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Reorgansing My Files

Tim Gilp

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Hi all. I wonder if someone can help with what i think should be straightforward. The folder hierarchy i want is Catalog;Year;Month;Shoot and then pictures taken by date [ but not including year again] and i have this for a few hundred images. However i have managed to mess this up for some pictures i have taken in hong kong and new zealand where they are organised down to the shoot level [ ie Hong Kong and New Zealand ] but then are all together and not organised by date . I attach a screen shot which displays this. How can i now organise my NZ and HK pictures as per the hierarchy i want and as shown by Rail and Ale , London , and walking in derbyshire?

Thanks in anticipation
 

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PhilBurton

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Tim,
I hope I understand your problem, so I hope my answer is helpful.

First I suggest you read up on Collections, Collection Sets, and Smart Collections. With the latter, you can set up keywords that you assign to photos, and then set up Smart Collection criteria that automatically include in that smart collection any photos with a matching keyword. That way, you can have a photo in multiple smart collections.

It is not considered to be a best practice in certain cases to set up folders in Windows or MacOS that include subjects, since any photo could have multiple subjects. It's better to set up a date-based organization such as YYYY/MM/DD and then use keywords to assign photos to smart collections.

Does this approach make sense for you?

I have to ask: What is the meaning behind "Rail and Ale?"
Phil Burton
 

Colin Grant

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Phil, does that not depend on how you define a subject? For instance if the subject is say "French Holiday 2018" that seems quite unique to me. I agree there may be many sub-subjects beneath this generic title that could/would be handled by keywords. Just a thought :)
 

Tim Gilp

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Tim,
I hope I understand your problem, so I hope my answer is helpful.

First I suggest you read up on Collections, Collection Sets, and Smart Collections. With the latter, you can set up keywords that you assign to photos, and then set up Smart Collection criteria that automatically include in that smart collection any photos with a matching keyword. That way, you can have a photo in multiple smart collections.

It is not considered to be a best practice in certain cases to set up folders in Windows or MacOS that include subjects, since any photo could have multiple subjects. It's better to set up a date-based organization such as YYYY/MM/DD and then use keywords to assign photos to smart collections.

Does this approach make sense for you?

I have to ask: What is the meaning behind "Rail and Ale?"
Phil Burton
Thanks for this Phil. I have done quite a lot of you tube searching etc. and i dont necessarily agree re good practice in the manner you suggest. It seems to me that many LR experts do use sub folders that are subject specific and unless you really want to get deep into it then as a beginner this approach is as good as any. I agree with Colin. New Zealand holiday is pretty specific and i can use key words attached to particular images should i need to. However i suppoe my more fundamental question is how, once you have set up the hierarchy and images are in there [ well not literally but you know what i mean ] you change it [ even to the format you suggest which is certainly not wrong but maybe not how i want to do it ]. I think maybe you have to move the images into another folder you have created and then re-import them but using a different setting which puts the images into day folders as per my others ? Rail and Ale is a day here in Yorkshire where you go out on the train with friends and sample the good ales that this splendid county has to offer !
 

Johan Elzenga

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The most important thing is that your folders must be unambiguous, and that an image could never fit into two folders at the same time. A folder hierarchy by destination is fine. An image shot in New Zealand will always be an image shot in New Zealand. That can never change, and such an image can also not be shot in Australia as well. So a folder hierarchy by destination is perfect and not worse than a folder hierarchy by date.

Folder names by subject are not such a good idea, although it depends a bit on the subject. People often don’t realise that an image may contain more than one subject. I always give my students the following example: as a wildlife photographer I have thousands of images of African animals. You may think that a folder hierarchy by animal would be a great way of storing these images, so a hierarchy like Africa > Animals > Mammals > Elephants. But where would I store a photo of a group of impalas walking past a herd of elephants in that case? In the Elephants subfolder or in the Antelopes subfolder? Or maybe in the African Landscapes subfolder because the animals are relatively small in this photo? The only way to handle this is to not really bother about folders (I could use destination or dates, or a combination like ‘Zambia 2018’), but use keywords and (smart) collections.
 

