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Subject: "PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)" Previous topic | Next topic
Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Thu 24-Jan-13 04:55 PM
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"PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
Thu 24-Jan-13 07:10 PM by Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
          

If you are using PhotoMechanic, can you tell me the advantages of it?

And what do you use following PM?

My only experience has been with ViewNX2. A friend gave me a demo of PhotoMechanic. The logic appealed to me.

(I'm a Macintosh user, if that makes any difference)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Reply message RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)
mklass Platinum Member
24th Jan 2013
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cpopescu Silver Member
25th Nov 2013
23
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nrothschild Silver Member
25th Nov 2013
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25th Nov 2013
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walkerr Administrator
25th Nov 2013
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cpopescu Silver Member
25th Nov 2013
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mklass Platinum Member
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PerroneFord Silver Member
08th Dec 2013
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08th Dec 2013
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JonK Moderator
24th Jan 2013
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nrothschild Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
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Bravozulu Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
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     Reply message RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)
ericbowles Moderator
26th Jan 2013
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Bravozulu Silver Member
26th Jan 2013
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ericbowles Moderator
26th Jan 2013
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nrothschild Silver Member
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                              Reply message When is the test?
Bravozulu Silver Member
27th Jan 2013
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                                   Reply message RE: When is the test?
ericbowles Moderator
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                                        Reply message Update
Bravozulu Silver Member
15th Mar 2013
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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Thu 24-Jan-13 07:49 PM
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#1. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 0


Tacoma, US
          

I've been using PM for 6 years now. I probably spend more time with it than any other photo related application.

PM is NOT a photo editor. It is a image browser and organizer. It is NOT a catalog program. It simply uses the folder structure of your OS to store photos. That has advantages (its simple and does not rely on always using a catalog program to keep track of you pictures), and disadvantages (it is slower to search for a particular image based on keywords and such).

PM is great at ingesting photos (copying the images from your card to your hard disk or other location). While it is doing that, you can remane the images, add descriptive information in XMP/IPTC formats, and also have them copied to a second location for backup.

Once on your computer, allows you to select images (tag) rate them (0-5 stars) and assign color classes (nor or any of 8). This allow you to essentially catagorize teh image for viewing and processing.

Yo can also extract the preview jpg in a NEF file into a separat JPG, as well as do some "soft cropping) that you can apply when saving the copying the image for anotehr use (such as uploading to Nikonians. You can also target the size of the saved image so it fits within the Nikonians forum 300kb limit. at the same time you can save the new image to web-friendly sRGB color space (if you shoot in adobeRGB) and sharpen it.

Photo Mechanic is also a hub for launching you image into a photo editing app. I primarily use Capture NX2 and have that as my default editor, but you can also set up any other program as default, or have different default applications based on the file extension (CNX for NEFs, Photoshop for PSD, etc.) You also have the choice of using any other as an optional "Open with" program. I find this useful for programs such as Photoshop, NIK SilverEfex Pro, Noiseware, Perfect Resize, ExifTool, Photomatix, and 9 or 10 others.

If you think you need a cataloging program, Camera Bits is working on an add-on module for PM, but it is behind schedule.

I can't recommend PM highly enough. It is a great program, very powerful and very flexible. Plus the tech support is excellent.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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cpopescu Silver Member Nikonian since 14th Apr 2011Mon 25-Nov-13 01:13 PM
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#23. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 1


Paris, RO
          

Mick,

May I kindly ask what would be the advantage for a non-professional photographer to use Photo Mechanic instead of the Library module of the LR?
Is it because of the keywords that will stay with the file, no matter what other program you'll going to use later on?
Is it because you work with Capture NX and this way you'll deal directly with the NEFs?
Is there another reason?

Would it make sense to ingest photos from cards to a particular folder structure and afterwards to open that with LR and import the folder structure in LR?

Thanks,

Catalin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 25-Nov-13 01:31 PM
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#24. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 23


US
          

Hi Catalin,

Jon answered some of your questions in Reply #2 here.

If you heavily cull your images, then it may make more sense, and save a lot of time, to cull them before LR import. Otherwise you spend a lot of time building the catalog, and then deleting most of it out (even though it is a background process).

You may want a simple and direct way to keyword and rate your image files. If you do, though, you have to figure out how to deal with updates applied via LR. That can get complicated.

Most of what PM does can probably be done in LR, although I am not an LR user so I couldn't point out any specific unique features in PM. But I think most people recognize that PM is a faster browser and front end. It is simply a matter of the need for speed, and perhaps simplicity.

A lot of people started with PM before they went to LR. PM is more critical with a Capture NX2 centric workflow. That is a match made in heaven

I hope others, including Mick, add to this.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 25-Nov-13 01:56 PM
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#25. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 23


Tacoma, US
          

Catalin,

I am not a LR user, so it is not possible for me to make a good comparison.

I like PM because it works well with CNX, with is my primary image editor. Metadata stays imbedded in the file and it is not necessary to use a cataloging program to maintain integrity with the sidecar file when manipulating files and folders.

I fide PM to be very fast and easy to use, but also very powerful and flexible. (CNX also is fast and easy for me.)

