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Making a non-lightroom version of my catalogue

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benjenss

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Hi there. Long time member and lightroom user here, though I haven't been on this forum for a while.

I'm just checking too see if there is some general advice to be had for what I'm going to do.

I have a 150gb folder containing all photos in my LRClassic catalog. I have the basic Adobe photo subscription. I do almost everything in LRC, very seldom PS, and I use LR a little because it integrates fine with LRC and my mac, ipad and iphone.

I use LRC mostly for developing and cataloging, I never got into flagging, rating, face rec, and all that stuff. Most of my stuff is RAW. So I have my 50 years of my photo history, plus digitized family albums from up to a 100 years back, sitting in LRC and I feel a need to make a "platform-independant" version.

Of course, I expect to be using months, if not years to work thru it and refine editing and sorting and such, but I'm not shure of what's the cleverest and easiest way to do the creation of the new LRC-independant library.

Basically I'm thinking; I'll fine-tune everything, "spray" some basic metadata on things, export to a folder as jpgs, and they'll show up in Apple Photos or any other photo browser. Ideally, it will be made available in the cloud in some way.

I'm shure this has been discussed before, could you perhaps point me in the right direction?
Any thoughts and tips welcome.
 

BobT

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If you are wanting to make your images more accessible to family, friends and other, there are many photo hosting web sites to choose from for just that purpose. LR has plug-ins for some of them. I put my best images into SmugMug. It's a very simple matter to upload images although if you have to upload a lot it may take some time. Last time I looked, SmugMug took only jpegs. The plug-in converts your raws to whatever quality of jpeg you desire. It also has a great way of creating galleries (folders) which can be put into hierarchical structures and individual galleries hidden and password protected so that you can control access. It costs of course.
 
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Hi, I'm in the middle of a similar project of scanning the family archives. But, back to your question. First of all there is no such thing as "platform independent". Some technology is somewhat or fully dependent on a single vender (e.g. Adobe LR, Google photos, SmugMug, etc.). Other storage and view tech is more generalized such as an HTML web page but even those will be come defunct as new versions of HTML come out and legacy commands cease to function. Other examples of more "stable" tech are file types such as Jpg, and Tiff. Of course these too will fade away over time as they are replaced by newer "standard" file types such as Png and HEIC and whatever icomes along later. Back when I was younger we thought that the absolutly safest long term storage was Bit Map images stored on 6.5" floppies. No, wait, make that 3-1/4 inch hard shell floppies. Oops, I meant CD's - hang on - make that DVD's and somewhere in this evolution, switch Bit Map format to Jpg. Anyway, you get the idea. Nothing is forever.

Having said that the logest living tech for images, which is most likely to be readable by future generations is paper prints on arhival paper with archival inks, stored in cool dark, humidity controlled places with accompanying printed text descriptions. For example, I am currently able to "see" and deal with 100 year old prints but if I handed my grandson a 6-1/5" floppy disk with bit map images on it, with a note saying here are images of your relatives he'd have me commited.

But, that's not really your quesiton, as I presume you want to stay in the digital world. First of all, I'd choose the most universal file format possible for the "archive". Right now I think that would be Jpg. I'd keep the RAW files but the "archive" would be folders of jpg's. Jpg will certainly be replaced down the road but at least it is currently ubiquitous and can store pretty much all the pertinant metadata inside the image file (unlike RAW which needs a side car file).

In terms of "sharing" this archive - pick your poison knowing full well that whatever you pick will become obsolete within a generation or two. You can put up your archives on Google, Facebook, Smugmug, your own website, Flickr, 500px, etc. and others will be able to see the images untill such time as the chosen platform goes bye-bye.

For posterity, there is no "forever" storage medium. Possibly CD's but even they decay over time (what is it, 100 years?). I was dismayed recently when I tried to read a CD created by a photo lab in the 1980's from a role of print film. All my CD's provided by Kodak labs were fine, but I had 3 from a different lab and not one of my 3 computers could read the CD's from that lab. I wound up scanning the negatives.

