One of the very few annoying things in my Lightroom Experience has been what I perceived as the awkwardness of storing and moving my photographs to different media and drives as my work moved along. Often, in fact, if I was shooting a big job for one client, I’d just do all the “Lightroom” processing for that job in Camera Raw and store those files in their own folder. After all, I’m not usually going to use those photos to submit as stock or sell as fine art. To boot, not having hundreds of 16MB files in the Lightroom Library speeds everything else up quite a bit.
I knew that Lightroom 1.1+ makes it a lot easier to create separate catalogs for different purposes, but I was just lazy enough to stick with the system I had. The irony is, now that I’m working in a foreign country with only one computer at my disposal (my laptop, of course), working with one catalog is getting to be more, rather than less problematical. The main reason for that is that there just isn’t enough room on my laptop hard drive for the library of pictures I want to have at my disposal;especially since I’m wanting to spend a lot of my time here creating collections for submission to various stock agencies.
So I’ve decided that I want separate catalogs for separate major categories of photos (and, yes, Miscellaneous is one of them): Abstracts, Architecture, Elements for Composites (skies, backgrounds, props, etc.), Glamour, Portraits, Landscapes, Cityscapes, Journalism, Equipment and Screens (for books, articles, and blogs), and Stock and Exhibit. Those are the categories that come to mind for me. Illustrations for my books and articles will generally come right out of the Stock and Exhibit collections. All of these categories will be stored on external hard drives. I’ll have the pertinent hard drive hooked up to my laptop (or the new desktop, whenever that arrives) for the most frequently-used of these categories. As time and experience warrant, I’ll move the least-used files to a second external hard drive, which is also where my client catalogs (one for each major repeat client and one for all the others) are located.
There is also a Laptop collection that combines any photos that are recent downloads and one big collection that’s a subset of the Stock and Exhibit collection so that I’m likely to have a set of images that I can pull a quick illustration from when needed.
Subsets of these catalogs can always be shown by searching for a subset keyword.
Next week, I’ll talk about the process I’m using to create, sort, and move images into these catalogs and where I’m putting them. I guarantee you though, that the first thing I’m going to do is eliminate the close duplicates, to create new catalogs for each of the categories I’ve listed above, and to begin backing up the subset “collections” keywords for each keyword onto gold archival DVDs. And yes, it’s going to take a while to fully implement all of this and I don’t currently have an assistant to do it for me.
One last thing: For those who work in a corporation or in teams and have to share computers, each of you can create your own catalogs and still use the same computer and installation of Lightroom.
So, until then, then. Also, I’m going to compare Lightroom’s Clarity slider to Fred Miranda’s Velvia Vision plug-in at some time in the very near future.