Let's Manage These (Pictures) Openly?
September 26, 2011 6:22 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to ask the Hive Mind's advice on the best way to manage my photography collection in an open and resusable fashion.

I have about 7,000 photos accumulated over 6 or so years. I anticipate that these willl continue to increase.

Currently they are stored in 3 different locations. My desktop, my laptop and my netbook. These are all synced together using Sugarsync for which I have a paid account and that all seem to work quite smoothly for keeping them all aligned and backed up.

Mainly I use Picasa for importing my photos and minor tweaks. The pictures themselves are organised into named folders based on particular events which the photos were taken at. I also have a Flickr Pro account which i don't really use.

What I'd like to do is get a lot more organised and add far more metadata to the pictures, tagging them with:-

1. Where they were taken?
2. What the subjects are
3. What people are in them
4. How I rate the picture

I'm aware that I can do all of this in Picasa but I do not want to invest a lot of time and effort in doing this and have Picasa be discontinued in a couple of years so what I'd like to do (I think) is have all of this data be stored in the EXIF of the pictures or even in data files that sit alongside the pictures so long as they're stored in an open and reusable format. I know that Picasa seems to store a lot of stuff in an internal database and I'm wary of putting a lot of effort into this plus the difficulties of syncing this between three computers.

Ideally, I'd also like the metadata to be be useable from XBMC and WMC as I use both of these for slideshows.

I'm happy to spend money on software to get this done. Is Lightroom the answer? I'm running an all Windows XP / 7 shop and although I'm happy to have the pictures backed up online I want to store them locally.

I saw this but there didn't seem to be any really concrete answers,
Or if I'm going about this all the wrong way then I'm more than happy to listen to the wisdom of the Green.

posted by eb98jdb to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
To the best of my knowledge, you can push the metadata you enter into Lightroom, back into the photo-- you might need to go through an export process however. Also Lightroom does have a very good plugin platform, so it's easy to get your data out, if you ever did want to leave.

A good example is the Flickr plugin, that handles getting your images up into Flickr with whatever meta-data you want too, which might get you using you Pro account more.

The important thing is the workflow, try the trial out, and read some articles on how to effectively set up a single library shared between X computers-- if that works for you, then for ultimate piece of mind, see if you can find (or build) a plugin that gets that metadata out into a format you're happy with.

I can highly recommend Jeffrey Friedl's Blog which has a number of great Lightroom plugins, including Metadata Wrangler which might be perfect for you. Also the Exif tool will let you see what exif data Lightroom stores into the image, and what it keeps to itself. so you can be sure of what's going on.
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:01 AM on September 26, 2011

Adobe Bridge will manage metadata, custom tags, etc. and do things link batch file renames. If you have a fairly recent copy of Photoshop, then you have Bridge.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:04 PM on September 26, 2011

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