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Photo organisation and storage

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by LindaBMuppet, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    When I was at Newcastle Poly in the early '80s, they had access to the Uni's IBM 370 which had water-cooled memory - I remember one occasion in summer when the water tank on the roof ended up full of algae, it was a HOT summer, and the system had to be shut down while they cleaned it out the memory system. :eek:
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    It's a sobering thought that the 370/168 could support up to 8 Megabytes of main memory and its disks maxed out a 100 Megabytes each. You couldn't even get the first version of Doom into that! :eek:
  3. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    seemed bigger at the time! :)
  5. Lark Rise

    Lark Rise New Member

    I have a similar issue to the OP, but slightly different. I have a large collection (175k) of digital photos going back many years. I have these stored on a NAS in folders by year and month and as time goes on I create a new month folder and transfer the photos off our phones, cameras etc. I back this up to Google Photos and to a usb drive stored remotely. So far so good!

    The issue is finding photos of places or people, as searching through multiple folders and using the Windows thumbnails is poor. I do not need anything more than basic editing tools.

    I find the search tools in Google Photos good, but difficult to use. I have used Adobe Elements Organiser but find the facial recognition slow and it is a vast catalogue. I tried Lightroom but couldn't install it due to limited space on my local drive. And I don't need the fancy editing facility.

    I would welcome any further ideas- I feel am missing something obvious!
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    That sounds a nightmare. There really isn’t any good alternative to key-wording each photo. The most flexible way to store the information is in a database because these have very efficient search and indexing tools. There was a post the other day (could be week or month) that named a stand-alone photographic database product but I forget what it was. I think the query was about migrating the database to LR (or vice versa). A database to which you can add images rather than having to type in their file-name and location saves a lot of typing. Relying on automated image analysis is I think a bit unreliable. I turned off automatic key-wording in Flickr for that reason.

    Before I used Lightroom I used Flickr for indexing because I could put pictures in albums and albums in collections as well as add keywords. I’d look the picture up in Flickr and get the filename and date then I could find it in disk where they are stored by date taken.

    Doing key-wording retrospectively is an awful job.
  7. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I cull ruthlessly (a habit from the days of Kodachrome), but still have about 8,500 digital image files accumulated since 2008 (since 2009 I have RAW files too, so this may equate to about 4,000 pictures). I still believe that I could get rid of many of these too.
    Your total of 175,000 images sounds like a nightmare - do you keep everything, or is this the total you have after selecting only those definitely worth keeping?

    I started out using a system that sounds like yours - I used to create folders by year, with subfolders for subjects with that year. But I soon realised that it was better to create folders by subject, and sometimes subfolders by year (or time of year for landscape stuff). I did this major reorganisation when I had about 3,000 image files (after a backup was taken to an external hard disc). Some folders of places visited contain images from different years (without sub-folders), because if I really need the date it's on the image file anyway. I'm glad I did it before my collection grew beyond 3,000 images, and doing it now would be much more tedious. I don't know if this approach would work for you, but the task of reorganising 175,000 files must be daunting.

    I spent about 20 years in IT, programming and working on database designs. Irrespective of what kind of data you are storing (image files in this example), the most important consideration is how the databases are structured so that date retrieval is as efficient as possible (finding an image in this case). If you are new to this concept, it usually only becomes obvious with hindsight.

    If you decide to reorganise your folders, try to cull as many files as you can first. I suspect that digital photography and cheap hard disc storage make it too easy to just keep everything. For example, if you have 100 similar pictures of the same person, perhaps you only really need the best 3 or 4. When I read AP reviews of cameras that can operate in 'machine gun' mode and take hundreds of nearly-identical shots in a few seconds, apart from the time needed to check them all, I always wonder how many the photographer will keep and suspect they decide it's easiest to just keep the lot and sort it out later.
  8. Lark Rise

    Lark Rise New Member

    Many thanks for the responses. Yes, I am sure it is right to say that we have not been at all careful to keep only a selection of what we have taken, apart from the scanned slides and negatives from past ages. We always thought that storage was cheap and we could keep everything, but of course the downside is organising it now.

    I have been playing with Microsoft Photos to see how that might work but that keeps quitting or not even loading so I am guessing that it is not well suited to handling very large repositories.
  9. Lark Rise

    Lark Rise New Member

    I think the ideal solution might be a utility that was a viewer rather than an editor; so something that could scan the repository without needing to create another whole copy of every image. I am guessing though that any of the advanced search facilities such as facial recognition could not work without making a full copy. I am just playing with ideas rather than practicalities here. The images are on a Synology NAS and I don't really want to have to duplicate them.
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Adobe Bridge may suit. I’ve never used it properly. I started putting scanned negs into it rather than LR but decided I’d just keep everything together in LR.

    Edit: I found some suggestions that Bridge is free. It was free to me but I have a photography plan subscription. It might be worth finding out. Most things have a trial period. You may need to get a bigger disk on your computer though (post #25).
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  11. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I used to use LR. I am wishing that I had just paid up and stuck with it.
    A daft thing is that while working, I, and one colleague, built a system for controlling engineering drawing files. We used an Oracle data base, Oracle Forms for user interface, and a lot of supporting C++ code for shifting files around. I should be able to write something in VBA and Access to do the job. The trouble is that I never learnt VBA, never learnt my way around Access, and have forgotten most of what I knew about database design. An effective single user system is not that difficult to design in principle.
    LR has at its heart a single file database called SQLite. Adobe did the easy bit. Microsoft provide SQLite, the difficult bit. I am amazed that no-one has come up with an alternative DAM to LightRoom. As a user of Affinity Photo and Publisher I just hope that Serif can come up with something.
    Adobe Bridge is not the solution. It is only a viewer.
  12. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    There are two rules for an easy life.
    Once stored never move an image file.
    Use extensive key words on every image.

    That way you will never have difficulty homing in on and finding any image.

    I put all my images in to a file called pictures. these are all in sub files created when the images were first processed.
    Some are in files by date, others are grouped into files of a particular event, others in files of particular sorts of things. This level of files is mainly for convenience of keeping things together.

    The actual finding of images for use, is mainly and usually by keyword, however Lightroom is basically a
    Database which allows you to create categories and groups, which can be quite unrelated to where your images are or the name of a file or files.

    A particular image can be in any number of groups or categories. and can also be found by any of the key words applied to the image. It can also be found by the file name assigned when first filing that image. Images can be found and put into new groupings at any time, or exported as needed.

    My Every image is linked back through the base file " Pictures" to where ever it may happen to be on the hard disk. Broken links can be restored, but unless you know they are broken, they are virtually lost.

    Large number of broken links is a PITA and can be avoided by never moving image files once they have been entered into the database. however they can be stored literally anywhere connected to your computer. It is just tidier and easier to keep them all in one place. Even if that "One place" is a number of linked hard disks, or somewhere in the Cloud or both.

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