Folder Structure Organization

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Grant Robertson, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. Naturally, the first question that comes to mind when organizing one's
    image files is what folder structure to use. I have read some old posts
    on the subject but I still have some other issues that I can't quite work
    out. In reading these old posts, I got the idea for the following basic
    structure:

    2004
    --01-January
    --02-February
    --.
    --.
    --.
    --12-December

    Then, for each month, subdivide any large groups of images into their own
    separate folder named for the occasion like "Craig's Party" or "Fishing
    with Dad". Random images that really don't have a specific occasion
    associated with them will just go in the month folder.

    Well, this system works fine for all the new digital images I take but
    there are lots of other images that I possess that don't fit into this
    simple system. So I added another level above the year level to handle
    some of the other types of files I will have. I use a separate partition
    on my hard drive for all of my data. In the root of this partition I
    created a folder called Media. Here is the structure I have created under
    that:

    Media
    --Graphics (I still haven't decided if I will use a database for these.
    If I do it will definitely be a separate database from my
    photos.)
    ----Cartoons
    ----ClipArt
    ------(Lots of different directories here.)
    ----Icons
    ----Web Graphics
    ------Animated GIFs
    ------Backgrounds
    ------Borders
    ------Bullets
    ------Lines
    ------Stationery
    ------WingDings
    --Graphics, By Me
    --Music (Naturally, a separate music database will be used for this)
    --Music, By Me (One can always dream.)
    --Photos (General photos that I didn't take myself.)
    ----Found (Sometimes I find old negatives or pictures and like
    to keep them. It is a weird type of collection, I know.)
    ----From xxx (pictures given to me by various people)
    ----From yyy
    ----From zzz
    ----Humor
    ----(Various other topics)
    --Photos, By Me
    ----!NewYear (Empty folders as a template to easily copy into a
    folder for a new year.)
    ------01-January
    ------02-February
    ------.
    ------.
    ------.
    ------12-December
    ----!Portfolio (For copies of my favorite images. This folder will
    be synchronized to my Tablet PC so I can easily show
    off these images to friends.)
    ----2000 (These are all my old scanned film images.)
    ----.
    ----.
    ----.
    ----2004 (These are all the digital images I will be taking)
    ------01-January
    ------02-February
    ------.
    ------.
    ------.
    ------12-December
    --Photos, Family (These are organized by the last name then the
    name of the parents in a family. Once a child
    gets married and has a family of their own then
    they get their own folder. Remember, these are
    for pictures I did not take myself. So all
    professional portraits or pictures taken by
    others would be in here.)
    ----Leirer, Clifton & Lydia (My grandparents on my mother's side.)
    ----Robertson, Clarence & Faye (My parents)
    ----Robertson, Grant & Michelle (Me and my ex-wife)
    ----Robertson, Grant & Whoever (If I ever get married again)
    (Pictures of just me that have no relation to a particular
    family will be put under the plain 'Photos' folder organized by
    who took them or gave them to me, depending on how much I know
    about the origin of the photo.)


    Well, with all that organization you would think it would cover every
    conceivable situation but I am still stumped as to the best way to handle
    a few things. I would like to ask the advice of others who have been
    doing this for a while.

    First Question:
    For all my old film that will be scanned I don't really have reliable
    dates as to when most of them were taken. The slides have dates imprinted
    on them but I have a terrible habit of not developing film for quite some
    time after I have shot it. However, I did keep track of roll numbers for
    every picture. I am wondering if it might be a better idea to create a
    different folder structure for these scanned images. Perhaps a good guess
    as to the year then just a different folder for each roll? Something
    like:

    1984
    --Roll 001
    ..
    ..
    ..
    --Roll 025
    1985
    --Roll 026
    ..
    ..
    ..
    etc.

    What does everyone else do?


    Second Question:
    What about prints that I don't have the negatives to any more? How can
    I keep track of them?

    Even more questions:

    Should I organize scanned slides separately from scanned negatives?

    What about any scanned film that I take in the future? Should it have a
    separate folder structure or should I find some way to indicate scanned
    images in the database? Could I use the EXIF data in some way?

    How do you organize the physical prints that have been given to you by
    other people so you can find them if you need to do a better scan later?
    Do you mark them with some kind of serial number to make them easier to
    find?

    How do you organize all the different versions of the files you end up
    with as you work on an image to get it ready for use or just showing off?
    Would it be better to just use categories within the database for these
    to reduce the depth of the folder structure?

    I appreciate any suggestions anyone can make. I just know I am leaving
    something out. Can anyone think of any holes in my system?
     
    Grant Robertson, Jun 23, 2004
    #1
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  2. Grant Robertson

    Jack Guest

    You need a relational database so that the same file can be indexed many
    different ways (date, subject, type, event etc.) and only exist as a file in
    a single place. I think there are image database programs out there. If you
    need one use one. Organizing to the extent you are talking about by using
    folders is a bad idea.

    As for scanned stuff. Scan only what you NEED to have in your database.
    Leave the crappy pics in the box. You are never going to look at them again.
    And if you need to they will still be there when you need to. As for what
    the source is, who cares whether they were scanned from print, slide or neg?
    You aren't going to do anything different because of that are you?

    -Jack
     
    Jack, Jun 24, 2004
    #2
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  3. I will be using a database. I just wanted to have the folders make some
    kind of sense to a regular person if I got hit by a bus and they didn't
    know I had a database.
    Good points. There are a lot of things I will scan only for sentimental
    value to me or my family. You're right, slide or negative doesn't really
    matter. I store all the physical media by roll number anyway. However, I
    will need some way to organize the prints so I can find them if I need to
    re-scan them at a higher resolution. Therefore, I will also need a way to
    encode that information somehow in my database so I will know what print
    to look for.
     
    Grant Robertson, Jun 24, 2004
    #3
  4. Grant Robertson

    Frank ess Guest

    It's great to be organized. It's great to have stuff to organize. It
    would be great to have time to get all the stuff you want and to
    organize it, and to be able to put your hand on any bit of stuff,
    instantly.

    My sense of this is: the organization has overwhelmed the content. For
    any substantial number of images, there isn't enough time to digitize
    and organize them, and to appreciate them. There isn't enough time.

    You pays your money and you makes your choice: while not mutually
    exclusive, there is something non-photography about over-organizing.

    I gave up most of my organizing time to spend more time making and
    enjoying. It was actually kind of painful, for a while, but for me the
    benefits are much greater than the loss.


    Frank ess
     
    Frank ess, Jun 24, 2004
    #4
  5. PeterZiminski, Jun 24, 2004
    #5
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