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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Heresy In Library Organization

Keep track of an ever-expanding digital archive by getting things right from the start


This Article Features Photo Zoom

Figure 4: Two Cameras, Chronological Sequencing
Getting two cameras synchronized for chronological sorting can be tricky, but I either can try to synchronize them to a world clock on my smartphone or GPS unit, or I can simply photograph the timestamp settings on one camera LCD using the other camera. Then when I get home, it's simply a matter of comparing the timestamp shown in the photo with the metadata timestamp on that photo that was created by the second camera and adjust the difference until they match perfectly.

Once the timestamps from two or more cameras are in sync, I'll re-name all the photos in this format: YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS-original filename.cr2. Once sorted by filename, photos from any number of cameras will display in the exact order they were shot (Fig. 4).

Remember, in the end, all you're really doing is creating a sort based on a number that already exists in nature. An accurate timestamp! If you use an external GPS device, accuracy will be especially important when you're auto-tagging photos to the GPS track.

The next step in the workflow is to finish up with other important metadata. If I didn't apply a basic copyright during import, now is the time. The easiest way to do that, either during import or after, is to use a metadata preset. I generally apply a metadata preset to every photo I shoot, which includes all my relevant contact information, copyright, rights usage terms and URL info. As long as I still have everything selected in the Lightroom grid, I'll take this opportunity to add keywords that are relevant to every photo in the shoot. When traveling on location, this generally will include location info, and generic search terms such as "tourism" and "travel" that I want applied to every photo.

Once I've applied global keywords to the entire shoot, I begin a very rough edit process that serves several purposes. Going through the photos one by one or in groups, I'll add more specific keywords that didn't apply to every photo in the shoot. It's also during this first pass that I'll start to generate a quick collection of my better shots. When I'm finished with this first pass through the photos, I'll move to the quick collection to refine the edit. This is where I'll check more critically for accurate focus and start to make my first tweaks to cropping and color correction on shots that deserve it. I'll also narrow down sequences to find the best frames, eliminating the others from the quick collection. Once I have a rough edit completed, if the photos are worthy, I'll make the quick collection a permanent collection.

Finally, it's time for a quick export. When I'm traveling, I'll frequently select out my best one or two shots from the day to email to friends and family. A couple of quick clicks in the Export dialog, and I'm done.

Of course, somewhere along the line, backing up has to be considered, too, especially when shooting on location. But the point is that the most efficient workflow routine will be the one that's customized by you, based on your individual needs and on the design of your library.

Find George Jardine's extensive collection of tutorials at his website, mulita.com.

 

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