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File Handling

Lesson 21 from: Environmental Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

21. File Handling

Organizing files helps streamline the process and make invoicing easier. In this lesson, Dan shares his process for sharing and organizing digital images.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Introduction to The Environmental Portrait


Environmental Portrait Purpose


Personal Work


Find Your Process




Purpose For Action Editorial


Prepare for Shoot


Lesson Info

File Handling

Let's move on to file handling. We're gonna go through the full keynote and then I'll do it live here on the screen. I think it'll be a little easier and a little less convoluted. So with file handling, when we talk about that I mean folder structure. It's vital to the organization and the efficiency within your business, within your studio or within, if you're a hobbyist, just knowing where your pictures are when you want to post on Instagram or Facebook or share 'em with your family. So knowing how to organize that. I know my dad's recently gotten more and more into photography. Just bought himself a new camera and his laptop is always giving him, you know, he'll, how do you use this thing in iPhoto or whatever, and I'm looking at his computer. I said, these are all your pictures, I have no idea where you're putting them when you're uploading them. Here's how I do it, and maybe he's watching right now, he can follow some of this. As far as being able to organize the files, I have a s...

tructure that goes by name and date and then that way I can coincide that with my calendar so if I need a file from a shoot from, again, last June at a law firm, I can look on the calendar, oh the shoot was that day, which means the file name is gonna have 2017, 06 for June, 04 for the fourth of June and then 01, it might be the first shoot that day and then it'll be file 0001 through, if we take up to 9,999 files, we're covered. And most jobs are never gonna take more than 9,000 images. Most of the time it's not more than a couple hundred. So that's kind of mine. I'll show you some file structure. We'll make one up for the shoot for today and I'll show you how we work from that and then, again, being able to find 'em, and that's how my invoicing all works too. An invoice for a client might be that client's name, that date, and those numbers, so the clients, if they refer to an invoice, I always know which files they're talking about, because it all coincides, it all makes sense for me and it's easy to find and then it's always numerical because of the way the date's arranged with the year first. It works out pretty well. I use external drives for most jobs and I backup a lot of my work in the cloud. So with that said, there's some pretty intense and unique backup systems that photographers have, whether they have these whole racks of whatever, I don't even know. I'm not that technical when it comes to that stuff. What I do is pretty simple. I use a combination of these guys, multiple times over, some solid-state ones, then I also back up all my raws and raws only into the cloud. So I just have several terabytes of storage there. By keeping it always backed up and also loading those files up there after every shoot or every a night automated, I don't have to worry about bringing down our WiFi at the studio with a whole bunch of work. It's pretty well done. I keep all the jpegs on the drive and the raws, but then I keep just the raws in the cloud because those are the files that I really care about, those are the ones that I can work from, those are the lostless files that I like to save and I don't put all the raws there. When I'm making these selects like from our shoot today, I'm not putting all 262 images of Brock in the cloud, I'm taking those 34 selects because those other photos, I got rid of them for a reason, there's no real reason for me to go back and look at those again and save an extra 25 gigs of photos to the cloud when really all I need is the first six gigs. So don't overthink it. If you want to save everything, great. There might be a different solution for you, but mine is more quick, efficient and easy. And I keep all the jpegs on these drives and on the bottom, this drive doesn't have it because this one's new, but generally speaking I just put a piece of tape on the bottom, Gaff tape, and it'll say, 2018, quarter one. So it's January through March of and that'll have all the raws and jpegs. These are usually in two or four terabytes and I get two of 'em at a time so I just write to two of 'em. One of them never leaves the studio, one of 'em never seems to leave my backpack, so I just plug those in and go. And I know, again, there's probably safer or more efficient ways for the real, the technical people out there, but this works for me. It hasn't given me any trouble and it seems to work out just fine. That's how I do it. Again, there's probably great ways, you can read about that online. I keep my computer clutter free by saving everything to drives, into the cloud. I don't put a ton of photos on my actual laptop. I've had this laptop since 2013 or 14, so we're going on five years, and it still runs like day one and that's because other than the shoots we just did this week for CreativeLive, I have no files on this computer whatsoever. It only has a 500 gig hard drive, and I know when we're in Capture One, when you go to export, which you'll see eventually, you can see I still have 290 some open gigs. I'll move all these files over to this drive here before the day's over and get this thing back up to almost 400 free gigs because I like the hard drive to be free, running empty, I like to keep my software up to date and get rid of all the old stuff and I just don't like a lot of clutter on my desktop to slow the computer down and all that. So, again, I work from external drives and it works pretty well and it also keeps my computer running good even after five years. Not a lot of problems there, I just keep it simple.

Ratings and Reviews

Julie V

I had the chance to sit in the audience for this class and absolutely loved it. Watching Dan create amazing images from start to finish in front of us was so inspiring. I've learned so much from this class. It actually gave me the confidence to start playing with lights in my studio. It was really useful to see how he sets his lights and how he can easily mix ambient light with artificial. I also love how he focuses on getting the image right in the camera to only do light edits after. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn more about lighting, shooting tethered and editing efficiently!

a Creativelive Student

I love this guy! I so appreciate his honesty while he is explaining his thought process, admitting that his “shoulda/coulda/woulda’s” - which I experience ALL the time. I am now going to dust off my light meter and start using it on location as I’m convinced that it works now that I’ve seen Dan’s class. I enjoyed the detailed way he sets up each light individually, checking to make sure it adds the amount and quality of light he wants. Definitely recommend this class - especially for those people who have experience using studio lights and want to see how they can be used to get specific results. Dan’s clear, simple explanations, his unabashed humility, and his sense of humor made this a truly enjoyable way to spend my time learning his methods.

a Creativelive Student

Dan is an excellent instructor! He's completely transparent with his thought processes, from technical to creative. He doesn't waste time horsing around or getting off topic, but is structured and sticks to his outline. Every minute watched is on topic, and is understandable. He's sincere and likable. The course is great for anyone interested in this genre!

Student Work