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How To Get and Stay Organized in Lightroom

Lesson 3 of 11

Organizing and Naming Your Folders of Images

Tim Grey

How To Get and Stay Organized in Lightroom

Tim Grey

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Lesson Info

3. Organizing and Naming Your Folders of Images


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Storing Your Photos Duration:06:03
2 Understanding the Catalog Duration:10:18
4 First-Time Import Duration:19:43
7 Assigning Keywords Duration:03:41
8 Updating Metadata Duration:02:21
9 Intro to GPS Metadata in LR Duration:05:23
10 Filtering Your Photos Duration:09:07
11 Light Room Organization Q&A Duration:09:19

Lesson Info

Organizing and Naming Your Folders of Images

Let's, dive in. I'm actually going to switch catalogs. I'm gonna open a different catalog. Light room will close and restart in order to initiate that different catalog. In this case, this is how we really start. In liberia, you install light room, you're eager to dive in. You don't bother reading the manual what's that you don't bother reading a book or going to creative live and looking for some lessons on how to use light room no, and, in fact, light room is even teasing you a little bit. Here. This is click the import button to begin. It doesn't say why don't you learn about light room and how it works? Just jump right in and that's, where a lot of photographers get into trouble because let's, go ahead and take a look. At some of the folders so for our purposes today this is obviously just a demo environment I'm just working with copies of my images so I don't put any of my photos at risk in making this presentation today and so I have kind of four locations I'm gonna work with dur...

ing our little talk today I have the photos folder and that's just pretending to be my primary photo storage location then I have back up, which is a second copy will talk about how I use that in a moment and then I have a couple of media cards representing pictures that I've taken recently and I need to import into light room but more importantly, notice that light room starts with no images I can't go find my photos I can't browse in bridge I could just click a folder and say let me see those pictures in lighter might have to actually bring the photos in tow light room again that's not putting my photos magically inside some container that light room is keeping track of but rather that is leading light room that letting the catalog know about the photos themselves. I still need to maintain the photos plus the catalog let's go look at the actual photos so here's my little folder structure man, what a mess I've made of things here and if you're just getting started with light room, I recommend at least a little bit trying to get your folder structure cleaned up before you bring your photos into light from so for example, we got some folder names here it's a little bit of ah mix and match situation, but I want to think about how do you I plan to find my photos and you need to think about how you are going to find your photos and the way I recommend approaching this which is sort of a generic way of describing it is when you're looking for a photo, what comes to mind when you're looking for a photo, what comes to mind and so for example, if I'm thinking of an old train car in the rain, maybe with an umbrella would have you oh yeah, that was my san francisco trip, but when I think of that I'm thinking san francisco the folders you can see here is called visit to san francisco except I'm never going to go looking in the v's for visit when I'm looking for pictures that I captured in san francisco now for me personally usually my folder names relate to location because I travel a lot usually when it comes to thinking about oh, how about that seattle skyline photo? Where did you capture that? Well, it was in seattle or where did you take a picture of that crow or that yarn? Well, that was in austria I know based on the subject matter more or less where I wass not always I wish I always knew exactly where the image was, but usually that works pretty well for me this is where I really envy wedding photographers because they have so easy I mean not in every way only in this way but they have it so easy because we're going to call the folder of your wedding photographer the name of the couple like their last name that's so easy for me it's semi easy because it's where was I? How about dates? I don't even know what today is. So how am I possibly going to remember was I in spain in two thousand eight or two thousand nine? Well, you know I don't even know and so for me dates don't work for some photographers there usually engineers I've noticed but for some photographers dates perfect, I guess a final test you rainbow there's where you just invent the date out of thin air and pretend like you asked we knew and then say you're an engineer, they will give me a date. The problem is I can't prove that they're wrong because I don't see there like catalogs they could totally be just lying to me but I have that photographers who swear that I can give them a subject and they could give me a date and that is a amazing to me I'm totally impressed for me that doesn't work and so my approach is again what is the subject matter usually that's location sometimes its subject matter it just depends all that matters is how I think of it so I have a folder here called czech republic trip october two thousand nine there a couple things wrong with that number one I don't only think of that is my czech republic trip I only want the prague I think of it is my prague trip and so right off of that I want to change that to prague's I'll go ahead and just rename to prague I could include czech republic if I want to whatever the case may be but the most important thing for me personally is what does it start with because I'm going to go down to the peace when I'm looking for prague and I'm gonna go down to the peace and looking for paris and the a's are looking for austria etcetera but also actually the month and year that seems helpful but actually it's not the best approach necessarily because now the folders will not appear in the right order because alphabetically december comes before october but it's after october on the calendar and so I recommend putting number one the year first so in this case two thousand nine for example and then I use numbers to represent the months what was it? October so I'll go ahead and type two thousand nine dash ten, for example, signifying october two thousand nine. And this way, if I make multiple trips to prague over time, they'll be sorted also by date order. So kind of a sub ordering structure, if you will, I could added eight for austria, except I don't remember which photos those were in which dates this flowers folder that was actually central park flowers. Not that it really matters, like there's special flowers that grow in central park. On the flowers on there, it's just that when I think about those images, I'm actually thinking about central park and once again change that date structure. So I'm not going to fix all of those just in the interest the time you get the idea, you know, workshop at mmm, double, you know, that was a trip to maine, and so that would be, you know, probably better suited to be called name plus some additional information.

Class Description

A consistent workflow is key to keeping your photos organized in Lightroom. In How to Get and Stay Organized in Lightroom, Tim Grey will help you develop a workflow that is right for you.

Tim will guide you through the essential components of an image-management workflow and recommend reliable systems for organizing your photos. You’ll learn how to import photos into your catalog, manage folders, and identify favorite photos. Tim will help you develop a functioning protocol so you can always find the photo you’re looking for.

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom 5


Michael Griffith

I've been using Lightroom for a number of years, but thought it might be helpful to review the program. Tim Grey does is an expert in the program and does a wonderful job of explaining the intricacies of the program. He uses a lot of self deprecating humor and his examples stick with you. The map feature is one LR tab I've never before used. Having updated some of the metadata tags, I can easily find my pictures of Costa Rica or Taos, NM. (plus its fun to see my travels plotted on a map)

Gary Hook

Tim has a great style and a wealth of knowledge. I appreciate that he not only talks about a technique, but takes the time to actually demonstrate the 'how' and the results. Although I've been using LR for some time, I came away with some great tips and insights in some areas such as using the Maps function as a search tool


I have discovered a new teacher I LOVE. I love the pace of Tim's teaching as well as his linear pratical advise. He stays on task as he teaches and is thorough. He even adds a little humor. This is a great to the point course!