Lightroom Videos

Video – Organizing Photos By Date?

I run into a lot of photographers that organize their photos by date. Then they start using Lightroom and feel they have to do the same thing. I say abandon your date-loving folders and replace it with something much easier. Why? Lightroom automatically organizes your photos by date for you so you don’t really have to create all those folders to do the same thing. In this video, we’ll take a look at how Lightroom gives you access to all the date-related folders you need and how another method of organizing your photos may help out.

Click here to download the video to your computer. [Right-click (Mac: Command-click) and choose the “Save As” option]



  1. maywind 25 October, 2009 at 05:49 Reply


    here is how I work:

    Outside of LR, I copy the photos from my card to a folder, using a date-based structure (YYYY – YYMMDD Event/Location). At the end of the year, I back up this folder to an external drive and burn it on DVD (for the regular back-ups I am using Time Machine).

    I then import (add) the photos into LR. I am working in the folder structure right after import to add the metadata (location – country/state/city etc) and keywords (event, person, location – type or general description) as well as for the first sorting.

    Afterwards, I nearly always use the metadata/keyword approach, as for me this is the most powerful part of LR. Besides the default presets, I have created several custom presets for patterns I use regularly.


  2. ALeX inSide 15 September, 2009 at 16:06 Reply

    I My structure goes like this:
    080110 Scotland
    080216-24 Slovakia
    080320 Scotland Edinburgh
    080517 St. Petersburg, Nik Birthday
    080620_nik Tallinn

    So it goes chronologically and I see quickly what the images there about. 080517 – 17th May, 2008, so it sorted correctly also in the file managers.

    If I was on 2-days event, I usually put them in one folder, But sometimes divide in two folders if I was on two events during a day. With “_nik” I marked that those pictures were taken by Nik

    PS: I am really fan of your videos and LR itself. That’s my first comment on killertips!

  3. bradyo 31 August, 2009 at 03:17 Reply

    thanks Matt, for sharing another way to keep track of my photos, this would work great from me because i have so many images anyway, so i make separate catalog files by the year, so this would be perfect. thanks for sharing.

    aloha brady

  4. Leslie Nicole 22 August, 2009 at 06:12 Reply

    I agree with Russ. The problem with keyword or project named folders is that I’ve seen this method break down. The other thing is that I have had creation dates get corrupted in photos, which gets very confusing. That’s why I want the date name in the file.

    The other side of the coin is that software does change. Adobe has abandoned software before. (Adobe Type Manager, GoLive, etc) I used to be a big user of Canto’s Cumulus. Stopped using it and now my keyword hierarchies that I had built in to that software are useless to me.

    I’m just now starting in Lightroom, so I am trying to decide which method to go with. I’m loathe to leave behind the date folder structure as I said, there can be big problems with named folder structures and creation date corruption.

  5. dendeNYC 17 August, 2009 at 13:09 Reply

    I like your technique Matt, however I ran into a problem (2 weeks before seeing this video) that I think this might have helped.

    My question is, is there a way to have that metadata attribute drill down all the Folders in the stack? It seems that to get a date attribute I have to be in the exact folder the photos are in, which is really not useful to me at all since my problem is I have no idea which folder (among the 500) a particular photo is in.

  6. Calliope 9 August, 2009 at 04:43 Reply

    comment on
    that was a nice and practical video. I had been using this system before I even knew what Lightroom is and then I was buffled when I read that I had to sort my images by date to be more organised and professional.

    But to who would I be more organised? -To my pc yes, to myself, no!

    Tha’ts why I would like to say to people to the other side of the fence as you called it, that we need semantic folder naming to organize our pictures. Something short that makes meaning to us,not just our pc!

    Exactly like the web is moving towards semantic and user centered mark up, just like software and our current technology is made with semantic and human an machine readable coding, etc. etc….

    For example I am working with certain token organising folders and photos renaming {City}{YYYY}-Event_Img#
    that is:
    1) The CITY I was at,
    2) the YEAR or the full date
    (perhaps I have visited in Athens a good few times during the year!?) &

    3) EVENT
    (on what occasion,was I out there with a theme in mind, what was my purpose of having that Canon beast with me all the way?)

