Photo organizing question/ramble

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Doug Chadduck, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Apologies if I'm a bit OT but
    Here's where I am.
    I have a pretty decent scanner I can make do what I want.
    I have thousands of slides from 30+ years old to 20 years old.
    I have all my parents photos including many known and unknown ancestor
    photos goint back to one each tintype, of somebody.
    I have hundreds of very old negatives.
    I have my wife's photos.
    I have many of my wife's parents old slides and photos.
    I have my photos.
    I have photos people have sent me.
    etcetera etcetera etcetera.
    I don't have a digital camera,

    I would like to, over time, scan and archive a lot of this stuff but
    have yet to come up with a master indexing and namimg system that allows
    me to have some semblance of order. I tend to go from one media type and
    stack of pictures to another to another and bounce around as the mood
    hits. This is pretty much unchangeable. Just the way I am. So far I seem
    to be ending up with more and more folders and am loosing track of where
    to put what.

    Many of the programs available seem to be pretty much digital camera,
    time and date based and that doesn't work well. There are days when, if
    it was before last week........Grin. I spent one year on Adak, Alaska
    and have archived the 800 or 900 slides from there, but that was a very
    distinct stand alone block of images, in a short time frame, and not
    overwhelming volume. I did 3 months, 30 states, and 11,000 miles one
    summer. Those are a very stand alone block of images and will be
    archived much the same way as the Adak slides were. But these are just a
    couple exceptions with the vast majority of what I have being scattered
    all over the board time frame and subject wise.

    I do have a ton of hard drive room and a fast CD burner and will
    probably invest in a DVD burner this summer. Everything in my folders is
    view by thumbnail so that helps some. I'm comfortable with my knowledge
    of archiving mechanics, resolution importance, TIFF vs JPEG, etc., etc.
    so that is not a problem.

    I'm looking for a way to find what I'm looking for when I go to the
    "Master Archives", so to speak. When I want to print an old image for
    some reason, or share the old ancestors with a newly found third cousin,
    or finally pull up that really neat, but kinda beat up, picture of my
    Grandmother and start the restoration on it, or put together a slide
    show of my brother-in-law from when he was born to today. His SO would
    love to have something like that. So far my BIL treats me real nice.

    Sorry for the ramble but just curious if the picture collectors out
    there might have any overall thoughts that might help me out on the
    organizing end of it all. I'm having a tough time getting a top down,
    overview, perspective going. I know there's no magic methods and no
    totally right or wrong but am curious of what others, facing similar
    situations, may have done. Helpful hints very appreciated.
    Thanks Doug
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 15, 2005
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  2. Doug Chadduck

    paul Guest

    Three things are important in my experience:

    1. Folder names with 4-digit year for pre-2000 pics. Name it year,
    month, day to sort properly. 2005-01-15

    2. Unique key number for each pic so if you make copies in another
    select slide show, you can search for that key number. Digicams do that
    automatically unless your battery dies or something which could happen
    so maybe using a database program would be good to assign this number
    though a database itself could get messed up if they aren't burned into
    the file name.

    3. Numbering at the beginning of the file name for slide show sort
    order. This messes up adjacent pics but with the unique file number
    described above that can be reconstructed.

    Also, I put things in category/location folders, then by date after
    that. So if the date isn't important you just have one date at the
    conclusion of the series:


    Actually I keep a separate system for web versions that is used as the
    actual file structure uploaded & originals with matching folders it's
    not too hard to go back & find the originals.


    pictures (originals)

    I'm running out of HD space so I'm going to have to do something like this:

    web (reduced versions)

    pictures (originals & seconds)

    [external HD and or CD/DVD]
    pictures (favorites, no seconds or originals, only final edits/crops)
    plus copies of the other two

    Then there's the question of assembling selected favorite slide shows
    for various reasons. Without making copies, you'll want to use some kind
    of database to assemble shortcuts to the originals. You might have some
    california shots in your road trip batch & others in the california
    folder & want to assemble your 10 best pics of california. Now if you
    are using a database, if you move something, it's messed up because the
    custom slideshows rely on the location. Some programs you can keep
    running constantly in the background & they will detect if you move a
    file but that's a nuisance too. No easy answers. The safest thing is to
    copy the pics if storage space isn't an issue. At least you can find
    where they came from by searching for the unique file number and you
    kept unedited originals in case you learn a new editing trick & want to
    go back to adjust curves or sharpening.

    For simplicity I also dump all my new pics under:


    For a few months till I have time to organize them properly, then I move
    them into:


    paul, Jan 15, 2005
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  3. Doug Chadduck

    Greg Baryley Guest

    Do yourself a favour!

    Look at some of the software packages that make image management a breeze.
    requirements is support for 'virtual directories', categories, galleries,
    whatever they are called in the package. Categorisation by keywords, and
    user defined fields is also an advantage.

    There are a lot of good ones about - but I am supremely happy with
    Thumbsplus. Has all the functions I was after, plus a very active support
    newsgroup. Also uses a standard MS Access database - so if you need to
    generate extra reports or forms, its no problem. Been using it for over 18
    months and have no complaints.
    Greg Baryley, Jan 16, 2005
  4. I'd have problems putting the decade on many of the old photos.