If you already own LR and use it as your main image editor, then using it's cataloging and tagging features probably makes sense.

If you don't own or use LR, there are other options that may be better, and also not subject to the pricing/licensing whims of Adobe.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Nikonian since 05th May 2002Mon 25-Nov-13 02:17 PM
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#26. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 23


Colorado Springs, US
          

I principally use LR, but also have a copy of Photo Mechanic. My normal workflow is to download, apply metadata, keyword and edit in LR. It works well and does everything I need. The times where I use Photo Mechanic first are when I'm working with a very large volume of images (many thousands) under time constraints where I'll be discarding many images (think sports or large events). Otherwise, I stick with LR and use it for my raw edits, too. As others have mentioned, if you use NX2, PM is a very good fit for that program.

Rick Walker

My photos:
GeoVista Photography

  

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cpopescu Silver Member Nikonian since 14th Apr 2011Mon 25-Nov-13 03:25 PM
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#27. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 26


Paris, RO
          

Thank you all for your replies.

So, if money were no object, even for LR users there might be instances in which PM could be the first one to use, before importing the photos in LR.

If working with PM and CNX, would the edits be also non-destructive and at the same time not taking too much space on the hard drive?

Catalin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 25-Nov-13 03:55 PM
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#28. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 27


Tacoma, US
          

The only exits that PM makes to the NEFare to the metadata. The edits made to the actual image in CNX are non-destructive.

Since PM is a browser, not a catalog app, disk space usage in minimal. (Camera Bits is working on an optional catalog module for PM, for those that want true cataloging).

PM does have a decent search function that, for me, minimizes the need for cataloging.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 08-Dec-13 03:31 PM
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#30. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 28


US
          

I believe it is possible to configure PM such that it will not touch the raw file. It would then store metadata edits only in the xmp sidecar.

PM, in general, is extremely flexible in how it can be tailored to deal with metadata edits, both in the sidecars and the actual raw file.

I say "I believe" because I know for a fact that years ago, even if PM was set to not update the raw file, that it did anyway, for internal reasons. It is my understanding that that has been "fixed", but I allow edits to the raw file so I never tested that carefully. It is fairly easy to test though, if that is a concern to anyone.

I got anal about this issue here because some people are adamantly opposed to anything touching their raw files in any way, and at least in principle that is a benefit to LR, I think? Anyway, I wanted to explain the state of PM as best I understand it.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011Sun 08-Dec-13 03:36 PM
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#31. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 30


Tallahassee, US
          

My PM is set not to touch the RAW. Works beautifully. Everything is done in a sidecar. This is now the default behavior.


>I believe it is possible to configure PM such that it will
>not touch the raw file. It would then store metadata edits
>only in the xmp sidecar.
>
>PM, in general, is extremely flexible in how it can be
>tailored to deal with metadata edits, both in the sidecars and
>the actual raw file.
>
>I say "I believe" because I know for a fact that
>years ago, even if PM was set to not update the raw file, that
>it did anyway, for internal reasons. It is my understanding
>that that has been "fixed", but I allow edits to the
>raw file so I never tested that carefully. It is fairly easy
>to test though, if that is a concern to anyone.
>
>I got anal about this issue here because some people are
>adamantly opposed to anything touching their raw files in any
>way, and at least in principle that is a benefit to LR, I
>think? Anyway, I wanted to explain the state of PM as best I
>understand it.
>
>

------
Webpage: http://www.ptfphoto.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011Sun 08-Dec-13 03:19 PM
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#29. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 27


Tallahassee, US
          

Money is not an object to me (in regards to this), and yes, PM is the first step for me always before LR/Capture One. Mostly because of metadata and tagging/rating speed.

-P

>Thank you all for your replies.
>
>So, if money were no object, even for LR users there might be
>instances in which PM could be the first one to use, before
>importing the photos in LR.
>Catalin

------
Webpage: http://www.ptfphoto.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Thu 24-Jan-13 08:12 PM
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#2. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 0


New York, US
          

I'll second Mick's recommendation. I had a Photo Mechanic and Capture NX2 workflow for four years or so and it's a wonderful combination, primarily because Photo Mechanic is so fast and powerful. My workflow changed with Lightroom replacing Capture NX2, and Lightroom contains its own browser, so Photo Mechanic is no longer my "hub".

That said, I still use Photo Mechanic for initial triage, review, and sort — It is simply faster than anything else. If on a client shoot, at that point from PM I export JPGs and create a quick web page for client review. ANd there are lots of other cool PM functions…

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 25-Jan-13 04:56 PM
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#3. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Photomechanic was strongly influenced by the needs of pro PJ's that need to turn big piles of images on a deadline. All those speed and efficiency benefits trickle down to all the other users (like me).

It is a great match for CaptureNX2 because it allows you to effectively shoot raw and JPG without actually dealing with duplicate JPG files.

The Save As... operation, with all the attendant options, make final output a breeze. Select images, click save as, set the output size, add watermarking, and it's done- fast. The watermarking alone is worth the price of admission of you watermark a lot of your images. I can't imagine giving up that Save as operation.

