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Location: Vancouver
Occupation: Dad (plus some engineering to pay the bills)
Age: 50

#3986 2009-05-15 GMT-5 hours    
I assume most photographers here want to keep track of the identities of aircraft they shoot and don’t have a hard drive full of files named “DSC_#####.” What system do you use?

Up ‘til now I’ve renamed my image files to include the s/n or registration, aircraft type, unit/airline, and location. In parallel, I’ve kept a list in Excel containing this information and more (e.g., special markings, s/n for warbirds). While I like the Excel file’s simplicity, portability, and survivability -- other software comes and goes, but Excel is always there --, it’s labour-intensive to create. I’ve got around 2000 pics entered, against at least 20,000 image files (and counting!).

I’ve just bought Adobe Lightroom, and I’m trying to get my head around how I might use it to organize my aviation photos. Based on this article, I’ve given some though to applying keywords and sub-keywords. But before I start down that road, I thought I’d compare notes with the other shooters here. Can you share a little detail on the software you use and how you apply it? Are you happy with your solution? Do you feel it will be viable in 10, 20, 30 years?

I’m especially interested to hear from any Lightroom users who’ve tried keyword systems or used collections. But input from people who have “better ideas” is also welcome.



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#3988 2009-05-15 GMT-5 hours    

I have used Lightroom since the beta version before 1.0, so I have developed my own storage system that I am very happy with.

The first thing I do upon importing is have the program rename the file by adding the date to the filename. The reason for this is that the Canon cameras I have reuse filenames after 9,999 so I will shoot more than 10,000 pictures but never on the same day! I import them into a folder system that is organized by location and then date, so for example:

USA - California - March ARB - 2009 - 2009-01-01

This is all done by importing with presets, you can also add keywords at this stage, so I add all my location keywords to the photos at this stage, i.e. all these imported photos would have March ARB added as a keyword during import and the date directory is automatically made.

Once imported I then add keywords to the photos. Now please bear in mind that I am probably an extreme case wih the details I keep but maybe not.

So the key here is a layered system of keywords. For example I have a keyword of Boeing that then contains keywords such as "KC-135 Stratotanker" and "C-17 Globemaster III". Because these keywords are nested I only have to add the lowest level I want and Lightroom knows that the parent keyword of "Boeing" also applies to that photo. I do the same for units and serial numbers, for example, USAF - 452nd AMW - 05-5145 or US Navy - VFA11 - Modex - Buno.

You can then search for keywords to find the photos you want.

I use Collections to group photos that have a common end use, so I have a collection called AirFighters with all my pictures that have been accepted here, one call Anet for all my pictures there etc.

I also use Smart Collections for common photos I need, an example of that woudl be my C-17 smart collection, which looks through my photos for any that are keyworded C-17 and also have a 5 star rating. This smart collection is updated on the fly so as I rank a new C-17 shot with 5 stars it is automatically added to the collection. A normal collection has to have photos manually added to it.

The database in lightroom is very good and quite flexible, you can narrow your searches down by lens used, camera serial number etc. (these are automatically added to each shot upon import) But like all databases the more information you add to it the more powerful it becomes.

The only other thing to note is that I have two catalogues, one for my aviation photos and one for the rest of my stuff. With more and more companies developing plug-ins for Lightroom many photographers no longer use photoshop to the same degree they used to.

I hope this long winded reply helps in some way,

PS. To answer your last question, will this be viable in 10,20 or 30 years. Yes so long as adobe keep updating the kinds of RAW files Lightroom can read, of course new products will be released but I think the essence of the program is great.

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#4056 2009-05-26 GMT-5 hours    
Yep, Lightroom for me to. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've figured it out, it's perfect. :wink


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