    On the photos that I myself have taken I will probably be able to
    incorporate a system using some type of date format. But many of those
    will be the last photos I'll archive. After my folks pictures and my
    in-laws etc. While I still have some hope of identifying folks etc
    What type of format for the key number? Do you just key number the
    photos, within a given folder, and leave the folder names to be the
    first category, N. Ca. Vac.2003, or whatever? Or does the key number
    contain a link to the folder name which contains a link to the next
    higher foler name etc.
    Slide shows, making prints, sending copies etc is not the problem since
    the original archived image will never be touched or moved once it is
    placed into "archive" status, indexed somehow, and accounted for. All
    other work will be done from easily made copies.
    Haven't even thought much about web versions. Have shared some photos
    with cousins etc via easy free sites but nothing formal. Genealogy will,
    one day, be my first real web-site foray.
    At this point I tend to have a batch sorted, say Studio Shots of Dad's
    Ancestors, and scan them into that folder.
    snipped for some brevity

    Makes me want to draw out a flowchart like drawing, figuring out all the
    various categories of images I have, with as much detail as I can think
    of up front, and just set up and name all the folders. As time goes by
    I'm sure I would be adding folders at various levels, but maybe this
    would help me start to get organized a bit.

    Thanks for your reply and thoughts. At this point I like all the input I
    can get. Some things may not work for me. Some things may not make
    sense. But they are all going to get my mind going and working on the
    subject and will help me come up with my system.
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 16, 2005
  5. Thanks Greg
    I will check out Thumbsplus, at the least. I'll admit to not being real
    open to store bought filing systems but will also admit to having only
    done some, but not a lot of, looking. What I've seen so far are very
    simplistic, basic, nothing original here, file structures with a lot of
    image editing and juggling capabilities. Photo editing I have covered
    with Photoshop Elements or the full on Photoshop should I ever need it.
    Snipped for brevity
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 16, 2005
  6. Doug Chadduck

    Marvin Guest

    Paint Shop Photo Album is mostly for making slide shows, but it includes provsion for indexing image files and searching.
    You can enter descriptors for each image. You can download the progtram for a trial at, and decide if it will
    do your job.
    Marvin, Jan 16, 2005
  7. Doug Chadduck

    me Guest

    A log book saved as a word processor file is what I use. File slides, photos
    and negatives by date then subject in hanging file folders or other storage
    and then enter info into log.
    Good Luck,
    me, Jan 16, 2005

  8. Trials I like. Thanks, I'll give it a check.
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 16, 2005
  9. Big snip
    My guess yours would be the assorted colors selection by Pendaflex?

    or other storage
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 16, 2005
  10. Doug Chadduck

    me Guest

    Generic from the local office supply is good enough for me ;-)

    Good Luck,
    me, Jan 16, 2005
  11. Doug Chadduck

    paul Guest

    Actually I just use the camera file name & don't have much scanned.
    Whatever as long as it's not pic01.tif in all the folders so you can
    serach by file name when you forget which folder a copy came from.

    As long as you can find the original.

    If you think up a better system some day & have duplicate systems like
    for web/originals/best then it makes a mess so it's good to figure out
    first. With unique names you can always hunt them down but for easy
    cross referencing of originals it's good to have a matched system.

    Probably a real good idea!
    paul, Jan 17, 2005
  12. Doug Chadduck

    paul Guest

    Watch out for the database in older versions of ACD See for instance
    becomes corrupt after a certain size & all data is lost.

    Agreed this should be safe.
    paul, Jan 17, 2005
  13. Doug Chadduck

    paul Guest

    Beware adding descriptors in a proprietary format that is not
    recoverable if that program goes under. I don't know the format of PSP
    so I'm not criticizing that particular one. Some poorly written programs
    will let you add IPTC or EXIF comments but they have the format wrong &
    it could get lost or overwritten by a different program.
    paul, Jan 17, 2005
  14. Paul, I think you're talking about the other thing I've wondered
    about. How does one get all the info about the image to stay with the
    image, so to speak? I have been adding an inch, or whatever is
    necessary, of gray background on the bottom of the image and just typing
    my data there. That way it becomes a permanent part of the archived
    image. I don't have to worry about anyone's software being able to read
    a directory or any foolishness like that. And it's also very easily
    snipped off and set aside if I don't want it for whatever project I
    might be using the image for. Can't think of any other way when you want
    to list all 15 ancestors in the group image and your guess on when and
    where it was taken and any other comments you might have such as where
    the image came from.
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 17, 2005
  15. Everything I have will be scanned. No digital originals
    At this point I'm concentrating on getting everything archived. Screen
    savers, sharing with cousins, etc is strictly informal for now. Not
    quite sure what you mean by "matched"
    Was doodling last night and think I might be able to incorporate the
    initials of the folder name, at a fairly low level, into the individual
    picture ID number somehow. Will need to have the heirarchy all laid out
    and named up front and will have to be careful naming the folders. hmmmm
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 17, 2005
  16. Doug Chadduck

    Jane_ly33 Guest

    Jane_ly33, Jan 18, 2005
  17. I'll take a look at the trial, but by reading the web site the whole
    system seems totally dependent on inputting things their way into their
    proprietary software. This would make my archives unsearchable by any
    other system or software if I loaded any of it on anyone elses system.
    Also, I get leary when a site, promoting their product, has broken links
    when navigating around.
    But YMMV and I will download the trial. Thanks
    Doug Chadduck, Jan 18, 2005
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