    4)and last but not least when it comes to file names of each IMAGE, yes I need a NUMBER# to know how many I have shot that day)

  7. Chris 8 August, 2009 at 13:16 Reply

    I like the information you provided by finding the photos via the metadata. However, it would be nice to see how you import the photos and name the folder rather than using the date from the beginning so we understand the full process and benefits of it.

  8. Cristian Schrik 4 August, 2009 at 13:52 Reply

    Well, it works for me, although I named by folders by date and then a short text on the subject.
    For me it’s a quick way to find by date and subject.
    Although this works as well, it looks like it takes some more time to find the date.

  9. Tim 2 August, 2009 at 16:27 Reply

    This is the sort of discussion that’s been ongoing in the NAPP LR forum since LR came out. To me keep in mind how you physically organize your photos on your hard drive can be completely different from how you organize within LR. That’s what makes LR so useful as Matt showed in the video.

    I think when this discussion comes up there’s the assumption that LR will be the last photo processing software I will ever use. Before LR I had used a half dozen different programs to process my photos. If another program came along better than LR, there is no guarantee I would be able to transfer the database organization from LR into that program.

    With a Year Month Day file system on my hard drive that basic organization will always be transferable. I’m not recommending that’s how everyone should do it rather you should view how you organize on your hard drive separate from what software you use.

  10. Max R. 2 August, 2009 at 08:28 Reply

    Two days ago I resorted my entire photo structure by date, and then I saw this last night. At first I dismissed it as some more information I didn’t need (as a borderline OC librarian type, I have my own system that I stick to religiously), but it started gnawing on me after a while. Like many other commenters, it’s not uncommon for me to take hundreds or thousands of pictures in a very short space of time. However, as someone who changes timezones a lot, sometimes that doesn’t get reflected immediately in the camera. Thus, my metadata can be wrong, and Lightroom’s internal database is likewise incorrect. That screws up sorting and requires some sort of manual component.

    In a recent shoot, my camera had reset to default date and time without my knowing until I got back to my computer, so suddenly I had a heap of January 1, 2004s (Lightroom, bless its heart, at least acknowledges this as an “Unknown Date”), but at some point I’ve got to keep them separate. I was a major proponent of the One Big Folder approach, but at some point you’ve got to break that folder down to its smaller components. By reorganizing and then allowing Lightroom to create its own date-based folders on import, I can keep everything separate, and if I ever need to break catalogs apart for storage, I don’t have to dig very hard.

  11. James Fitzell 2 August, 2009 at 01:53 Reply

    All my folders are sorted by date because the external card reader I use automatically puts them on the hard disk like that. That said, I have no interest in reorganising them because I then rename the folder to summarize what occurred on that date. I remember photo events by the date that the occurred so this works for me.

    Unfortunately, Lightroom doesn’t allow me to readily move them later (eg move everything from 2008 into a 2008 parent folder) because I can only do each folder one at a time… if only I could drag multiple folders at once (it lets you select multiple, but the drag action only works on the last selected).

  12. Adrian 1 August, 2009 at 21:47 Reply

    Hi Matt, Good tip but it doesn’t address a date related issue I have with Lightroom.
    I’ve been using your ‘theme related’ folder (and file) naming approach right from the start (remember the early beta Lightroom days?). It never crossed my mind to second-guess Lightroom’s database capabilities by adding another layer of complexity to my folders.
    However, with over 120000 raw photos in the catalogue, and a gazillion (well OK, too many to count) folders, it can be a nightmare finding recently imported folders in the order they were imported by constantly going through the Lightroom filtering that you have demonstrated.
    All I need is Lightroom to organise the display of the folders into date created order instead of the default alphabetical order.
    As a busy commercial photographer, seeing all the recent folders as they have been imported into Lightroom, all at the top of the folder column, would be a very useful way of organising my workflow.
    Any thoughts on how that option could be achieved?

  13. skot 1 August, 2009 at 02:41 Reply

    I import my photos not only with a date hierarchy, but also with a descriptive in the folder name. For a portrait session, I’ll name the folder 20090731-erikachad. That way, I kind of have the best of both worlds. If I need quick access to the images, I can always browse my folders to find one I need or I can scan the image library / keywords in Lightroom. After I finish editing and deliver my photos to the client, I export each session to its own library for archiving.

    I’m afraid that if I migrated to a solely a descriptive folder, I’d end up with a jumbled mess on my hard drive. I have a habit of creating too many specialized keywords already and have made my keyword library somewhat cumbersome.

