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Workflow Thoughts? Your input greatly appreciated.

Doug1234

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Background:

Keywording and organizing approx. 7000 photos represents the 2nd half of a project I started years ago where I began and completed scanning my family slide collection. My goal is to provide the photos to my family members (of varying technical ability) on a USB key and online where they can perform searches and enjoy the photos as much as I do.

The overall process below represents the approach I have come up with for accomplishing this. My greatest concern is around ensuring I do the keywording 100% correctly. (Given the volume of the collection and my appetite (and time) for going over the collection again if a mistake is made). This may help other folks in a similar situation as well. I really welcome and would appreciate any feedback you have on the keywording approach and the overall process.

The Overall Process:
  1. Import 7000 high resolution (avg. 75MG each) slide images into Lightroom.
  2. Begin keywording.
    1. As keywording process occurs, organically add keywords and build hierarchies as necessary . I tried to define the entire keyword list (including hiearchy in the beginning, but I don't believe it's entirely possible to complete the hiearchy all at once as it is very hard to imagine all keywords. Instead, I think (please comment with your thoughts) a more generic approach of asking who?, select keywords, what, select keywords, when, select keywords might work best.
  3. Perform any additional actions on the photograph.
    1. Add caption metadata.
    2. Rotate photos as necessary.
    3. For example: adding audio annotations.
  4. When the keywording is complete, sort on different keywords and rearrange the photos in the correct chronilogical order. (recall, out of order slides)
    1. Rearrange the images in the correct chronological order.
  5. When finally complete, in months (or years) from now perform an export to JPG.
    1. Ensure image size is reasonable for slideshows and sharing.
  6. Copy .JPG files to USB key and provide to family member.

  7. Import photos into Picasa.
  • Perform frequent backups. I use the following command line .BAT file (windows) and it works beautifully for backing up only the changed files and not everything. It can, of course, be sheduled.
Source path, destination path, mirror source to distination, log the changes to synchanges.log

  • robocopy "j:\ds" k:\ds /MIR /log:c:\SYNCCHANGES.log
 

Roelof Moorlag

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Did you go to this proces or are you going to?
My first advice would be to do rating first and only keyword the best images.
When you decide all scans are worth keywording (so culling is not necessary anymore) i would go from broad to narrow. (100% correctly in one time is very ambitious)

What i do to manage this proces is to give all photo's first a keyword: @ToKeyword
You can make a smart collection that shows all photo's that needs to be Keyworded
When Keyworded, you can delete this 'helper' keyword. This photo is disapearing in the smart collection. Youre done when there is no image left in the collection. (i have 7114 to go yet...)


For all sorts of subkeywording tasks you can add these kind of helper keywords.
 

Doug1234

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Hi There - thank you for your input. I'm going to update my workflow accordingly.

Going to the process - not started yet, I've been muddling around for months trying to establish a process.
 
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It's unclear, have you already scanned them? The biggest problem I found was context - often negatives would be in sleeves with just some cryptic note. But those cryptic notes were invaluable when my wife and I put our head's together.

My point is be sure to capture any information you can from context of where the negatives/slides are found, in case you need it.
 

Doug1234

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Oh, sorry - yes, thankfully, I have finished the scanning and am now onto the good stuff in Lightroom and enjoying the gorgeous 75MG 4000 DPI Kodachrome slides on my screen.

I scanned the 7000 slides and put them in labelled hockey card boxes. These labels correspond with the physical folder structure (i.e., /Box1, /Box2, /Box50, etc.)

I understand your excellent point - I'll make sure the physical folder location is maintained in the metadata so I can recreate the dates for the collection. (The dates are the only information available on the slides.)

Thank you.
 

PhilBurton

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Oh, sorry - yes, thankfully, I have finished the scanning and am now onto the good stuff in Lightroom and enjoying the gorgeous 75MG 4000 DPI Kodachrome slides on my screen.

I scanned the 7000 slides and put them in labelled hockey card boxes. These labels correspond with the physical folder structure (i.e., /Box1, /Box2, /Box50, etc.)

I understand your excellent point - I'll make sure the physical folder location is maintained in the metadata so I can recreate the dates for the collection. (The dates are the only information available on the slides.)

