Soo Many Photos What Now!

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Devster
Devster's picture
Soo Many Photos What Now!

Ok, so I have joined BIB to help identify Birds, talk with other like minded birders & get hints & tips on photography.

I am saving for a new camera and have started to take lots of photos.

My question is, what program do you use to sort, identify, name photos etc.

At the moment I am just saving them in My Pics & have a Bird folder with an individual folder for each type of bird.

I have only taken shots of about a dozen birds and realise that soon enough this will result in a huge headache.

Is there any software or programs out there that help you with your storing and sorting of photos. 

If so, what are they and do you put information like where you photographed the bird & other details.

I would love to hear how you do it so I don't spend hours sorting through photos.

Cheers

Devster

Rick N
Rick N's picture

Hi Devster,

You will find that there will be a wide variety of opinions, from the simplest, to the most complicated :-)

I use Lightroom for all photo management and storage which gives you the option to edit, keyword and export without

changing the original file.

I believe the Apple equivalent is called Aperture but not 100% sure on that as I am Windows based.

For recording your sightings, bird information,details etc I use Pizzey & Knight "Birds of Australia digital edition"

This has descriptions, sounds, listings,ranges etc.

In this case Google is your friend :-)

Cheers

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Flickr is one of the best and most popular options for storing and sharing photos online.

At the moment I have about 26 000 photos stored. Easy to sort into categories, lots of info regarding the photos, groups, text, dates, stories....the possibilities are endless. If you have problems , they are very quick in responding and willing to help. When my PC crashed and a few thousand photos disappeared, Flickr retreived them within hours and put them back onto my account.

Flickr lets me upload tons of pictures, but the free account only displays the most recent 200 at a time. The previous images are still stored there somewhere, I just can’t easily get to them. If I have linked to the image in a blog or social networking post, though, the link will still work. Flickr also offers a Pro Account for $25 per year that removes most of the restrictions that limit the free account.

Like Rick, my husband used Lightroom to edit , he was happy with it.

There are many different options to store on Cloud. No matter what you use, once you get into the thousands of photos, there is no easy way to find what you are looking forcrying I once started to sort by categories, but didn't stick to it. Depends a bit on the way your brain remembers things wink, I'm better at remembering places I have seen birds. Like I put the date and the name of the place , eg Treatmentplant 22.08.14 and some of the birds behind it, like Brown Falcon, Kites.... So far, even after 3 years of taking photos, I remember exactly what I saw where. It won't take me long to find the photo of the Brown Falcon.

Good luckyes I think there wouldn't be anyone here who hasn't sorted and re-sorted their photos, with more or less success.

M-L

Annie W
Annie W's picture

devwenbull@hotmail.com wrote:

Ok, so I have joined BIB to help identify Birds, talk with other like minded birders & get hints & tips on photography.

I am saving for a new camera and have started to take lots of photos.

My question is, what program do you use to sort, identify, name photos etc.

At the moment I am just saving them in My Pics & have a Bird folder with an individual folder for each type of bird.

I have only taken shots of about a dozen birds and realise that soon enough this will result in a huge headache.

Is there any software or programs out there that help you with your storing and sorting of photos. 

If so, what are they and do you put information like where you photographed the bird & other details.

I would love to hear how you do it so I don't spend hours sorting through photos.

Cheers

Devster

Absolutely Devster, less time sorting and processing = more time birding wink my suggestion would be to keep it as simple as possible, by the sounds you do pretty much what I do with the Bird folder, then species sub-folders inside that.  As other members have mentioned, you'll perhaps change your filing method down the track as your Library grows, to whatever works best for you though anyway.

My sorting and storing process goes a little like this: upload the photos - they automatically upload and save to the folder in a program that came with my camera (a Nikon program called View NX2) - view the photos in the same program folder - discard the crappy ones - drag & drop the ones I don't want to publish in the Birds folder, in it's applicable subfolder - process the photos I want to publish, which is just in another Nikon program.  Reading on-line comparisons etc, Lightroom is considered a far better processing & editing program than the one I use, I am just perhaps too lazy and spare time challenged to be bothered learning it properly blush

For simplicity for now, the processing part you can near skip really (apart from any cropping you may want to do) by setting your camera to shoot in just JPEG if you wish.  If set to JPEG, the camera records a RAW file, does the sharpening etc & processes it to JPEG in camera, and discards what it thinks are the unwanted bits (highlights and shadows for example), and then of course you just upload a JPEG straight to your PC.  RAW, camera records a RAW file, and uploads a RAW file to your PC and you process the RAW file to JPEG on your PC.  Clear as mud? laugh

