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Best practices for import, export and long term storage of images

Community Beginner ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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So I’m looking for some guidance on the best practices for import export and long-term storage of images using my room classic.

 

To give you some context for this, I work as a press and commercial photographer, so there are two distinct parts to my photographic library: press and media images, and commercial and client based assignment images.

 

At the moment I’m still using Aperture. (yeah, I know I should’ve upgraded and moved across to Lightroom, literally ages ago) and the way that my images are currently arranged is into two main folders. Folder 1 is called ‘Press & Media' and folder 2 is called ‘Commercial’. Within these folders or sub folders, and occasionally sub sub folders to separate the various assignments. For example, I have a folder called 'Shows and Events' and then within this is a folder called ‘Chelsea Flower Show’, and within this are subfolders for the specific years, for example, ‘2022’.

 

My understanding is that I can replicate this filing system within Lightroom classic, and that would be my intention. However, because I’m now getting to the point where I have too many images to hold them on my laptop I’m thinking of moving towards a situation where my photo library is on an external hard drive (which I would have at least two duplicates for, plus an online backup of the drives onto the cloud, incremental, and probably the last years worth of images on the computer as well).

 

I have a couple of questions based on this:

 

1. Am I arranging the photos, using the right strategy? Or based on the differences with how Lightroom files images (collections, being a good example of this), is there a better way of structuring my file filing system? I’m asking now before I massively import all of my images, primarily because I’d like to get it right to the outset and start as I mean to go on.

 

2. Assuming that I have the images on an external hard drive and when adding them to Lightroom, I’m using the ‘add’ import option to ensure that the photos are left in place on the hard drive when they are added to the light room catalogue, if I want to export images or email them around does the hard drive have to be attached in order to facilitate doing this? Or is it only needed when you want to change the image in some respect, eg: edit, crop, or tweak settings within it?

 

3. What kind of sizes do other professional photographers to use in terms of their hard drive? I realise this question is a little bit like 'how long is a piece of string', but I have at the moment somewhere between 15,000 to 23,000 images at the moment, and I’m wondering if I should try to buy something absolutely enormous with some degree of redundancy and expandability built in (NAS Drive?) or whether I should just get several smaller hard drives (for example La Cie rugged drives - which I’ve found to be quite reliable in the past) that are big enough for the photos that I have at the moment, plus say, 25%?

 

All feedback and comments would be greatly appreciated (now backed to the LinkedIn Learning on how to use it!)

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

LEGEND , Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022
  1. If that's your primary organization, and you have no need to change it right now, then I don't see any reason to turn folders into collections, you don't gain anything. On the other hand, collections, keywords and other metadata can be useful for other purposes, so I wouldn't rule out using those for other purposes. As a trivial example, if you want to identify all photos with flowers in them, you could select all of them and then add the flower keyword to them.

  2. You can create Smart Previews, whi
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Community Expert , Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

If you are happy with your current arrangement of photos in Aperture, here is a guide to migrate from Aperture if desired.  It doesn't migrate the edits, but keeps things like star ratings and keywords and such.  It will import over an edited jpeg for reference.  I hope you enjoy Lightroom!

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/migrate-photos-aperture.html

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LEGEND , Sep 29, 2022 Sep 29, 2022

Am I arranging the photos, using the right strategy? Or based on the differences with how Lightroom files images (collections, being a good example of this), is there a better way of structuring my file filing system?

 

Let's clear up something else. "... how Lightroom files images" is a total misconception. Lightroom Classic does NOT file your images for you. You tell Lightroom Classic to put images in any folder structure you want (including the default import folder structure that LrC uses), it

...

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LEGEND ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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  1. If that's your primary organization, and you have no need to change it right now, then I don't see any reason to turn folders into collections, you don't gain anything. On the other hand, collections, keywords and other metadata can be useful for other purposes, so I wouldn't rule out using those for other purposes. As a trivial example, if you want to identify all photos with flowers in them, you could select all of them and then add the flower keyword to them.

