(Organizational) Workflow suggestions

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Big Swifty

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I'm new to LR and will be doing a fair amount of daily editing for various real estate photographers and am looking for some suggestions on how to best organize files.

I have a 1TB SSD that so far is used only for Windows, program files, personal Capture One catalog, and now a LR catalog. A 2TB HDD where I've been storing my personal photos (and everything else), and a 4TB external drive for backup. New drives can always be purchased when things fill up.

Clients are real estate photographers who will have their own storage solutions and once a project is delivered to their (real estate agent) client they are on to the next project. It's very "run and gun" as opposed to a high-end model or product shoots with lots of back and forth communication between the photographer and end client. I'm not anticipating needing a long term storage solution for RAW files of clients who months down the road may be looking to make some changes.

I'm assuming it's best (as far as speed) if I place downloaded client files (RAW) on the SSD, work on them, export the finished JPGs to the client, and then move the folders containing the RAW/JPG files to the HDD to keep for a relatively short amount of time. Should that period of time be longer than I'm anticipating now those files can always be moved to another drive. I'm more concerned with the workflow as it relates to the moving of files from the SSD to a HDD. Organization and speed.

Is that workflow going to create any catalog problems for me should I need to access any of those files in the near or more distant future? Is this the speediest option? Or am I incorrect in my assumptions and there's a better workflow for what I'm looking to achieve?
 
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I have no good comment on workflow per se, but will suggest that if you are moving things around that much, make sure you (a) do it within lightroom, not outside in windows, and (b) watch it to make sure a move completes and all the images end up in the right place. (a) is so that lightroom's catalog does not get confused, and (b) is because once in a while lightroom gets an error in moving files, and you may need to do it again and/or check behind. The latter doesn't happen much, but it does happen.

I will also observe that raw file edits do not depend heavily on the speed of the disk on which they reside. The initial read of course depends on it, but once read most work is done in memory or on the preview cache or the ACR cache (both of which should be on faster disks). So you may find it less useful than you think to migrate files quite so much - you might be trading a slight improvement in speed for a lot of churn.

Also, if you need to keep the exact JPG you export, note you can export and simultaneously add the exported files back into the catalog all in one step. Generally I would recommend not saving JPG's as you can always reproduce them, but when working for others you might feel the need for an exact, perfect copy of what you deliver.

OK... one comment on work flow... if you are doing overlapping jobs, i.e. starting another before finishing edits on the first, you may find keywords and/or collections useful to keep track of status of your workflow/processing. Keywords are fast to change since they reside in the catalog and you can quickly call up all the "Needs review" at once or whatever categories you choose.
 
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Picking up on Linwood's comments, I'd agree that there is very little advantage in storing the raw files initially on the SSD, then later moving them to the HDD. About the only noticeable advantage would during the initial import, as obviously copying the files to the SSD would be quicker....but once that's done, subsequent processing of those files would not benefit from the faster SSD, so personally I'd import directly to the HDD and omit the move from the SSD to the HDD. Having the catalog, previews and ACR cache on the SSD, however, definitely does help performance.
 

jjlad

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I'll chime in since I've done a lot of real estate photography using this workflow
I always import into that day's folder on my working drive and since I separate each year month day I'm 4 levels deep for those photos
2022
202201
20220101
350 Ash Street
In the address folder I keyword the address, and Realtor (Customer # from my Accounts database) and also keyword anything else that realtor wants keyworded. I grade (star) them, select 3 stars and higher and keyword those 'Transmitted' and transmit them to the client in at whatever resolution is desired, using weTransfer.

I have a program "C" drive (250 GB m.2 ssd) and 2 years of images on my working "D" drive (a 2 TB m.2) and have a stack of 4 TB Archive USB3 drives for everything 2 years old and more. Those archives are included in my (single) catalog and are all connected to a USB Hub with switches for each, so I can search for 350 Ash and find them instantly. My backup system covers my onboard drives and my externals. Editing shoots is normally done the same day and 3+ star images are in the realtor's hands that evening or the next day if they don't download them right away.

This has worked for years and I use the same process for events, sports, etc. ...no drama, nothing lost, all available to play with as new features are introduced in LR and PS. As Linwood suggests, everything is done through Lightroom to avoid complications.
 
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