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I'm after some advice about software to manage a growing, disorganized, set of photographs. Current status is that I've got a huge set of a photos stored on a (Synology) NAS divided into folders by Year but without any other folder structure or (advanced) tagging or naming convention. These photographs contain duplicates, lots of poor photographs and are generally inaccessible. My goal is to get a decent workflow for managing photos and ultimately make them accessible to the family (recognizing that I don't have huge amounts of time to trawl all the photos.) What is the best practice in terms of getting photographs ready for import into photo management tools? My assumption is that further organization of the photographs prior to importing into a photo management tool is of limited value as everything can be done via tagging. Is this correct? Or should I, for example, delete photos and rename in a manner that identifies the nature of the photo? And what photo management tools are well regarded? A cloud based tools has obvious benefits but I'm not keen at pushing more personal data to Google and Adobe Lightroom seems daunting as well as absent AI AI features. An interesting alternative seems to be PhotoStructure which is on-premise but investing time in a package that may or may not be supported in the future is problematic. It'd be great to hear from others who have cracked these questions.

 

 

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Been using IrfanView (free) for a long time

https://www.irfanview.com/

 

Been organising photos using IrfanView thumbnails into topic e.g. family yy (year), sometimes with sub topics, and moving (F7), copying (F8) deleting duplicates using function keys.  Have not bothered with tagging. Will copy from camera to a folder from time to time.

 

You have to find your own workflow that works for you. Suggest creating subfolders (5 to 10?) under each yearly folder and move photos. It will be very painful intially involving many hours. But once done, it will be easier after that.

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Even without custom tagging, photo management tools can provide a lot of assistance.  There is a lot of info in the metadata already included with the photos.  I have thousands of photos too and my first attempts at management were to have a decent folder structure.  This is still worthwhile doing, even within the management tool.

 

One of the best I have used is DigiKam  https://www.digikam.org/     It runs on any platform.

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I don't use any management tools as such, I just group my photos into folders starting with Year, then subfolders starting with Year Month Day, eg:

yyyymmdd - some sort of meaningful name. 

 

That is fine for new and comparatively recent photos, but a bit more problematic for older material. A few years ago I scanned a lot of old photos that my mother had. It was a mixed collection of prints and negatives mostly from the 1950s and 60s, but with a very few prints going back as far as the 1930s. I was able to scan all the prints ok, and those negatives that were on 35mm (mostly from the 60s). Some negatives were in different sizes that I wasn't able to scan myself, so I got them scanned by a professional photography shop.

 

All these photos were just lumped together in a big plastic bag, and it became rather difficult to date them accurately. I did the best I could based on content, and a few hand written notes on the back of some of the prints. I was able to place some in date folders, but mostly I made folders based on content (names of people, location etc.). 

 

It can be interesting what you come across when you start doing this. I came across a roll of 35mm black and white negatives that were taken by my father in a caravan park in the UK where we stayed for a short while before coming to Australia in 1963. The photos were of my mother, sister, myself, and one with some relatives who had come to visit us before we left for Australia. I had never seen any prints of these before, so it was a bit of a find.

 

But I am digressing off topic a bit I think.

 

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I would use light room IF I catalogue my images.

I'm a working Photographer and would shoot every week (lots of files and jobs)

If you have a Adobe subscription of Photoshop then you should have lightroom.

 

 

 

I group images by the photo shoot

 

eg. folder would be called '1384_{name of client)'

each file would have a specific file number 

1384_0002.CR2

1384_0003.jpg

 

That why if  a client would request a certain file number then I can search on folders and find it.

 

next job would get a folder called '1385_{name of client)'

 

Every file would have a individual file number if done this way. I've been doing this for for 18 years.

 

 

 

If I need a date of when I shot it I just look at the metadata. (not that I really have to unless it's for invoicing)

 

 

 

 

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On 27/12/2020 at 7:58 AM, zydeco said:

but investing time in a package that may or may not be supported in the future is problematic.

 

Couldn't agree more.   Save your money.  Digikam is free, VERY capable, and open source.  This, plus the large user group is your best bet for support continuing.

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Interesting topic.  My collection is quite large.  Been surviving by sorting them into topics and then breaking them down by trip/location and year/month, then add a sub folder 'best' and do a really hard sort with what i like that goes to facebook or eventually gets published into a photo book. I process these (only shoot in RAW) to jpgs, larger when i am doing a photo book with full page. 

 

I would like a good image based search engine like google does for finding similar photos.  Will look at the packages recommended.

Edited by Rosco8
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