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If files were objects I think I would be classified as a hoarder. It's really bad, and it bothers me.
I fight the packrat nature of everyone else in my house, so the fact that I am so reluctant to delete files is against my nature.
I'm trying to organize them all before it gets so out of hand that I will never be able to find anything.
I've found different sets of photographs of the same paintings, that I took at different times with different cameras.
Pictures of my family and dogs and events mixed up with my art photography.
TONS of images I know I will not use as art but I had so much fun taking them that I don't want to delete them.
So now...I need to discipline myself and give myself reasons to delete files so I don't fill external hard drive after external
hard drive with garbage. My RAW files are about 11-12 MB, once edited they get up to about 22-26MN, bigger if they are PNG's.
Frequently I keep a PNG for editing and a JPG for FAA.
A few things that I force myself to delete:
1. It's pretty blurry.
(I used to keep these thinking I can edit them later and with some sharpening it will be fine, but if I have to sharpen a lot the shot is ruined anyway.)
2. Dominant sections are blown out by too much light.
(I will keep it if it's small bits but blown out is rubbage so that's not hard to delete anymore.)
3. Images that are too dark.
(Just a little bit may be recovered but if it's very dark...making it brighter just looks wrong, not hard to delete.)
After that, it gets tricky.
If I have a lot of shots of the same thing from different views...I have a hard time deciding what to delete.
If I spent a lot of time editing a certain group of images, I don't know if it's because I really don't like them
or if I'm just really not in the mood for editing. I just edited one image for an hour, not even close to done and not happy with my results...
at the end I realized...I thought this was good, but I don't like this photo. DELETE
So...do you hoard? Keep them all or definitely delete certain images?
Angel, you may find this hard to believe, but I have less than five hundred images from my entire life - over forty years of taking pictures. That averages about ten images per year, including film and digital. Of course, I keep all of my original digital captures and all that film, but my main image base is only those images that I consider portfolio-worthy; and many of those get bumped as I create new work.
You mention filling hard drives, but I'm nowhere close to filling one 500GB drive. I'm curious about something, though. You say you save images in JPG and PNG, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me if these are your "working" or portfolio images. Why not save them as PSDs or TIFF, where you have a wider color gamut, the ability to save layers and no compression loss? What am I missing?
Hmm...maybe I should call you and talk about that tomorrow...my brain is starting to melt Murray...lol.
To make a long story longer...PSD's are huge. I would still have to save it as a JPG for FAA. The JPG's are finals, not working files.
The PNG's are working files. They are loss-less too, why not have them as working files?
If the file size is small enough to upload here then I will just have the PNG, not both.
I find that very hard to believe....but I'm going to guess you aren't lying to me and you are a cutthroat deleter...lol.
Sure, Angel. You've got my number. If you've lost it, just email me.
To answer your question briefly, PNG lacks the color gamut (range) that an Adobe RGB PSD file is capable of. PNG was created to replace GIF, which was intended for low resolution Internet display. Yes, they have lossless compression, but making them from a RAW capture or a PSD file involves loss to begin with.
Yeah, that's about it. Unfortunately. But that's the past. Save as PSDs or TIFF from now on. I like PSD because I seem to think Photoshop works faster with them. When you need a final, like for FAA, then you save the image as a high quality JPG. Also, I print most of my images myself, and the ability to print directly from my PSD files is worth its weight in print quality over a JPG or PNG.
For my money, there's no such thing as a final, only the latest revision. I'm always going back into old images to (hopefully) improve them.
I save my original file (last two years - raw/crw or now cr2, keep my psd files with layers (sometimes various versions), save a flattened tiff file for print, a jpeg file for FAA and a lower resolution jpeg with watermark (for another site), and I keep multiple backup files (so far have not had any losses except some files that I overwrote by doing a batch process too quickly). And then of course I have pre-digital stuff that we won't talk about.
My winter goal is to go through a purging once again this winter and get rid of the files I keep thinking that I might do something with and never do, or at least archive them on an external hard drive :).
