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Will I ever make it? Processing older collections blues...

Selwin

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Should have made a poll out of this really...;) Anyway does this sound familiar to any of you: you come back from a shoot, select a bunch of keepers, do PP work on some to get high on your photography addiction (YMMV) and make a plea to yourself that this time you'll finish the keywords etc (your own years-and-years perfected workflow) before the next images come in.
Do any of you relate to the sigh of having to see that your 100000+ collection of photos, 50000 of which still need to be sorted, keyworded or other, is about to get buried under yet another couple 100 new shots?

Well I have decided I'm going to fix it! And I'm sharing my resolution with you so that you can too! Well, I'm "also" sharing it because it could help me get this through (blast, title gives me away). Oh well. But I am really going to be strong now!

I just finished all the work on my iPhone shots back to 2017. Of course I still need to work on a lot of my previous iPhones back to 2012, my 5D, 5D2, 5D3, 5D4, 5DsR shots that date back to 2007. But hey it's a start, right?
 

Roelof Moorlag

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My 'solution' to this problem is to begin with a (star) rating and only do serious keywording on my best images (< 1%). Images with less quality i probably wil never use. When i ever need them i can 'borrow' the keywords of the higher rated 'neigbour'.

Besides this i have some other mechanismes in place:
1. At import i do some batch keywording like event, copyright, clientdata etc. This is very easy to setup.
2. I have some 'helperkeywords' (like @HaveToKeyword) added to all incoming images. I have a smart collection that 'looks' at all my images with 4 stars and higher with this keyword. When i have some spare time i keyword some and remove this 'helper'keyword

My 'mountain' of non-keyworded images (my complete scanned archive i.g.) is shrinking every year now
 

Selwin

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Hi Roelof, seems like you're doing well! I recognise parts of your workflow. I have a bunch of smart collections giving me a dashboard which images have unflagged status, another which ones are flagged but have no stars, next ones building up on those: one for flagged, stars but no keywords, and one for all of those but no edits. I have a 5 step workflow and every final image that makes it all the way through gets all five progress keywords added.

But it's still a lot of work! :)

Kind regards!
 
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Roelof,

You may want to read my blog on managing workflow in LR with smart collections and special keywords here: LR004 - Use Lightroom Smart Collections & Keywords for Workflow [apologies as images seem to be loading slow today].

If you adopt something like I discuss in the blog, and you have a lot of "OLD" catch up work to do, I found it useful to include a "Capture Date" clause in my Smart Collections. Without the Capture Date clause many of my Smart Collections informed me that had many tens of thousands of images waiting for some Workflow step which was just downright discouraging. So, I added the Capture Date clause to the Smart collection. I started with "within the last 3 years" which got the count down to a couple of hundred. Then once I dealt with those images I changed the rule to "last 5 years" and so on till I eventually could get rid of the date rule altogether.

Dan
 
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Do any of you relate to the sigh of having to see that your 100000+ collection of photos, 50000 of which still need to be sorted, keyworded or other, is about to get buried under yet another couple 100 new shots?
It's no help, but yes, I have the same issue!!
 

PhilBurton

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Selwin

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Roelof,

You may want to read my blog on managing workflow in LR with smart collections and special keywords here: LR004 - Use Lightroom Smart Collections & Keywords for Workflow [apologies as images seem to be loading slow today].

If you adopt something like I discuss in the blog, and you have a lot of "OLD" catch up work to do, I found it useful to include a "Capture Date" clause in my Smart Collections. Without the Capture Date clause many of my Smart Collections informed me that had many tens of thousands of images waiting for some Workflow step which was just downright discouraging. So, I added the Capture Date clause to the Smart collection. I started with "within the last 3 years" which got the count down to a couple of hundred. Then once I dealt with those images I changed the rule to "last 5 years" and so on till I eventually could get rid of the date rule altogether.

Dan
Hi Dan, that's funny, so do I. My date "clause" currently is set to july 2016. Then in this smart collection I select grid view and choose "Camera" as left column. There I select each camera and empty the list of images for each consecutively.
 
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Lots of good ideas (which I may steal).

