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Image Management Software
Old 01-29-2019, 09:18 AM   #1
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Image Management Software

Iím starting this thread to provide a place to discuss approaches/problems/solutions to image management.

There are excellent recent and ongoing threads devoted to digital photography, but management/organization of the results is a topic in itself so I hope this isnít viewed as redundant.

Iíve been motivated over the past few months to learn about this due to starting a scanning project of many old photos laying around in boxes for years. This is a slowwwly-progressing project but quite fun if not overdone.

Iíve been using digiKam, an open source package that seems to meet my needs. When asking others, it seems that Lightroom is the tool of choice.

What do you use and why?
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:28 AM   #2
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Management is a big word. Do you want to edit, manage tagging, grouping, etc? Back it up to a cloud, to physical? I use Google Drive, Adobe and Windows Explorer to manage most but I admit, its a mess lol. All the pictured from 20 years of snapping is too much to handle. When I first picked up a digital camera I was good about deleting unwanted pictures on the spot, now it seems I never get around to it.
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtest View Post
Management is a big word. Do you want to edit, manage tagging, grouping, etc? Back it up to a cloud, to physical? I use Google Drive, Adobe and Windows Explorer to manage most but I admit, its a mess lol. All the pictured from 20 years of snapping is too much to handle. When I first picked up a digital camera I was good about deleting unwanted pictures on the spot, now it seems I never get around to it.
+1

My career was around imaging. Not sure what we mean by management?
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Old 01-29-2019, 09:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtest View Post
Management is a big word. Do you want to edit, manage tagging, grouping, etc? Back it up to a cloud, to physical? I use Google Drive, Adobe and Windows Explorer to manage most but I admit, its a mess lol. All the pictured from 20 years of snapping is too much to handle. When I first picked up a digital camera I was good about deleting unwanted pictures on the spot, now it seems I never get around to it.

Yes, it is a broad word/phrase. From my point of view, Iím thinking of everything you mention except editing. Mainly because that alters the original thing you see (the picture).

digiKam has basic editing tools but Iíve not had much experience with them so far as Iím still mainly adding to my collection and thinking about how to organize. Still figuring out where things really live in the file system and placing them in directories/locations that might be movable from one software package to another (for example, if I switch to Adobe in the future).

Iím a relative rookie, still learning!
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:29 PM   #5
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Well I am a quality guy. And it all starts at the device. So your camera's need to be setup for the best quality images, also in terms of management have at time/date/label stamp setup so you know when the pic was taken, and you can also do GPS tagging if the device allows.


Then, when I offload from device to "something else" you can use Wifi to the cloud, or to your home based network, or just grab the medium *For me its SD cards and put them into a PC. Then I copy the files to a folder corresponding with the month. and Then I label that month something memorable that occured, like Sons_2ndBday_AUG_2019 FamTrip_Hawaii_Oct_2017 etc.
For me this seems to be the best way. Then, I do a file count comparison from the devices storage to what I copied into the folder to confirm I am not missing data, and I look at the file sizes as they should all roughly be the same sizes.


This is a good data point check...

Then I delete unwanted or bad quality images from my PC with an image management purging exercise. once I've purge, I upload to "the cloud" for me this is just an FTP server I pay for...but it could be google drive or iCloud or whatever... (Some auto upload which can be a good thing to enable as well). AND I copy it to an external HDD (redundancy). Oh, and I also take the opportunity here to copy all my landscape pics to my landscape digital picture frames SD card. (I edit the portraits to display better).
At this point I am usually sick of seeing the pictures, but if I have the desire I do some editing which really never gets past cropping lol.
The only time I've lost image data was when 1. someone found my missing phone, performed a factory reset, ransomed it back to me and I realized I hadn't backed up in a month or so. Now I do it every month ow when low on space. I also lost it once when my wife had had an external HDD that she hadn't accessed over a few moves and all the jarring caused some bad HDD sectors which equated to some scrambled images and lost mp3 music.


Light room is nice, yes. Necessary, no.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:56 PM   #6
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I have used ThumbsPlus over the last 20 or more years..........

ThumbsPlus.com: The Home of ThumbsPlus

Works perfectly for managing large numbers of picture files. I highly recommend it.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:54 PM   #7
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Image Management Software

Interesting experiences/practices. Iíll summarize where I am at this point in trying to figure out an initial plan for ďbeing organizedĒ soon (not this post).

