Wed 12-Sep-12 04:56 AM | edited Wed 12-Sep-12 05:04 AM by M_Jackson
I read through most of this thread. It should be very informative.
About the only thing I'd contest is the file naming suggestions in the OP. As one of the other posters said, I'd recommend Adobe Lightroom version 4. They lowered the price on this version, making it very affordable.
I was hesitant to jump into something new like Lightroom—having built what I thought was a good system of filing. It was a bit like what the OP suggested. Lightroom is very flexible and allows each user taylor it to suit their needs, including working around, or with, an "old school" organization system.
LR will automatically rename the files in a variety of different methods (I use year-month-day-hour-second(and subsecond). LR will honor copyright info stored in the camera's setup and will add additional metadata on import including web site address, address, phone, etc. Within Lightroom, you can make folders, move files, batch rename, delete files and move entire folders from drive to drive with ease. They make it easy to add keywords during import, or at anytime afterwards. An entire catalog of images (including images stored in any of thousands of folders) can be viewed by date, name, which camera shot it, and by keywords. The sorting does not actually move the files, just displays them in any sort of search you apply.
Here's an example of the problem with an old school system: Let's say I took a shot of a moose in front of the Grand Teton range. Old school forces you to put the photo in a folder. If you came to the Tetons on vacation, you might just leave all of the trip photos in a GTNP folder. But, if you come here five years in a row, finding the specific image gets tougher. On another filing system, you might put the image with the moose in a Moose folder, but what happens if the moose is secondary part of the bigger landscape image in front of the Tetons? With LR, assuming you added keywords, you can find all moose in your master catalog, or all moose at the Tetons, or all moose not at the Tetons. How about only moose shot with a 70-200 and in 2011? Or all Tetons shots taken in any year? Much of the heavy lifting is done automatically since LR reads and records the information in the shooting data. No need to manually enter the date, camera, lens, and so forth. You can add presets to apply all kinds of data entry and adjustments as images are imported into LR.
As always, if you are happy with your system, "nevermind"! But adopting a DAM (Data Asset Management) system sooner than later will make life so much easier in the long run.
Lastly, LR has essentiall three parts. The data asset management (Library) part is so powerful. The Develop part of the program seems to get the most press, as it is making the need to go to Photoshop less and less necessary. The rest of the program is for printing, slide shows, print, web, book making, and so forth.