Ok, I'm rambling. so here are some ideas:

  1. continue using LrC as your primary image management system
  2. select a subset of images to be included in the "family archive". Identify these with a keyword or put them in one or more collections.
  3. Extract (export) these images outside of LrC. One "advanced" idea is to put them into Publish Services Collections which can be set to publish to a service such as SmugMug or can be set to Publish to a hard drive. Periodically "refresh" the archive with new and modified images. If you put these family archive images in folders on your desktop, you can mirror those folders to a cloud based storage location for safekeepping and/or sharing.
  4. Whereever you "publish" these Family archives to, make sure that they are well backed up and that your heirs know where they are, how to access them and have all the required user ID's and passwords (put it in your will or trust. or in an "upon my death" letter to the family) that is kept in your bank safe deposit box.
  5. If you have important Identification or Classificaiton information captured in "LR Collection" names, for example a collection called 'Joe Jones wedding to Ida Belle Brown, 1916" make sure that this information doesn't get lost in the exported images as LR collection names are not included in exported image metadata. You can get around this by putting the extracted images in folders mimicing the collection names (and hopeg that someone down the road doesn't regorganize) but better is to convert the collection names to keywords (tags) in the exported images. There are LrC plugin's that include this feature.
  6. While you're at it, getting pertinent informaiton into the Title and Caption fields on the exported images will make them more likely to be seen by future people.
I'm sure others may have more to add.

Dan
 

benjenss

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Thank you both very much for your replies.
Very much like what I was hoping for.

Yes, the basic idea is to export everything to jpg and simply have a folder of files that can easily be browsed by most any photo browser on any platform. I would then offer it to anyone interested, mostly family/friends, that would see it as a good use of disk space. I don't take too many photos anymore, so it's likely to be the last big operation I do with it, and I would sleep better at night knowing that there's a good likelyhood that my photos would survive and be accessable for a long time. I'm not wanting to share everything on a paid online service.

I guess where I'm almost starting from scratch is when it comes to keywords, tagging and such, like in Dan's point 5 and 6. He mentions plugins. But I would think there are apps for this too. Let's say I've fine tuned and exported everything to jpg - then start the tagging in an app that makes it easy, I think that might be better than doing it in LRC w/plugin. Any good place to learn and get started with keywords/tagging, that whole thing?

Thanks again.
 

fullkoll

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I have done some of the things mentioned here, to be able to share my photos with family and friends.
If your a Mac user I´d like to recommend an excellent viewer/editor named ApolloOne doing this!

I´s available in Mac AppStore and it can handle and edit both RAW and of course jpgs, keywords, location data ....... (to name just a few features)
 

Roelof Moorlag

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I guess where I'm almost starting from scratch is when it comes to keywords, tagging and such, like in Dan's point 5 and 6. He mentions plugins. But I would think there are apps for this too. Let's say I've fine tuned and exported everything to jpg - then start the tagging in an app that makes it easy, I think that might be better than doing it in LRC w/plugin. Any good place to learn and get started with keywords/tagging, that whole thing?
Lightroom is a digital asset manager. I make sense to do the tagging en keywording right there at the source. When you export derivatives as JPG you can choose to embed them or not so this is a flexible and efficient solution.
 
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Any good place to learn...?
 
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Yes, the basic idea is to export everything to jpg and simply have a folder of files that can easily be browsed by most any photo browser on any platform. I would then offer it to anyone interested, mostly family/friends
This is getting a lot easier and simpler now that both macOS and Windows support metadata in their desktop search features. You don’t have to expect family or friends to have or know how to use any particular photo browser, not even Apple Photos. As long as you export from Lightroom Classic with All Metadata included, any keywords you added in Lightroom Classic will be in the exported photo files, and macOS and Windows can use the metadata directly.

When someone receives a folder of photos from you, as long as that folder is now present on their Mac or Windows computer, Mac Spotlight or Windows desktop search should be able to locate the photo right there on the desktop, as long as the search term was found in the photo's metadata. If you entered uncle Fred Brown’s name into a photo’s keywords, they don’t even have to remember where the photo is buried on their computer; if they just type Fred Brown into their Mac or Windows search, it will find that photo. Then, on the Mac for example, they could use macOS QuickLook or the Gallery view option in a Mac Finder window to see large previews or even a slideshow* of that and other selected images in the same folder…without having to open any application. Windows has similar features.