Thank you.
Doug,

Out of curiosity, since I have probably 10,000 slides to scan, almost all Kodachrome, which scanner? Which scanning software?

I like the idea of using physical folders corresponding to the box numbers. If only I had been careful about numbering all my boxes back in the day.

Phil
 

Doug1234

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Hi Phil,

I used the following setup:

-Nikon Super Coolscan 5000
-Nikon SF210 slide feeder which could take upwards of 100 slides at a time. As long as all the slides where the same width/size the feeder worked beautifully. There is a little "gate" that you manually adjust for the width of the slide.
-The out of the box Nikon software

Comments:
The 7000+ slides I was scanning where a mixed mess of Blacks (plastic mount), Kodachrome (Cardboard mount) and various other types, so it was a bit time consuming, but far easier than scanning one at a time. Highly recommended, especially in your case. Much of the time, the slides where disorganized from years of taking them out of their original boxes, so I grouped them as best I could and put them through the feeder, opting to do the organizing in Lightroom (Step 4.1 in my process above). For each slide, I used a compressor and carefully blew the dust off the front and back. This added time to the process, but helped ensure the highest quality scan in my opinion. The software has dust removal technology, but if it missed a piece of dust (I tried it with the technology off), the little spec of dust could looked huge on my 75mg 4000 dpi scan.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else.

Doug.
 

FredL

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You might want to consider options other that Picasa - see Google news release:

Friday, February 12, 2016 10:00 AM
Since the launch of Google Photos, we’ve had a lot of questions around what this means for the future of Picasa. After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos. We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products.
 

Doug1234

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You might want to consider options other that Picasa - see Google news release:

Friday, February 12, 2016 10:00 AM
Since the launch of Google Photos, we’ve had a lot of questions around what this means for the future of Picasa. After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos. We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products.
Thanks Fred. Will look into some other alternatives.
 

Doug1234

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That last part, going to Picasa, confused me as well... why isn't Lightroom their eventual home?
Hi There - I had thought of using Picasa because I could then share the photo collection with my family who don't have Lightroom and who need a simpler alternative.
 

Roelof Moorlag

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I had thought of using Picasa because I could then share the photo collection with my family who don't have Lightroom and who need a simpler alternative.
Online or offline?
Online maybe it's possible to use Google Photo's but i think it's about local software? In that case you can use Picasa but it's not available for download shortly. If you have the downloaded package it's worth trying if you can install it afterall. Picasa is a very userfriendly alternative for Lightroom for people only watching the photo's.
When your users are capable of using Lightroom you can consider that too. They can use the library module of Lightroom without aquiring the software.
 
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As above, if the goal is online display, there are a number of free and cheap photo sharing sites that have publishing plugins for lightroom. I keep my whole website updated with Lightroom at Smugmug, but they are in the cheap-not-free category. But I know Flickr has plugins, and others.

The advantage of using something like that is the master organizational tool remains lightroom, so you have one version of the truth - one setup that (especially with smart galleries) can rearrange itself as you change keywords, update photos automatically at the published sites.

Picasa and similar tools that would take an export are a point in time export -- you either have to do it only once, or keep it updated in sync as you continue to organize and/or add to lightroom.
 

Doug1234

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Online or offline?
Online maybe it's possible to use Google Photo's but i think it's about local software? In that case you can use Picasa but it's not available for download shortly. If you have the downloaded package it's worth trying if you can install it afterall. Picasa is a very userfriendly alternative for Lightroom for people only watching the photo's.
When your users are capable of using Lightroom you can consider that too. They can use the library module of Lightroom without aquiring the software.
Offline.

It's worked well in the testing I have done so far. I was pleased when I was able to search using Picasa on the photographs that I had added keyword metadata to using Lightroom. And agreed on the user friendly point.

I was not aware the Library module could be used without aquiring the software. This is through the cloud version I presume?
 

Doug1234

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As above, if the goal is online display, there are a number of free and cheap photo sharing sites that have publishing plugins for lightroom. I keep my whole website updated with Lightroom at Smugmug, but they are in the cheap-not-free category. But I know Flickr has plugins, and others.

