Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I stumbled upon this topic when setting up the blog entry for Monday. It was one of those things that I know is important, and that I have been meaning to do, but that is just really about as fun as getting teeth pulled.

What am I talking about? Setting up and organizing lightroom catalogs and keywording. I really hate it. I started out with good intentions, really I did. I even spent some time thinking about my file structure, naming conventions, etc. Then the problems started. First, I decided that I was going to use one lightroom catalog for all of my professional files (wedding, portraits, etc.) and one for all of my personal files. Sounded like a great idea until I realized that my computer - not exactly state of the art, but not terrible either - gets totally bogged down with large lightroom catalogs.

The next problem starts coming in when I go to look for pictures that were taken before I got my copy of lightroom. One of the greatest things about lightroom is its ability to sort data on command to quickly find whatever you want. But, that is only is you take the time to put in the data in the first place. It can't find files that haven't been imported and keyword searches only work if you have tagged the photos with keywords. Unfortunately they have yet to come up with software that can read my mind and do it for me. *sigh*

So, my big project for the next couple weeks in my copious spare time *hehehe* is to set up all of my lightroom catalogs, import all of my pictures(past, present, and otherwise) and keyword ALL of them. I thought that I would do a multi-part blog article to cover my approach and help you think about yours. Today I will run down how I am setting up my catalogs and next Wednesday I will go over some tips and tricks for keywording.

So, on we go. I have decided that what is best for me (at the moment anyway) Is to work with multiple lightroom catalogs. Each professional portrait session or wedding gets its own catalog. When I name the catalogs I name them with the date (YYMMDD), my two digit category code, the bride's last name then the groom's last name like so:
I do the date this way so that they are always in chronological order when sorted alphabetically by the computer. For portraits it is the same only there is a different category code and just one last name:

For my personal photos I have a catalog for each year just named "Personal 2009". If I find that the catalogs get too large with all the photos from a single year, I will break them down by month "Personal March 2009".

I then also have one more catalog named "Mollie Tobias Photography". In this catalog I put copies of all of my "keepers" any photos from either personal or professional shoots that I really like and plan to use in my portfolio or marketing materials.

That's the plan for now and I will be working on making it happen over the next few weeks. Check back next week for our segment on keywording!

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