Define Your Folder Strategy
So today we're gonna talk about advanced work flows in light room and the way I really think about this. I actually don't like to think about beginner advanced. I don't think about this a skill level so much as sophistication or putting a finer point on your workflow. Essentially, when it comes to workflow, we're really talking about defining a workflow that works for, used to defining a way to approach the process of organizing your images of optimizing your images, maybe even sharing your photos and finding approaches to that workflow. That makes sense based on the type of photography that you're doing based on the way you think about your images, the way you look for your images, the particular look that you like to have in your images. Are you more about color images versus black and white, for example, more dramatic versus subtle and so thinking about processes approaches? I know it sounds a process. Now we're becoming engineers. We have to think about the process of doing all of ...
this work, but really, it's just about coming up with particular approaches to these various tasks that make sense to you and help you accomplish those tasks as efficiently as possible, one of the challenges that I think a lot of photographers have, especially when they're just getting started with light room. But of course, some of those habits you developed early on kind of continue with you as you're getting more and more advanced in your knowledge of light room. But one of the mistakes I see is number one, that photographers don't necessarily really understand how light room is working before they get started. And also they listened to too many people. They listen to too many different instructors with different viewpoints. When you're just getting started, that can actually be a really big challenge, because now you're just getting confused. You're just learning how light room works, and you've got three different opinions on three completely different approaches to organizing your photos. And so, for those who were just getting started light room, I recommend listeningto one person. It doesn't have to be me, but try and find one person who style resonates with you. Maybe take similar types of photography, whether it's wedding photography, landscape photography, travel photography and try to stick with them for a little while until you feel comfortable in light room, and then you can sort of graduate to those more advanced work clothes and other things we'll talk about today and get different inputs. So some of the things that I'm going to share with you today are based on my personal preferences. So I'm not trying to talk you in to a workflow that works for me, but rather, I'm thinking of these Maura's examples, these air approaches that worked for me. I'm gonna explain to you why these approaches work for me so that you can figure out now that you're starting to get a little bit more comfortable with light room, you can figure out whether or not my approach makes sense to you. Maybe my approach is the worst possible way for you to approach your workflow, but having that additional info will give you the ability to make a decision for yourself in terms of what does make sense. Maybe you want to go the opposite extreme compared to what I do, or you're going to take my approach and fine tune. But again, it's just a matter of figure out what works best for your needs as a photographer and one of the most fundamental things when it comes to getting organized in light room is really what happens outside of light room. And that is where your photos or store and how they're organized in terms of that base level of organisational system. So light room. I'm sure we're all familiar. It's using a catalogue. That catalog is essentially keeping track of all of our photos, all of the folders that contain our photos, all of the information about our photos so that we can use that information inside of light room to locate our images. We can optimize their images. We can share our images because light room is doing a lot of that work for us. My recommendation for most photographers is that you consider having just one light room catalog for all of your images, a single catalogue for everything, so that when it comes to looking for an image, all you have to do is launch light room and start looking for your pictures instead of launching like room and then having to decide am I in the right catalogue? Do I need to open a different catalogue? Which catalogue contains the photos that I'm looking for, I don't know. And so, by having a single catalogue, I think that helps to streamline a big piece of that workflow. Having said that, I actually used more than one cattle, which seems to make no sense whatsoever. Except it does. And to those who are just getting started in like room. I don't mention this other catalogue because I don't want to confuse them. But as you start getting more familiar, more comfortable flight room, you can take this information and understand how to translate it to your own work. Clothes. I travel a lot. Most of my photography has taken away from home. I'm hardly ever home. Two weeks at home is a long time for me, and so I want tohave a traveling catalogue when I'm out on a trip. I like to have a single catalogue for those pictures on capturing during that trip. When I get home, I merge those images into my master catalogue. So conceptual E. I think of myself as having only one light room catalog, my master catalogue that contains all of my 330,000 images and growing. But when I'm traveling, I like to have a separate catalog just because now I don't have all that clutter of all of my other pictures. I can just focus on the images that I'm capturing during that trip, so I want one catalogue. But while I'm traveling, I'll have a