  14. AJ 31 July, 2009 at 17:26 Reply

    As a sports photographer I have always imported my photos by event with the name of the event and the year, because like Matt said when you go back looking for an image you dont know what month it was in as fast as you would know what event it was. so having LR put it by dates for you is just an added bonus.

  15. IbrahimZen 31 July, 2009 at 14:10 Reply

    You really tackled a very important organising issue! I’ve always wondered why Apple Aperture used the “Project” concept for importing and I never felt comfortable doing the date folders thingy, but I’ve always felt that i should stick to it, although i know the dates are already in the metadata..etc

    now I’m definitely re-considering my folders and follow the Aperture/iPhoto events/project style.


  16. Ed Macke 31 July, 2009 at 13:24 Reply


    I, too, have always put my photos into dated folders. After seeing your video, I started to question why.

    Basically, pre-LR there wasn’t any other good way of organizing, and I think after LR I just held onto comfortable habits without really thinking about it. In other words, dated folders were habit more than any well-formulated plan.

    So I decided to give your method a try, and have to say I really liked it.

    If fact, that got me thinking about a related Scott Kelby tip about file naming and why all my images were called “DSC_1234.DNG” instead of something more useful. So I started changing those as well!

    Now, instead of 20092009-07-25DSC_1234.dng, I have 2009George’s 75th Birthdaygeorge_birthday_001.dng. Guess which is more useful!

    Your video started one of those facepalm moments.

    One observation and one question:

    Observation: I was a little nervous changing all my filenames, but I noticed one of the F2/Rename options is “Original Filename”. There was some comfort in knowing that no matter what I changed my file name to, Lightroom still knew what the filename was when it came off the camera and could rename it to that if I wanted.

    Question: Is there any way to get LR to do its sequencing based on the highest sequence number that already exists. For example, if I have a folder “Daughter” and within that folder images “daughter_001.dng” through “daughter_025.dng”, can I tell LR to start naming my next import batch “daughter_026.dng” without manually looking up the maximum file sequence and entering it in the rename dialog box?

    Thanks again for your tireless efforts to make us think…

  17. fotovielfalt 31 July, 2009 at 13:01 Reply

    thank you for this video. I just found your site at the right time when I was thinking about how to organize my photos with lightroom.
    in the past I used Picasa for this an therefore I named every folder with the event the photos were taken.

    As I noticed that a lot of people use the date style for the names of the folder, I was also thinking to do so but because of your suggestion I will use my current method (names of the folders) and use the lightroom date filter.



  18. Marco 31 July, 2009 at 04:02 Reply

    I agree with Rob Edgcumbe, Craig Beyers and Russ Brooks and search for content based on keywords and other metadata, creating (smart)collections.

    When on holiday I use a Nikon D80 and a Canon Powershot A80. The latter is mainly for shots on the beach and in/near the pool and it sits in an underwaterhousing. So when I look for a picture of my son in the water, I know I should filter on cameramodel.

    My structure is a folder named Photos and a subfolder with Year.
    When I import the photos into Lightroom I copy them to the right subfolder and rename them yyyymmdd-C#.ext where C stands for the camera used (C for the Powershot and N for the D80) and # for the number the camera has created for the image. For holidayshots I might even do yyyymmdd-hhmm-C#.ext.
    This way I can sort by filename while filtering for certain criteria. The hhmm-format helping me to see that the pictures taken in the pool were shot later that day than say the pictures taken with the D80 at breakfast, but earlier than the sunsetpics.
    When I export the images out of Lightroom (based on a collection that I have made) to start assembling a photobook, I don’t have to rename them but am still able to easily see what picture should come first in the layout.

    When I first bought my D80 I have been experimenting with filenamingsettings on the camera and at some point the counter got reset and I now have a couple of DSC_0001.NEF files. Which one is the right one if I have to locate it in a backup? This is where renaming the files helps.
    By the way, when the counter got reset because it had hit DSC_9999.NEF + 1, I started adding a “1” to the Nikonpart of the name (so now it looks like yymmdd-N1#.ext)

    When doing backups to DVD (or going through them looking for a backupfile…) it helps to have a little more structure than just having only one folder, that’s why I break it down into years.

