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Old Oct 5, 2005, 3:49 PM   #1
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I'm in no way a professional. But i feel like i have the library large enough that i need to figure out how to rename pictures properly. Every year it seems like i try a new method to organize photos by name but they always seem innefficient. So thats why i'm asking...

How do Professionals rename their pictures?

Yes, i've tried all the popular software for organizing them visually so with that i'm set. But I just dont know if its important to also include a description on the actual file.

I'm experimenting with my 2005 library by using Picmeta's Picture Information Extractor to rename pics to a file like 050121-175849.jpg (which means Jan 21 05 5:58PM) and nesting them in descriptive folders like "2005 01 21 - Disneyland with Nephew". This method seems nice because i FINALLY have files named so they can be viewed in order. But i still feel that there is a simpler (cheaper) way that the pros are hiding from us.

Thanks for any help.
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Old Oct 5, 2005, 10:53 PM   #2
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I have sold some pictures, and I take my photography very seriously (I've spend over $10,000 on equipment, and I shoot every weekend.)

A real shooting pro (I have a day job) uses something like Extensis Portfolio to organize their pictures. This is the same software used by stock agencies, which has some benefits (easy to exchange groups of images.) It is very powerful, and designed for groups to use it at once (it has a client/server design leveraging separate computers.)

I use something much cheaper and less powerful, but only in ways that don't matter to me. It is still very powerful and feature rich. I use IMatch, which you can find out about here:

It has an almost completely working demo, I recommend it. But do at least skim the manual, it is non-trivial to leverage its features & power, but once you do, it is really great.

No, IMatch doesn't "take ownership" of your files. You can organize them on disk any way you'd like. Personally, I find this a great advantage to it. But this does mean you will need some way to organize your pictures. Since IMatch gives you many ways to sort and organize your images based on content, I don't even try on disk. Why even try? IMatch does it much better.

So instead I organize completely by date.
I create a directory after the year (2005).
Then in that directory I create a directory named after year_month (2005-04)
In that I create a directory after the year_month_day (2005-04-12)

This means that I can look at a folder an always know exactly where I am. And it sorts it properly if you always use 4 digit years and 2 digit month & day.

What I'm not as good as is organizing the edited images. I have been storing them separately in a year-month-day format one level deep (not three deep like above) but this is clumsy, and I'm thinking of switching to the same layout as I do with the originals. I do not put them in a directory named "Edited" (or something similar) directly off the "originals" directory. I like to quickly move between my edited folders skimming them. This is more difficult if they are spread out a lot. I haven't integerated my edited images into imatch, once I do that things will be simpler.

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Old Oct 6, 2005, 5:16 AM   #3
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It's probably something the program quoted above can do, but one thing newspaper photographers do is fill in all the "Title, Author, keywords, comments" etc boxes in the Exif information.

To see this (assuming you're using Windows) right click on an image in Windows Explorer, then on the Summary tab in the box that pops up.

Then when they need a "stock photo" image they run a search that looks through that information, making the way they're stored in folders largely irrelevant.

An example of this being useful is thus:

A summary would read: "Princess Diana leaving a hospital on February 4th 1995, wearing a green dress by Chanel and black Prada shoes. In the background is her butler Paul Burrell, body guard John Smith...." etc.

Now, at the time Paul Burrell was a nobody, but after she died and became he famous (or infamous) this gave them easy access to hundreds of photos with him in, compared to how they'd have had to manually browse through say 200,000 photos in the "Princess Diana - 1995" folder to find the10 he can be spotted in from that year. Even better if the story was "Burrell accused of stealing Diana's personal belongings, including a £10,000 green Chanel dress" - they'd probably have never even tried searching for that otherwise, a photo that may not exist.

Of course, that sort of useis a bit excessive foryour average person - though could come in useful if you know you have a photo of 'Grandma and uncle Joe playing chess in a park'in your archive, but can't quite remember where.....
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Old Oct 6, 2005, 7:30 AM   #4
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Good stuff above.

The key problem with any system is entering the "keywords". Once those are in place, life is easy. I have found that entering keywords for each photo is pretty much a lost cause for the originals - there are simply to many of them. So I file originals by date and keep a simple ASCII diary. If I had a picture of Princess Diana, likely I would have shot as many as I could a the time. Very unlikely that I would know the name of the butler/body guard/shoe maker/..., but I might think to look later if any of those turned out to be important.