While most browsers deal with metadata changes, the PM IPTC stationary pad is the best implementation, by far, that I've ever seen.

Even where many feature bullet lists might appear comparable, PM always does it faster, better and easier.

It is heavily user configurable to deal with many different metadata strategies. This can be critical when trying to get a catalog app like iMatch to work smoothly and properly read all the metadata. ViewNX2 cannot create sidecar files, for example, and sometimes that can be important.

ViewNX2 has come along way since the original View browser. Many of us started with PM many years ago when the additional features were even more numerous and obvious than they are now. But ViewNX2 will never be a PM, because...

Camerabits is the Perfect Storm of a Software company. A small tight proficient staff that really cares about the needs of their customers, and not just what *they* think it should do, and can turn out critical fixes in a hurry (often in days or less when needed).

The state of PM is the result of the developers working closely with users on their forum (and privately), and actually following through. Most of the old timers have probably had at least one fix or enhancement implemented. But they are bigger than a one man band with the attendant risks and problems that come with that.

They are the best software vendor I've ever dealt with and I've been a software developer for most of my 30+ year career. It is difficult to pay serious money for what is otherwise available "for free". But once you've tasted Photomechanic it is hard to walk away from it.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Fri 25-Jan-13 05:46 PM
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#4. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 3


Los Angeles, US
          

Impressive observations. Wow. When I posted this question, I was following up on a thread I started on DP Review. There I asked if a person used PM first, could he get into LightRoom and turn off the elaborate filing system that LR wants to impose.

Boy, did that get over me head quickly. Part of the difficulty I had understanding the responses was largely in part due to the fact that I'm a Nikon guy. And a Mac user. Many of those who responded were of a different religious persuasion, if you understand my drift. Can I even bring up the "C word"?

The demo of PM my friend gave me was attractive because I see the importance of that first step in workflow --- that of Ingesting and renaming. I'm retired. DSLR is a hobby. I am starting to get paying jobs. And I see a big need to keep the digital mess to a minimum. That means changing all file names from DCSxxxx to something comprehensible at the outset. Along with plenty of tags (or whatever they're called) so I can then sort, rank, cull.

After a long career as a photo journalist, I wrote aircraft manuals for 2 airlines. These books ran to more than 1100 pages each. So I am deeply mistrustful of the way computers and computer technology (cameras included) can throw you into a forest with no compass and no map. The user must impost structure to info or be swallowed by it.

To my eyes, PM offered that in spades. The next step, actually manipulating images as entirely new to me. What you have said here gives me a glimmer of understanding. It sounds as if CaptureNX is probably the more direct and easier-to-learn method.

Thanks for your thoughts. Are there any guidebooks or tutorials on using PM? Aside from those videos on YouTube?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 26-Jan-13 01:48 AM
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#5. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 4


Atlanta, US
          

I'm a PM user as well. My workflow is Nikon based with View and Capture. I use PM for ingest, naming, preliminary captions and keywords, rating, detailed keywords, conversion to JPEG if needed, and watermarking everything as appropriate.

I also have used the watermark feature with wildcards to label images used in presentations with appropriate camera, lens, and exposure detail.

PM is very fast and flexible. Output tasks that would take an hour in View or Capture take just a few minutes in PM.

I do admit that PM is a bit hard to understand. It does so many things and the documentation is only fair. But there are some nice tutorials on the Camera Bits website, and a very good forum for questions.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sat 26-Jan-13 02:03 AM
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#6. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 5


Los Angeles, US
          

This question partially applies to any image filing system, but I wonder how PhotoMechanic would aid. The friend who gave me the demo shoots the equivalent of a large wedding every workday. He shoots stills on sound stages in the movie industry and his images are used for marketing and distributed to all fan magazines and People, Enquirer.

So, he is faced with a deluge of files. Since they don't pay him for his time at home on the computer, he does little correction work. Maybe just a bit of contrast/sharpness/exposure modification.

He placed a lot of stock in the ability of PM to tag and add keywords, so he could later find a sought after shot. I wondered how he kept afloat in this mass of images. Does this tagging and keyword put some structure to the filing of images so that you can locate that one important shot amongst others?

I want to approach PP at the outset with a filing system in mind. I just read today that first thread in the PP forums of Nikonians, the one written in 2008 which suggests folders by year and then subfolders by subject MM/DD/YY to archive stuff. Is that the state of the art as far as systematic filing and retrieving, or does PM make it easier? How does it impose order on your archives?

And even before I get my iMac and buy the PM and Capture software, I'll start browsing around in the PM forum. I didn't know one existed until someone mentioned it here.

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 26-Jan-13 03:02 AM
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#8. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 6
Sat 26-Jan-13 03:06 AM by ericbowles

Atlanta, US
          

Many photographers believe a cataloging system eliminates the need for file structures. While it reduces that need, I rely heavily on a naming system, In addition, I am increasingly trying to apply title, captions, and keywords as early as possible in the workflow.

