like what you are saying about folders based on the shoot and then collections based on species. I will have to see how to do that. :)

I have one question though. If you exposrted a tiff file and wanted to work on it later in PS, how would you go about finding the tiff?
 
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Allan the TIFF will come back into Lightroom (from where it was sent in the first place) and be beside the raw file. If you want you can always filter by File Type to easily find/ isolate differing file types in folders or collections.
Another Nikon Cafe member??? Try and keep an open mind and listen to the sound advice and experience here.
 

Selwin

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As I said at the top I am new to LR. [...] I never used collections not even learned what they are. I like what you are saying about folders based on the shoot and then collections based on species. I will have to see how to do that. :)
Hi Allan, as likely as could be expected, most "advisors" here on this forum will try to convince you that using the LR DAM functionality is better for your needs than creating a "per species" folder structure. We use that functionality because by our own experience we have concluded it works better. And based on my own experience and your needs as displayed in this topic, there is no doubt in my mind that using date-based folders, assigning keywords (even be it one per image) and Smart Collections to sort your images per species is a lot easier than following the workflow that you are used to.

However, sometimes there are reasons to use descriptive folders. Some use other software that cannot be launched from LR and they need to find their way in Finder or in a browser window in that other application. Only you can say if this is something that's important to you. As for me, I always import a session into a folder that starts with a date, followed by a description. Just in case. But I rarely use this outside the LR DAM.

As per your question:
You can launch a great many other applications from LR itself. The image you want to work on will be sent to Photoshop CS6, Elements, Nik Collection, TopazLabs Collection, Portraiture, and many more. After your work in the other app is done, the edited version flies back to LR as a high quality TIFF and lands next to your original. From there, you can continue adding LR edits or you can make a new round trip to the external app. It's all there for you, as designed by the LR developers who have studied our needs.

Again, I'm not blindly saying you should learn and apply the LR DAM functionality. I leave that totally up to you. And I must admit that LR isn't always as intuitive as I'd expect modern software to be. There is lots to learn and if you're a LR beginner (even if you are an experienced photographer) you should expect to spend some time before doing things fast. But if there are no compelling reasons to do it otherwise, and if you are planning on doing more shooting and image processing in your life than just these 6 weeks, you would cut yourself out of something very valuable: time saving.
 
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Selwin

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There is lots to learn and if you're a LR beginner (even if you are an experienced photographer) you should expect to spend some time before doing things fast.
Almost forgot to mention that we are here to help you explore and learn :)
 

allanrube

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Thanks for all the help (and prodding :)) given to me. Probably like many others when I started to use LR after working on raw files for 7+ years in another program, I learned just enough to get started. While I don't need a DAM I am learning that using LR without thinking of its DAM is not good. The folder approach I used in LR worked fine when I took 300 loon images but culled it down to 12 (using Photo Mechanic) before importing into LR. Now, though, thinking of my upcoming trip I see how this is not practical.
I am a visual person and watching this video on collections helped me understand using them. I do have a couple of more questions.

1. People seem to like date folders but that doesn't mean much to me. Can I easily have folders called Week 1 and just add images to that folder from my card each and then import? I guess I can but do you see any disadvantages?

2. I cull heavily before I begin and processing. I might shoot several hundred images but only keep a few. I like to get rid of the ones I don't want before I even think of importing them into LR.

3. Going along with point 2, I convert every raw image I keep to a 16 bit tiff and work on that in PS. Right now I have been exporting the tiff so that the tiff is not part of LR. I like doing it that way so that when I look at a collection I don't see duplicates of every image. When I had a folder based system that was no problem as the tiff files stayed in the same folder as the raw files. But if I now start using collections, will I find it confusing not knowing what folder the tiff file is in while looking at collections?

4. In general, if you say tiff files along with the raw file for every image you keep, how do you handle the tiff files?
 
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1. People seem to like date folders but that doesn't mean much to me. Can I easily have folders called Week 1 and just add images to that folder from my card each and then import? I guess I can but do you see any disadvantages?
LR does not care about folder names; LR does not even care about folders. it just needs to know where to go to find the master original image. Lightroom offers 13 different folder naming schemes. By picking one of these and setting up a default Import preset (or two or three), LR will automatically create your folder structure otherwise you must take time up front to create a naming scheme (that remember LR does not care about). The most efficient means of cataloging new images is to insert the camera card into the card reader, verify or choose the correct import preset and press the {Import} button. I think this is why most people choose a default date named folder scheme over doing it manually. It is certainly the reason that I do.
2. I cull heavily before I begin and processing. I might shoot several hundred images but only keep a few. I like to get rid of the ones I don't want before I even think of importing them into LR.
You can do this just as efficiently inside of LR. Going back to the Import process that I outlined in #1, LR displays the import(ing) image as they are being imported in a special collection in the Catalog panel. As soon as the first image displayed there you can begin evaluate it and the ones to soon follow with pick or reject flags. I am usually half way through this process by the time the camera card is ejected. When I have finished my culling process (or later if I want to digest my decision) I can open the special collection called "Previous Import", filter to show all of the rejected images, select them all and press delete to remove them from the catalog and delete them from the HD.
3. Going along with point 2, I convert every raw image I keep to a 16 bit tiff and work on that in PS. Right now I have been exporting the tiff so that the tiff is not part of LR. I like doing it that way so that when I look at a collection I don't see duplicates of every image. When I had a folder based system that was no problem as the tiff files stayed in the same folder as the raw files. But if I now start using collections, will I find it confusing not knowing what folder the tiff file is in while looking at collections?
Most recommend a workflow that involves post processing as much as possible in LR and if there are additional post processing steps that only PS or another external editor can do, use the Edit In process to call the external editor (PS) Once PS has finished and the image saved control returns to LR and the TIFF is in the catalog along side the original RAW image. It can be stacked with the original and you see only one image if you prefer. For most people LR can handle fully between 90% and 100% of there image adjustments Only those images needing layers, Panoramas or HDR have to go to PS. For me I have about 3% TIFF files in my LR master catalog.
4. In general, if you say tiff files along with the raw file for every image you keep, how do you handle the tiff files?
My master catalog contains RAW files, TIFFs and JPEGs from various sources (Nikon, Pentax, iPhone & Panasonic P&S). I only create a TIFF for very few RAW files. I ignore the file type, source, virtual copies etc. and at the end of my Post Process workflow I have two types of finished images: Completed but not Published (images are post processed, designated complete, have keywords, Titles and Captions) and Published (images are post processed, designated complete, have keywords, Titles and Captions and are managed in a Publish Service)
 
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