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Still digging…

December 10, 2011
Bullock's Oriole

© - Bullock's Oriole (Female)

I’m still frustrated.

I talked about it yesterday, but I’m still stuck on the fact that I have not keyworded literally over a year and a half worth of my images that were shot with the Canon 30D.   I’ve discussed it before, but keywording is the foundation of good Digital Asset Management.  Add an “N” to the acronym that Digital Asset Management forms and that’s what I am thinking right now about my failure to keep up.

In nearly every amateur photographer’s life there comes a point where we can’t find something we want to find and we convince ourselves that it is time to get organized.  Back in the day this was done on 3×5 cards  or a notebook or some other form that worked for the photographer.  As desktop computers and spreadsheet software became more common, many moved from the 3×5 cards to a digital format (with the requisite amount of pain that comes with doing an entire library of images).

The move to digital imaging started to change the way we do business, though many just went from film roll numbers and locations on their spreadsheets and transformed it into file location, file name, or some other convention and kept with the old ways.

Software like Adobe’s Lightroom 3 has the potential for many photographers to make things easier.  Every image can have keyword data embedded into the file so that later on searches can be done by subject (i.e. particular species of bird, particular geographic location, etc) and all of the images that fall into that criteria can just fall out.

So how do I (try to) keep organized?  I use Lightroom 3 for both my digital asset management a lot of the heavy lifting in the image editing process.  When I go out and shoot some images, the start of my current workflow looks something like this:
– Download the images to the hard drive
– Run the gps4cam desktop software to add the latitude/longitude data to the images
– Import the images into Lightroom 3, adding copyright info
– Rename the images to my naming structure (date_frame#)
– Add the general location information (i.e. San Angelo State Park)
– Start going image by image adding keyword data

As I add all of that keyword data, that information is embedded into the raw images so from that point on I will never have to add it again.  When I export the image to Photoshop, the keywording and other data stays with it.  Once I keyword, then I go back through the images and identify the ones I want to work.

But now I am back at the fact that the images that span from my purchase of the 30D until shortly after I got to grad school are mostly barren in terms of keyword data.  As my professors would say, this is far from a trivial amount of work that is in front of me.  Somewhere north of 22,000 images have minimal to no keywording data other than date, time, and sometimes basic geographic location.  At about 15-20 minutes per 100 images to process through if know the ID’s (and considerably longer if I don’t), I’m going to be busy for a while.

The good that comes from it is that I have recently made use of some of Lightroom’s more powerful features for speeding up the process and I will talk about that in a later entry.

About the image:
This female Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) is deep within that set of Canon 30D images that need some TLC.  The image was made in the bird blind at San Angelo State Park when the blind was really hopping.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2011 11:19 am

    Oh, Jim, Jim, you make things so difficult. I think I will do a post, and tell how I do it. It will be good for laughs if nothing else. 🙂

    • December 10, 2011 11:37 am

      You know I have to make things difficult, Bob. It wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t 😉

  2. December 12, 2011 8:28 am

    Thanks for the instructions on organizing using Lightroom. I do not have nearly the workload you have Bob, but I do need to get busy. Thanks for adding some wonderful images to look at as well as I ponder my need to organize!

    • December 12, 2011 5:16 pm

      You’re welcome. Lightroom is a wonderful piece of software for many reasons. If some prep work is done ahead of time it does a remarkable job with helping you get organized.


  1. Re-organizing My Dis-organization « Texas Tweeties by Bob Zeller

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