I ingest 30-40,000 images per year. Of that, I rate all the images on a 1-5 scale as follows:
1 = trash
2 = clear reject - reasons vary from soft to simply a lack of a key feature such as head position, catchlight, etc.
3 = keeper for a variety of reasons but wit a flaw - generally not edited
4 = Possible select - good enough to provide to clients, sell, etc. May include duplicates, verticals and horizontals of the same image, etc. Prob 5-8% of images shot.
5 = Best Selects of the year - these are rare and might be 5 -10 per year

After rating I discard all images rated 1 or 2. The 3's are my safety net - nothing borderline is ever discarded. And I have occasionally had to use my 3's for a client with a very specific request.

I make another round through the 4 and 5 rated images to identify my selects - the ones I plan to edit. These are color coded with a Red flag. After editing the flag is changed to Orange.

At ingest all folders and files are named. The folder name starts with the location, event, or other key identifier, then adds a sequential 2 digit code for the folder number of that day. A typical folder would be named Death_Valley_01_20130107

The images are renamed with the location, a 5 digit (now 6 digit) sequential number, and with the date in YYYYMMDD format.
A typical image would be named Death_Valley_101357_20130107.NEF

This approach means I never repeat a file name, I can quickly identify the file and folder, and I can find the file and folder by date.

Everything is backed up into a primary and secondary offsite backup. When I backup a file I group them by location or event. So I have a master folder called Death Valley, a folder in it called Death Valley 2013, and one or more folders per day with images from that location.

This means I have a very organized set of files. Every file has the same basic information and is searchable by more than one criteria. This can be very helpful if you need to find a specific image or review images for a particular location or event.

I try to caption and keyword everything before backing up. When traveling or dealing with large volumes, I do high level keywords on ingest and keep a backup copy of the unrated images. Then I do full keywording, rating, etc. when I return home and those are my backups.

This approach works pretty well for me, but there are certainly variations. I am headed toward a catalog program - probably from Camera Bits who makes PM. That will improve the ability to use the data in keyword fields and other fields.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 26-Jan-13 03:33 AM
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#10. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

My own filing looks like this:

\major topic\year\date {optional subject}

Below the shoot date folder you might segregate raw, tif, web output, etc. into other folders.

I have around 5 different major topics, where the subject matter is very unique, plus a "misc" major topic for general work. I file date-subject rather than subject-date because in most cases the image I am looking at has an EXIF date, or I know an approximate date or "era". If I know the shot date I can easily find the original, even if the file name has been changed.

There is no right way here; this is just the way I like to do it and why.

Another great feature of PM is the ability to open an entire folder structure on one contact sheet. Or to randomly aggregate folders into one contact sheet, one at a time.

This feature, however, does not scale up endlessly. I would say that much over 5-10,000 images in one contact sheet becomes problematic. But that number rises over time as hardware improves.

If you have a "small" folder structure of perhaps 10,000 images or less then you can do certain "cataloging" operations such as keyword searches. If you want to search across 50,000 or 100,000 images, or more, then you really need a catalog app such as perhaps lightroom or iMatch.

I'm not sure how well LR scales up into sizx figure photo counts. I know that iMatch does a very good job with that and it's a difficult point of research I would have to do if I ever contemplated a switch to LR.

Another filing variant would look like this, and I have done this for my earlier years but haven't gotten around to doing the recent years:

\original\major topic\year\date {optional subject}
\select\major topic\year\date {optional subject}
\work\major topic\year\date {optional subject}

The select tree contains raw images of high interest. In my case I retain the original image in the original structure simply for backup purposes and for cohesion when I rummage through the originals (I don;t want my best shots missing when I do that).

If you are like me, you might want to store many originals, but the images you really care about are a tiny percentage of the originals. The Select structure then contains a more manageable number of images to aggregate into PM for a keyword search.

The downside of this approach is that the number of file versions proliferates, creating difficulties or more work to keep the various versions consistently keyworded. I find that there is nothing easy when it comes to image management

The bible of digital image management is "The DAM Book" by Peter Krogh. Available from your favorite bookseller. I have to admit I do not own the book but everyone else seems too . I'll get around to it some day. But if you are unsure how you want to do things then that book may help.

The theory of Digital Asset Management is that the OS file structure should be unimportant. The filing structure is in the keywording. In theory the OS filing structure should not matter at all and is unimportant. In my opinion, though, the folder structure is a backup to the DAM system.

Stuff happens and if I ever lost my image catalog I would not want to be left with an undecipherable pile of images. I think there should be a coherent basic structure to the image folders, just in case.

Personally I do not do much keywording in PM, except for very important images that I would have difficulty locating in a date based folder structure. As a wildlife photographer I do try to directly keyword rare or unusual birds, for example.

I do everything else in iMatch because it is easier, and it avoids a problem I have with a complex hierarchical keyword structure. That is something that I don't think PM does well, although some have tried to convince me otherwise. But as I said, there are some things I really like about iMatch, and one of them is the keywording functionality.

