Tag Archives: Lightroom

Getting rid of the duplicate JPEGs of raw files

I don’t know why I chose this option, but a few years ago when I moved from JPEG to shooting RAW, I decided to choose the RAW+JPEG option on my Nikon camera.   I guess I thought it would be handy having a lower resolution JPEG just in case I wanted to email it off or view it straight away on some device or software program that didn’t support Nikon raw files.

Well, it turns out, I never have used the JPEG.   I always do some post processing on my photos and if I wanted to blog or email or upload a photo, I’d always process the raw file (NEF) and then convert it to JPEG.  Plus I think most photo library or processing programs support raw files nowadays.

Unfortunately the workflow I used was to import both the JPEG and NEF files from my camera to my photo storage folder – resulting in 2 files for every photo.   No real problem right?

Well, for applications like Lightroom that are intelligent – no real problem, Lightroom knows that cameras can do this and if you have the right option turned on, it will treat the JPEG and NEF together as one – practically “hiding” the JPEG.

But for iPhoto, it’s not so clever so I ended up with two of every image.  And since the JPEG is slightly processed by the camera, they look different (different temperature, etc).   (Why do I use iPhoto too?  Because it’s the easiest way for my wifey and kids to see ALL our family photos, select them into albums, email them, etc).

Also it bugged me that I had all these JPEGs lying around on my hard disk, taking up space, slowing down my Lightroom and iPhoto libraries.  On my camera, I now use just RAW with no JPEG option.

So I started a project last week to get rid of these JPEGs.  But how?

After some messing around, I found these steps to work:

1) In Lightroom, turn on the option to treat the JPEG and RAW as separate photos.   This effectively turns Lightroom into the dumb iPhoto and you’ll end up seeing two photos now – one for the JPEG and one for the RAW.

2) In Finder (I use a Mac), I actually manually deleted all the JPEG’s that were duplicates of the RAW file.   I know – TEDIOUS!  I could have written a script to see if filenames were the same, if the raw file (NEF for my Nikon camera) existed, then delete the JPG.  But I was so paranoid that a script may just delete some required files that I decided to do this by hand instead.  In reality, with proper sorting of files, it didn’t take too long.

3) Now – I’m in a state where I’ve pulled the rug out from under the feet of iPhoto and Lightroom.  It’s time to get their databases back in a valid state.

4) For Lightroom, just go to the Library module, then right click on a folder and choose “Synchronize Folder…”.  This will prompt Lightroom to look at the folder and match them up – import any photos that are on disk but not in Lightroom, and remove any photos from Lightroom that are not on the disk anymore.

5) For iPhoto, unfortunately there is no synchronize option.   However, I did find a post on a blog called Phil at Warrimoo who posted an Applescript that walks through photos in iPhoto and deletes them from the iPhoto library if they don’t exist on disk.  It does work, although a little slowly and I had to tweak it to work for iPhoto libraries where the photos aren’t copied into the iPhoto library.

Hope this helps someone out there!

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How to organise thousands of digital photos

How to organise thousands of digital photos

The advent of digital photography has brought with it the problem of managing all those digital photos.

In the “old” days, it was quite simple.  People took less photos since there was a financial cost associated with every shot.  We would buy photo albums, slot in the 6×4’s, keep the negatives in the back.   And sometimes we’d make different albums for different occasions or themes – birthdays, holidays, etc.

But now we have a collection of tens of thousands of files, all floating around in virtual space.

How to keep track of them?

Let’s look at two ends of the spectrum.

Manual Photo Management

First is total manual management of your photos.  With manual management, you’ll be organising the actual JPG and RAW files on disk.  You may organise the files in folders by year, date, name of shoot, client, etc. 

The benefits of manually managing the image files yourself is that it could make it easier for you to backup files, burn files to a DVD, import into other and multiple software packages and email to others since you’ll know exactly where they are stored.  

The downsides is that it may be very hard to find a particular photo unless your folder naming scheme and organisation is very good. 

You need to be careful here.  For example, if your naming scheme is just to use a description of the event like “Wife’s Birthday”, what happens next year and the year after?  Do you put them all into the same folder?   This could be unmanageable.   Or some people might start moving JPG files based on the content like putting them in a folder of “My Dog”.  But what happens if the photo was part of photos you took at a picnic?   Would you make a copy of the photo of your dog and have it in two places?  What if you wanted to start editing that photo?  How do you keep track of where the duplicates are?

I use a folder scheme of “year/year-month-day description” to organise my photos on disk.  So my raw untouched photos of a birthday party taken today would be stored in a folder “2011/2011-02-01 My Birthday”.   I don’t make duplicates.  I don’t organise the photos on disk by content.   I leave that up to photo management software.   This way, my disk structure is extremely neat and easy to backup or burn to disc.

Automatic Photo Management

Second is what I’ll refer to as using photo management software.   Here, you will probably import your photos into software like iPhoto, Lightroom or Picasa and let the software manage everything for you.  Photo management software will likely organise your files on disk for you too, but you could get by without knowing where they are at all!

Photo management software will typically allow you to create virtual albums of photos, tag them with keywords, mark your favourite ones with a star or rating scheme, locate them on a map if they are tagged with GPS information and even scan them for faces.

The benefits are huge – you don’t need to worry about where the files are and you may be able to locate a particular photo much quicker.  Since the photo management software maintains an index, it lets you find photos very quickly and using terms that may be more meaningful to you like text tags, location, rating, etc that files on a disk using the manual scheme above won’t give you. 

The downsides is that you’re locked into that photo management software to do all extra things like emailing, backing up, etc unless you know where your actual photo files are stored on disk.

How do I do it?

I actually use a combination.  At the moment, I import all photos to disk specifying a folder scheme of “year/year-month-day”.  This way I know exactly where all my raw photos are on disk and this makes it easy to backup, archive or burn to disk.   It also makes it easy to figure out what date I’ve uploaded my photos to.

If I edit photos, I create Collections and Sets in Lightroom to organise photos by shoot and do my editing in there.  When I’m done, I export them into a totally different folder where all my edited photos for printing, emailing, exporting go.   Yep, my edited photos are in a separate location to my “raw” photos from the camera.  It’s like keeping your film negatives in one spot, but your prints in a diffferent box.  You wouldn’t want to mix them up – or worse still, accidentally overwriting the initial photos themselves.  At the moment, I also create separate Lightroom Catalogs for each year just to keep the performance up.

But this doesn’t help Wifey and the kids.  So I also import ALL the photos into iPhoto.  This lets the family take advantage of easier browsing, emailing and face tagging so that they can flip through the family photos quickly.

I don’t think there’s a right and wrong scheme – you just need to decide on something up front and stick to it.

Or else you’ll end up with thousands of photos with all sorts of wierd names disorganised in one big My Photos folder and ten years later the problem will be too big to sort out.