My reasons for working with digiKam now are: 1) itís free/open source, 2) itís multi-platform (Linux, Mac, Windows), and 3) it follows a typical open source communication pattern of a mailing list ďprojectname-users-requestĒ that you find with stable open source projects.

#3 can be like a direct line to the development team itself rather than a ďhelp deskĒ model of commercial products. You can submit questions, feature requests, bug reports and so on. Just be polite. Iím too new a user to have done this, but learn from the list traffic.
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:54 PM   #8
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I use Lightroom. BTW, Lightroom is still available in version 6, the last version before Adobe went to the subscription model. Mostly I use it because I started with Photoshop Elements and the interface is very similar, so I didn't have to learn a whole new program from scratch. There is also a huge amount of product support available for it in the form of tutorial web sites, books, youtube videos and the like. And at the core it is a database program. It never alters the original image but makes adjustments to the way that image is viewed.

There are any number of ways to store, sort, and organize images that one could want. I've read that some people have bought the program just for the print module alone because that has so many options, and those can be stored in the form of what they call a "preset".
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:11 PM   #9
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I use Photoshop Elements. I usually buy it about every other year.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:27 PM   #10
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The term you want is DAM/Digital Assets Manager. Search for this plus the word "photography" and you should find plenty of reading.

Adobe Lightroom is, for amateurs, the historic standard. Its DAM function allowed various kinds of keywording tagging, virtual albums, etc. plus access via EXIF data.

Now that LR is subscription-only, a cottage industry that was formerly a little sleepy and focused on image processing is working feverishly to capture those of us who will not have our work locked up behind a paywall. Adding DAM functionality is one of these guys' major efforts.

So another good search is "Lightroom Replacement DAM" Stop back in a few months when you're done reading.
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Old 01-29-2019, 04:54 PM   #11
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DW is the photographer and image manager. I just caution that a few years ago (several actually), she used a management program and while I’m not sure what it was that she lost, apparently it stripped off some data and she had a hard time telling when it was taken. I think when she added something like a comment, the program viewed that as being edited and over wrote the original date when the picture was taken. Maybe a full backup before you start anything. A backup that you’ll never touch. Just to make sure you can always get back to that point in time if needed.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:21 PM   #12
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Yes, it is a broad word/phrase. From my point of view, I’m thinking of everything you mention except editing. Mainly because that alters the original thing you see (the picture).

Which is the Most Important IMO................ A camera will rarely capture 'the original thing you see'. That's why you need editing software. IMO, Every picture that is taken needs and benefits from Post Processing.


If you are not familiar with this, you have no idea what you're missing. I use Luminar.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:27 PM   #13
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Which is the Most Important IMO................ A camera will rarely capture 'the original thing you see'. That's why you need editing software. IMO, Every picture that is taken needs and benefits from Post Processing.


If you are not familiar with this, you have no idea what you're missing.


I agree that improving an image is important (and subjective) but I think is better discussed in a different thread.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:47 PM   #14
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Maybe a full backup before you start anything. A backup that youíll never touch. Just to make sure you can always get back to that point in time if needed.

Sounds like a drag! A complete backup is a great idea before making any changes to your data thatís important.

Also, non-destructive software that might touch your stuff that employs a versioning scheme.

For my scans, I retain the original print but donít want to redo additions such as tagging, captioning and so on. Thatís why Iím trying to understand how and where those changes are made and stored.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:41 PM   #15
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Only recently have I used software to touch up pictures shot in RAW format.

Haven't used Photoshop or Lightroom.

What I use is a free open source program called Lightzone. I only do the basics like adjusting the exposure (RAW format, where have you been all my life? ).

Lightzone is non-destructive, thus leaves the original intact .
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:51 PM   #16
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I use Lightroom. I'm definitely an amateur. I find that its tagging and sorting features work well for me. I scanned all of our old photos and used Photoshop Elements to tidy up the old pictures.



I have Lightroom 3 & didn't know they had gone to a subscription format. I won't do that, so I'll use the non-subscription versions as long as possible and then I'll have to figure out whats next. Its a complete pain because I'm over 10,000 photos now and the tags likely won't be portable.
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Old 01-29-2019, 07:42 PM   #17
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I have Lightroom 3 & didn't know they had gone to a subscription format. I won't do that, so I'll use the non-subscription versions as long as possible and then I'll have to figure out whats next. Its a complete pain because I'm over 10,000 photos now and the tags likely won't be portable.