_________________________________
Neil


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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 26-Jan-13 03:34 AM
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#11. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

P.S. you should ask your friend how he keyword searches an apparently huge number of images in PM. I'd be curious to know how he does it, too

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Neil


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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 26-Jan-13 02:16 AM
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#7. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

Hi Gary,

There is a very good reason why you have to own a Nikon camera to be a member here

Once you bring up Lightroom (LR) vs Capture NX2 (CNX2) and then start looking for alternative cataloging solutions you can end up in a bottomless pit of analysis paralysis that you may never be able to climb out of

Here is the way I would try to approach it, and I think there is a fair consensus of opinion here on this matter...

You are trying to pick out a browser, an image editor, and with at least an eye on a catalog app down the road if not immediately. That is a a confusing mess to think through.

However, at the core of the problem is your selection of an image editor. CNX2 and LR take completely different and very incompatible approaches to raw editing and that flows down to your cataloging decision and perhaps the browser decision.

And that decision is somewhat irrevocable to the extent that no raw editor can read the raw edits performed by another editor. The only way to switch editors is to output all your old raw edits to TIF files, or some other hopefully loss-less and universal format.

The raw editor is your FIRST decision. Once you have made that decision your other options become somewhat more limited, which has some benefit in making those followup decisions easier

With CNX2, your edits are "embedded" in the actual raw file, as well as a very high quality JPG equivalent to about a 95% JPG quality setting in CNX2.

Your out of camera raw images look exactly like a JPG version would look out of camera, responding to all the camera picture control settings. That out of camera image forms the starting point of your CNX2 edits.

With LightRoom, you lose that easy sync between all the camera settings and stock raw rendering. But there are presets that many believe gets either really close or is more to their liking anyway. And in exchange for that you get a single integrated "browser", raw editor and cataloger.

I put browser in quotes because LR is not really a browser to the extent that I think you have to import images in order to get that functionality (or I could be technically wrong on that point?).

Some LR users do use PM for initial browsing and culling. And I believe that PM can set up the metadata such that LR can read it on ingest. So there are some interesting potential app combinations.

I left off a critically important benefit of PM - soft crops. That is an extremely powerful feature. And as a CNX2 user it allows me to avoid cropping inside of CNX2. CNX2 has, to this day, not gotten it's cropping well integrated with localized edits. So that PM feature helps to mitigate one of CNX2's glaring problems.

I use iMatch for a cataloging app. There may not be many viable alternatives now to iMatch or LR now that IDImager has seemingly taken a new direction that may not have been well received by at least it's "power users".

I like iMatch but the current public version has no versioning capability. On the other hand it is possible to make up for it with custom or pre-built scripts. I wrote my own versioning scripts and they work well but I have some scaling issues because I have 300,000 cataloged images. Although LR has some versioning capability I am not sure if it is conducive to the way I have done things in the past, do it's a very complex subject .

iMatch does a lot of things that LR does not do, and it may scale better, or perhaps more to my liking, but it cannot do soft crops, and that alone is problematic. And in particular because in general, when using independent browsers, editors and catalogers, going back and doing updates in a front end browser gets the catalog app out of sync, causing more problems.

And those problems get back to versioning, particularly trying to maintain cohesion between the metadata in the original raw images and then the multiplying output versions, or perhaps TIF or PSD master edits.

If all that sounds ugly, that is why I think that if one can get LR to work, it is the simplest solution. And while it is easy to nitpick LR features (comparing to iMatch for example), over the long haul LR may offer the best combination of coherent features. And perhaps PM as a front end culler and browser can help make LR work for you.

I understand your "obsession" with image organization. It is good to think all that through on the front end, before you dive into a solution.

As far as image file renaming, I have a suggestion. I've run about 300,000 images over an 8 year period using a never ending sequential number as the unique image file name.

That approach, over the long haul, is fraught with peril. I have to constantly check and verify that something didn't burp, causing me to reuse numbers. That is something you need to catch very quickly or it creates some very ugly problems.

PM has been very good about that, but I have had a few problems. One problem was a PM bug that they very quickly fixed for me (that's where their support is so important). Others I never identified and somehow it could have been user error.

I think a better approach may be to use a time stamp in the file name, with sub-seconds to handle high frame rate rips. I did not do that at the outset because of what I thought was a bulky and cumbersome file name. But it well may be a lesser evil. You may also want to add some sort of prefix with camera model number or a code for each camera you may own. You may not even have multiple bodies now, but file naming conventions are best left unchanged so plan ahead for any and all possibilities.

If you do use a timestamp file name you do have to be very careful to keep your camera(s) clock accurate in regard to daylight savings time, and generally avoid the need to change EXIF shot dates (something that PM can easily do but then the EXIF is out of sync with the file name unless you also do a rename- which could be done too .

Just to say there is always the opportunity for user error in any file naming convention but if I could start over, I think I would try to make the time stamp system work.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sat 26-Jan-13 03:12 AM
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#9. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 7


Los Angeles, US
          

This is going to take some re-reading and study. A few questions:

1) so even with PM as the first step, I'll need a 'tree' of hierarchical files?

2) and the entry point to those files is remembering where & when a shot was taken?

3) what is the advantage of those keywords and tags PM created?

4) when you start looking for a shot, do you go to the folder, or does PM serve as the browser?