traveling catalogue, which I then merged with my master catalog back at home. Other photographers have other reasons for wanting multiple catalogs. Usually I disagree with them. Not always. Every now and then I find a photographer who has a really good reason for using multiple catalogs. But I do recommend giving some thought to the notion of having a single master catalogue that contains all of your images, whether they're commercial shots, personal personal shots, vacation shots, whatever it might be to me. They're all the images that I have created, and I might want to find different ones for different reasons at different times. And so I want just one place, one light from catalog to go to when I'm looking for those images. I also like to streamline my organizational structure by having a single location for storing my photos. That might be an external hard drive exclusively dedicated to your pictures. It might be a folder on an external hard drive that used to store a lot of different information, including your photos. It might be an internal hard drive if you've got a big enough hard drive in your computer to store those photos. I'm not really concerned about the spit specific nature of that storage location, but rather that you settle on a single location, if at all possible. And again, there might be reasons that you think it makes sense to divide across multiple hard drives. But the one little tidbit that all add to that is when we're looking at our list of folders on the left panel in the library module in light room. Those folders are listed alphabetically. If I had divided those across two hard drives now I've got to look across two different lists of folders. I don't know about you, but that sounds confused. That sounds like clutter, and it's not going to be is easy for me to locate the specific folder that I'm looking for. I scroll through alphabetically, looking for a particular folder, and it's not there Now. I've got to go to my second list of folders and see if it's on that list. And if I had 1/3 hard drive with yet more full, there's now things were getting really messy. ID rather streamline, if at all possible. So one storage location again. One catalogue, one storage location. So then folders become our primary method for organizing the photos. And one of the things that I think is really important about using folders on your hard drive to organize your images is that that organ organizational structure goes beyond the light from I love light room. I use, like, from extensively to organize my images. But if for any reason, I lost my light room catalogue if for any reason I couldn't get toe light room, I still have that folder structure, which gives me a baseline ability to go back and find images. I could just browse my hard drive in my operating system and get to my photos, and I'd have a reasonably good chance of finding the image that I was looking for. So when it comes to that folder structure that we have to think about, okay, what, we're gonna Neymar folders, and this really depends on how you think about your pictures So again, I'm not looking to try to convince you that my approach to naming folders is what makes the most sense for you but rather encouraging to give some thought. How do you think about your images when you're looking for a particular photo? Do you remember the date on which you captured that image? If so, I am amazed, and I never thought it was possible. And then I started asking people, Can you really find pictures by dates? And someone would say yes and I'd ask him what they did for a living. And eight times out of 10 they say, engineer, and they could tell me the dates that they captured particular images, which I found absolutely fascinating and amazing. Now, granted, they could've been lying to me and just making updates. But I know that there are some photographers for whom a date based folder structure makes perfect sense. They know what year they made certain trips and what have you If that works for you, that's wonderful. It's just that it does not work for me. What does work for May is generally speaking, location based. Generally speaking, when I'm photographing scenes or subjects I've traveled to get there. I travel a lot, so I'm usually focused on the location. In my mind, it's all about where I am, not even necessarily what I'm photographing. If I went to Alaska for the express purpose of photographing bald eagles, to me, that would not be a bald Eagles trip. That would be a trip to Alaska, because the way I think about my photography usually relates to location, but for you, it might be a bald Eagles trip. We went there specifically to photograph bald eagles, and so in your mind, it's the bald Eagles trip. But again, it's about how you think of your photos so that when you're going to look on that folder list, which is often times a key way that you're going to locate specific photos, you know where to go. If it's a date, wonderful. If it's a location, excellent. If its subject matter, that's wonderful to whatever works for you. But I do encourage you to think about how you might approach that, and we can also were defining our folder structure primarily, of course, before you use light room, you just defined a folder structure on your hard drive once you start using light room were primarily defining where our new folders are going to be created. Using that import feature. When we import our images in the light room from our media cards, for example, we can define which folder we want to be created for those images and where we want that folder to be created. So you get to decide what the name of that fool there is. Well, okay, so you've decided that maybe dates aren't working for you anymore. You want to switch to a name based location based whatever it might be. Rest assured, we can make