  19. Rob 30 July, 2009 at 22:54 Reply

    Just thought I’d throw my folder structure out there. I have one folder for all photos. Inside that is a folder for each year, e.g. 2009/ Then events get filed under a folder like 07-30_Flowers or 07-30_Birthday_Party.

    I tried just using the subject matter as a folder name, but so often the date is meaningful as well.

    Larger events end up with their own LR catalog. The folder still following the above format.

  20. Alan 30 July, 2009 at 22:36 Reply

    A useful tip. What would bother me about the use of a folder like “San Francisco” is that I’d create one and want to put all trips into the one folder (since Lightroom will manage dates for me). Then offline backup become a little more difficult. I backup to a hard disk, and the software manages changes in files. I also backup to DVD and just pull off folders since the last backup. If my pictures are intermingled then the DVD backup, for me, becomes a little more difficult.

  21. john 30 July, 2009 at 22:14 Reply

    how does your system deal with all the photos some of us scanned in that were NOT digital photos. and have no metadata?

  22. Sean McCormack 30 July, 2009 at 21:32 Reply

    I stick with the date structure -changed from a themed structure (people, landscapes, etc), for a simple reason: What happens if I stop using Lightroom? I deliberately use a dated structure because Lightroom can give me any structure I want via collections. But if I want to use another program or switch to a different management application, I have no access the info I have in Lightroom.
    I’ve been doing a lot of work over the last week consolidating my library onto one disk, for easy portability, backup and access. While not an easy task, having a dated structure has really helped make it smoother. Only 2008 to copy across now to have my photos from 2003-present together..

  23. Richard 30 July, 2009 at 19:20 Reply

    With keywords, collections, and filtering in Lightroom, why do we care how the photo’s are stored on the hard drive?

  24. Maureen 30 July, 2009 at 19:20 Reply

    Hi Matt:

    I’m commenting about the video I saw about making a new (3) photo preset which you made as a 10×10 page in Lightroom. I had little trouble in the beginning but watched your video a few times – and . . . I did it !!

    It was actually fun making this and I can hardly wait to use it. I would just like to know if you have it in a print version so I can save for the future and make some more presets.

    Thanks again, I love all your Lightroom killer tips.

  25. JanB 30 July, 2009 at 17:23 Reply

    Here’s why I don’t like that method:
    Yes, those folders names are great and distinguishable when you are Matt Kloskowski and your folder names are ‘Shooting in San Francisco”, ‘Teaching in Australia’ or ‘Chillin in Borneo’. But if you are more a person like me, your folder names, based on the occasion would rather look like this:
    On a walk in the forest I
    On a walk in the forest II
    Hanging out with friends I
    Hanging out with friends II
    Hanging out with friends III
    Random shoots in the City I

    You hopefully got my point. I can afford a holiday trip only once a year and don’t own a car (yet) which results in a rather ‘regular’ descriptions of my shootings.
    Even if that would not be the case I’d end up with 200 different folders with no way of collapsing those that I don’t need (those that are months or years back).

    That’s why I decided to stick to the old and boring method but combined it with Matt’s:

    – 2009
    – – Januar
    – – – # 20. Januar 2009 – With my Girlfriend at lake XYZ

    By the way I’m from Germany, that explains the month-names 🙂

  26. fullerphoto 30 July, 2009 at 15:03 Reply

    Same as the first comment for, i like to see the year as a folder but inside those it generally follows Matt’s procedure of event names. Metadata along with some simple key-wording makes all the difference to searching so any image is just a few seconds away from retrieval. Lightroom as come along way since i was testing the RC builds pre-dating 1.0.

    Always good tips, keep up the great work Matt…

  27. Greg Wostrel 30 July, 2009 at 13:24 Reply

    I am with Russ on this one. Same approach, same reasoning. Lightroom can be leveraged for its power with keywords and metadata, the directory structure is sensible from a file management (outside of Lightroom) POV. its a little bit of future proofing, too.

  28. Dawn in NJ 30 July, 2009 at 11:55 Reply

    I agree with Russ’s clear reasoning, as well as Steve Wetzel’s (and others) concern over archiving and backing up. People might want to go to and click on the forum to get a sense of Peter Krogh’s theory of Digital Asset Management. His book is a tremendous resource for those who use Lightroom (One of the programs which most closely [though not perfectly] integrates with his approach) and also want to be well prepared for data loss and/or legacy issues with digital files.

