So, going back to the seminar on LR4, Dave Wall showed us how he organised his files, and its now how I do mine. To be honest, I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner.
With all of the previous tools I used to organise my library, I pretty much allowed them to use the standard of importing into folders by date. Nice and simple......... if you are good at remembering dates, which I am not. I also allowed the tools to import from when I plugged either the camera of a memory card into the card reader, not any more. I AM IN CONTROL!!!!!
I had gotten myself into a real mess with where my files were being stored and the only person I can blame is myself. And what makes it worse is the fact I pretty much lost every image I had taken last February when I was moving images from their only location to a different one, and sods law, the drive that I copying from crashed during the copy. Fortunately, I had some old backups so I managed to recover a lot of the lost pictures.
I bought a Netgear NAS box with two 2TB drives so I could backup my library. Unfortunately I didn't use it properly, so I ended up with images all over the place, not any more. I AM IN CONTROL!!!!!
Following on from Dave's suggestions, I bought two Firewire 800 hard drive docks and two 2TB internal hard drives. The iMac has a single Firewire 800 port but the docks have two so I can daisy-chain them together. The first 2TB drive is my Image Library, the second is my Library Backup. Simples.
On the Image Library drive, I created a folder structure, see below, its really complicated, not.
Ignore the 99 - Image Archive folder for now. You will see 26 folders labeled A, B, C, etc. So its an alphabetical system rather than a date one. Within each folder I create new folders for new projects under the relevant main folder. So for example, our recent trip to Spain has been put into the S folder. Do you see how simple this is. Its easier to remember names and places rather than dates.
I spent nearly a week re-organising all of my images into the correct folder structure. I took my main hard drive out of its location and dropped it into the dock used for the backup. I copied folders over in groups, and can I say, doing it over Firewire is gazillion times quicker than USB or via the network. There you go, another benefit of the Firewire docks, improved performance.
Once I had everything sorted and in place, I opened my newly created LR catalog and imported each folder\subfolder individually as I wanted to keyword each one, until I had completed A to Z. My LR catalog now looked exactly the same as the folder structure above, making it easy for me to find what I want.
So what happens when I want to import a new project. I don't let LR import it automatically, I AM IN CONTROL!!!!!
Lets say I am doing a wedding on Saturday <shiver runs down spine> for a couple soon to be Mr and Mrs Jones. In the J folder, I create a folder called Kate & Steve Jones. I don't need dates as LR does all that kind of thing for me. When I get home on Saturday night, I will copy all of the images from my memory cards manually into the newly created folder. I then open LR, click on Import and navigate to the J folder. When I select the appropriate folder, all the images appear so I can select which ones to import. I create my keywords and metadata and select Import. Several minutes later, I have a new folder in my catalog, with the same name.
Since making this transition, life has become somewhat easier with regards to organisation of my images.
On to the Image Backup drive. As part of the recommendation from Steve, he suggested having a second drive which is a duplicate of the first one. Because the drive is in a dock, its easy to remove and transport elsewhere. So, at the end of the day I remove the drive and take it somewhere that is not where the first drive is. What is the point in having your live and backup drives in the same location? Fire and water do not discriminate.
The software I use to backup is called Chrono Sync, again a recommendation from Dave. It was relatively cheap at $40 and downloaded pretty quickly. I have set it up so that whenever anything changes in the library on the first drive, it backs up that change to the second one. So it doesn't do a full backup every night, it does incrementals. The first time it backed up took a couple of hours as it had to back up some GBs worth of data but now it takes seconds.
So now I have an easy to use storage system that gets backed up and stored in case of disaster.
These are only my views and experiences but I have to say, its made a real difference follows Dave's suggestions.