Tim Gilp

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Yes that’s it Johan my folders are by destination or by what event I am attending. But I still have the same exam question which is how do I subdivide a folder that’s already put together to reflect the dates I took the photos ? I obviously did it on import with the other folders as the photos just appeared ( in London Rail and ale for example ) in date order. I think I should move them out to a new folder . Remove them from Lr and then import them back in ( using move ) but with different import settings so they appear by date within the two folders ( Hong Kong and NZ ) is that correct ?
 

Johan Elzenga

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No, do not remove anything from Lightroom. If you remove a photo and reimport it, you lose the edits and all other added metadata. You can avoid that by writing metadata to XMP, but you would still lose stuff like virtual copies, memberships of collections, edit history and flags.

You can move photos from one folder to another in Lightroom by dragging and dropping them in the folder panel. Do everything in Lightroom. Rename folders by right-clicking on them. Create new subfolders from within the folder panel if you need them in the same way. Then select the images and drag them onto their new folder.
 

Colin Grant

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FWIW my folders are year, headline event (Holiday Bodmin 2018) and then subfolders by date. It is often the case that the dates are themselves sub events as in a holiday scenario they could well represent trips out to certain places. I choose to deal with these via the image titles, although it could just as successfully be covered by keywords. Personally, I am not a fan of too many keywords although I can see how a pro might see this differently.
 

Tim Gilp

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No, do not remove anything from Lightroom. If you remove a photo and reimport it, you lose the edits and all other added metadata. You can avoid that by writing metadata to XMP, but you would still lose stuff like virtual copies, memberships of collections, edit history and flags.

You can move photos from one folder to another in Lightroom by dragging and dropping them in the folder panel. Do everything in Lightroom. Rename folders by right-clicking on them. Create new subfolders from within the folder panel if you need them in the same way. Then select the images and drag them onto their new folder.
Thanks Johan very helpful. So I really need to create within New Zealand a subfolder for each day as per those in “London” and then drag the images in ? Hopefully the image will have the date on it so I know what goes where .
 

Johan Elzenga

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You don’t need to do that. Personally I don’t see the point in having subfolders by day, unless you shoot hundreds of images each day. If you made one trip to New Zealand, I would simply store all these images in the New Zealand folder. If you regularly travel to New Zealand, I would create subfolders by month or by year.

Images contain a capture date in the EXIF data. That means you can sort images by day, and you can search for images by day. You don’t need folders to accomplish that.
 

Colin Grant

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I used to do it that way Johan but found it difficult (probably just me). if I have a holiday trip to say Cardiff in Wales it is probable that each day I am there will represent a sight seeing trip to places either in or out of Cardiff and I like separate sub folders for those trips. I just find it an easy visual pointer - works very well when on a cruise with different stop-overs.
 

Johan Elzenga

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I used to do it that way Johan but found it difficult (probably just me). if I have a holiday trip to say Cardiff in Wales it is probable that each day I am there will represent a sight seeing trip to places either in or out of Cardiff and I like separate sub folders for those trips. I just find it an easy visual pointer - works very well when on a cruise with different stop-overs.
Do as you like, but this is mainly because you don’t use Lightroom to its full potential. If you store all the images in a single ‘Cardiff’ folder, you can select the ones from a certain day with one or two clicks in the Filter Bar. And if you would use keywords, then you could select all images of a certain sight seeing trip, even if you made two or three trips that same day. You could also quickly find all the images of waterfalls you took during this holiday, regardless on which sight seeing trip you took them. Or all images of waterfalls you ever took. Folders are a really poor substitute for a real image organisation.
 

Tim Gilp

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Thanks Johan. So maybe Year, Month and subfolder by place or event but use key words more to identify and be able to search on. I agree actually i'm not sure that separating into days necesarilly helps and probably makes it cluttered. The key message is anything i do i should do it through lightroom and not external to it ?
 

Zenon

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I find by year and subfolders by event name and date works for me.
 

Colin Grant

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Do as you like, .
I certainly will. There is no right or wrong way. There is just a way that suites the individual. To suggest otherwise is just plain wrong. As for keywords, when used extensively they can get well out of control. When do you stop, city, house, street waterfall, grass, postbox, dog, path........ I appreciate keywords should perhaps only be in respect of the actual subject/event but it can easily get well beyond that and is encouraged on sites like 500px.
 