FWIW, when I retired, I decided to reward (torture) myself be reorganizing my LR catalog. Since I stated taking pictures over 10 years ago, my WF standard has changed so older pictures for not fit into my process. Here are my steps:

  1. Rename and apply basic metadata to images using the EXIFTOOL by Paul Harvey. Yes, this is a batch command process in Windows which I grew up on. I have a number of DOS BAT files that I run to apply the metadata. I do this to provide some arms length from LR in understanding my images. Everything I do in EXIFTOOL you can do during the import and is described by those links others have provided.
  2. I IMPORT the pictures into LR but don't use any IMPORT features.
  3. In LIBRARY, I separate out the chaff by using flags(Yes,Blank,Reject) to PICK those I believe are worth saving/working on.
  4. Filter all those I PICKed
  5. Assign a 3-star RATING that I want to pursue in processing.
  6. Filter for the 3-start RATING. So at this point, I have what I feel I currently want to play with. I leave myself open that as I mature in my WF, I may revisit and find hidden gems I missed before
  7. I purchased Cloud Tagger for KEYWORDing or at least to start. I found it useful in developing my own approach and as others have reviewed, it doesn't do everything but is a good start. Yes, it may make too many recommendations but so what, you can always delete them in LR. I also like Cloud Tagger because it simply replaces what you would type yourself in a flat keyword structure. It doesn't add it's own structures. I was not interested in getting into hierarchies. I'm a simple guy.
  8. As I go through DEVELOP I refine metadata. For example, for underwater pictures I will add KEYWORD for FISH, CORAL, SPONGE and CREATURE. I will then try to actually name the animal.
The only place I use COLOUR LABEL is selecting candidates for a one off event like a competition submission.
 

Roelof Moorlag

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Roelof,

You may want to read my blog on managing workflow in LR with smart collections and special keywords here: LR004 - Use Lightroom Smart Collections & Keywords for Workflow [apologies as images seem to be loading slow today].

If you adopt something like I discuss in the blog, and you have a lot of "OLD" catch up work to do, I found it useful to include a "Capture Date" clause in my Smart Collections. Without the Capture Date clause many of my Smart Collections informed me that had many tens of thousands of images waiting for some Workflow step which was just downright discouraging. So, I added the Capture Date clause to the Smart collection. I started with "within the last 3 years" which got the count down to a couple of hundred. Then once I dealt with those images I changed the rule to "last 5 years" and so on till I eventually could get rid of the date rule altogether.

Dan
Hi Dan, thanks for the blog. I wil read it soon!
Your advice for 'scoping down' for the last 3 years and 'stretch' that later to 5 years of more is exactly what i do!
Indeed is was to incouraging at start and this way things become more feasible.

I wrote different (dutch) blogposts myself about my photo workflow but i'm always curious for the solutions other people found.
For instance the 'Workflow Smart Collection' from John Beardsworth i found very informative.
 

PhilBurton

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For instance the 'Workflow Smart Collection' from John Beardsworth i found very informative.
Speaking just for myself, I think that John's creation of a workflow process based on smart collections was a HUGE improvement in the state of the art of using Lightroom with digital photography.

Phil
 

Jimmsp

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Speaking just for myself, I think that John's creation of a workflow process based on smart collections was a HUGE improvement in the state of the art of using Lightroom with digital photography.

Phil
Add me to the list of those that agree with you.
I use a modified version of John's workflow process for any photo shoot that has more than 100 images or so to process. It is highly valuable.
For less than 100 shots (or so) I don't use a Smart Collection, but I follow the principles of it.
 

SaraLH

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I have to groan and smile as I see all of these posts - so glad that I'm not alone in my misery.
Since I'm not a professional and don't have client deadlines to meet I can afford to take the time to go through all of my steps before publishing my photos to my web site, network hard drive or Lightroom shares. Before I retired in 2017 there were a couple of years where the publishing was spotty and I just recently finished 2015, 2016 & 2017.
What's facing me now (other than the 1000 pictured from last week's vacation) is going back and re-culling and selectively new editing from 2006 on. In earlier years of digital photography I was much less rigorous about dumping the trash on import and added to that there is the fact that the Develop module has improved over the years - many previously developed pictures could stand a re-visit.
Next into the mixture is the fact that keywording is an evolving science - I am in the process of refining many areas that I previously defined with one categorical keyword. One really useful tool for keyword refining is Jeffrey Friedl's Data Explorer that separates photos with different attributes into dumb collections.
Another newish LR feature that I find helpful is the folder color label. I am hardly so satisfied as when I can mark a folder green for "all done". I also use Jeffrey Friedl's Folder Status Dialog to keep track of the different steps in my workflow so I can pick up where I left off.
 

