Thursday, July 17, 2008

One of My Occasional Advice Postings for Beginning Photographers

I post these from time to time so you don't do the things I done. Specifically, don't do this...

When I started taking pictures I was pretty haphazard about organizing them. Before long, I started at least being consistent, and saving model shoots in folders named like this:


Well, I decided to start mining my back sessions for stock, and step one was putting them ALL in LightRoom so I could easily access and sort them. That took hours and hours. (Generating the previews on 60K images is a long slow grind.)

Then, once it was too late, it occurred to me that it's not a very useful thing to sort on Model_Name_Date, especially when your dates are in American format (MMDDYY.) The only thing you can sort on is the model's first name, and even then the shoots won't be in temporal order!

Yes, I am so smart that when I'm dumb, it's a lulu. I gotta fix this...

So now I am going through my LR catalog and changing each folder to:


Folders which are specific projects and not just model shoots are getting this naming convention:


Where "CC" is one of five "types" of projects (Family, Other Personal, Spec, Paid Clients, Miscellaneous) each of which has a two-digit code. That allows me to add 95 more codes if I want.

I'm not saying it's perfect but it will be *consistent* and allow chronological and type sorting. If you don't like it, use your own system. But use one!


The preceding is the naming convention for my folders (or directories, if you prefer.) So a shoot might be something like 2005-07-08-Lady_Atropos.

The naming convention for retouched images *in* a given shoot is:


For instance, a picture called "In Shadows" which corresponds to the RAW file _MG_3456.CR2 would be:


I usually save my mods (crops, b&w conversions) all in one PSD file, but in separate JPEG's, which go in subdirectories called "Retouched" and "JPEGs" respectively. So if the above image had one crop and one b&w conversion, it would look like this on disk:



3456_in_shadows.jpg (This is the original image.)

3456_in_shadows_1.jpg (This is the crop.)

3456_in_shadows_1_bw.jpg (This is the cropped b&w conversion.)

3456_in_shadows_bw.jpg (This is the b&w conversion.)
Then when I do my galleries for models or whatever, I just point the generator at /Retouched/JPEGs/ for that session, and it automatically generates a gallery with one of each variant of every retouched picture. I can then have models send me filenames copied from the galleries, and if I ever want to review the original image from any variant, the file number takes me right back to the RAW file.



Rebecca Lawrence said...

Congrats on getting yourself organized! My harddrive looks kind of like the bottom of my suitcase, so hearing about other peoples' workflow inspires me.

Rachael said...

This goes for models, too! I really love when photographers send discs, because it keeps everything organized in hard format. But, when I receive emailed photos, it's hard to keep track and organize everything. Good advice!