Thursday, August 12, 2010

Organizing Photos, Part 2

Recently I finally came up with a system for organizing my photos on my computer. I spent a long time trying to figure out the perfect organization method. I am going to share the method with you. The only program I used is Adobe Bridge, which I highly recommend.

The second part of the organization is using Adobe Bridge to add keywords to the metadata. Metadata is sort of like information stored behind the image. Adobe Bridge allows you to put keywords in the metadata that can be searched. Multiple keywords can be assigned to one image. The hardest part about using the keywords is choosing keywords. I thought a lot about what words I would use because I did not want to decided 5000 images down the road that I wanted a new keyword that would apply to some of the first 5000 images. I would have to sort through every image and assign that keyword then. I spent a few weeks changing around my keywording until I finally settled on a keyword method that I think will work well for me.

My keyword method uses keyword roots to organize my photos. The keywords are organized within each other so my base keywords are; Events, Locations, Manipulation, People, Setting, Style and Subjects. Within each of these are more options. The organization is called roots because it uses a large categorization and splits the image into smaller categories as it goes down.

Events just list keywords such as Birthday and Wedding

People lists the names of the people appearing in the image.

Manipulation lists stuff such as toned and triptych. Anytime I do something interesting with the image.

Style is for stuff like to denote an image is a portrait or is macro photography.

Setting is for if the image is indoors, outdoors or a studio setting.

Location is the location of the image.

Subject is what the image is of.

The good thing about using a root format is that these are very broad categories. No matter what the image is I will be able to categorize it. I have a few categories under Subject such as people, animals or plants. Under animals for example I then have mammals and insects. Under Mammals I have dogs which I can then set all of my images of dogs to have these keywords. If I decide at a later date to add a keyword for cats I will be able to add the keyword under mammals. To combat the problem of having to sort back through all of my previous entries, any images with cats in them will already be filed under mammal and will allow me to only search through the mammal keywords.

I am also using a Bucket System. I read about the bucket system at Digital Photography School. I recommend checking it out because it is a wonderful idea.

This method is completely untested but hopefully it will work the way I am hoping. I am currently organizing the photos and will post at a later date with how well it is working.

I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don't find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges.  ~William Albert Allard, "The Photographic Essay"

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