These are the sorts of things Iím concerned about too and a reason to start the thread, learning of how others handle portability of information/organization associated with images across particular software packages.
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Old 01-30-2019, 06:32 AM   #18
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I have never warmed to image management programs. My cell phone photos are primarily for short term use - posting to FB, looking at over the short term. My camera photos are largely restricted to vacations (bike tours, etc). When I return from a vacation I process all the images I like from the camera and phones and create an album in Google Photos and Flickr to store and view them. I have also aggregated photos for albums on particular subjects, like old family photos, Scuba diving, etc. Those too go to Google and Flickr. I've never seen a use for something more complicated.

Since my PC is sitting in the kitchen where DW, guest,, and I are frequently hanging out, I keep all the vacation albums on the HD and use them as a screen saver. I see my pictures more frequently just hanging around than I ever see them actively.
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Old 01-30-2019, 07:13 AM   #19
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Iím starting this thread to provide a place to discuss approaches/problems/solutions to image management.


<snip>

What do you use and why?
Big topic, but here is my experience:

First thing to decide is whether or not you want to organize via folder/file or library. Most software creates a library. My main problem with this is that at some point a problem appears if your library deviates from your folder/file structure. Also, how does it handle duplicates? These two issues have caused me many headaches across platforms and software. In the end, I have decided to do all the basic organization structure with a folder/file naming plan.

At the top level, my photos are split thusly:

Genealogy (mostly scanned or copied in digitally - partly photos, lots of documents)
- side note - is a scanned image of a probate record an 'image' or a 'document'?
Family photos - mostly scanned - sorted by location mostly (like where we lived at the time)
Travel photos - older ones scanned, newer digital imports - mostly sorted by location > date

I have rearranged these more than once, and may indeed do so again. This is another reason libraries don't work for me. Once you move something on your hard drive, the library loses track. Confusion and chaos ensues.

The folder/file structure really only matters when you start off. It is useful to be able to browse and drill down. Eventually, however, you really need to be able to search. For that, the folder and file *naming* becomes important. Something like this:

Mexico > Mexico-San-Miguel-de-Allende > 20120705-07-Mexico-San-Miguel-de-Allende > 2012-San Miguel 001.jpg

I try to have every folder and file name include geo-location and date. Easier to search, easier to drill down.

Then there is the real biggie, the 'metadata' - called IPTC or EXIF, depending. Digital cameras produce this automatically, including GPS if you have that on your camera. Smartphones do this, obviously. But it can include Title and description fields, helpful when uploading to Flickr or elsewhere. You need to edit this manually, in bulk or per file. Not crucial, perhaps, but very helpful when searching through thousands of photos.

Note - all this is completely separate from culling and editing the photos themselves. I do that using multiple tools (on Linux)

XNViewMP - to do some initial culling and bulk metadata/naming/renaming
Darktable - to do actual editing, mainly exposure/highlights/shadows - you can apply templates to many photos at once. Helps speed things up a lot.

Darktable is a non-destructive editor. The resulting issue is that you now have one or two extra files per photo in your folder. As long as you move those around with your photos, you're good. Local backup copies will include them, but you probably won't want or need them in any online backup/sharing site.

My system is still evolving, but it feels like it is finally taking shape. Still haven't touched my videos though. Saving the hardest for last, I guess... After I finish culling, I hope to get my photos/videos down to 200GB. Now if I could just stop *adding* to the collection!
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Old 01-30-2019, 07:54 AM   #20
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I have never warmed to image management programs. My cell phone photos are primarily for short term use - posting to FB, looking at over the short term. My camera photos are largely restricted to vacations (bike tours, etc). When I return from a vacation I process all the images I like from the camera and phones and create an album in Google Photos and Flickr to store and view them. I have also aggregated photos for albums on particular subjects, like old family photos, Scuba diving, etc. Those too go to Google and Flickr. I've never seen a use for something more complicated.

Since my PC is sitting in the kitchen where DW, guest,, and I are frequently hanging out, I keep all the vacation albums on the HD and use them as a screen saver. I see my pictures more frequently just hanging around than I ever see them actively.

My guess is that many people are like you, myself included although Iím attempting to get more organized about the whole thing. Iím viewing it as decluttering in some sense, which Iíve been doing a lot of following multiple physical moves.

I like the screen saver idea in a frequently-used home location. If I can figure out how to do it, that would be a nice use for my aging-but-functional Chromebook. Iíd like it to happen over the home wi-fi network (my primary library sits on a computer on a different floor).
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