Just depends on if you want the creative control of your shots, or you like to give that over to the camera.  Even with today's camera standards, imo they don't always get it right just processing in camera, not as I like it anyway, which is how my eyes originally saw the shot.  This is purely a personal preference I think, there is no deadset right or wrong, and you'll still find you get great results either way.  I'd suggest if you're unsure, shoot in JPEG for now if you're not already, as it will save you some time processing and sorting (not to mention PC memory space) - you can always change this down the track if it becomes an issue anyway.

edited:  to change the word "edit" to "process" for clarity - there is a difference between the two in my humble opinion laugh

NW Tasmania

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

Hi Devster

To answer your main question.

I shoot mostly with Canon (surprised by it hence my user name?), and I use the following softwares.

Photo Mechanic (Mac only I think) for quick sorting through of newly downloaded files. I delete heaps here in the beginning.

Digital Photo Professional - comes with Canon DSLR cameras, alternatively you can download free online. I check here for more critical focus and other parameters like composition, histogram if needed etc.

Lightroom - occasionally use this when I want to keyword files. Admittedly I am pretty lazy with keywording, so I don't often do it. I can look at just about any of my images and tell you exactly where it was taken. If I send images to editors (which happens enough) I then keyword individual files as needed. I cannot be bothered with it to be honest. Sad, but true. It is more editing that is really not needed for me.

There is so much to learn and experience, you must be thrilled at the opportunity. I kind of envy you in a way, but not in some others since photographic experience takes a while to develop and I remember many frustrating moments in my initial learning years ago.

With regards to camera brand, please DO stick with either Canon or Nikon. I cannot recommend these brands high enough, due to the fact THEY ARE THE TWO BIGGEST names out there with THE MOST available accessories, lenses (even third-party branded lenses) that are available. While other brands are good too, you may limit yourself severely if you choose anything else such as Olympus, Sony or (I am embarassed here) whatever else may be lurking out there. If you take a look at any half serious bird or wildlife (or nature) photographer (amateur, semi-pro or professional) they will use either Nikon or Canon and not much else. Period. There is a good reason for that.

Now as Annie said the RAW v JPEG bit, it's a tough curve to get the hang of RAW files. BUT they simply give the BEST QUALITY digital capture. I am sorry if others don't agree, the proof is in the pudding at the end of the day. For casual use or happy snapping JPEGs are OK and most people wouldn't know the difference, but RAW is simply the most dynamic file type that you can use in your camera. It is probably best if you're unsure that you start shooting RAW + Large fine JPEG for now. At least you have an instant JPEG available and later, when your experience has built up enough, you will understand the need for and the great benefit of shooting RAW files and you should be able to post process the RAW files for a better final result.

With regards to photo storage etc. I use two large external HDD for storing RAW files in the appropriate folders, eg Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Spiders etc... Then each folder has sub-folders. My bird one looks like the attached pic, then each folder there has sub-folders by species and sub-folders within. For example, the folder Accipitridae (eagles, hawks and kites) has sub-folders by species, then each species has sub-folders by location. Some have by year (my western Sydney Wedge-tailed Eagle pair, for example).

Now regarding you wanting to pick-up some photography tips, I will shamelessly plug my new article series only available through Australian Aviary Life magazine from the current issue (Issue 03 2014). There is also an app for the magazine, which you can download from iTunes for iPhones or from the Google store. Android version was released overnight and I've dowloaded, tested it and it looks phenomenal. The mag itself that is.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.trellisys.papertrell.shelf0988daff3a5243e18e0fd0dc09d12c0a is the Android app link, download from an Android phone. Don't think it'll work on a computer.

http://www.aviarylife.com.au/

Lachlan
Lachlan's picture

Firstly, just a note about Aperture- don't get it Devster. It was a viable alternative to Lightroom, however Apple is withdrawing support for it. They intend to replace both Iphoto and Aperture with a single program, called 'Pictures'. Lightroom's pretty good, but it takes a lot of getting used to. 

At Canonguy, don't be so quick to dismiss other camera brands. Both Pentax and Sony produce equipment that is more than capable of challenging the two largest named brands. Often you get superior quality for a given price, as the less prominent brands are trying to break up the duopoly. Personally, I have no problem finding appropriate Pentax gear, despite you shoving it into the 'whatever else' category. 

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

I am glad you can find Pentax gear Lachlan. However, the numbers speak for themselves.

Go take a look for yourself how many well-known nature photographers use other than Nikon or Canon. At the end of the day that may be a duopoly, but there is a good reason for that. They have the best equipment for the job from all perspectives. Period.

