In part one of the Lightroom Migration , I discussed the basic premise of how I backed up my Lightroom catalog using external drives and the cloud. Pretty simple and straight forward which was the main goal. In part two I wanted to discuss the basic file structure and and the process in general. The one mistake that I made with the old system was trying to file by date. Not a good idea because you have to remember the year and month of the event. This still relies on memory. The date and time are captured in your metadata anyway and are searchable if you want to do that so there is no need to file by date. The other down side to the date is that you have thousands of folders you have to go through. So with the new simplified system, here is the way that I organized it:
I now have one catalog called photos. In the photos folder are my topics. Here you may have any number of topics. I have 10 folders for topics and these are the things that I most often shoot. For example, I have a folder for aviation, architecture, people, landscapes, wildlife and several others. One folder that is a must have is the miscellaneous folder. I will get to that in a minute. In the topics folders are sub-folders with descriptive names. The descriptive names is what I use in place of keywording. Let me give you an example. Let’s say I want to find a picture of my nephews baptism. I know exactly where to look for this picture. It is in my Photos > People > Johnathon Smith’s Baptism. If I need to search for it in LR I can do so by Johnathon, Smith, Johnathon Smith, Baptism … you get the idea. This file structure seems more simplified to me and makes finding the photographs you want or need much easier. I mentioned the descriptive names for the sub-folders and this is really what makes the system sing. It makes things so easy to find. If by chance you happen to visit the same place again, you can add the year. For example, I would love to go to Colorado again, and if I do I will just add the year to the end of the new folder “Vacation in Colorado 2016” to distinguish it from the first trip. I realize this system may not be for everybody, but it works so well for me that I wanted to share it. I mentioned a miscellaneous folder earlier. This is where I put stuff that does not fit into any other category. I probably have 20 -30 folders in miscellaneous, all labeled with descriptive names for easy reference.
Now, the migration was not without its challenges and would not feel totally honest if I did not share some of the pitfalls that I encountered. The first was the backup of the primary drive. I use a Windows based operating system and finding a good cloning software was not easy. Much of the cloning software out there did not allow me specificity that I needed and many of them copied files that I did not need to have copied. I finally found an easy, and best of all free, open source software called Free File Sync.
This allowed me the flexibility to synchronize between the primary and backup or, which is what I wanted, to create a mirror copy of the primary. The UI is super clean and easy to use and worked well to create the mirror of the primary I needed. The entire folder structure looks like this Photos > Topics > Sub-Folders with descriptive names. That’s it! My entire LR library is not migrated to the new system and I am so glad that I did it this way. It has already payed dividends for me. I hope someone else finds this helpful in setting up, or transferring there LR library. Please contact me if you have any questions that I can clarify or help with. Here’s to staying organized 🙂
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