Even though I have been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom since version 3 my collection of photographs is highly disorganized. Between my wife and I we have photos scattered across multiple external hard drives and two computers. There are also stacks of CDROM containing images from back in the days of film. Last week I made the decision to finally get all of our photographs (at least the ones we have in some digital format) organized.
I started by reorganizing my external hard disks. I have three, two 2TB and one 1TB, and all three were being under utilized. On one of the 2TB disks I relabeled it as “Shared” and created a folder each for myself, my wife and daughter. Then all the files, except photographs, go into the respective folders depending on who they belonged to. The 1TB disk, labeled “WorkDisk”, is used as a Photoshop scratch disk. It also currently holds backups of my Lightroom photos and catalogs. The other 2TB disk is my “PhotoLibrary”. This disk is currently has all of the disorganized photos residing in a folder “Legacy”. The folder that will hold my Lightroom photos is labeled “Photos” and inside it are folders labeled for each member of the family. We will each have separate Lightroom catalogs, but the photos will all stay on this one drive.
The Organization Begins:
I began importing the photographs into a folder labeled “LegacyImport” and stopped when I reached 20,000 images. I’m now in the process of going through these and moving them into the folders labeled for me and my wife. I will then go through those and delete the all of the duplicates. Although I had the check box “Don’t import suspected duplicates” checked in Lightroom some still managed to slip through. I’m guessing because of different file names. I have also noticed that metadata dates for duplicates of the same photo are different. This is mostly from images that have been scanned from print, but also some of the film-to-CD images have this also. All of the legacy imports were renamed “Legacy” with a sequential file number. Some images I have noticed have up to 8 duplicates. After these duplicates have been culled I will begin importing the remaining legacy photos – one folder at a time – repeating the process until completed.
There are three books that I have used as reference during this organization process. They are: Adobe Lightroom 5 – The Missing FAQ, by Victoria Bampton; Organizing your Photos with Lightroom 5, by Peter Krogh and Thousands of Images: Now What?, by Mike Hagen.