Sunday, February 6, 2011
Cleaned Up Your Lightroom Catalogue Lately?
I sort and store my photos by year, month and then by shoot depending on what it is I've been shooting. So back in January, as I do every year, I set up a new folder for 2011. However, last year I began using "Collections" within Lightroom to manage the selection, culling and editing of each shoot, and to also make some things easier to find.
I noticed as I was scrolling through the "Collections" panel that there was a "Smart Collection" with a sub-collection called "Without Keywords" and a number somewhere around 2000 beside it. Basically, it was telling me that I had 2000 photos without any keywords. I make it a habit of "attempting" to keyword every photo or groups of photos, but it seems that I've been a little negligent. The up-side was that I noticed this happened right around the same time I started managing things with the "Collections" function, which meant that finding certain photos was still quite easy as all I needed to do was find the appropriate "Collection".
I started digging back through those 2000 photos attaching keywords and also making sure that I had things in the right spot. Now this brought up another issue... do you "Delete" photos and if so when? I typically delete photos during the initial culling process; however, I only toss out the photos that I think are way beyond any chance of survival (i.e., blurry, closed eyes, poor composition that even cropping wouldn't make any better etc.). I think you know the one's I'm talking about. But sometimes I'll keep the multitude of exposures of the same thing, even after I have selected and edited what I feel are the best images. This is especially true when shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range) images with 3 to 7 exposure each. Again, even after I have selected the best of the best for editing, I still keep the others. Do I really need to keep all of them, or should I just pull the trigger and get rid of them?
Well, this is where I am right now with my Lightroom catalogue, and the question of cleaning it up little more. One of the arguments of deleting those extra photos is to free up some memory; however, I currently have only 9% of my 1TB external drive used so that's not an issue. Also, memory is quite cheap now so it's easy to upgrade external drives when the need arises. I guess the real question is what have you done with all of those extra, or duplicate, photos from 5 years ago or longer? Other than the real keepers I have not done a lot with them, but it's still hard to let go. So, I'm going to take the time, bit by bit, to go through all of those extra photos (for me it's around 6 years worth) and attempt to employ some critical judgment on whether to keep or delete.
I'm sure this will be a steady work in progress. We always have good intentions with our workflow, but sometimes we just get sloppy or need to do something quickly and skip a whole bunch of steps. So for now, I've got some work to do to clean up my Lightroom catalogue.
Wish me luck!