Sooner or Later You Are Going to Lose Your Photographs

Mastering Image Organization with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Cover of document, "Mastering Image Organization in Lightroom"

Well, maybe. If you are taking a lot of photographs, and you don’t have a logical way to store them and back them up–if your desktop is a mess of folders and documents, you are heading for disaster. If you are a photographer, and you have been having trouble coming up with a well-thought-out way to organize your photo library, this document will help you. If you already use Lightroom and have been losing images and have numerous catalogs scattered around your computer, Mastering Image Organization with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom will help you overcome these problems.

I love having an organized photo library, and you will too.

This 28 page pdf on setting up your Lightroom catalog is free for you to download. In it I explain how to set up your filing system for optimum organization, allowing you to overcome issues with lost photographs and too many unorganized folders. You will learn how to pull your images into a logical storage hierarchy that is really easy to understand, makes finding photographs very straight forward, and is built to support a growing library of thousands of images.

The contents include:

Part I
Setting Up Lightroom and Your Computer’s File System 

Six Steps to Achieving Image Organization Nirvana
Some Fundamentals: The Difference Between Browsing and Cataloging
Organization – Setting Up Lightroom
Storing Images on Your Computer

Part II
Organizing Folders, Creating a Naming Convention, and Tagging Images 

Organizing Folders
Naming Conventions
Creating a File Naming Preset
Saving a File Naming Preset
Other Data That Can be Applied During Import

Part III
Creating Collections, Adding Attributes, and More on Metadata 

Rating, Flagging and Labeling
Keywording and Metadata
More on Maintaining Image Organization
Spawning Additional Versions from Your Original Master Photographs

Part IV
Storage, Backup and Archiving 

One Catalog or Many?
Traveling with Lightroom on a Laptop
Backup and Archive
Spanning Multiple Drives

Even if you already use Lightroom and have a strong understanding of the application, you may still be struggling to find a logical methodology for storing, organizing and archiving your images. If that is the case, I hope that you find this document helpful. Let me know if you do. If you don’t, I don’t want to hear from you – just kidding! I definitely want to hear from you. Especially if you have your own organizational methods or if you have thoughts on improving this one. By the way, I wrote this before Lightroom 4 was released – it really doesn’t matter. These guidelines still apply no matter which version you are using.

If you have questions or thoughts on alternate ways to organize your library, let me know.

Thanks to the following photographers on Google+ for their great comments…

Jim Austin  -  “Phil Nelson should get a gold medal for Mastering Image Organization. Read it, do it, and then celebrate finding your images faster and easier. Phil’s article was so valuable I immediately referred all my LR students to it.”

Charlie O’Brien  -  “I’m giving myself a B+ for being fairly well Lightroom organised after reading your good article. Went back and renamed my entire catalog adding yy/mm/dd format to each photo title. Good idea having LR stack all permutations of the original nearby.”

Antony Northcutt  -  “Can you hear that sigh of relief?… I cannot thank you enough. This document has saved my photo life, and probably my marriage !! I wish you would write another one for the whole of Photoshop !! You are the only writer I can understand !”

Scott Merrill  -  “You explained it very well. I spent a couple hours today organizing my existing database of photos the way that you described and am already sooo much happier! Finally I can find what I want when I want. Thanks again for the excellent tutorial.”

Ron Zack  -  “Thank you for making this document available, you provide some excellent advice for file organization.”