I keep my edited photos in a directory below the one containing the originals, e.g., 051006/working. If any are sent out to be printed, I do that on CD since dial-up just doesn't cut it for on-line printing. That also means I have another copy on CD. Since I also include the date in the name of each edited photo, e.g., ChessGame030704.jpg, it is easy to find the originals and edited copy with layers and such. (Problems in 2100are to far off for me to worry about so i drop the first two digits fo the year.)

A database system might well work for you, but I would suggest that filing by date and keeping an ASCII diary is an easy back-up.
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Old Oct 6, 2005, 7:39 AM   #5
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I did have Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 (free with scanner), Ulead Photo Explorer (free with internet provider), Irfanview (free)... and could never get them working without reading the user manual... which I am too lazy to do.

Following advice from my father and users' opinions, I decided to buy ACDSee Power Pack 7 (latest version is 8).

I have since removed all other programs.

ACDSee is easy, quick, very user-friendly and in 1 tool I can answer to all my needs for digital pictures:

- Picture editing: All classic functions (red-eyes is very good, resizing...)

- Picture explorer (very user-friendly, looks like Windows Explorer): Give ratings to your pics...

- Photo Album: Create clean albums in minutes

- Slideshow, screensavers...

I can strongly ACDSee Power Pack v8

It suits my requirements. I know that "pro" will say that it's not a power tool. But who cares if it suits my requirements nice & easy, without headaches reading a user guide?

See specific thread on this forum

ACDSee site

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Old Oct 6, 2005, 9:41 AM   #6
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I am also using IMatch, from http://www.photools.com for manageing a personal collection it is excellent.

But this winters project will be to switch to the more expensive eXtensis portfolio asset manager. http://www.extensis.com/en/products/...p;id=prod60005
It is much more "powerfull" IE: probably has a lot of features that most people would never need.
They have a 30day trial, if you do decide to try it also download the Portfolio 7 Photographer Sample Catalog. Gets you set up quickly for doing a trial.

ACDSee does have a powerfull find duplicates tool :-)

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Old Oct 6, 2005, 10:30 AM   #7
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While not a professional, I simply catagorize my pictures in subdirectories (guess that catagorizes me as a former DOS user).

I have People, Places, Things and Events. Each has subs... under Things, I have Animals, then Birds, then Hummingbirds, etc. It's easy to find pix by subject. I use BreezeBrowser to scan the folders once I zero in on it.

Simple, but it works for me. Dates just don't do it for me...
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Old Oct 6, 2005, 11:40 AM   #8
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I am not a professional, but I do have quite a few (>12,000) pictures from the last few years to organize. I have had luck with Adobe's Album program that comes wtih Elements 3. You can also download it for free seperately.

It allows you to tag your photos with any tags that you would like. For example I have groups of tags for people, places, objects, etc. I have tags for each person that is in any pictures and I just apply them to new pics as they are inported. You can then sort on any tags or combination of tags. It does not move your pics, it just finds them wherever you stre them. You can also use tags to rate your pictures with a number of stars. I use this to help me determine which ones are worth editing.

For edited pics, it groups them with the origional and stacks them, so you only see one picture. You can have it display any or all of the revisions if you want. You can also stack any pictures you want.

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Old Oct 6, 2005, 3:24 PM   #9
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while not in the league of other tools here, Picasa 2, free from google does a good job of organising photos. It automatically list folders by date created, or other criteria you can set, you can caption, batch edit, etc has a great "im felling lucky button" which cleans up images nicely as well as other tools. It also has about the best preview function of all the more complicates tools like PS CS2. For quick edits and touchups for my 4x6 prints, its what I use.


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Old Oct 6, 2005, 8:09 PM   #10
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Wildman wrote:
I have People, Places, Things and Events. Each has subs... under Things, I have Animals, then Birds, then Hummingbirds, etc....
Where would you put a picture of your Uncle Fred inEngland driving a Rolls Royce into the Royal Enclosure atAscot? Or would you have (at least) four copies?

That is the basic problem with filing by category - many pictures fall into more than one category.
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