What software should I organize my pictures with, when I need seperation into 3 topics?
July 14, 2009 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend me software for a mac, that can help improving my workflow and organization of images, while I keep the images separated into 3 topics?

It's possible to categorize my photography this way: 50% hobby photography (or you could call it experimenting and improving my skills), 40% pro photography for costumers while the last 10% goes to "niche photography".

I'd like a piece (or pieces) of software for a mac, that would help me keep my images organized. I've tried programs like Lightroom and Aperture, but it ends up beeing a mess, as I'd like to keep the 3 topics of my photography seperated.

My workflow:
- Import RAW images
- Convert to DNG
- Sort the pictures in keepers and delete the rest
- Rate the pictures. I prefer to use a star rating
- Process the pictures with photo-editing software
- Archive all the pictures and export the ones I would like to display immediately

Suggestions to improving my workflow, is also very welcome.

Can anyone recommend me a combination of software, that will let me do my workflow and still keep my images organized and seperated into the 3 main topics?
posted by jakobmunster to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
At first glance Lightroom seems eminently equipped to handle your workflow.

If you only ever import one type of your photography categories at any one time then you could use entirely different Catalogues (databases), and open the appropriate one before you import new photos.

If you mix your photography categories in any one shoot then it's probably easier to use a single Catalogue, and then use Keywords and/or Collections to be able to easily separate your photos (set up 3 Smart Collections based on 3 different keywords so you can quickly isolate the images within the database with a click or two).

Where's "the mess" in either of these setups? Unless you need your images to be physically separated (on different hard drives) then I'm struggling to understand the problem. And if you shoot your categories separately - and thus can import onto separate Catalogues - then even different hard drives shouldn't be a problem.

Am I missing something?
posted by puffmoike at 8:16 AM on July 14, 2009

You could use something like Microsoft's Expression Media (don't worry, works fine on Macs) and keep a catalog for each topic. I also highly recommend The DAM Book.
posted by miscbuff at 8:23 AM on July 14, 2009

I agree with puffmoike wholeheartedly; my workflow is virtually identical to yours and Lightroom fits the bill 100%. What about it seems not to fit for you?

One thing I'll mention is that it's very easy to continuously jump to new/different programs in search of the "Holy Grail", but never give them enough time to see if they are really suitable. I went through that phase, finding fault with every app I tried but never giving them sufficient workflow testing to really get the most out of them.

That's how Lightroom was for me at first, until I finally decided (after enough recommendations from others) that it deserved more of my time. Now I can't see using any other tool. It's really a beautifully integrated, powerful package. For me, it's replaced Capture NX, standalone sorting/rating/tagging tools, and Photoshop's ACR plugin. Now I do 90% of my editing in Lightroom and 10% in PS for advanced edits. And Lightroom keeps me organized as well.

My workflow:

- Insert SD card (from Nikon DSLR)
- Open Lightroom, do File > Import photos from Disk
- Choose SD card/folder, choose Import All in Selected Folder
- Set to "Convert to DNG", set the save location and apply global tags if required
- Import
- Use keyboard to navigate and rate imported photos, (L/R arrow keys, 1-5 to star, ~ to flag)
- Use the Filter feature to select batches of photos worth editing (4/5 stars; flagged)
- Use Developer pane to make all RAW adjustments (insanely powerful once you get good at it)
- Apply any final tags if necessary, save all metadata changes
- Open individual photos in Photoshop for further editing if necessary (you can right-click on the photo and Open in Photoshop if you like, which is awesome because it integrates the edited file right back into your Lightroom catalog automagically)
- Bulk export when done, either to 16-bit TIFFs for PS batch processing (sharpening), or straight to JPEG if they're satisfactory, or straight to Flickr (via a plugin) if that's where they're going to end up
- Optionally, filter final JPGs via noise removal tool (NoiseNinja or NeatImage)

I only keep recent photoshoots on my PC while I'm editing them, so when I'm done I export them out to my NAS for permanent storage. Lightroom can load them from there if need be.

Honestly, I can't imagine it getting much simpler. Love it.
posted by sprocket87 at 11:07 AM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lightroom is perfect for this. As recommended above, you could make three separate catalogs and switch before importing, or you could create collections or use keywords within a single catalog.

Also, depending on how much spot work you do when editing, you may find Lightroom's retouching tools to be sufficient for your needs.

I got Lightroom when I got serious about photography, with the intention of adding Photoshop later so I could do more advanced editing work. But really, unless you're doing some seriously whacked out effects, Lightroom has advanced enough editing capabilities for 95% of photos.
posted by spitefulcrow at 4:41 PM on July 14, 2009

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