On April 10th, I gave a presentation to the ALL PhotoSIG group on photo management. The Academy for Life-Long Learning (ALL) is managed through the Cy-Fair College which is part of the Lone Star College system around Houston, Texas.

Because of County and State social distancing rules and shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PhotoSIG meeting was conducted online. The following is an outline of what I presented.

Photo Management

  • Photo management is a subset of digital asset management.
  • Photo management is the organization and classification of photographs as digital assets.
  • Digital photography has allowed us all to become professional photographers in terms of the cost per image.
  • Digital photography has also allowed us to lose all of our photos with a single click, software upgrade or hard drive crash.

Photo Management Software

  • Google search ”what is the best free photo management software?”
    • Adobe bridge. Bridge CC is a free photo organizing software that provides central access to all files and resources that are needed to work with creative projects. …
    • Google photos. …
    • Picktorial. …
    • Google picasa. …
    • Studioline photo basic. …
    • Jetphoto studio. …
    • Xnviewmp. …
    • Faststone.
  • My recommendation: Adobe Bridge
    • Adobe Bridge is a core product of Adobe’s Creative Suite which is used by thousands of professional photographers
  • I use Adobe Lightroom to manage over 150,000 images

Adobe Lightroom for Photo Management

  • Incorporates all the features of Adobe Bridge plus extensive additional bulk photo management and editing features
    • Used by most of the professional photographers I have met
    • Saves Metadata from Catalogs into each Image File
    • Can manage thousands of large image files effectively
    • Can sync GPS Track-log to insert geospatial metadata
  • Cost US$9.99/Month Subscription
    • Lightroom on desktop (PC & Mac) and mobile
    • Lightroom Classic (Cloud based)
    • Photoshop on desktop (PC & Mac) and iPad
    • Your own portfolio website and social media tools
    • 20GB of cloud storage (about 4,000 JPEGs)

Photo Management Workflow

Professional photographers recommending establishing a workflow to follow to organize your photographs on a regular and consistent basis.

My Photo Management Workflow

  1. In the Camera
    • Ensure all cameras are set to the correct date and time
    • Memory Card Management
      • Shoot RAW & JPEG
        (You have two copies of every image in camera)
      • Use High Speed Memory Cards. Essential for high speed, HDR and video photography
      • Multiple memory cards in some cameras
      • Swap out memory cards if possible
    • Cloud Synchronization
      • Turn on My Photo Stream on iPhone/iPad. Photos will sync with your Mac
      • Android? – Sorry, I don’t know.
      • Make sure your data plan can afford synchronization, particularly Internationally
  2. Every Day
    • Swap out memory cards in Camera
    • Copy images from card to external drive and/or laptop Mac/PC
    • Export images from MacOS Photos to filesystem as JPGs
    • Make at least two copies of all photos in different folders
      • Ideally have one copy on multiple devices
      • Retain one as ORIGINAL (Remember Negatives!) and make READ ONLY.
    • My recommendation for travelers:
      Western Digital My Passport Pro
      • 1 to 4 Tb Hard Drive self-contained with USB battery and WiFi Hub
      • Automatically copies photos from SD Cards, USB drives and Phones to hard drive
      • View and manage photos on Tablet/Phone over WiFi
  3. Post-Processing
    • Organize, annotate and categorize one copy of all images
    • File System Organization
      • Recommend Year and Month Folder Organization
        • 2020 – 2029
        • 2020
          • 01 – January
          • 02 – February
          • ……
    • Copy today’s photos from all cameras to this month’s folder
    • Synchronize folder to import photos in Lightroom
    • Quick view and delete obvious bad photos
    • Organize, annotate and categorize one copy of all images
      • Photo annotation. Editing Photo Metadata (EXIF and IPTC)
        • Copyright
        • Photographer
        • Title/Caption/Comment
        • Capture Date and Time (If necessary)
        • Face Recognition
        • Geospatial (GPS) coordinates
        • Rating (0-5/Color)
      • Photo Categorization
        • Use Keywords
      • Save Metadata to Image Files. Stored in EXIF and IPTC data fields
      • Bulk Renaming of Photo filenames
        • Recommend:
          YYYY_MM_{1-9999 Sequence}
    • Cloud Synchronization
      • Use WiFI Internet Connection
      • Synchronize to Home Computer
    • Editing (Non-destructive, with bulk file capability in Lightroom)
      • Spot and Red Eye removal
      • Crop, Rotate, Transform, Lens Correction
      • White Balance, Exposure, Highlights, Shadows
      • Contrast, Vignette, Saturation, Clarity
    • Photoshop
      • All the other image editing stuff!
    • Organize Favorites
    • Display / Share / Publishing / Printing / Blogging
  4. Backup your Photos!
    • Multiple Local Copies
    • Automated if possible, at least every day
    • Cloud Synchronization (not storage)
      • Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud
      • I use SugarSync to synchronize across multiple PCs and Macs
    • Avoid single file backups
      • Single large backup files can be corrupted and everything is lost
      • File copying is slower but safer. Use incremental file copy so only new images and changes are copied.
    • Store at least one copy of all your images offsite

A PDF copy of the presentation is here!

Thanks, I hope you find these ideas useful!