This handsome Siamese at is taking it easy so he can watch the Summer Olympics in Prime Time all week.

Organizing thousands of photos daunting, but Lightroom 5 has some great tricks to help

Organizing thousands of photos is a daunting task, especially if you’ve already gone through the arduous task of setting up keywords – only to lose your entire photo catalog.

Siamese cats are a very popular breed, but they are not for everyone.
This photo is just 1 of thousands of Paws photos.

That’s what happened when Paw’s desktop’s hard drive failed some time ago.

The task of revisiting this task is not pleasant. It took hours, days, weeks to do. It is even more unpleasant when you have tons of yard work and gardening awaiting you, say anything about blogging, a full-time job, and taking care of our kitty family.

But what’s worse is spending hours not able to be locate that 1 photo you are looking for.

Usually Paws’ moves ahead, plunging in, to get the task done, without a whole lot of forethought. But as we lost our entire catalog, we want to make sure this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. We started a Google search to find out how to make sure if we lost the catalog, we didn’t lose all the keywords. Backing up regularly is one way, but there’s got to be another, cause you never know. While technology is great, Murphy’s Law has a way of coming to visit – if something bad will happen, it will.

The hours of research and watching YouTube videos are paying off.

Paws is using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, and we learned it has a default setting that is turned off. If it’s turned on, we can save metadata in the photo itself, whether it’s a jpeg, tiff, Photoshop file or raw data.

If only we had know that!

Another major time saver is the fact you can set up hierarchical keywords by exporting a blank keyword .txt file, filling in the keyword hierarchy by tabbing underneath each keyword, and then re-importing it. We were thrilled to learn this and wanted to get it up and running yesterday. But, we saw a BIG Stop Sign that said Don’t.

Proper planning with a lot of thought could save you endless hours of work.

Think, plan, review and then re-plan, then execute BECAUSE you know setting up good keywords is essential.

How so? Paws blogs about cats and that includes everything cat. We have an ever increasing collection of our cats, and cat shows. That probably includes about 2,500 photos, and that doesn’t include the thousands of travel, conference, historical, and one’s to be scanned.

We went back to Google and continued looking at how to best set up a catalog and library. A presentation by B&W Photo on YouTube gave us insight that we only needed one catalog – my photos. Beyond that it comes down to keywords.

Still daunting, but after listening to YouTube videos and reading online how-to articles, we’re getting an idea of how to proceed. We have exported the text file, and want to set up one that works for us – not someone else.

For example, if it’s the Cotton State’s Cat Show, it would go under Cats, Cat Show, Cat Fancier’s Association, Cotton State’s Cat Show, Georgia, 2014. If we set up the hierarchy from Cats to Cotton State’s Cat Show, we can import all the photos and the hierarchy is automatically imported. Then, we can import the photos by inputting Cotton State’s Cat Show, and all the higher keywords will automatically be imported. Then we can import the photos with the keywords 2014 and Georgia. And then, if we have a particular breed or cat or judge, we can input those names individually. With probably 300 photos of that event, that saves a whole lot of work.

We were encouraged when we heard professional photographers having up to a half million images they’d cataloged. Paws doesn’t have that many, but we may have up to 10,000.

As the year progresses, Paws is trying to implement a strategy of working smarter, not harder. That said, we are trying to do a lot more research and planning up front to make all tasks – blogging, photo cataloging, marketing, writing – less daunting and more manageable.

Do you do a lot of planning before undertaking a task? Do you check out the videos on YouTube to learn how to do things? Paws checked out a video to learn how the connection to a portable dishwasher worked. It’s amazing what’s up there. How do you approach a daunting task? Do you have any photo cataloguing tips that you’d like to share with Paws? Please weigh in with your comments, and join the discussion?

2 responses to “Organizing thousands of photos daunting, but Lightroom 5 has some great tricks to help”

  1. Beth | Daily Dog Tag Avatar
    Beth | Daily Dog Tag

    Sounds like you figured out a great cataloging system for yourself. Most of the professional photographers I know LOVE lightroom.

    1. BJ Avatar

      From what I’ve found, it has the best catalog system. Also a great way to view photos quickly

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