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Where to store project files

New Here ,
May 18, 2023 May 18, 2023

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Good evening. 

I’m looking for a “best practice” or recommended approach from experts regarding where to save my Photoshop project files.

 

I store raw photo files in folders organized by year and event. Under the year folder, event sub folders are named with date in YYYYMMDD format plus an event name. For example, the 2022 folder might have many event folders such as “20220715 Botanical Garden”, etc.

 

Suppose I open one of those Botanical Garden flower photos in Photoshop and do some editing. I could save the .psd file in the same date/event folder as the original photo. Or, I could have a dedicated folder for Photoshop projects and save all projects there.

 

Or…if I open the photo file into Lightroom and then “edit in” Photoshop…make some edits and save…then there’s no .psd file, but the edits are stored, along with any Lightroom edits, in a sidecar file in the same folder as the original photo (I think).

 

Corollary: when I edit, then export a .jpg for upload to a website or for ordering prints, any best practice on where to store those or any naming convention advice?  Especially if I export multiple versions of the same photo (e.g. several color effects of the same subject, for example)?

 

I’m using a MacBook and keep all my photo files on a Seagate solid state 1Tb external hard drive. Periodically, I copy it to another external drive as a backup.

 

I know this is a broad rookie question. But I’m a rookie and my questions are still broad.

 

Thanks.

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Community Expert , May 18, 2023 May 18, 2023

If you typically use images within the context of a specific event, then you can continue to organize folder by event, and when you save derivative images (for example, a Photoshop or JPEG version of a raw original), it can stay in the same event folder, or in a subfolder within it. Many event photographers (sports, weddings…) work this way, organizing folders by event.

 

Others (including me) let Lightroom Classic automatically organize all photos into a hierarchy of dated folders as they are i

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Community Expert ,
May 18, 2023 May 18, 2023

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I would say you are a lot more organised with your DAM (Digital Asset Management) than a lot of people I know.  I prefer to put an underscore between year, month, and day. but other than that, I do the same as you:

 

'2023_05_19 Meaningful Name'

 

I used to use a current project folder, but storeage is so fast nowadays there's no advantage, and I used to forget to use it most of the time anyway.  So PSD workfiles get saved in the same folder as the RAW files.  

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Community Expert ,
May 18, 2023 May 18, 2023

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I would suggest using Adobe LIghtroom to organize and tag all your images.
And for your project files I feel the Creative Cloud is your safest bet. You can access those files from anywhere, on any computer that you log into. And they can also be sitting on your computer, but knowing they are synched gives you the safety net you need.

Hope that helps!
Mark

headTrix, Inc. | Adobe Certified Training & Consulting

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Community Expert ,
May 18, 2023 May 18, 2023

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If you typically use images within the context of a specific event, then you can continue to organize folder by event, and when you save derivative images (for example, a Photoshop or JPEG version of a raw original), it can stay in the same event folder, or in a subfolder within it. Many event photographers (sports, weddings…) work this way, organizing folders by event.

 

Others (including me) let Lightroom Classic automatically organize all photos into a hierarchy of dated folders as they are imported. One reason I do this is that one of my projects is likely to collect images of a certain theme across any number of dates, locations, and events, so for me what works is date-based organization of folders, plus theme-based image gathering across folders by using metadata (keywords, collections…) to mark them up, and metadata filters to find and collect them later.

 

quote

Or…if I open the photo file into Lightroom and then “edit in” Photoshop…make some edits and save…then there’s no .psd file, but the edits are stored, along with any Lightroom edits, in a sidecar file in the same folder as the original photo (I think).

By @A Likely Storey

 

Edit in Photoshop should create a new Photoshop format file, because things like Photoshop layers can be stored only in a Photoshop (or TIFF) format document. If that new Photoshop document is saved, it should appear in Lightroom/Lightroom Classic next to the raw file it was created from. And XMP sidecar files are never used with Photoshop format documents because for that file type (and for JPEG, TIFF, DNG, and others), it is possible to add new metadata directly into a header in that image file. The reason XMP sidecar files may be used for raw files is that raw files are read-only…their metadata can’t be changed, so new metadata must be added somewhere else and associated with the raw file.

 

I wrote “may be used” because XMP sidecar files are not the default way to store raw edits in Lightroom/Lightroom Classic. Where raw edits are stored depends on which Lightroom you are using. If you use Lightroom Classic, edits are stored in the database of the catalog file you edit them from. They can also be stored in XMP sidecar files, but this is optional.

 

If you use cloud-based Lightroom, edits to raw files are stored in your Creative Cloud account and associated with each original also stored in the cloud. Edits are synced between your cloud account and the Lightroom app on any device or web browser where you edit one of the images.

 

If you use Adobe Bridge, then in that case, edits to raw files made by opening them in Adobe Camera Raw really are saved in XMP sidecar files, because Bridge does not use a catalog database file like Lightroom Classic does.

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New Here ,
May 19, 2023 May 19, 2023

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Good insights, everyone, thank you very much.

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Community Expert ,
May 19, 2023 May 19, 2023

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The main thing is to organize in a way that makes logical sense in your own head. You're the one who needs to know where things are, not anyone else. Personally I keep raw files and RGB master files strictly separate, but others prefer to store them together. 

 

Consider whether you really need to keep derivative exported files for output. You can export new copies from your master files whenever needed.

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