I'm with you Angel. I am so obsessed with saving files. A few years back I scanned all my negs to hi-res files. It took almost 2 yrs to go through two large binders. Since I started shooting digital I would first go through all my shots and then save all originals to cd's. After that I would take the same files and work the worthy ones, then save those to cd's. After every 4 or 5 cd's I would burn the group to a dvd as a second back-up. Mostly I save in tiff's and hi-res jpgs. Just last month I bought a 1.5 TB hard drive and now I use that as a second back- up and instead of burning cd's, I only do dvd's. You would not believe the amount of discs I have stored...lol
because my files are huge i have to be careful what i keep. so usually i'll remove very blurry shots, if it's kind of blurry and it's a part of an hdr, i keep it. if it's softish, but not really bad, i can run it through a paint program and get a nicer painting out of it. if i have 2 of the same i weigh them out and decide which is the keeper. i usually keep everything else. i find i do go back and either edit them (glad to have many views of it because it sold as 1 view, it should sell as 5, and it does). or i'll use it as a texture.
i'll save the finished piece which is a jpg best setting. that's what i send here too. if it's a digital art piece, i keep the psd with the layers intact, and a psd of the final thing. otherwise i save my raw files (25-40megs a piece), and keep them on 4 hard drives, one of them is an external that i can unplug from everything else. as i get done with a month (which can take a year or more due to limited attention span), i'll back them up to dvd, usually the 8gig size. they currently take up 455gb, and i do need to cull more out. so now i'm forcing myself to complete a few single files so i can get those months of stuff off the drive.
the worst is vacation shots because they take up so many days.
every so often i'll cull out the old stuff. anything that doesn't fit my style, hasn't sold any, don't feel like doing now are removed from my edit directory. i removed about 60 yesterday, leaving me with about 6000 or so files to edit. i'll cull that again at some point. since it's not really gone, i can go back to it on disk or where ever, it's not a big deal. like i removed a bunch of planes thinking they wouldn't do well. and they do well, so i dug them back up from 2 years ago and i'm working with them now.
i think you have to ask them and they'll some how send them back to you.
since a hard drive crash, all the extra drives i have i back my stuff up on all of them. there are no dvd's of the new stuff. since i edit them slowly and put them in with the original files they have to wait until i'm done with them.
I am constantly cleaning files. I have to go through Images I have taken of my Sculptures in order to get the best ones and delete the others, but then I have separate files I use to prepare for an exhibit or fair to help me organize. Then after the event, they get deleted.
Since I am always trying to get better pics, the process seems endless.
I lost files in a crash too...they were mostly family photos and it was heart breaking.
I need to back up my images more often though.
Well, Murray...thanks for breaking my heart...but I am glad I am no longer ignorant of what I was doing.
How said that so much of my work is PNG....I really thought it was best. (I don't even remember where I learned that from.)
Tiff for working files and JPG for Finals. If Tiff filed are just as big as PSD than I will save it as PSD.
I guess that's true about the latest revision...because I keep going back to them too.
Nice to see that i"m not the only file hoarder....;)
for family photos i back everything up on a thumb drive and keep it in my wallet. it contains family photo's dating back to the later 1800's. took me forever to scan them all in. same thing with all the images here, they go on my thumb drive, along with documents etc that might be needed. i might lose my original stuff in a fire, but as long as i have the stuff on me it should be safer.
Mike, let me suggest a fireproof box. You can put your thumb drive in there and not have to worry about physical damage, moisture, stray magnetic fields, being struck by lightning, karma, etc. Or you can get a small safe and keep an external drive or two in there. Neither option is very expensive, especially at WalMart.
Ahh, file sprawl. The bane of digital storage. Two things to start getting this under control, get "The DAM Book" (http://www.thedambook.com/) and some decent DAM software. DAM is "Digital Asset Management". I use ACDSee Pro.
Create an organized folder structure that makes sense for your workflow. mine is basically as follows:
__ __05-2012 shoot
__ ___ __Work
__ __08-2012 architecture
__ ___ __Work
__RAW file Archive
Of course there are many more subfolders. I create a new folder under NEW for all new "shoots", that is what I shoot over a given time period, be it a single hour of work, or a week long trip. I work the RAW files and export them to .tiff in the Work folder. The finished .jpgs are moved to the Final folder. All the RAW files that are not used or deemed of subpar quality (or otherwise unusable) are deleted. The remaining RAW files, and their corresponding .xmp files, are moved to RAW archive. Inside ACDSee everything gets tagged, keyworded, and categorized so they can be searched for in seconds when needed. It all gets two regular backups to separate external hard drives. Ideally I should have a safe as Murry suggests, or keep one drive off site in a safe deposit box.
I probably keep more than I should. Kind of like all the crap in my basement. Lots of stuff I'll probably never use. But at least my photos are organized and I know where everything is. Due to being disorganized and not making the best use of ACDSee, I've lost a couple of RAW files that I'll never get back.
EDIT: the underscores indicate subfolders. The forum apparently doesn't like leading spaces. Hope it makes some sense the way its laid out.