  29. Steve Wetzel 30 July, 2009 at 11:16 Reply

    Matt, thank you so much for this Video – if nothing else it gets people thinking about what they are doing. Currently I use folders organized by date but in watching your video I do think it would be nice to organize the way you do. The major question I have about organizing by location is how do you archive your data?

    Key-wording and collections seem to be able to accomplish the same thing as your folder scheme. One thing I like about my folder approach is I never have to think about it when importing. I like to keep my workflow as streamlined as possible. Key-wording takes time, but I am hoping that My new Nikon GP-1 GPS will help reduce the time needed to allow me to track photographs geographically.

    Please do share with us how you tackle archiving photos with your folder scheme. That is a major issue holding me back on trying your approach.

  30. Ian Worthington 30 July, 2009 at 11:12 Reply

    Hi Matt —

    Can’t view the video beyond 1:14 but some comments:

    Based on my experience with trying to organise emails into folders for the last 20 years I’m convince that the whole exercise is futile: whatever you come up won’t be what you need at some stage: Say you shoot some photos in San Francisco of a model under the Golden Gate Bridge. Where you put them? In the SF folder, the GG bridge folder, or a model folder? Or maybe you can create virtual copies in other folders in some way, but you can then end up with a multitude of folders trying to solve the problem.

    That’s why I put my photos (and my email) into folders that enable me to manage the *storage* in the most simple fashion (occupancy, have been backed up, etc), and then use the tags to *search* for images I want.


  31. Alan Shaw 30 July, 2009 at 07:51 Reply

    Also agree with Russ Brooks. I have my folders in the format yymmdd – event of place e.g. 090731 – Melbourne. Peter Krogh’s DAM books give some great advice as to how to organise your folder structure.

    Matt – I echo Geoff’s comments above, it’d be great to see you in Australia. Everyone I know here who uses Lightroom looks at this site.


    Alan Shaw, Melbourne, Australia

  32. fiddlergene 30 July, 2009 at 07:49 Reply

    Interesting Matt. You’re right to see that everyone doesn’t work the same way nor process information the same. That’s why Lightroom is so successful – because it offers so many options for storing, organizing, and finding images. We can each tailor the application to suit our own process and needs. Mine just happens to be better than anyone else’s.

  33. Depechie 30 July, 2009 at 07:19 Reply

    Well I also have to agree with @Russ Brooks approach!
    I also work that way because, indeed I don’t want to spend to much time while I am importing… so just fire and forget.
    I’ll (re)organize them later on in Lightroom with collections and keywords.

  34. Geoff Wagner 30 July, 2009 at 05:39 Reply

    Russ Brooks has offered the clearest and most logically argued recommendation as to how to manage images in Lightroom – well done Russ.

    Matt – you are legend and I continue to learn new things from your material everyday – keep up the good work.

    Wish you would make a visit to Australia sometime soon – it would a trip you would never forget – Australia has so much to offer – and I’m certain that you have a huge following here.

    Geoff W, Adelaide, South Australia

  35. Johnny 30 July, 2009 at 00:20 Reply

    I also use names of places but tend to use states along with a main folder of the current year. I know will stop using the year folder thus saving me from duplicating the structure each January 1st.
    Everything comes off the card and goes into a folder called “New To Sort”
    the keepers are then moved to their appropiate folder.

  36. George Kotelnikov 29 July, 2009 at 23:07 Reply

    Nice and simple: I use the folder structure to organize by date, because I’m able to put the photoshoot descriptor (“[Name] Photoshoot”) right next to the date. That way I don’t have to click around in the filter date column to find a specific photoshoot.

  37. Russ Brooks 29 July, 2009 at 22:37 Reply

    I too, right now, am opting for the reverse of this. Leave your physical folders on the drive(s) date-based, and use LR Collections to organize things into your easy-to-remember personal hierarchy.

    Folders come off your camera [most cameras] in date-based structure, so leaving them that way can make for less thinking/work when importing. Simply import and forget.

    Secondly, a date-based folder structure is immutable. By its nature, it will never change. There is no need to rename folders on your drive(s), ever, and they will likely remain in that same structure potentially forever. A “friendly-named” folder structure stands a greater chance of changing, based on your changing needs or personal opinions as to how it should be organized, thereby breaking the tie between Lightroom and its photos, which we know requires extra work to mend.