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tspear

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I certainly will. There is no right or wrong way. There is just a way that suites the individual. To suggest otherwise is just plain wrong.
No. Absolutely wrong. If it is not done the way I said it is wrong. I am not sure what i said, but I know it is right!

Tim (could not resist)
 

Colin Grant

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No. Absolutely wrong. If it is not done the way I said it is wrong. I am not sure what i said, but I know it is right!

Tim (could not resist)
:) Love it.
To take a balanced view, I guess if keywords were treated as virtual folders (a bit like Gmail did or does with labels) then it would work well. Being disciplined in the use of keywords is what is so difficult and keeping the keyword list down to an acceptable level is not easy - my Places hierarchy became enormous!
 

tspear

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:) Love it.
To take a balanced view, I guess if keywords were treated as virtual folders (a bit like Gmail did or does with labels) then it would work well. Being disciplined in the use of keywords is what is so difficult and keeping the keyword list down to an acceptable level is not easy - my Places hierarchy became enormous!
You have IPTC fields already for location information. I never saw the reason so many people duplicate it into keywords. I can see the point for stock photographers, but the rest of us? Never did see the reason.
 

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Yes, that is the most important thing to remember.
That is what they taught us when I took some basic lessons in 2012 which I have stuck to and have never had any issues upgrading from LR5 to 8.
 

Zenon

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Just to clarify. LR5 - 6 - 7 and to 8.
 

Wernfried

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I also agree with Phil, it does not make much sense to organize your photos in folders named by event or similar.
Imagine you have a folder called "New Zealand 2018". Currently such a folder looks very distinct and perpetual. But life is changing, who knows perhaps in 3 years I will migrate to New Zealand and become a professional wildlife photographer. Then such folder name / title becomes fairly useless and ambiguous and I will consult the Lightroom Forum with the question "I have to reorganize my files - please help".

The capture date will never change so a folder structure based on year/month/day seems to be the most appropriate way of doing it. I think it is a matter of taste if one uses year/month or year/month/day or something similar.
 

Johan Elzenga

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Imagine you have a folder called "New Zealand 2018". Currently such a folder looks very distinct and perpetual. But life is changing, who knows perhaps in 3 years I will migrate to New Zealand and become a professional wildlife photographer. Then such folder name / title becomes fairly useless and ambiguous and I will consult the Lightroom Forum with the question "I have to reorganize my files - please help
That is why using (smart) collections and keywords is so much better for organising images than folders. I do not agree with your conclusion however. Even if you would move to New Zealand in 2021 and become a professional wildlife photographer, the folder ‘New Zealand 2018’ still makes as much sense then as it does now. That folder contains images that werd shot in New Zealand in 2018. Your country of residence and/or your profession in 2021 does not change that or make it less useful than a folder that is just called ‘2018’.
 

tspear

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For those advocating date based folder structures, have you consider generational issues?
We have started to discuss scanning images in and trying to document as much as possible from my grandmother who is 101.
The goal being to pass on some history.

When considering this aspect, do you plan to pass on nothing? Or only the published/exported with all/none meta-data? Or access to the Lr software along with a book on how to use it?

So far, my dream solution is to have the library organized in a way which makes some sort of sense on the disk, with some descent filename convention and having the original and all derivations next to each other.
 
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For those advocating date based folder structures, have you consider generational issues?
We have started to discuss scanning images in and trying to document as much as possible from my grandmother who is 101.
The goal being to pass on some history.

When considering this aspect, do you plan to pass on nothing? Or only the published/exported with all/none meta-data? Or access to the Lr software along with a book on how to use it?

So far, my dream solution is to have the library organized in a way which makes some sort of sense on the disk, with some descent filename convention and having the original and all derivations next to each other.
In that case I still use the date folders (if I can find the date, or just a year folder).
I then use metadata and keywords because they can be embedded in the jpeg or tiff file and they are recognized by any image management application (including the OSes themselves). So the infos will still be there in the future and there won't be any need to use LR in the to access/search for them.
 
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