*Select multiple images in a Mac Finder window, hit the spacebar or choose File > Quick Look, and then use the buttons or arrow keys to go from image to image. For bonus points, put the Quick Look window into full screen mode…now you have a full screen slide show using just the Finder.

Online platforms are useful, but they often change a lot or go out of business in just a few years. If this is meant to last for decades or generations, someone living in the family must always be assigned to renew the payment for or at least monitor the state of the online archive every year. They must be prepared to adapt the family archive for things like radical website alterations or upgrades that might ruin the layout or formatting of the family website. You often cannot just set up a family photo website and expect it to last unchanged for free for more than a few years. That is why it is may be more reliable to use a robust non-online solution, or at least do that in parallel to an online solution.

I was listening to an interview with a respected photographer who had talked to professional archivists about what artifacts had best survived through history. What many of the archivists said in common was that the most successfully surviving artifacts were those where many copies had been distributed. Some would be lost, but others would be preserved. He recommended sending important family photos to as many family members as possible…he said from his research, those were likely to survive much longer than, for example, a single archival print of a valuable photo.
 

Jimmsp

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Benjenss,

I have gone through your posts, and tried to extract a few sentences so I can really understand what you want to do.
You have said:
I use LRC mostly for developing and cataloging, I never got into flagging, rating, face rec, and all that stuff. Most of my stuff is RAW. So I have my 50 years of my photo history, plus digitized family albums from up to a 100 years back, sitting in LRC and I feel a need to make a "platform-independant" version.
Basically I'm thinking; I'll fine-tune everything, "spray" some basic metadata on things,
Yes, the basic idea is to export everything to jpg and simply have a folder of files that can easily be browsed by most any photo browser on any platform.
I would then offer it to anyone interested, mostly family/friends,
< I want> a good likelyhood that my photos would survive and be accessable for a long time. I'm not wanting to share everything on a paid online service.


Taking these words at face value, I think that you want the same thing that many of us do. But there is still a big area missing – as I don’t really know what you want to share that will have value in the future. Are they great photos of birds? Or places like national parks? Or people such as family. In my mind, this has a big effect on what you want to do and how to do it.

Another set of questions – how are they currently organized assuming that you do not use keywords? Are they in folders by name? Do the files have information in their file name?

But let me ask a question by example that I have thought about. Let’s say that in 20 years you have a couple of great grandkids that you want to see your photos. Lets assume that jpegs are still around and viewable. But each great grandchild will probably have a different platform that they use. In today’s world, one might be an Apple Mac, and the other a XYZ PC. So what you give them must be viewable on both platforms. For me, I don’t want them to have to learn a particular DAM like Lightroom or iMatch, or ... Thus, I will choose an online platform.

Today, if you put them on an online platform like Google Photos, GP can do quite reasonable searches on birds, or parks, and identify them fairly accurately. However, it has a terrible time with people and specific events unless you start entering key words. But then it does it fairly well, putting photos in various albums that you will define. Other online platforms like Flickr can do the same, but depend on more user input. In the end, I believe that my family will want to see my family photos, not my birds and flowers. So I will focus there.

I am probably going to do the same as you intend one of these days, and for the reasons I have mentioned above, I will probably pursue a Google Photos approach, hoping that they still exist in some form in 20 plus years. I should probably print and label the family photos, but I'll cross that bridge later in time.
 

Jimmsp

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Let me better summarize, as I too rambled a bit.
I will continue to use The Lightroom Catalog to rate and keyword my photos. This will include family names and using facial recognition
I will focus on family. I don't expect long term interest in my bird and travel photos no matter how much I like them.
From that Catalog, I will print books in appropriate groups. Some event based, some time based, some people based.
This will allow me to easily add text and descriptions to photos. It is "platform free" and paper will probably outlast anything in today's digital formats.

I will also "print" the book as jpegs. The LR book module has that option.
I will then upload each set of jpegs to Google Photos into its own album. This is, to my knowledge, the best platform independent choice that I have.
Google Photos has the additional strength that you can search the photos using its AI (artificial Intelligence) which seems to be getting better as time moves on. GP will also find text in the jpeg, so that anything you add to a book page can be searched.

So in the end, I end up with a long term solution, the book, and a platform independent solution, Google Photos. I would expect GP to be gone in 50-100 years, but the printed book will still be around.
 
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