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Transition from Old Folder System to New Lightroom Catalog

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swteven

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For about 10 years I have been organizing and categorizing my digital photos in folders titled by subject. The new system will be strictly organized by metadata, keywords and collections in dated folders that Lightroom generates. As I abandon this legacy folder system and embark on importing these photos into Lightroom I have developed a transition plan and hope to get feedback on this.


I will import legacy files into Lightroom on an "as needed" basis so the transition process will not be overwhelming. During the transition I will leave my existing folder structure the way it is, gradually transferring files to the new catalog with the dated folder system. Filenames in my legacy system were camera generated (001.nef, 002.nef, etc.) so currently there are multitudes of duplicate filenames. In the new system I will use Lightroom's file renaming to assign unique filenames with consecutive numbers and YYYY/MM.


Here is an outline of my import workflow during the transition:


1 - Archive a copy of the legacy folder system with folders titled by subject (one time event). In an emergency I could resource this.


2 - During import, copy as DNG in a new location (Lightroom's automatic dated folders) and deleting legacy files.


3 - During import, apply basic metadata.


I have thought this through but welcome your endorsements and comments!


Scott Teven - PhotoHouston.com
 
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sizzlingbadger

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step 2, think carefully about using dng, do the benefits "for you" outweigh the disadvantages ?

You can keep you current file system and still rename and build a metadata based view using collections if that was helpful.
 

swteven

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Thanks, I will be considering pros & cons of DNG. At this point DNG is optional for me. Right now, I am more interested in critique on the transitional workflow I have described.
 
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Why transition? Why not keep older photos where they are, import newer folders into a dated structure, and put your effort into adding keywords and other metadata?
 

swteven

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I suppose I could leave them where they are. That's an option too. Since I plan to rename on import with unique, consecutive filenames it just seemed like a good idea to allow LR to start building a dated folder structure. From a database perspective, is there any reason why LR would function any better or more efficiently using it's automatically dated folders ?
 
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Scott, I agree with John. I would approach it this way:
Import all of the existing image using the Add option to import them in the named folders that they are already in. Once you have these in LR, you can use a script that John developed to turn your folder and subfolder names into keywords. (we were going to do this once). After your existing inventory is in the LR catalog you can create date named folders for the new images and make date named folders to receive the images that you are going to move from the original folder structure. To organise the existing inventory, I would begin by creating year folders. Such that if you had a number of images that were shot in 2001, you would use the Filterbar to find these and drag them to a folder that you create named "2001" If you want to fine tune the folder structure, you could create month named subfolders inside "2001" and populate those. The key here is that it does not need to mirror your current import into a date named folder scheme. Also important, you can work on this reorganization of the existing inventory as time presents the opportunity. FWIW, this is exactly how I turned my existing inventory into a date name folder structure when I started using LR. After two years, I still had some folders with descriptive names containing images that I had not needed to move.

If you have duplicate file names, then they are not in the same folder now andLR will warn you if you attempt to move an image into a folder where there is already an image with that name. You can then rename one of the duplicate named images before you do make a move. There are plugins that will search you LR catalog and identify images that are duplicate in content even if they are not duplicate in name.
 

swteven

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Import all of the existing images using the Add option to import them in the named folders that they are already in. Once you have these in LR, you can use a script that John developed to turn your folder and subfolder names into keywords.

This sounds like a good plan although I prefer to build a controlled keyword list as I go.

After your existing inventory is in the LR catalog, create date named folders (2001, 2002, etc) to receive the legacy images from the original folder structure. Then, use the Filterbar to find these and drag them to respective, yearly folders

Annual folders are a great idea and this should be easy to do. Months are not necessary for my legacy files. As I go forward with new images I will allow LR to create dated folders automatically.

Building an archive with unique, consecutive filenames is very important to me. I will just have to decide at which stage of the workflow I will assign these to the files.
 
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swteven

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script that John developed to turn your folder and subfolder names into keywords

John & Clee - Will this script copy folder/subfolder names to selected IPTC fields ? (probably the sublocation field would be best for me)
 
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It copies them to the Keyword field as a hierarchial KW structure:

Texas
.....Harris County
..........Houston
...............Downtown
...............Galleria
..........Bellaire
.....Galveston County
..........Galveston
...............Moody Gardens
 

swteven

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OK, Thanks Cletus.
FYI - I am going to use your idea you suggested the other day! Thanks!
 

swteven

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Import all of the existing image using the Add option to import them in the named folders that they are already in. Once you have these in LR, you can use a script that John developed to turn your folder and subfolder names into keywords.

I would like to install the script by John Beardsworth that you are describing.
Thanks !
 
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I would like to install the script by John Beardsworth that you are describing.
Thanks !
I might already have installed it for you. Do you have an icon to the right of your Help menu like this?
2017-08-23_1319
If you don't I can see if there is something on John's website or figure out how to get you the "lua" file and install it
 

swteven

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I don't see anything like that. Under the Help menu there is Plug-in extras that shows nothing installed.
 
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I don't see anything like that. Under the Help menu there is Plug-in extras that shows nothing installed.
OK it has been a few years since I visited. But I did visit planning to use that script. I have the Script and it is still installed on my copy go LR. I'll have to see if I can remember how to install it and run it. I might need to get John to refresh my memory.
 
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swteven

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Thats great Cletus. I will try that out. Thanks!

Regarding weather issues, the keyword/phrase is "yard flood control" (inside joke).
 
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Thats great Cletus. I will try that out. Thanks!

Regarding weather issues, the keyword/phrase is "yard flood control" (inside joke).
Don't plan on buying any bottled water. Houston is in panic mode. The grocery shelves are bare. For some reason, I'm optimistic that we won't lose power.
 
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