Organizing your Lightroom Catalog





It's almost time for new resolutions, why not start with your Lightroom catalog? Here Don & Olivier discuss their system for organizing their photographs in Lightroom. The same principles apply for Aperture and other programs.


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5 thoughts on “Organizing your Lightroom Catalog”

  1. Isn’t there a plugin for Lightroom to move your physical files around and put them under some kind of folders hierarchy (e.g. root/year/month) and update references in the catalog to new filepaths? That would be cool, because doing that manually has “short legs”, you will get bored after 50 photos, and there’s only 20000 more to go.

    Btw, it is possible to configure Lightroom (and that’s what I`m doing with great success) to do the stuff for you upon import – to put imported files into a desired folders structure (I do year/month as number) and I also tell it to renames files to add capture time at the beginning of the original filename.

    1. Hey Jacek,
      We are not really Lightroom wizards, so we don’t know about such plugin, it would be killer tough, does the work for you!
      Yes, forgot to mention that in the Podcast, to import with a certain structure. But for me tough, and it’s a personal choice, I like to create my own folders, call me old school 🙂

  2. Hi guys, happy holidays
    Folders are fine, I use the same 2013-12-xxxxx naming convention for each file (rename after import in the 2013-12 folder However, the key tool for me is to make good use of collections, by year again but also by subject (location, mostly). I create sets with subcollections, one holding unedited originals, one holding unedited virtual BW copies, one holding processed/edited BW virtual copies. seems to work for me, keeps things tidy and tries to allow re-processing different versions from the unedited virtual copies leaving older versions intact…
    But hey, to each their own…

  3. More specifically:
    – import as DNG in LIBR-201y-mm master library folder (do not rename on import, so that you can recognize backups in BACK-2001y-mm folder)
    – move the files to the always ready collection set “Work in Progress”, which contains collection “WiP all” and smart collections called “Original” “BW Basic” “BW Process”, “BW To be processed” selecting files and virtual copies from “WiP all” depending on Copy Name except the latter which will select based on the clor flag Purple (for To be Edited). See below.
    – Tag all files with Copy name : “Original”. they will automatically fill the “Original” smart collection for easy reference later. Try not to play around with these, perhaps just correct blatant exposure adjustments.
    – Mark as reject the real bad stuff, and erase
    – Rename remaining files as LIBR-201y-mm-xxxx
    – do a virtual copy (from within the WiP All collection!) and apply my basic BW conversion preset and Copy Name : “BW Basic”. never look at color versions again, they would cloud your editing judgement. look at the “BW Basic” smart collection to avoid the risk!
    – Run first edit with pick flags (roughly aiming at no more than 33% pass rate)
    – select all picks, do virtual copies of these again (from within the WiP All collection, not the smart collection or you will ‘lose’ them and will need to fetch them from the orginal folder and move them back to the WiP All collection!), apply Copy Name : “BW-Process” and a purple flag for “To be Processed”
    – now move to BW to be Processed, start adding full metadata and process to your heart content. when done, remove the Purple flag so that the processed stuff gets out of your way.
    – when done, move to the ” BW Process” smart collection and proceed to Titling, Captioning, full metadata labeling etc.
    – Ideally, let marinate for a few days before editing again, applying first 1 star and aiming to another 33% keep rate (which brings you to 10% of the shoot. 2 stars are best assigned after a longer time, once every month or more, for the real keepers…
    – Once the 1 stars are done, job is over and you can move the entire content of the WiP All collection to some other collection set (e.g. 2013 New York) in which you have created the same Original, BW Basic, BW Process smart collection to quickly find your babies.

    Works for me… happy if you try it out and let me know.

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