As far as I'm concerned, the key is to delete only the worthless ones, which I do prior to loading them into my PC, typically. However, I still have around 100000 images in my archives. Most of which aren't publication-worthy. However, they're of value to me for other reasons. As my knowledge of photo editing gets better, some shots will become useable, for example. Likewise, if I properly keyword by location and other keywords, and file by date of exposure, this makes it possible to find almost any image I can remember.
Analysis of what I've been doing wrong is sometimes as useful as analysis of what does actually work. With my hummingbirds, having a library of hummingbird "parts" from my out-of-frame photos may eventually be useful as my editing skills improve... Borrow a wing from this image, graft it on that photo there. The bigger the inventory the more easily you can find a match, I presume. Artists who ask for reference photos my be interested in specific details without needing the whole bird at once, for example.
My file archive is date specific.
Each photo IMG_123_4567.ext is renamed yyyymmdd_hhmm_123_4567.ext and placed in directory gjsyyyymmdd
This especially avoids files overwriting because the cameras duplicate names over the years. The same name in the same location is always the same file. I add a unique suffix for each edited version of an image. Typically it's just gjs to indicate its edited at all, but can include other keys to describe the editing technique or purpose: pano, sim, bw, etc
Thus all version of a file stay in that same directory (with the exception of a few directories for JPG files for specific purposes)
The names stay mostly unchanged. If I want to search by subject, I search for keywords in Lightroom.
If I knew I took it on that trip when I got some nice photos near Cedar Breaks National Park, I can find it by location tag, or by the year I went there. For example, some of my best Broadtail photos were taken there at Duck Creek Campground, in Dixie National Forest. I seem to remember my travels in amazing geographic and event details, including specific photos and photo sequences.
So the only problem is actual disk storage space. I add a tag to each published photo indicating the publisher, like FAA or Zen(folio) or whatever.
I've been doing a lot of tagging in the last year to get caught up. (I just bought lightroom) this year. I must say that it was a mixture of tedium and nostalgia and the joy of rediscovery as I tagged the images before brain cells deteriorated. With lightroom, you can select a range of photos (sequential by filename which is date and time, with my method) and tag all selected images simultaneously in groups. For example, on a certain day, or portion of the day perhaps I started out shooting hummers in cave creek, then since it got too windy to risk my flash equipment, drove over the pass and shot photos at sunset in the Chiracahuahua mountains and national monument. The shots of the hummers can all be labeled with hummingbird tags simultaneously, then selected by species and tagged accordingly, then shots taken driving over the mountains as a selection, then those taken at the monument as a selection.
Composite images are stored with the file name of the main subject. I should probably record the other source images in a comment field, but I don't usually bother.
I tag some images FGBG when the contain foreground/background elements I am likely to use in composite images, particularly flowers and backgrounds for my hummers. And of course I tag portraits with the person's name. This isn't hard when I do a photo session at an event, like my grandsons birthday party, or holiday family gatherings, weddings, etc. And of course, wedding, birthday, or Saint Swithin's Day should be a tag too.
(Does anybody else use this "generic saint" to indicate a "generic holiday", at least in the church calendar? I think I picked up this term from my English mother-in-law. I just googled this, and found out he's a specific historical saint, and that there is some weather lore associated with the weather on his "day". But do other people also use his celebratory day as a generic term for a generic religious holiday. He's the Mendoza of saints! How annoying it could be for Saint Swithins to be the model of obscurity, but I guess he is hopefully perfected in heaven now, and isn't bothered by this.)
I'll let YOU google Mendoza Line, if you don't understand that reference.
Well, one thing you may want to consider is that TIFF is a standard image format, whereas PSD is proprietary to Photoshop. So, if you should ever, in the future want to switch programs, TIFFs will likely be readable in another program whereas PSD will likely not. I use mainly TIFFs because I sometimes like to do some editing in CaptureNX2 and some in PS.
External hard drives are incredibly cheap right now so I keep backups on two separate external harddrives (2TB and 1TB). I also am adding a second 1TB drive to my laptop. I love Lightroom 4 so I'm switching to over to it to control my workflow. I keep the CR2 files, PSD files if there are significant layers involved and at least one high quality jpg (two if I create a B&W). I generally delete blurry or poorly exposed images right away. If there are two or three similar shots I will eliminate at least one of them as well. I'm also considering a cloud storage site for remote backup of at least my best images. I tend to go back and rework images as I acquire new editing software and learn new skills. I'm anal about backups so last week when my computer was compromised by malware (first time in 20 years) all I lost were a few telephone numbers and a couple passwords (lost when I reformatted, not stolen).
