In the past couple of years of specializing in the workflow of digital photography and processing, there are two lessons I’ve learned above all others: (1) Any organized plan for a regular working procedure will save you hours of time and disaster over having none…and (2) One man’s workflow is another man’s folly. This is especially true of Lightroom, which continues to surprise me with its richness and power because it’s so well designed to look simple. Every day I seem to discover some useful new tweak, so I just roll it in to my listed routine and re-write the list if I decide the addition is worthwhile.
This series of blogs is what I’ve come up with so far. Part I here starts with my procedure for downloading images from the camera. Actually, I never download from the camera because I don’t want to get into that habit and then discover I have to use the camera while I’m downloading. Besides, using an external high-speed USB 2.0 card reader is faster.
First, I take the card out of my camera and use the standard routine to transfer the contents of each card into its own folder. I have one master folder on each drive called Drivename Photos. Each of the folder names in that folder starts with six digits that describe the date the folder was created, in this order: yymmdd.
That way, my folders are always sorted in perfect chronological order from oldest to newest. Following that date is the name of the subject matter that most broadly describes where or what was shot on that card. If the shots were taken for pay, that subject name is the name of the client or of the assignment or an abbreviated combination of the two. If there are several cards shot on the same day for the same assignment, I put all their contents into one folder. Then it’s much less likely that I’ll loose track of part of the assignment.
The next thing I do is Import the folder(s) I created on download into Lightroom, making sure that, at the same time, I also choose the following settings in the Import dialog for each of the folders that I import (you can see a screen shot of this dialog below):
File Handling: Copy photos as DNG and Import.
Organize by: Original Folders
Check: Don’t re-import suspected duplicates
Check: Backup to: Name a folder that you will fill with folders until the contents fill a DVD. Then click the Choose button and navigate to the folder you have created for that purpose and create a sub-folder named after the folder you are backing up and type BU as the last two letters in its filename. When you’ve finished this routine, look at the OS’ Properties for this directory. If you’re at all close to filling a DVD (4.7 GB), burn this directory onto one and print the directory on its label.
For the File Naming Template, choose: Custom Name - Original File Number.
In the Custom Text field, enter the name of the subject of these files.
Develop Settings: None
Metadata: The name of your custom metadata file. Mine is named after me.
Keywords: Enter only those that will apply to at least 85 percent of the files in that directory. Otherwise, you’ll waste more time finding and erasing un-needed keywords than you’ve saved by entering them here. If there are a whole variety of subject types and characteristics in this collection, enter all the keywords after the download.
In my next Blog installment, I’ll go on to processing. There’s one last thing you should do before you go on to that, though: Go through each file in full preview mode and get rid of every single image you’ll never need by pressing Delete and choosing Remove from Disk. See you next time.