    Furthermore, a date-based folder system is generic and photographer-agnostic. It is not tied to one person’s organizational structure, naming conventions, or personal opinions. A tree of date-based folders is much more conducive to sharing with another party than a folder tree called “MotoGP – Laguna Seca 2009”.

    Lastly, Lightroom Collections and Keywords exist for exactly this reason – to quickly and effectively organize photos into your own, personal, searchable taxonomy. They are far more powerful, flexible, and searchable than relying on a folder structure on a hard drive. If you have a folder structure that is a lightweight taxonomy unto itself, why would you need Lighroom’s Collections and Keywords?

  38. Craig Beyers 29 July, 2009 at 22:28 Reply

    For me, the file naming is incidental and letting LR import my images and store them by date works fine. I seldom look for images by date and I don’t need to. Like many others, I use the power of keywords and collections, including smart collections, to track and manage my images, not the folders. My workflow begins with the import where I enter major keywords that apply to all images. Then I do a select process to ID my picks. I use those picks–like the shots from one baseball game or volleyball match–to create a collection. Then I work from the collection, not the folder, when I process the images. The images in the collection are the only images I fully keyword, not all the images in the folder. That minimizes unnecessary work. When I’m shooting for end-of-year senior pictures, I create smart collections for the seniors and work those images through Photoshop when I create the senior pictures. The events–like a vacation trip–get their own keywords (like “Cruise”).

  39. Beth 29 July, 2009 at 22:18 Reply

    Wow!!! I love this. I have sorted everything by date but would much prefer your method and look forward to your comments in response to Becky and Don’s question about getting things reorganized as it seems difficult to change names once pictures have been imported.

    Thanks for the tips.


  40. Arnel Garcia 29 July, 2009 at 19:47 Reply

    Yes Matt, I totally agree with your idea. As an event photographer, I have separate catalogs for weddings, birthdays, corporate events, concerts and anniversaries. And all of the them now have folders named after the clients. For Ex: Weddings – Jose & Maria, and for the benefit of my clients, there are even sub-folders for the Bride-Getting Ready, Rites, Pictorial, up to the Reception. And all are renamed using the first 3 letters of the Groom, Bride and their last name. This personalizes my LR catalogs in a way that I can refer to it when i received any communication from clients, I would immediately know where to look at. And my catalogs, and file numbers are consistent with my Zenfolio Galleries, so I know that I am always on the “same page” when I communicate with clients. Many thanks to your always enlightening tips.

  41. Don Schneider 29 July, 2009 at 18:11 Reply

    Matt, I’m with Becky and would like to know how to change from dates to places without losing any data in the process. it looks like it could get messy if not done the right way.

  42. Jan Jílek 29 July, 2009 at 16:11 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I have to agree with you about impossibility to remember all dates I’ve shot on. Organizing photos using the names of places where they were shot is a great way to sort them. I also like to have the newest shots in the last folder. But I also like to add a date when it was shot for example 2009-05-25 Prague – Headphones. This naming combines dates and also places so I know everything I need.

    About using filters, I use them only when I’m searching just for some picture. I mostly use combination of keywords and metadata. But this is just how I use it and how I’m used to use it. This is very subjective thing and anyone can have different sorting system.

  43. Bernhard 29 July, 2009 at 15:46 Reply

    to be honest, I stick with the date based organization and do it the other way round. I have a folder per session which has the descriptive name in adidtion to the date. Then I can use the filter bar and find all photos regarding a particular event (even if it is an event series). As I geotag the images, I can find them easily according to the location.

    The date based organization has significant advantages, e.g. for backups and storage management.

    What I really would like to see in LR is something like faces in iPhoto.

  44. Zhe Feng 29 July, 2009 at 14:41 Reply

    Thanks for the great tips. I do usually change the name of a folder to reflect what’s inside, but that’s after the default LR import, which automatically put all pictures from the same date in a folder. This way I can reorganize them the way I want and still being able to browse them by date using the Meta data filter.

    I do have one question about the meta data, if anyone knows the answer, please help me out (I don’t know where else to ask). I have about 100 pictures with some messed up meta data when I import them the first time in LR. The lens information has been corrupted, showing some weird characters in the lens info. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the original raw. So my question is, is there anyway that I can actually modify the lens meta data? Thank you all for your help!