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 26-Jan-13 03:55 AM
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#12. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

I think I just answered these questions with my replies in the branch just above.

However, it is important to understand the mechanics of PM.

When you open a folder or multiple folders in a PM contact sheet it has to read at least part of every image in the structure. This could be thousands of images that consume gigabytes of disk space.

PM is smart about how it does it. For example, it only reads the metadata and the embedded thumbnail. If it read the entire image file it would take forever. PM is probably the fastest browser around, when it comes to this initial read. And it reads ahead in a smart way in order to give you the perception that it is reading fastger than it is.

But there are limits because this is necessarily a brute force method.

The solution to this problem of scale is an image catalog app. In that case, the app stores thumbnails and all the metadata a single database construction that is searchable.

More accurately the cataloger will show you a folder structure of keywords. You click the keyword of interest and it returns the images in some sort of contact sheet or thumbnail window.

Another interesting and unique feature of iMatch is its "offline cache". This is of interest to those (like me) that work primarily on a laptop, and access their catalog from that laptop.

My image repository is located on a dedicated machine acting as a file server. My iMatch database and the "offline cache" is located on my laptop.

The database file (a single file in the case of iMatch) contains the metadata and a small thumbnail, typically about 300 pixels wide (although in principle it could be any size you want but be careful what you wish for).

My iMatch DB is about 10GB, and contains about 300,000 images.

The offline cache contains a low res image of, in my case, 1400 pixels in size. IN theory it can be as big as I want it to be but it quickly approaches the size of the actual image repository so it has to be reasonable. The cache is composed of jpg files, one for each image. The folder structure and image naming of the cache is only usable by the iMatch app.

My offline cache is about 30GB is size, making my entire iMatch database stgructure about 40GB. That is a very doable size on a modern laptop. It would even easily fit on a fast SSD drive and there would be much benefit to that.

When I am home and connected to my network (usually hard wired), I directly access my original images from iMatch. When on the road I access the low res 1400 pixels cache images, which are far preferable to tiny 300 or 400 pixel thumbnails typically stored in a main catalog database.

_________________________________
Neil


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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sat 26-Jan-13 05:13 PM
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#13. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 12
Sat 26-Jan-13 05:14 PM by Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
          

Since posing these 4 questions I've read again the entire thread 4 or 5 times. So please ignore

1) so even with PM as the first step, I'll need a 'tree' of hierarchical files?

2) and the entry point to those files is remembering where & when a shot was taken?

3) what is the advantage of those keywords and tags PM created?

4) when you start looking for a shot, do you go to the folder, or does PM serve as the browser?

I also downloaded the PhotoMechanic manual. It dawned on me that, just like the old days of film, PM lumps photos into proofsheets. I was laboring under the delusion that individual shots must be filed in that file tree. And each would need a distinctive name.

Proofsheet grouping throw that whole logic on its head. I can envision how I would shoot (same as always) and how I would catalogue things for easy retrieval. Doh! As Homer Simpson often says.

What I don't comprehend is how the tags and keywords work with filing, identifying and retrieving. Do you generally use PM to navigate proofsheets to narrow a search? Or is it handled otherwise? To restate the equipment, I'm using a Mac, so Searchlight is an option.

Thanks for your patience.

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sat 26-Jan-13 05:38 PM
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#14. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 13


Tacoma, US
          

Organize you folder tree in whatever way makes sense to you PM doesn't care what it is.

I tend to organize my stuff (after ingesting and processing) into folders by subject, as that makes the most sense to me. My archive folder is about 35,000 images (I'm a lightweight compared to others!).

The Tags and keywords serve several purposes:

1- When you are looking at a folder, you can include or exclude selected tags, and/or star ratings with teh click or shift-click of a mouse. For instance, if all you keepers are 5 stars, you can just select them to display.

2- If you want to search your folder on a subject (say Animals) for one particular type (say Eagles) and you have keyworded your images properly, you would just enter Eagles in the search box while you are in your Animal folder, and all of the matching tagged image will be selected. Then you just click on the filter drop down to pick "Selected" and only those images will be displayed. The search process (in Windows, not sure about Mac) only works on open folders. Once the Catalog add-on is available, presumably it will search the whole database. However, the keywords and other XMP/IPTC data that you enter through PM is available to any otehr cataloging program.

I found PM to be pretty intuitive, so my suggestion is just start using it to discover it's potential to help you. Nothing that you do in it will be wasted should you decide to switch to something else.

Also check out the Camera Bits forum, it is a wonderful resource for asking PM specific questions and learning how to do specific things you can't quite get the hang of.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 26-Jan-13 05:50 PM
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#15. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 13


US
          

Some uses for keywords:

1) You upload images to a stock site. You need keywords to help your customers find your images.

2) As input to a catalog app

3) Using the PM "Find" feature, assuming that is easier than just browsing the contact sheet. It would be helpful for me, for example, to find a particular bird species. I have enough trouble IDing confusing bird species in full size images. Impossible with thumbnails (except for very obvious species like Great Egrets).

Some species are so similar that they have to be confirmed by call or song or flight patterns at the time they are observed. In that case keywording the image is critical unless one has an extremely good memory!