When you reach my age the time has come to be really critical of one's photos over the years. Or you have boxes of old photos or now they are hard drives full to the brim. So what do you do with so many photos? If critically viewed one may find out of hundreds, one or two have great merit.(I may be guessing here as some of you are great photographers and I'm not but still love photography) So what does one do with all this photos? Gets confusing over time. I am head over heels in deep dew dew right now culling out those that seem to not be up to par if critically viewed. Also, have to say that when I view either photos or paintings,etc., here on FAA & see tons of pages of pic after pic., it is very difficult to want to go thru them all. Yet, if a viewer is looking for a specific subject perhaps they will find one......cause the artist has so many. What is your view?
When in doubt, I err on the side of caution and retain an image rather than deleting it. But I will only save the CR2 file and maybe one good jpg of it.
I take photos in spurts, 300-500 at a time but I'll set the camera down for a week or two, or even a month or two. In the interim I'll process my images and pick out the ones that catch my fancy. Last December I sold my camera because I intended to upgrade right away. I didn't, so out of desperation I began going back through my saved images and was amazed at some of the shots I'd overlooked previously. I will continue to immediately purge the blurry, poorly exposed images but I realize that I sometimes run out of time and don't fully review every batch of photos carefully. As a result I can overlook some great images. Also my processing skills are improving and I've been able to pull out some really nice images from CR2 files that initially didn't look that special. Finally, I use my images for purposes other than FAA and those purposes can change over time.
I'm definitely a hoarder, though I finally organized shots to where I can actually find them :)
Unless the shots are considerably blurry or overexposed ... I'm limited to a Nikon P&S right now ... I haven't deleted them because I may be able to edit some to a better quality at some point. I bought a laptop several months ago that had PS CS5 extended already loaded & thought WOW, I can really do some great editing! However, I'm STILL learning how to actually use it. I'd probably be better off to have PS elements just to get the hang of it, as what I have is not exactly user friendly ... or I'm an idiot < which may be the case!
I've been using Picasa for editing & PS to watermark what I share on my FB photo page
Angelina and everyone else, do you keep an extra back-up system on CDs for your family photos especially, just in case the external hard drive crashes at the same time as your computer's hard drive? If that is hoarding or paranoia, so be it! :))
A not-so-perfect photo of a child/family member/pet that tugs at your heartstrings is priceless! I think many of us have boxes of such photos from 35mm days that really need to get on a hard drive or CD before they fade further.
As for "business" photos, don't let the blurry or really inferior ones get on your hard drive - great advice that I know is much easier said than done!
Susan I totally agree!! I spent HOURS scanning old family photos ... I'm STILL doing that. Scanning & storing them properly before they disappear is more priceless and important than any photo I've ever taken!
"G" - I read somewhere recently that CDs are better for photo storage than DVDs for long-term archival purposes. Sorry, I don't remember where I read it, but it was online on a reputable site, not a forum.
I'm sorry Loree....;) I will attribute my lack of attention to spelling to sleep or caffeine deprivation...lol.
I wish it were that easy Susan, I sometimes forget about pics I've taken or visit them 6 months later, then the blurry ones are already living on my external hard drive.
No, I don't use cd's to back anything up. I had one get corrupted after I burned everything on it, it looked fine, it was my only copy and I lost those pics.
So I have one external, and I'm about to get a second.
The pics I lost really broke my heart, traveling from Maine to CA for a move...I lost a birthday party...a great museum trip with the kids, and a whole summer. It broke my heart.
I didn't scrapbook for a year because I was so upset I lost that time.
did you verify after the thing was burned? while it takes longer i always let it verify everything. i don't like hard drives that much, because if it crashes (and the board can go bad, etc), you lose everything on the disk. i've had that happen more than once. so you really can't depend on that as a main place to store everything - even though i do for new stuff, i like to get it off as soon as possible. while there is media that will last forever, a hard drive is more likely to just die on you in an instant. one of the reasons why i back up on several drives.
there should be little difference between cd's and dvds. they are both sensitive to UV light and both will die if you leave them out in the sun or fluorescent lights. i guess the more layers it has the more likely they could die due to different wave lengths destroying layers.
i remember a long time ago someone made a cd with i think 100 layers, they were able to hold terabytes of info. it worked just like today's 2 layer disks, using a wavelength of laser to shoot through the other layers to get to the one it needs. it worked in theory. but some of the dyes were too sensitive and faded out while sitting on a desk.