  2. You can create Smart Previews, which allow you to perform some tasks with smaller sized versions of your original image. These Smart Previews would have to be on your laptop (and so take up space). Any time you need access to the full original image (such as printing or maybe e-mail) you would need to have the drive with the original images available (plugged in).

  3. That's hard to answer. I don't even have a guideline. For me, I have a drive that was 75% free when all of my current images are on it, but do I really need that? Do YOU need that? Does anyone really need that? I can't say. (In my case, I configured the computer and I believe they offered a tremendous deal on adding a hard disk, it was only $10 to go from 2TB to 3TB so I got the bigger drive)

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 29, 2022 Sep 29, 2022

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Thanks for the reply DJ, I appreciate the time that you took to answer my queries.


Someone else I know online also suggested smart previews so I'm definitely going to look into that. Do you know if there's some kind of guide anywhere=for how much space they might take up? Or a way of calculating this before you import?

 

As far as the hard drive issue goes, having chatted to some IT guys that I know I think I'm leaning towards using three solid state drives (all mirrored), and also having an online cloud backup as well.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 29, 2022 Sep 29, 2022

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Someone else I know online also suggested smart previews so I'm definitely going to look into that. Do you know if there's some kind of guide anywhere=for how much space they might take up? Or a way of calculating this before you import?

 

Sorry, I have no advice here. I just don't know.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 29, 2022 Sep 29, 2022

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Am I arranging the photos, using the right strategy? Or based on the differences with how Lightroom files images (collections, being a good example of this), is there a better way of structuring my file filing system?

 

Let's clear up something else. "... how Lightroom files images" is a total misconception. Lightroom Classic does NOT file your images for you. You tell Lightroom Classic to put images in any folder structure you want (including the default import folder structure that LrC uses), it's completely up to you. You can even change that folder structure after import, if you choose to do that, Lightroom Classic is happy if you do it right.

 

So, all of this is something you should ideally decide before you start using LrC, and then stick with it. Lightroom Classic will do it your way, you just have to tell it what your way is. In addition, you need to decide how Lightroom Classic structures such as keywords, titles, captions, collections, smart collections will intesect/interact with your folders. You get to choose, not Lightroom Classic. For me, I have LrC create folders by capture date, and after that all organizing is done with keywords and other metadata. You can choose something else if that works for you, remember you are in charge, not Lightroom Classic.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 03, 2022 Oct 03, 2022

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That's really helpful.

 

In terms of how I organise, this tends to be project based, eg:

Press & Media  >  Sports  >  Athletics  > London Marathon  >  2022

 

But also being able to search for the photos by year would be good (but I'm assuming that, given that I use '2022' for example as a keyword. that should be possible fairly easily?

 

In terms of smart collections. then working on the basis that 'sport' or 'London' for example will be a keyword, presumably this will be similarly easy to initiate?

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LEGEND ,
Oct 03, 2022 Oct 03, 2022

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Calendar information, in my opinion, should not be a keyword. If you have all the photos from London Marathon from many years in one folder ... then the Filter Bar, or just simply sorting by capture date, will get you any year you want.

 

I again recommend that instead of folders to achieve all of this organization, you use keywords or other metadata. This allows a much more powerful organization, and more powerful searching. As far as smart collections go ... don't create a smart collection to search for a single keyword, such as London Marathon. That's pointless, that extra work for no benefit, you can do this search in the Keyword List panel. If you need to search by two criteria or more, then you need either the filter bar or smart collections.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 28, 2022 Sep 28, 2022

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If you are happy with your current arrangement of photos in Aperture, here is a guide to migrate from Aperture if desired.  It doesn't migrate the edits, but keeps things like star ratings and keywords and such.  It will import over an edited jpeg for reference.  I hope you enjoy Lightroom!

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/migrate-photos-aperture.html


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 29, 2022 Sep 29, 2022

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Thanks for the reply George, I appreciate the time that you took to answer my queries.

 

Thanks also for the link, really helpful.

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