In other cases I might shoot 50 images of a bird but only a few show the field marks that nail the ID. Keywording allows me to track the species of the other 40-some images.

That might be a niche subject but even with portraiture you may shoot people and need to record their names. Years from now you may want to go back and find them, but not recall their faces.

There are surely other usages I am just not thinking about at the moment. The value is in the eyes of the beholder and the beholder's needs.

Personally I think keywording becomes more important as the collection grows, and then passes the point where you can quickly aggregate then in a PM contact sheet.

4. Many people that do actively catalog their images in a dedicated app want the keywords embedded in the images, for backup if for no other reason.

You could "blow up" or corrupt the catalog, and not have a suitable backup. You might decide you need to switch catalog apps and you may not have the ability or the skills to somehow export the keywords you created in the catalog app or drive them back into the image files.

I can say from experience you only want to keyword a large set of images once!

I have taken to segregating my species by subfolder under my "original images" folder. It may not be the best way to do things but I find it easier than other methods I have tried, and I have absolute peace of mind that my species ID will only have to be done once. Just to say there are many ways to skin these various cats.

I think you should download the PM eval, install it, and get to know it better . Even if you decide to pursue a different solution you will learn something about keywording and how it might help you.

_________________________________
Neil


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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sun 27-Jan-13 12:58 AM
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#16. "When is the test?"
In response to Reply # 15
Sun 27-Jan-13 01:00 AM by Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
          

Lots to learn. I filled two pages of a yellow legal tablet with notes. Most definitions and nomenclarue. Have to find out what a Sidecar is, for one.

My memory of work pattens was revived. From 35 years as a journalist, I remember how to organize and file images. And since I'm using a Mac computer, I believe that keywords and tags might replace the need for a full Catalog program. Macs have Searchlight, so folder don't have to be open to peek inside.

Still aren't comfortable with XMP and EXIF. i'll get there.

Coincidentally, my first paid photo project in 15 years was laid in my lap. First "anything" project, to tell the truth.

By some strange convergence of heavenly forces, I was befriended by an Apache Indian. He has rescued over 200 homeless veterans off the streets of Los Angeles. With no infrastructure or tax burden to the community. You can read about Dreamer if you search the archives of the Los Angeles Times for October, 2011. Search for "Freedom barber shop."

I was not in the military. Dreamer cuts hair for veterans at the West Los Angeles VA Center (largest in the US). I was in Naval ROTC but got rejected at the physical. My bosses at Flying Tigers and FedEx were all Naval or Marine fighter pilots. What a tale that is. I went by bicycle to the 50th commemoration of the D-Day landings in France. When I told Dreamer about my past, he more or less opened the door for me to his secret world.

On a trip home at New Years, he enlisted the help of 5 strong Indians to help detox a young women who had become deranged on crystal meth. Dreamer is a healer and humanist above all.

In 10 days, I'm traveling with him by train to Benson Arizona. He wants me to photograph his ranch, with side trips to Tombstone and the Chiracauwa (sp) Apache Indian reservations. As a retiree from FedEx, I get shipping for free. So instead of humping gear onto and off a train, I'm FedExing these items ahead to the ranch:

D7000, 2x SB800 speedlights, 16-85mm DX lens, 12-24mm lens, 80-200mm AF lens, 60mm Micro lens, Gitzo tripod. Gary Fong diffusion domes. Assorted batteries and SD cards, lens filters.

All of our discourse on this thread has given me resolve to tackle the tangle of images when I get back home. I think the light in Southern Arizona this time of year will be enchanting.

Thanks to you all for putting up with my rambling.

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sun 27-Jan-13 01:22 AM
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#17. "RE: When is the test?"
In response to Reply # 16


Atlanta, US
          

Congrats on the great project. It should be a lot of fun and a good learning experience.

I'd add two items - even if rental is requirted. Take an extra camera body. I've had camera bodies fail on two trips - and it's never a good thing. Rent or borrow an alternate body "just in case".

Also be sure to shoot RAW and backup your files. I carry an external hard drive in addition to my laptop. I never reformat memory cards until I have verified my download and a good backup. You just can't afford to take chances.

You'll have to jump into some form of rating and prioritizing images right away. It's the only way to get through large numbers of images. Some sort of rating system will be important to identify the images you want to edit and feature.

Best of luck!

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Fri 15-Mar-13 11:04 PM
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#18. "Update"
In response to Reply # 17
Fri 15-Mar-13 11:08 PM by Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
          

I've been studying the features of a few PP softwares. It is definitely going to be Aperture (I'm a Mac guy) followed by PhotoNinja. I can see the need for the DAM sophistication offered by Aperture.

I also read through a bunch of the 600 pages Aperture documentation. And that of PhotoMechanic. Your comment about the usefulness of tags and keywords as it applies to birdwatching struck a chord. And the startling realism of birds treated with PhotoNinja left me breathless. (on this thread I started --- topic #1174)

PM attracts me because, only am in influenced by 30+ years of reviewing contact sheets for film, the speed with which PM ingests and assembles and earmarks the jpg attached to each raw image seemed so 21st century to me. Those 2 factors sold me on the program.

