Lightroom CC: How do you organize your Folder & Album structure?

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  • Updated 4 weeks ago
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So I want to move from Apple Photos to Lightroom CC.  I already have about 3000 photos in Lightroom CC but will import another 10000 in the coming weeks - some are as old as 6 years. 

What is your suggestion for a Folder and Album structure to keep things organized?

The way I'm doing it right now is the following:

Vacations (Folder)
2018 (F)
Vacation 1 (Album) Vacation 2 (Album) 2017 Vacation 1 (Album) Vacation 2 (Album)Hobby (Folder)  HobbyEvent1 (Album)
    HobbyEvent1 (Album)
Landscapes (Folder)
    Landscapes1 (Album)
Landscapes2 (Album)Portraits (Folder)
Portraits 1 (Album)
Portraits 2 (Album)


Is this a good way of organizing?  Do you have other suggestions?
Appreciate any opinion.

H
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Holger Buerger

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Posted 4 weeks ago

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Michael Brodt

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This is a bit of a weakness when it comes to organization. I actually like Apple’s Aperture model the best using Projects with albums and smart albums.

I’m doing something similar to you, using albums as the Project. I think that if you are doing a particular subject, such as a 3 day shoot of a subject, or a subject you come back to repeatedly, then you make a folder with albums for those. Otherwise, I have folders by categories.

Also keep in mind, you can add a photo to multiple albums without taking up more space. So if you want, you can make a folder called Landscapes with an album, and a folder called 2017 with an album, and an album called Portfolio, and put the same image in all three albums, and they will all sync without taking up more space.

Another thing that could really help are Smart Albums, which are just saved searches. That would reduce the manual labor of organization.
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Holger Buerger

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Thanks for the response!  Glad to get confirmation that I'm on the right path :-)   I agree on the SmartAlbum.  I guess they will be adding more features in future releases. Overall I really like how fast you can work with Lightroom CC.
(Edited)
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Michel DELFELD

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This structure is depending on the type of activity.

I am working like this:

A catalog for all RAW pictures.
And a catalog for all TIFF and JPEG pictures.
On Two different HDD

Shortly  said, my flow chart is the following:

Using the RAW catalog,
- Import all the RAW changing the file name using the Exif date as new file name + the suffix generated by the camera.
- Structure name is YYYY/MM/DD-suffix picture.
- Folder structure is like: YYYY/YYYY-MM/MM-DD/files this similar to file name  (look at dump1)
- So that I will be able to localise very easily the RAW pictures.

In the RAW catalog I do four different main actions:
1 - Put on the key words I need (for instance, Country,city, place, event,color,people name, etc...) 
2 - Kill all bad pictures
3 - Send by project name all the RAW to be worked out to my external RAW soft (DxO Lab)
4 - Treated pictures are sent to the TIFF structure.

Using the TIFF catalog,
- Import pictures created by DxO Lab
- All pictures are classified (specific folders) by geographical places. Like Italy/Rome or Italy/Venizia, etc.... Folder structure look like: Country/city/date (look at dump2)
- Several specific work are classified in other way.
- All pictures are once more screened and erased if needed.
- I needed, put on supplementary keywords.
- For the rest, I am using a lot keywords and EXIF/IPTC data to generate smart collections depending on my different need.
- Pictures are eventually corrected with different plugin or external software

Dump1


Dump2
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Holger Buerger

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Thank you for sharing all these details.  Really helpfull how a professional workflow can look like.  I certainly start using more keywords going forward. 
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Christian Fürst

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I personally stick to a folders-structure but also use keywords. Folders sorted in continents, Countries, cities and subjects in subfolders. since I am working as a stage-photographer, my archive contains pics from hundreds of plays, ballet and opera and portrait of actors, singers etc.
I do keep each single shooting in a seperate folder. And I also keep RAW and JPGs inseperate folders as subdirectories.

This way I can find pictures according to performance or pics from different countries etc very quickly, and should I need a selection of pictures of one certain subject, I can go by Keywords. 
(Edited)
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Holger Buerger

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Interesting that you keep RAW and JPG's in subdirectories.  I guess that helps with post-processing. 
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Michel DELFELD

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As I said before, I, practically, don't use LR for the first "development"....... From a long time I use DxO applications that are much qualified to answer my needs.

So said I would say that LR is very good for sorting (in the mac world there not at better ways) and, by this way, combining pictures relative to the different actions I want or have to do.

The decision to  use two different catalog with pictures on two different HDD is basically influenced by my past when working with films. At That time this was the only way to do. So influenced by that, I separate my "digital negative" like I did before.

And, file renaming is THE SOLUTION to not have tremendous complicate access to my two different data base. By the way, I can find my original RAW files very easyliy

 
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Christian Fürst

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Holger Buerger, since I like to watch pictures quite regularly on my 50 inch TV-screen, I have to keep RAW and JPG seperate, since - at least my Samsung TV doesn't show RAW nor DNG. But it also helps to make sure that I won't delete an original easily
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Michel DELFELD

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Think about this for classification.

If your wife ask you suddenly: why not make an album about me since the 10 years we are living together?

And you have been doing may trips, many meetings every where. But you did not put the first name of your wife (as keywords) any time she is on a picture, you will spend tremendous time to find her pictures back. And surely you will forget or not find the main interesting picture for her.

For classification, Just ask yourself: without keywords how should I find pictures of my wife having been traveling a bit every wher
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Christian Fürst

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I also believe that keywords are essential for archiving. example: yesterday, I was looking for a picture I took around 12 years ago in Vienna for an article about a swiss chocolate manufacturer taking an austrian company to court because the Austrian bunny supposedly looked like the Lindt-one. when I put the (one) images in my archive I gave it the keyword "Hasenkrieg" (bunny-war), but couldn't remember in which folder I had kept it. Withe the search for keywords I found the ONE picture within seconds though. still I don't believe one should overdo it with keywords, and I am also against keeping pics in folders named with the date of production. Without a keyword, I would have never found the bunny

  
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Michel DELFELD

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I am remembering relatively easy dates and places of shooting. This why I keep RAW using creation date  and the TIFF as geographical places.

But this is clearly not enough keywords are the essential to find back pictures. The oint is to keep ourself a strike discipline to put key words every time one import new pic's but also with certain logic. 

The point is that a lot of photographers didn't paid enough attention to make this little work every import and than. This bring the user in a situation where recording keywords does take so much time that they dont' do it anymore.

As software beta tester, I also some permanent smart collections regarding camera, lenses, ISO value, etc...