if i had to rely on a cd instead of a double dvd... in one trip i may need 4-5 8gig dvds. i would need so many cd's....
for family pix, i keep them on thumb drive, in all my back ups, i made my brother take one, i think my uncle and grandmother have a copy as well. she was begging so long to get all those albums scanned in. there were pictures of my grandmother as a baby, pictures of my great grandfather from around i think 1889, it's an original picture, but it will last longer on dvd. what's best about electronic, you can name everyone in the shot, categorize it by year if you know it, and straighten, clean and crop each shot. some of those pictures were only the size of a stamp. scanned in at 2400dpi, it's the same size i sell my stuff here.
Actually, if the circuit board in a hard drive dies, that's the best-case scenario. It usually means that there's no damage to the drive's mechanical parts. I had it happen earlier this year and sent the drive to a company called Gillware. They recovered everything at a reasonable cost. Made me a happy camper.
They also told me something that I hadn't considered. Hard drives have a useful life of about five years. You can't expect them to last forever.
I've been considering getting Lightroom and am very curious as to the main differences between it and my process now, which is Bridge for organization then Photoshop. What are the advantages of Lightroom? It looks very similar to the Photoshop RAW processing window but with the organization/display features of Bridge (which can be slightly temperamental if I'm doing too much). I'm now dealing with large CR2 files vs the CRW from my old 10D, so I'm trying to be more efficient. Thanks,
Belinda, I've been using Bridge to organize my images since it first came out and love it. I deleted Lightroom 2 because I thought that Photoshop was better for image manipulation and made LR2 seem redundant. However, I understand that LR has some mass-editing features that aren't available in either PS or ACR. I don't shoot huge quantities of images like event photographers do, so that wasn't important to me.
Thanks Murray. I've been debating whether it was worth the expense and it did seem redundant. Unless I hear of some compelling reason, guess I'll take it off my wish list. Generally I like Bridge for organizing and display, but I hate it when it starts to re-catalog everything when I'm in the middle of a search. I do know I need more memory, so not having to think buy Lightroom is a big plus.
Belinda, I'm no expert but I think it all depends on how many images you are managing and the degree of detail you want to maintain (metadata, etc.). For many people Bridge is all they will ever need.
Essentially, Photoshop is image editing software and Lightroom is image management software that has some editing capabilities. Lightroom is designed specifically for photographers while Photoshop is geared to all types of artists. Lightroom makes bulk loading and editing easier than Bridge and can perform some functions in the background so you can continue working on your computer. You would be able to prepare and manage your uploads to many photo websites for uploading at a later time in bulk. I suspect this is very useful for people who upload to stock and microstock photo sites. If all you do is a handful of photos a week I doubt you need it. If you do limited editing of photos Lightroom may be all you need and you wouldn't need to buy Photoshop.
Adobe makes all their products including Lightroom available with free 30 day downloads. Give it a try if you think it might interest you. If you decide you like it you will find that Lightroom is significantly cheaper than Photoshop.
There are some excellent, very detailed tutorials available on www.Lynda.com but they aren't all free. I'm sure there are other tutorials available for free elsewhere on the web.
Susan and G, I also have had trouble with CD/DVD degradation and file loss. I've switched entirely to external hard drives and try to keep two copies of the base CR2 files--at least the important ones. It's quicker, cheaper and easier to manage/find the images later.
i've always kept my cd dvd etc in closed dark cases, never had any problems. some take longer to read then others. but i have stuff 10 years old and i can still read them. some day i can see solid state being cheaper, or there will be some crystal cube that will hold it all. i would migrate to that...
Thanks Lynn - I use Adobe CS5, primarily Bridge and Photoshop now (used photoshop for years/yikes - almost decades). But I knew there had to be some advantages of Lightroom, as many photographers swear by it. However, since I don't do stock photography or a lot of bulk editing, except some minor adjustments in Bridge/Photoshop Raw processing, and Bridge does maintain metadata. I'm thinking I won't need to worry about getting Lightroom in the near future but I appreciate your response and perspective.
just to note anyone with a desktop computer. my hard drive went to poop and i thought i lost everything, took it to a local guy and he saved my ass so to say but he told me that because i had never cleaned my tower is why it failed. There are only 3 or4 screws to undo and the lid pops off, he said to lightly vaccum around the components being carefull not to touch stuff. on a monthly basis and your desktop will last longer, The reason for this is there are fans on every computer that suck in dust and eventually do lots of harm.