Now I've got to get the new computer and get my hands on all those programs.

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 16-Mar-13 09:41 AM
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#19. "RE: Update"
In response to Reply # 18


Atlanta, US
          

That sounds like a great plan.

One of the key features of Photo Mechanic is keywording, but it also supports captioning. If you are into serious birding photos, captioning with the scientific name, location and behavior as well as putting them in the keywords can be very useful. You'll want to spend a little time on designing your keyword library with common and scientific names. There may be a library available for download or purchase.

Eric Bowles
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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sat 16-Mar-13 12:20 PM
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#20. "RE: Update"
In response to Reply # 19


Los Angeles, US
          

Does the DAM Book shed any light on nomenclature tips for Keywords and Tags?

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 16-Mar-13 12:31 PM
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#21. "RE: Update"
In response to Reply # 20


Atlanta, US
          

I don't have the book so I can't speak to it.

There is a bit of an art to keywords and captions. Detailed captions are far more important than I initially realized. It may be that the caption is all that is read - and it may be read by someone that does not speak English so scientific name is important for nature. Probably the best source is photo editors and photo buyers - but they are not unanimous.

I started with a downloaded library and have built it to include my own terms and synonyms. It's a bit like search words - you want to have the common bases covered, and you want to have some unique terms that provide context.


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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012Sat 16-Mar-13 01:35 PM
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#22. "RE: Update"
In response to Reply # 21


Los Angeles, US
          

Well, I won't be dealing with birds but with more commonplace scenarios. So, for instance, pertaining to a wedding, it might be something like..... lady with egg on her face, or bride with mustache. Anything that might trigger recognition a year or so after the fact.

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RudyH Gold Member Nikonian since 04th Feb 2010Sun 08-Dec-13 03:38 PM
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#32. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 0


Houston, US
          

I love PM. It's fast and efficient. I ingest, apply IPTC data, sort, crop and then export to LR.

Rudy Hardy
www.rudyhardy.com

  

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sabbey51 Gold Member Nikonian since 10th Jan 2010Wed 11-Dec-13 02:05 AM
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#33. "RE: PhotoMechanic Whys?? And Then What? (new to PP)"
In response to Reply # 32


Saddle river, US
          

I also view the folder/file structure as performing two key functions:

- a (perhaps redundant) minimal backup to the keywording scheme one chooses
- a process to guarantee that the file name never repeats

I use LR, so I can't comment on PM, but it works for my needs at 7000-8000 images per year, with a current total of about 45,000.

In my case:

The master folder structure is yyyy/yyyy-mm-dd <shoot name>, where <shoot name> is something descriptive like "Thanksgiving 2013 in Vermont" or "Urban Photography Workshop". So you have folders like "2013/2013-11-28 Thanksgiving 2013 in Vermont".

Each file is named yyyymmdd-<shoot name>-<original file name>, where the file name is as it comes out of the camera. Since my Nikons generate a 4 digit sequential number which is appended to a custom 3 character string, you wind up with a name like "20131128-Thanksgiving 2013 in Vermont-SGA_0539.NEF". I would have to shoot more the 9,999 images on a single camera on a single day for a single shoot to ever duplicate a file name.

So even if the LR catalog blows up, I still have chance of finding the image. I then add keywords to the images - the <shoot name>, "Scott", "Guitars", "Nikonians Workshop", "Florals", whatever seems appropriate. I find that I add the more specific keywords ("Scott") after I've made the triage and selected those images which are more likely to be processed later.

LR does indeed have a bit of a browser capability pre-import, where it displays the thumbnails of all the images on the source media (SD card, in my case) and gives you the opportunity to select or not the import of each image. But it is far from sophisticated like PM. On the other hand, imports don't take all that long and are really limited by the physical reading of the card and writing to the hard drive, anyway.

The import workflow also takes care of getting my disaster recovery strategy going. In addition to applying default processing presets, I have LR set to make a second copy of the imported images to an external drive on my system. I typically shoot RAW+JPEG, and LR optionally allows you to specify that only the RAW version is imported, if you so desire, while both are copied to the external drive for backup. Given these two copies (three, if you count both the RAW and JPEG copy), I feel safe immediately reformatting my card after the import and reinsertion into the camera. In addition, Time Machine will kick off soon and make the third copy of the images, and Crashplan will start it's slower process of sending all the data offsite.

I will then try and muster the energy to make the first culling pass through the new folder and delete the bad images, which can run anywhere from 10 to 25% of the total. Note that the external drive copy which LR created is not affected by this, which doesn't particularly concern me. The external drive is cheap, and I'm not worried about the hidden clutter inside the "LaCie Green/Lightroom Imported Files Backup" folder. If and when I fill up this 4TB drive at my current rate of 400GB/year, I'll simply put it on the shelf and buy a new one.

I did give PM a trial this fall after seeing Rick Hulbert use it to great effect at his Urban Photography Workshop, but couldn't see enough advantage to adding it to the LR-centric workflow I already have.

Scott

"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans"

  

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