At the end of the day, people can use whatever they can, I would certainly steer them well clear of anything other than the two I mentioned from my personal experience. That's all. My comment is not snobbery, it's based on publicly available facts.

Needless to say, a skilled photographer can use similar outfits with any badge and still get good shots.

Lachlan
Lachlan's picture

I never accused you of snobbery Canonguy; I just commented that there are other things out there. 

Market Share does not equal quality, nor appropriateness. It never has. Canon and Nikon are more prominent in the market due to more successful marketing. For professional wildlife photography they may well be better because of that unbiquity; being able to replace gear and have it serviced is critical for professionals. However, most of the people on this forum (myself included) are not professionals and use their gear for recreation. And for that category (whatever you want to call it- semi pro, prosumer, amateur etc), it really doesn't matter what brand you use. You simply have to get what works for you, and I see no reason to limit selection to two brands when others produce appropriate offerings. 

Headsie
Headsie's picture

The very best tool to use in sorting your photos is the delete button, limit the amount of photos you keep. Start a portfolio and only keep the photos you think are your very best.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Great advice Headsie. Sometimes a computer crash helps toowink but don't retrieve themcheeky

M-L

youcantryreachingme
youcantryreachingme's picture

Hi Devster,

Here's a process I started about 14 years ago. Still works for me, and in recent years I've adapted it a bit to work with Lightroom too.

Photo storage

1) Have a photography folder somewhere.

2) Create subfolders using the following naming convention:

"YYYYMMDD description"

"YYYYMMDD" = the date on which you transfer files from your SD card to the folder

"description" = description of the contents. Include important stuff that will help you remember the shoots, such as: names of people, names of places, names of objects/items in the shoot.

I shoot a large variety of things, so I will often have descriptions like "Oatley birds" or "Cronulla birds". With birds I will only go into the detail of the names of birds if it's a special shoot. So this weekend I have "Cronulla birds including kestrel".

As far as file storage, that's about it. I find for most stuff I can remember which year it happened, and even if not, it is pretty easy to scan the folders in List or Details view in Windows File Explorer.

External hard drives

Eventually you will probably want to use external hard drives. The above still works - you just keep track of the dates on the hard drive (eg. Drive 1 is 20130601 to 20140215 or something like that).

An advantage here is that you can use something like SynchBack to automate back-ups of your files between different hard drives in case one ever fails. (You can take the back up hard drive to someone else's house, or your locked desk drawer at work as an offsite backup too).

I will say though that there is merit in the suggestion of deleting dud images, especially if you shoot RAW files which are large. However, I personally don't delete anything. I see all of it as a learning experience, and you can sometimes recover stuff using Lightroom anyway. I just add another hard drive to the collection.

Integrating with Lightroom

Once photos are copied off the SD card onto the hard drive, then import into Lightroom.

Lightroom creates a "catalogue" file. I have one folder on each hard drive called "Lightroom" and I tell Lightroom to create the catalogue file there. This means if I need to work with a different hard drive, here's what I do:

1. Shut down Lightroom

2. Unmount the hard drive (ie. click that icon and choose 'eject' or whatever, then unplug the drive)

3. Plug in next hard drive (ie. into same USB port)

4. Re-start Lightroom.

By default Lightroom will look in the same location (drive letter and folder) for the catalogue, and if you set up all hard drives the same way then it just works.

Finally, to export images from lightroom I create a folder on the external hard drive called "To print" (or whatever). Within *that* folder I now use subject headings like "Birds" or "South Coast holiday" etc.

At this point your photos are still organised fairly much by chronological date, split across hard drives. Remember though that you could set up a back-up job using Synch Back from your external hard drive to your computer's hard drive, specifically for the "To print" folder. This would mean that all your finished works would be stored in a single folder directly on your PC, ready to use/show, etc.

Last word

That's about as simple as it can get.

Yes, Lightroom can do tags, etc, and my mate uses iPhoto on his Mac to do something similar, but to tell you the truth, when I did a workshop on Lightroom they didn't really emphasise this. They mainly taught about photo editing (ie colours, etc). I tried a couple of times to add tags, etc, but as soon as you start categorising things you can always find multiple ways to divide up things. Should it be tagged with one person's name, or all people's names? Or should it be "holiday"? And am I doing it consistently with my last holiday 12 months ago? And should I also add location? etc, etc, etc.

I find by using folders and using the date in YYYYMMDD format, this sorts things chronologically, and then the folder description is enough to ensure I find the right folder to browse.

And hey, it's worked for 14 years.

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
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