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Old Jun 11, 2012, 9:39 PM   #1
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Default Organizing Photos

What is the best program for organizing & sorting photos on the computer? I have Adobe Elements 6 that I use for editing etc. I find that everytime I want to find a photo in elements I have to go through all the ones I have in there to look for it so I don't know if I can organize the photos in a different program that will connect to Elements or if I also need to sort the photos in Elements to find them easier.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks

Janice
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 4:33 PM   #2
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First, how do you store your photos, first thing from the camera to the computer? Many of us store by creating a folder for the date, and sometimes adding descriptive tags to the photos.
For just sorting through folders full of pictures, I like Irfanview thumbnails. It uses a tree type folder list on the left side, much like windows explorer, and shows thumbnail views in the main panel. It can be customized to open a selected photo to a default editor or two or three others. (you could select Elements as the default, and have two other alternates for special use)
Irfanview also has a number of ways to batch process and rename files, which can help to turn a random bunch of shots into an organized array. If I were ambitious enough, I would do all this myself.
(though I like Irfanview, there are others, such as xnview, which do pretty much the same sorts of things. when you install these free programs, you should pay attention, as there are toolbars and other adware which you may not want, and have to opt out of)
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 2:18 PM   #3
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I like Lightroom for photo organization. My photos are now stored on external hard drive(s) chronologically. I have a lightroom catalog for each drive (at the moment I have two drives but that is going to increase fairly shortly to a third one) that includes all photos on the drive. They are all keyworded, so if I want a picture of a flower I can see just those photos that are keyworded "flower", regardless of when I took it (except for the broad timeframe of the 1TB drive). My drives are bare hard drives that I use in an eSATA docking station, so if I'm looking for a particular flower picture and don't see it on the first drive I looked at, I can change to the other drive quickly. The one thing is that keywording takes work to keep up and the system is only useful if you do have everything keyworded in a way that makes sense to you (think about what is important about the picture that might be a reason for looking for it again - i.e., location, subject, technical aspect that might be interesting etc.).

I used a trial version of Aperture (I use mac computers) for a while and it seemed like it could do the same thing, though it "thinks" (goes about it all) differently.

Both of these programs are a whole lot faster and easier than trying to look in every folder you might have pictures in. And you don't have to have tons of notebooks with contact sheets (thumbnails of all your pictures) organized chronologically.

When I edit a picture for computer use, I make a new file, leaving the original (usually RAW) file alone. I include the file number of the original in the edited picture, so can can cross-reference back to the original file if I want to change something later on for some reason. Since the camera assigns the numbers sequentially, they are chronological and it makes it very quick to find the original file.

I don't like having folders by subject - if you have taken a picture of a pretty flower on vacation in Colorado, would you put it in a "Colorado" folder or a "flower" folder? That's why I like the keyword system - I can ask for all pictures taken in Colorado and that flower picture will show up, or I can ask for all flower pictures and it will bring up the Colorado flower as well as those taken in the botanical gardens, wildflowers on hillsides and some in a friend's garden that I forgot all about.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 2:54 PM   #4
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Elements does (or did when I tried it out) have a photo organizer/catalog program which is installed by default when you install Elements. I used it on an older XP machine and found it was taking an incredible amount of time to start. I traced the problem down to the adobe software, whch was scanning my hard drives for media files, every time I started the computer. With two hard disks in an older machine, it would take in excess of 15 minutes before I could use the computer.
Once it let me use it, I found that one can use tags/keywords to enable locating things quite easily. The downside to it, and all cataloging software, is having to open the metadata editor and type in the keywords. Most of them can automate things like copyright, author, etc, but if you have a lot of photos, it is time consuming. The solution is to take fewer pictures, and if you spend a lot of time typing, that limits your camera time, so it's all self limiting.
I find I don't really take so many pictures anyway, so just continue by my date format, with added tags for content.

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Old Jun 16, 2012, 2:13 PM   #5
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I've been using FastStone Image Viewer for years. It's free.
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