Selwin

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Okay so I also have a three year scope in my "ToDo" smart collections but I temporarily removed it to see the size of my "Mountain". The result is the following:
All photographs: 148802
Unflagged: 32818.
- 9688 of those are mostly slide scans of my film years (1987 - 2006)
- Interestingly, the next 12000 unflagged are from my iPhones and they were shot fairly recently (2015-2018). I didn't really expect that so now I realise I need some more discipline in processing my iPhone photos weekly.
- Another 6000 come from my dSLRs, also mostly from 2015-2018. Funny that the images for which I started using Lightroom in the first place are only 20% of my Mountain of work.

Before anyone suggests to ditch the iPhone photos to a different catalog: Make no mistake: among the iPhone photos are many of my all time favourite images. It's the camera you have with you blah blah but it is and this is key. But exactly because it's with me all the time, I find myself shooting an astonishing amount of images with it. And I need to separate the junk from the good ones. Some stats:
Total images shot with phones: 43810.
Rejected: 25394
Flagged: 6419
Unflagged: 11997
From the unflagged, 95% will probably end up Rejected because my nose says they're in folders where I only quickly flagged a few as picks and forgot about the rest.

So there you go. I think I will manage to get on top of this mountain!

One complicating factor is that somewhere along the way I revised my ranking system. My rating workflow is roughly:
1. Move all Picks to a working dumb collection
2. Set rating to 3 stars for each image to start with
3. Rate each image according to my ranking system (see below)
4. Review the series and make final decisions

I had:
***** absolute best
**** very good ones, used for publication and private series
*** images that make it to be worked with
** Rejected but kept for future reconsideration. Also contains formerly 3 star images that upon review got degraded
* Special category for miscellaneous stuff
zero stars: new images only

Now I have dialed all down one star so I can have an in-between rating for

***** absolute best
**** very good ones, used for publication and private series
*** images that stand out and make a coherent and not too tedious series (e.g. from travel series)
** images that make it to be worked with
* Rejected but kept for future reconsideration. Also contains formerly 2 star images that upon review got degraded
zero stars: Special category for miscellaneous stuff


Special category for miscellaneous stuff:
- document copies and reproductions, medical, work, items to sell on 2nd hand sites, craftwork items made by my children and
- PP work like source images for HDR, panos and compilations, videos that need to be processed in a separate editor and such

So, at some point I need to adjust my older series to match the new ranking system, or just keep it as is.
 
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I used to feel the same way. I am a tidy person who likes everything to be neat and tidy and in its correct place and having lots of photos all at varying degrees of completion didn't sit well with me. The "almost impossible" task then became "completely impossible" when I brought thousands of scanned prints and phone photos into my catalog.

I now treat it as a project in progress that will be a great hobby throughout my retirement. I know it will never be finished and I have come to accept that and just enjoy dipping in every now and then. With CC I can now do this virtually anywhere in the world at any time using either desktop, laptop or phone.

I do still keep everything neat and tidy and I know exactly what has been done and needs to be done by use of colour labels and keywords etc.

Like many others one of my first tasks is the rate from 1* to 5* and then initially work on the higher ratings and work downwards. All my 5* photos have been completed but that is because there are not that many.
 

mcasan

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I save a lot of time by not keywording Images are automatically imported into folders based on shoot dates. I use smart collections to cover all the days of an event. I create special collections for projects such as candidates for a contest. I usually cull on my iPad on the flight home.
 

Selwin

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Thank you for your inspiring replies.

So on sep 5 I had 32818 unflagged. For the last week I have been giving it a huge effort.

I'm down to 28743 unflagged! All images processed as picks now have complete workflow marks.
 
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Thank you for your inspiring replies.

So on sep 5 I had 32818 unflagged. For the last week I have been giving it a huge effort.

I'm down to 28743 unflagged! All images processed as picks now have complete workflow marks.
Excellent! Like previous comments, I tend to break tasks like this down by date so it's smaller chunks to work through. Very satisfying as you see progress!!!
 
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