The advantage of using something like that is the master organizational tool remains lightroom, so you have one version of the truth - one setup that (especially with smart galleries) can rearrange itself as you change keywords, update photos automatically at the published sites.

Picasa and similar tools that would take an export are a point in time export -- you either have to do it only once, or keep it updated in sync as you continue to organize and/or add to lightroom.
My thought was offline and any time enough changes had been made, in the source of record - LR, export the .JPGs again and provide them on a USB key. One of the benefits of offline being that the photos could be viewed in situations where there is no internet connectivity.
 
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Offline.

It's worked well in the testing I have done so far. I was pleased when I was able to search using Picasa on the photographs that I had added keyword metadata to using Lightroom. And agreed on the user friendly point.

I was not aware the Library module could be used without aquiring the software. This is through the cloud version I presume?
To the latter I think it is more for cases where you stop your subscription, but that's an interesting application. Bear in mind, however, it might be a writeable access level, i.e. they could change things.

Another option for off-line use is the web page creation within Lightroom. Other than playing with it 2-3 years ago I have never used it, but at least in principle it should be able to publish to a web page that could be accessed locally on your computer. To access truly locally (where someone is sitting at your screen) no web server should be necessary it should be able to work with just a browser, but it is not THAT hard to run a web server on the computer and let other computers in your household see the web pages that way. I would not recommend trying to permit outside (I.e. from the internet) access as the security issues are large.
 

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I used JAlbum to generate a complex album website based on a published pictures from Lightroom. I even used the built in search functions which allowed for searching images based on the keywords and other tags.
Since the generated site is pure HTML, no server would be required. You would just take the generated output and put it on a USB stick, the user would open the index.html.
You can even go further and a an auto-run file and have the computer automatically open the browser.
 

Doug1234

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Great idea tspear & Ferguson, thank you. The website (HTML/Javascript) option is awesome. Everything would live on the key then. Really simple and self contained. I'm definitely going to explore this.
 

rob211

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I like the Jalbum idea. What you could wind up with is essentially a website on a stick, which would allow text and other stuff. But you might also wanna consider essentially doing the same thing with the Web components of Lr. You'd have to make a page or two to get it started with a nice way to get to the index and get it started, but otherwise it could work pretty well I'd think. And be easier to update, add captions, and manage from Lr for future revisions.

For the tagging/keywording, I'd suggest you look at getting the Any Tag plugin. I find it makes it much easier to rip through a mess of images (not as good as Photo Mechanic, but has some similar features). Especially once you've used say a metadata preset to bulk write a bunch of keywords, and where you're scrolling through pretty much one at a time adding keywords. Sometimes Bridge is easier to use too, and it offers some control over metadata Lr doesn't (better for stuff like adding "location shown" and "location shot").

Also, be careful about the capture time. There have been some threads here about problems with adding times to scans, but it may depend on what your scanning software already did. You'd wanna check to see what kind of exif info it added. Lr does some stuff with scans that don't have exif dates that can be counterintuitive, and that's on top of a confusing plethora of dates already. With some jpegs it will end up changing the file creation date when any metadata is changed, which can throw off organization if you relied on that date instead of an exif date that's more appropriate, even if it's a date scanned date.

And I dunno if you ever do intend to put these online, but dumping a bunch into the new Google Photos can be interesting. It doesn't have the same kind of organizational features as picasaweb, which can be a pain, but it does have rather surprising capability to search image content. Some of my family loved looking through old pictures cuz they could just type in "climbing" and find our old climbing photos. It obviously isn't 100% reliable, but it's amazing what it can find in the absence of keywords, captions, etc. Sorta fun too, like diving into shoeboxes of old pics.
 

davidfarquhar

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On keyboarding you mention "add keywords and build hierarchies as necessary" - I think you imply that as you add the keywords you'll do the hierarchy at the same time. I think this is slow, and that you are better adding the keywords by typing them in, and then organising them into a hierarchy later on. I tend to "clean up" my keywords into my hierarchy on a regular basis - I have the general hierarchy planned (everything into one of Places, Events, People or Things), and then build / update the hierarchy later. This is probably quicker.