  45. Chris Vickery 29 July, 2009 at 14:09 Reply

    This is a life-changing tip! Thanks!!

    Whether I replace filing image files by date completely or not, it means I have the option on a shoot-by-shoot basis to skip setting up a collection … and still keep access to my photos by date. Thanks again.

  46. Rob Edgcumbe 29 July, 2009 at 13:58 Reply

    I am curious about why people still discuss the folder structure they use. The whole point of a databasing function is that it allows you to manage the photos based on useful information such as keywords and metadata. You could have one giant folder if you wanted to although that would be rather unwieldy and may upset the operating system one day!

    As for what I use (which seems contrary to my comment at the beginning) I have folders for each camera and sub-folders based on groupings of original shot file names. Boring and simple but with Lightroom (or any other database tool) I never care about those things again.

  47. Jim Stamates 29 July, 2009 at 13:05 Reply

    I use a version of Felipe’s. Year, sub-folder Month. That’s it. Then Smart Collections based on Keywords.

    What I find confusing with Matt’s system is when importing images from a card that has several different subjects, how do you put them in the right folder? Plus you will have a lot of different folders in your import hard drive.

    I don’t use the date folders to search for images unless I want to see what I photographed last month, last weak, etc. I mostly use the subject for my searches. I can use the filter bar to search for a subject by keyword but that takes too much time. Just click on the smart folder and I’m there.

    As a wildlife photog I may be photographing bears and on the same card I will have a moose, a bird, or a scenic, I want all my scenics, all my bears, all my moose in their own folder for easy access. Location isn’t as important as subject, but I also have Location Smart Folders. But that is just the way I need to file my images, and the way I shoot. As Matt says, everyone has their own method.

  48. Terry Crooker 29 July, 2009 at 13:02 Reply

    Thanks Matt for the good ideas. No matter what or how you organize in LR it is light years ahead of what I had when shooting film. If I didn’t have some kind of system set up my chances of finding any particular photo was by brute force searching or blind luck. Now so much Meta data is automatically recorded that there are many ways to find a photo. I used to dream of a system like this back in the early 1980’s when I purchased my first computer. Thank you Adobe!

  49. JohnD 29 July, 2009 at 13:01 Reply

    Hello! At the beginning, I was using context-named folders for my pictures. I returned to date folders because from a file management perspective, I think that only date folders can be easily archived, moved,… Also, shoots can sometimes be organized in two or more directory. Which one to choose? Next time? Organization based on keywords maintain file management advantage and allow shoots to be referenced by several keywords (e.g. “holiday” but also “museum visit”,…).

  50. Steve 29 July, 2009 at 13:00 Reply

    You could also create smart collections to mimic this, but neither approach solves it for me unfortunately. I still follow a year folder, with a month/event named folder at the next level. I can usually recall the year/month I shot something, and I wish the filter view would display MY folder names instead of the date captured. I would ditch my structure in a heartbeat for that!

    Another AWESOME function of the filter (and your video reminded me) is the breakdown of photos by camera and lens. Earlier in the year I was debating about buying some long glass, but wanted a count of how often I was hitting the long range of my current gear. Using the filter allows me to see what body and lenses I use most often.


  51. Felipe Salum 29 July, 2009 at 12:44 Reply

    I use a different approach.

    I import my images by year/date and set the keywords based in the pictures imported (naming them the event, location, etc) and then right after it I create a Smart Collection for those imported images using the keywords tags.

    So I have my pictures imported by year/month/date in the directories but with Smart Collection instead of folder names to easily find a specific event.

  52. Jim Poor 29 July, 2009 at 12:33 Reply

    In general, your approach is what I use with one exception.

    I do have a “by year” organization of my photos on my drive. Under each year, I have event / trip folders. I don’t bother separating the days of multiple day events because LR does that for me as you show.

    It is common for me to shoot anywhere from 20-40K photos in a weekend event so each event gets an individual catalog. The by year, by event method has worked for me so far, though I’m considering going to by year, by quarter as I get more and more images.

    I also have one giant LR catalog with all photos on my entire system with minimal previews just in case I can’t find a photo. I don’t do any processing in LR with this catalog though as the changes wouldn’t show from catalog to catalog.

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