Sorting Images into folders, (Lightroom)

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by alaios, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Real Name:
    Hi there,
    I will have my lightroom software coming home soon, and I wanted to ask what is the way you sort your images? Right now the program used by nex to import images makes directories just by the dates.
    This has the drawback that the date does not have any more information and there is no serial number (so sorting the folders over names makes the folders look unsorted).

    What is the way you sort your images? How do you handle your source files (either raw and jpegs) and how you add the files coming from the processing?

    I would like to thank you in advance for your help

  2. Michael Johansson

    Michael Johansson TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 15, 2012
    Ystad, Sweden
    Real Name:
    Michael Johansson
    I rename all my pic files in the format YYMMDD-NNN (YearMonthDay-Number). Then I store them in a separete HD with directories, one for each year and each of these has 12 directoeries named 01Januaray, 02February ..... The files are stored in respective month directory. Thats all. So far I have never taken more than 999 pictures in one single day so the file name format works for me and the file system is "clean" and easy to overview.

    In LR you can tag the pics if you want. That might make it easier to find pics in specific subjects.
  3. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Real Name:
    I personally prefer to disable that whole sorting by date feature (particularly the separate folder for each day - doesn't suit my flow at all)

    I do use a master folder for each calendar year, then create a subfolder for my glass product shots (used to do one for each month but this year I ditched that) then a folder for each special event (i.e. "Road Trip To Boise March 2012"). The odd frame I pop here & there goes into a miscellaneous folder for the year ("20## Misc"). I store lens test shots in a completely different master folder, with subfolders for each lens. Every individual will settle on a slightly different method - that's what I like so far.

    And of course, with keywords and groups, you can access and compare images from different folders as needed. I really love LR for the flexibility and control it gives me for this kind of stuff. A bit of quality time with the manual should open up many unimagined possibilities. (I say that to myself as much as you - I keep stumbling on amazing new features...)
  4. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Real Name:
    After 11+ years I'm still trying to figure a filing system out. ;)
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Real Name:
    I keep all of my 3,000+ images in one folder on my hard drive. But I tag all of them (well, most of them) in Lightroom with keywords for easy sorting and retrieval. Having them all in one place makes it so much easier for me to find what I'm after, rather than having to go diving through multiple folders.
  6. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Real Name:
    Good one. I guess then the hardest is to find good enough tags to differentiate between photos containing the same scene, or quite similar
  7. ErickSaint

    ErickSaint TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Real Name:
    I haven't really figured out my workflow as of yet. Only been using LR a short time. I currently sort by date on import, then use tags for retrieval. Ideally it would be nice to have things sorted by event IE "First Snowshoeing Trip" as it's own directory. But I have a habit of taking a few days/events worth of pics, then dumping the whole batch to a dated folder folder. Sometimes I dont have the patience to tick all of one event, import to folder, then repeat for the other events on the card. Maybe I should work on that.
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 9, 2013
    I have a separate folder for each year and a separate subfolder for each month and then a new subfolder within the month for each shoot of any significance, which I title based on the subject of the shoot. So if I remember roughly when I shot something I can look in the subfolders for a month or two and identify it by the subject of the shoot and if that doesn't work, I can just highlight each month and quickly browse through all of the images for that month. I don't title stuff by date because that's easy enough to find in the exif information and sort accordingly, and my monthly filing system makes it easy too. So far, so good. I should use collections more and sort my best stuff into them by general topic or type of shooting, but I basically never do. Just using the folders allows me to find stuff easily enough.

  9. gio

    gio TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 12, 2012
    Manchester, uk

    over 40 yrs for me, should be easy nowadays , I start off with the best intentions then drift off after a day, by then it's too big a job psychologically to be bothered, so as I go along I have a mad hour now and again where I sort some, this appeases my guilt
  10. olli

    olli TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 16, 2011
    Washington DC
    Real Name:
    Another vote for date order. Mine are all ordered by camera/place/city/year/month/day so for example NEX5/China/Hong Kong/2011/9/16 etc. I don't bother putting anything more specific in the folder name because that's what LR labels are for. Everything gets labelled and I use those labels to create smart collections.

    Simply put, any piece of data that exists in LR you can use to organise and manage your files within LR. With this it is easy to find anything you want. The key to it is discipline - keep things organised in folders, label everything, (and make regular backups of your LR catalogue.)
  11. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I have a system that predates my use of Lightroom and was set up with the goal of being as portable as possible, so that I could easily migrate between computers, operating systems and still maintain search capability. Besides, LR is too resource heavy for me to commit to using it as my main file browsing / organizing tool.