those changes inside of light room. In fact, we must make those changes inside of light room. If you want to move a folder, move a photo rename a photo rename a folder. All of that must be done inside of life. So I encourage you to give some thought to what makes sense in terms of a folder structure based on your photography based on the way you think about your photography and then consider number one, how will you approach folder structure moving forward and then also do you need to go back and maybe clean some things up just a little bit. So I have one example in this case, Hungary 2012. Except I don't think of these images as being my Hungary images, because to me, this trip was all about Budapest. And so this folder really ought to be the Budapest folder rather than the Hungary folder. So if you have existing folders that you feel the name isn't quite right, you might not have used the best naming structure for all of those folders. You can absolutely go back and re named those, and it's really, I think, a good process. Dare I say it could be a fun process, but more importantly, it's a process that could give you so much relief as you start to feel that your overall organizational structure is getting more and more tidy. So, for example, in the case of renaming a folder, Aiken simply right click on the folder and choose the option to rename. That will bring up a dialog where I can change the name of that folder. And yes, this will change the name of the folder not just in light room, but also out on my hard drive. If I had done this the other way around and gone out to my operating system and renamed the folder in the operating system light room is gonna have no idea what I've done. All it knows is that the Hungary folder no longer exists. It cannot find it. Good luck now. Images, air missing, heart palpitations begin. And now you think you're never going to see those pictures ever again. But you can avoid all of that headache by simply doing all of that image management work inside of, like magic to say Once you're using light room to manage your photos, everything you do with your photos starts inside of light room. And so in this case, for example, I can just simply rename this folder to Budapest hungry 2012 and the approach that I like to use generally speaking again. It's how do I think about this particular set of photos for me, that's usually location based in some way. Not always. For example, I had a folder called Cross Country Road Trip. That's what makes sense to me. And so, even though it wasn't really a location perceptive, suppose you could call cross country a location of sorts. But again, it's just how I think about the photos that are contained within that folder and any changes that I want to make. I'm going to make right inside of light rum, sold ahead and save that change to the Hungary folder, making it a Budapest Hungary folder. But notice that I also have the year, and in most cases I will include the year, especially if I think it's a location I might visit more than once. Sometimes I even include the month if I go to the same location, maybe more than once in a given year. Now I want to distinguish between one trip versus the other trip, so now include the month. But here we have to also be very thoughtful in terms of defining that naming structure. If I'm going to add the month, I don't have any. Let's see, Well, let's go to Capri underwater photos because I remember what month that full there represents. I don't remember a month I was in Budapest, Hungary, but I do remember that Capri was in September of and so I also want to add September How will I do that? We'll go ahead and right click and rename this folder, and you might think that we would just simply add the word September in front of the year. Except the problem with that is, whoever defined the names of the months decided not to make them in alphabetical order. And so now the different months, if you were listening them alphabetically by name, are not going to appear in the correct chronological order. And so instead, I use the number for the month, so September would be nine, specifically 09 so that all those numbers line up because we have 10 11 and 12 is two digit numbers. We use a leading zero, but also I put the month after the year so that when we sort, if we had multiple in this case Capri underwater trips and then I've got the year dash the month. Now those folders will sort alphabetically Equalling chronological order, so the to become the same. So I would say, for example, dash 09 on the tail end of that to define. Here is my autumn trip to Capri, and I had a spring trip is well, which may be, let's say, was in April than in the 2014-4 so that when I sort those folders alphabetically, which is the way light when presents them to me, I know that I've got them in, in this case, chronological order as well. In some cases, I might even compress, you might say, or collapse a folder structure if I visited the same place multiple times. I generally every spring and we'll June, I guess, spring into summer go out to the police region of eastern Washington State. I've been going out there for about 10 years now, and so I've got a folder for basically every single year for about the last 10 years. And so at some point it becomes just a whole lot of folders, and so I might create a parent folder above that and consolidate those folders into a parent folder. But really, it's just a matter of what makes sense to me. When does it start to feel like too much clutter? Am I using a good naming structure and just being thoughtful about that coming up with sort of a template, if you will, a basic approach to how you name those holders and then using that consistently moving forward and going back and cleaning up changing those folder names for previously worked on images.