A useful tip is if you know keyword ABC is going to go under XYZ in the hierarchy then you open the keyword list and type "ABC XYZ" in the search bar, and both of them are found. Then drag ABC under XYZ. This is very quick to do, and is the main reason I'd split those two tasks
 

tspear

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I like the Jalbum idea. What you could wind up with is essentially a website on a stick, which would allow text and other stuff. But you might also wanna consider essentially doing the same thing with the Web components of Lr. You'd have to make a page or two to get it started with a nice way to get to the index and get it started, but otherwise it could work pretty well I'd think. And be easier to update, add captions, and manage from Lr for future revisions.
The problem with the Lr website is it is flat. :)
It does not offer a way to have any depth or organization. Basically all your album organization is external to the mini-site Lr produces.
It was for this reason I used JAlbum. Using Jeff F. Plugins I "published" a hierarchy of folders organizing the images. JAlbum was then able to index them, and do some pretty slick things with it.

Tim
 

rob211

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The problem with the Lr website is it is flat. :)
It does not offer a way to have any depth or organization. Basically all your album organization is external to the mini-site Lr produces.
It was for this reason I used JAlbum. Using Jeff F. Plugins I "published" a hierarchy of folders organizing the images. JAlbum was then able to index them, and do some pretty slick things with it.
Ah, good point. I've only ever done say one collection. I know there are some plugins that do more comprehensive stuff for galleries, but I think I'd fall back to jalbum too. The Friedl publishing plugins are the bomb; I use the collection publisher as well for JPEGs to a NAS for viewing on a TV.
 

PhilBurton

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Hi Phil,

I used the following setup:

-Nikon Super Coolscan 5000
-Nikon SF210 slide feeder which could take upwards of 100 slides at a time. As long as all the slides where the same width/size the feeder worked beautifully. There is a little "gate" that you manually adjust for the width of the slide.
-The out of the box Nikon software

Comments:
The 7000+ slides I was scanning where a mixed mess of Blacks (plastic mount), Kodachrome (Cardboard mount) and various other types, so it was a bit time consuming, but far easier than scanning one at a time. Highly recommended, especially in your case. Much of the time, the slides where disorganized from years of taking them out of their original boxes, so I grouped them as best I could and put them through the feeder, opting to do the organizing in Lightroom (Step 4.1 in my process above). For each slide, I used a compressor and carefully blew the dust off the front and back. This added time to the process, but helped ensure the highest quality scan in my opinion. The software has dust removal technology, but if it missed a piece of dust (I tried it with the technology off), the little spec of dust could looked huge on my 75mg 4000 dpi scan.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else.

Doug.
Doug,

Thanks.

Phil
 
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I also have the problem of digitising a large collection of slides, including my father's going back to the 1950s. I tried using a scanner for a while but realised that the process was so slow I would never finish. Instead I now use an (rather cheap) Opteka slide duplicator attached to an APS-C DSLR and the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 II lens at f/11 (which means you have to crop a bit). A computer monitor filled with an empty white window works quite well as light source The most important thing is to shoot in RAW which means you have a lot of latitude for correction and can often recover memories from very badly exposed originals. While there is some compromise compared to using a scanner (you get the dust etc), scanning each slide takes just a few seconds and, to be honest, many originals are not so well focussed or exposed anyway.

To capture context information, I lay each batch of slides out on a table, together with any labels, notes on cartridges, etc. and photograph them too. Then you can use the power of Lightroom to batch crop, correct the colour balance, shooting dates, etc. More recently, I took to tethering in Lightroom which means you can apply an appropriate base set of corrections for each slide as it is photographed and just update it from time to time as you move to a new batch. I put the images into folders corresponding to the original random mix of physical containers (projector cartridges, slide boxes, envelopes, ...) and later make smart collections using the shooting dates (eg, "Summer holidays 1965") to sort them out.
 

Doug1234

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Hey jmj2001, sounds like you've got a nice process down, but I just wanted to point out that I used a slide feeder in my scanning project. This, accepted upwards of 100 slides and it worked quite well as long as the slides were the same type. (size, material (plastic/cardboard) and thickness). What was most time consuming was the blowing off of each side of each slide. It still took quite some time, especially at 4000dpi / slide, but it was a labour of love. Hearing the scanner "screaming" away was great. I'd return and find them all digitized in individual files and ready to go.
 
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