Wednesday, July 22

How I Organize My Lightroom Photos

3 weeks ago I experienced an external Drive failure and was able to 'recover' 90% of the images over 6 days to a new external drive by moving images from failed to new drive, and then I located most of the missing 10% of the images using a) Google Takeout download, b) backup 'restore' of selected folders from Apple Time Capsule and cloud based service Backblaze. Now the challenge (and the opportunity) was to organize 15,000+ images by a) File Type - RAW and Jpeg, b) Location and c) cross location Themes. Here is current approach within the Library database of Lightroom Classic: 
  1. Assign all images by type within a Location designation already exisiting, so under RAW are sub-folders in location alphabetical order. Ditto for Jpeg's.
  2. I save exported RAW images as Jpeg's (although not necessary since I have the RAW in most cases), but it is convenient for spontaneous sharing.
  3. Vetting of location folders starts by viewing (in grid mode) each folder insuring that a Star Rating is assigned and Keywords for each image correspond to the location ... I am location-centric not date-centric.
  4. Note; Star Rating 1=supporting HDR image; 2=Photo(s) I want to keep for memory sake, not photos for public sharing; 3=an image that has a potential to 'be something', in extreme cases shareable and basic post-processing has been applied; 4=an mage that 'is something' and shareable on my websites, 500px and Facebook; 5=ready for sale, something I would put my name on (tip: or 3/4 rated shared images with many Likes/Wows.
  5. I move in Lightroom RAW images to Raw location sub-folders and Jpeg images to Jpeg location sub-folders
  6. I compare RAW and Jpeg images in a selected location and any Jpeg image that is not in the Raw folder for that location - I move that Jpeg to the RAW location sub-folder (Note: the images in the RAW folder/subfolder are primary)
  7. Further organization underway and being developed includes revisiting in an orderly manner all images starting with rating 5, then 4 etc.
  8. For 4 & 5 rated images, I will consider editing in Luminar using Looks and other presets for a Wow factor
  9. Finally, I move onto the Collections feature in Lightroom where I can 'collect' and organize all images that match a theme, purpose of look I desire (i.e. websites, Lighthouses, Old Town, Sunrise/Sunsets, Family and events, etc.) across all locations without needing to duplicate the image and save.