Monday, May 10, 2010
Using lightroom for organization and backup—05/10/10
Ten tips to keep files safe and searchable via Lightroom
I’ve recently started utilizing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to help with my organization and backup of a growing photo database. While Lightroom’s Develop module rightfully receives a lot of praise, the program’s ability to help index and back up my precious photo files is fairly remarkable too. Just a month into using it, here are 10 tips I’ve already learned that help me keep my photos safe and searchable.
1. Catalog by clients, then jobs. In the case of a non-professional user, consider catalog files organized by the most common broader subjects that you shoot. Perhaps that’s something like locations, names or dates.
3. Backup on import by making a second copy to an external hard drive. My previous method of backups had a weak spot—the time between importing to my hard drive and whenever I got around to creating a duplicate. Now I’ve got a backup in a separate disk the moment the images are imported. (I name the duplicate folder by month, so that in the future I can easily eliminate long-archived images.)
5. Use a standard naming convention. If some files have names, others dates, others dates in different formats and still others with obscure reference codes, how are you ever going to be able to search for the appropriate file at a later date? In my case, I like to name files with client/subject/date conventions. You can do it however you’d like; the important thing is to be consistent.
6. Back up and verify the catalog on exit, or set it to back up at particular intervals. This backup doesn’t back up photos, but rather it creates a backup of all of your edits and other important image information and metadata. You’ll eventually want to go in and eliminate the oldest catalog backups, because they’re all stored in the same folder and every time you make a new one it doesn’t overwrite the old one. Adding a new folder means you could eventually end up with gigs of needless backups taking up precious hard drive space.
7. Edit directly in Lightroom, export directly to Photoshop. When I’m editing photos to the extent that I want to use Photoshop, I don’t export them from Lightroom and then open in Photoshop. I instruct Lightroom to send the photo to the outside editing program directly. This maintains consistency and tracking of the newly created file—which will automatically be indexed within my original catalog database.
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