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My 9 Years with Lightroom

Discussion in 'Workflow Discussion' started by MarkNicholas, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. MarkNicholas

    MarkNicholas Active Member

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    Just thought I would share my experience of using Lightroom for 9 years and where I am with it and a little challenge I now have.

    I previously used Photoshop and started off with LR1.xx and initially struggled to get used to the user interface. It was completely different to everything I was used to but I persevered.

    9 years later I am now on LR CC2015.7.

    Okay where am I with LR ? Having previously experimented with multiple catalogues, for different cameras or for scanned photos etc. I now have 1 catalogue which I back up after almost every use and have backups on external hard drives too.

    I have 48,000 photos in my catalogue. 34,000 from 6 No. digital cameras... the first photos dating back to early 2000, 4000 scanned photos from old prints and 10,000 phone photos.

    For the 34,000 photos from various digital cameras I have pretty much fully catalogued them all, i.e. Country, State, City, Location, keywords and star rating. Of these 18,000 are still on a previous process version of LR.

    I colour code my photos as follows :

    Green - Previous process Photo
    Blue - Current process version but not developed / edited
    Yellow - Current process version, partially developed / edited but not finished
    Purple - Current process version, finished.

    The 3 categories of photos.

    The 1st category (was) is the easiest to deal with. These are new photos taken from my Canon 6D. I only keep RAW photos. These are easy to catalogue. After import I immediately rate from 1 to 5 and apply the "x" for non-keepers. 1 is very poor quality / subject but want to keep, 2 is poor quality / subject but want to keep, 3 is acceptable, 4 is a good photo and 5 is a great photo. I then Raw develop / edit starting with the 5s then 4s then 3s etc. The "x"s get deleted completely.

    The 2nd category was the old historical photos from older digital cameras. These were mainly Jpegs although there were a few RAW photos which I experimented with when taking the photos long ago. This was more of a slog due to the quantity of photos.

    The 3rd category I have yet to do and which is my next challenge. These are the 1000s of phone photos and scanned photos. These are a complete nightmare as batch cataloging is almost impossible. Its going to be pretty much photo by photo. There are also duplicate phone photos as I also have my wife's photos in the catalogue. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
    Ian.B and Skadii like this.
  2. Ian.B

    Ian.B Active Member

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    good fun isn't it ; much easier with one catalog/folders/collections /keywords . I learn that hard way too
     
  3. MarkNicholas

    MarkNicholas Active Member

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    Just an update on cataloging my phone photos.
    As anticipated it is a slow and laborious process but not as bad as I was expecting. However I have come across a few difficulties as follows :-
    1. Some photos have no metadata so I don't even know the date the capture time. The "edit capture time" feature only helps if i know the actual capture date which in most cases I don't and have to guess / approximate .
    2. Some photos have the wrong capture time information. The date associated appears to be the date it was uploaded to the computer.
    3. The limitations of the key word panel are really slowing me down. There should really be an option to expand the panel to include more keyword sets etc. and to be able to increase the number of keywords in a set from the limiting 9. Keyword suggestions works very well but is again limited to 9 keywords.
    4. Since my post I have catalogued (1st pass) 3,400 out of the now 8,900 phone photos (I managed to cull from 10,000).
    5. Duplicates are still an issue but have decided to deal with these after completing cataloging.
     
  4. MarkNicholas

    MarkNicholas Active Member

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    Warning : This is a boring read unless key wording excites you !

    Just to add a further update on my efforts to keyword my 8,900 largely random phone photos. I starting off on a piecemeal basis by key wording (to completion of a particular photo) photo by photo. Even though sometimes there were a series of photos which contained the same keywords this was a very slow process. I then tried applying a certain keyword, for example the name of a person or City, to the relevant photos using the spray can or just by clicking the relevant keyword in the keyword tab. However, this became a problem because I had been relying to a great extent on the filter panel to identify which photos did not contain any keywords. Because I now had individual keywords in certain photos I was not able to easily identify which photos I had completed key wording and those that I had just started. Now I should mention that although I add the Country, State / Province, City and Location in the metadata panel I initially insert these as keywords because I find it easier to insert say London as a keyword than in the metadata panel. So what I do is add say the City as a keyword and then later when I am done use the filter to identify all keywords with that City and then complete the metadata panel in one go (or a number of large goes). So my strategy has developed as follows. I initially apply only the City and Location to all photos. Limiting key wording to these two parameters makes it very quick. Then I use the filters and for each City I add keywords for the State and Country (obviously the same for each City) and also complete the Metadata panel Country, State and City. Then I filter each Location and complete the metadata panel.

    However, I encountered a problem when I came to continue key wording of the partially completed photos. I was no longer able to identify which photos already had complete key wording and those which which contained only location information. I could only filter those with no key words but now they all had some keywords. So after a little playing around I developed a little work-around. Because I knew that the partially completed photos only contained location type keywords and this information was now duplicated in the metadata panel I could safely delete the location type keywords from all my phone photos (later to be reinstated from the metadata panel info). Therefore the partially completed photos that only contained location keywords now have no keywords and are readily identifiable in the filters panel. I then continue key wording to completion City by City and /or Location by Location.

    There you are. I told you it was boring !
     
  5. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    Thanks for update Mark
     
  6. davek

    davek New Member

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    I wouldn't call it boring, I'm always looking for better ways of getting my images keyworded. Still haven't found the magic bullet yet.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  7. camner

    camner Active Member

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    Someplace on these forms I read a while back of a strategy of assigning a "workflow keyword" such as "keywordsnotdone" to all photos and then removing that keyword when one is finished with the keywording process.
     
  8. Tony Jay

    Tony Jay Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    This solution is easy enough to do but it is very non-specific.
    If one has an hierarchical keyword list one can do much better.

    As an example one of my hierarchies is WORLD LOCATION.
    "WORLD LOCATION" is a non-exportable keyword.
    If I make a Smart collection with the criterion: keywords doesn't contain WORLD LOCATION. then any image without a location will become part of that Smart collection.
    I would name it something like: "needs WORLD LOCATION keywords".
    Obviously as soon as I add a child keyword from the WORLD LOCATION hierarchy to an image it disappears instantaneously from that Smart collection.

    This is a great solution for those hierarchies that only need a single keyword to be applied from a hierarchy AND every image needs a keyword from that hierarchy, but it obviously fails if more than one keyword is to be applied from a hierarchy or not every image will need a keyword from that hierarchy.
    However, there is a solution to this too!
    Another keyword!
    something like "needsWORLDLOCATIONkeywords".
    Make it non-exportable.
    Apply the keyword either the whole image collection or, if feasible, only to those images that one knows need keywords from that hierarchy.
    With new imports it is ideal to apply the keyword (or a whole list of "needs...keywords") on import using presets.
    All one needs to do is to edit the first Smart collection and change the criterion: keywords contains needsWORLDLOCATIONkeywords.
    For those hierarchies that may potentially need more than one keyword applied then all one does is wait until all the appropriate keywords are applied and then deselect the "needsWORLDLOCATIONkeywords" and poof - it is gone from that Smart collection.

    Make a Smart collection for every single hierarchy along either of the two lines mentioned above and one has the makings of a system that allows one to systematically apply keywords from every hierarchy, as applicable, to every image in a collection.

    Food for thought

    Tony Jay
     

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