    Basically, I save all photos by Year/Month directory structure. This is easily handled via LR import. Inside every directory, I put a plain text file named with that date (photos 2013-02.txt). In this file, I type comments / tags / keywords describing the photos. E.g. " Family, Zoo, Birthday party in the park, Canoe". It's all in free format, whatever I would think of when searching for a particular photo.

    I then can use the OS search function and look for "photo*.txt" containing the text "zoo, alligator" to find the photo of my kids holding a baby alligator in the zoo. Or I can search for "photo*.txt" containing "zoo" and get a list of all photo directories containing pics of our trips to the zoo, sorted by date. From there, I just use "open the containing folder" command to get to particular photos. Coupled with a fast viewer ( I use Fastsone) this system works great, doesn't tie me to one program, and doesn't take any more time than assigning keywords in LR. I can back up all photos to an external HD and take it to a Mac or Linux system and I still have my searchable database. I only use LR to find by Exif info such as ISO or focal range.
  12. Mattithjah

    Mattithjah TalkEmount Veteran

    Jan 17, 2013
    Czech Republic
    Real Name:
    I have NEX system (and nex photos) and Nikon DSLR system (and so photos)...
    So I had a lot of folders sorted by date/time system, one of each import from camera... really mess!

    Last year I sorted my folders imported from nex into simple system:
    There are about 7 main folders, such as SPORT, MACRO, PORTRAITS, EVENTS, STREET, FAMILY/PETS...
    First subfolders are years of made and second subfolders are, for example for MACRO/2013/COLEOPTERA, ARANEIDA, DIPTERA, HYMENOPTERA... and so on.
    Very easy to sort for me.

    After import I delete rubbish shots in Faststone Imageviewer and than sort photos on particular folder and than update import of this folder in Lightroom.

    Sent from my LG-P350 using TalkNEX mobile app
  13. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Real Name:
    I am currently at the mess phase. I am importing images with playmemories home and everything is sorted by date.
    It is a really mess to pinpoint what you need... but still I am not sure how the ordering might improve things ....

    'Any guide that can brainstorm me a bit?

  14. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    Real Name:
    I import by date but may add a name to the title, I then also keyword the images (when I remember)

    My method is not so much a mess but more like organized chaos which suits my lifestyle quite well.
  15. pdxphotoman

    pdxphotoman New to TalkEmount

    Jun 28, 2013
    I have LR set up so that every day's shoots go into their own folder under the month, under the year. After import, I mark the rejects and delete from the disk, then select all belonging to a particular group and give them one or two keywords, then put into collections. I've been told this is not the best file structure, since the date is already available in metadata, but I've been using it since the dawn of Lightroom and, with everything backed up, am comfortable with it. The downside is that it's Lightroom dependent. i.e., if I later move from LR and can't import the catalog to new software, I have no way of telling from the file structure what is what. I think Tim Gray uses a structure that he creates to reflect location -- i.e., Europe>Italy>Florence>2012, or something similar. If you're starting from scratch, you might want to search his site and get a recommendation.
  16. olli

    olli TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 16, 2011
    Washington DC
    Real Name:
    Mine is sorted by Camera, then Location, then Year, the Date so, for example, Sony A200/Germany/2010/2010-08-18

    I also try and do at least a basic set of keywords (LR's term for labels) for everything and go back when there's time and add more complete labels. As well as being able to search and filter on your own labels you can also search and filter on all the metadata attached to the image.

    You can also use search to create smart collections. So, for example, if you have bunch of images spread across your folders taken in winter and have them labelled winter, you can create a smart collection on the label that will pull all your winter shots together. You can add multiple filters, including negative filters. For example, winter shots taken in a particular city with a certain camera excluding any before a certain date. These collections are remembered by LR until you delete them so they are available as long as you want them to be.

    The two most important things to remember are, first, that labeling is crucial to getting the best out of LR. you should take the time to label as much as possible. You should also try to be consistent with labelling. For example, if you label one winter scene as 'winter' and another as 'snow' then unless you remember to include both when you are creating a smart collection you will miss some out. Better to try to be consistent and inclusive - label both images 'winter' and add the 'snow' label in addition where appropriate.

    Second, take your time now to think about how you want to set up your cataloging system. You can reorganize at a later stage but if you do it outside of LR then you will have a lot of work to re-link your LR catalog to your folder structure. You can reorganize within LR but it's a long and irritating business (I know; I've done it. Never again). Also, once you have imported files and folders into LR only ever move or delete them within LR. If you don't you break the link between the actual file and the information in the LR catalog and you will have to manually reconnect them.

    Hope this helps.