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Organising a digital library


Established Member
Okay, I have now been through 22 pages of threads and not found what I am looking for - I presume I am looking in the wrong place because their must be a thread on this somewhere? :)

If not - what programs do you use to store your photos (I had a look at the thread which was the nearest, which was about backup storage) but nobody has really mentioned what they use to actually organise your photo's - is it just in my photo's on Vista, do you use a dedicated program (Picasa) ?etc etc

Im getting a new comp soon and just wondered whats the best organising tool out there....


Prominent Member
Mine are organised by windows explorer. Sorted by the year then a folder with the seasons, inside that a folder with the 'event, occasion or location'


Established Member
The best way to organise your photos is by having a good file structure. Mine terrabytes of images are stored by year, event and date, format (so one folder for RAW, one for JPEG). Having a good file structure is important.

Many of my images are keyworded in the EXIF so I can also search for specific things this way as well, my workflow is all done in Adobe CS4 Bridge and Photoshop.

Alternatively, you can use Adobe Lightroom's Catalogue feature to manage your images. This can work well, but if you ever decide to switch software to another vendor, more than likely, unless you have a good file structure, you will have to create a new catalogue from scratch. LR2 is very good though. :)


Established Member
I use the organiser function of Photoshop Elements with lots of tags and a library structure along the year/month lines. This product also includes an editor that is a reduced feature version of full blown Photoshop that is still powerful enough for most users need and is used by many people on this forum.


Established Member
I have a folder for each year and a sub folder for each event which contains finished jpgs for viewing via projector. Within each event folder I have a subfolder for working files - originals, work in progress etc.

For viewing and organising I've ended up (for the time being at least) with ACDSee Pro. It's n ot perfect but I've tried most of these programmes and find it the best on balance.

I like the layout and various means of sorting but the main benefit is that you can copy info from the ACDSee database to and fro' IPTC fields which means that your cataloguing data is stored within the file and can be viewed in other programmes. I'm not reliant on the integrity/future support of a proprietary database either. It can take a while to decide on a suitable work-flow but is worth it in the end.

You can of course use exif fields for storing data but exif is really designed for information regarding the file whereas IPTC is designed for storing data about the subject matter.

I wouldn't consider a programme that doesn't allow batch processing of IPTC fields.

Cheers, Malcolm


Established Member
I have a folder called Digital Photography in which I have a sub folder for each place I visit (London Zoo - Cumbria). In each sub folder I create another folder called archive where all the images go. As I process each image it gets copied into the location folder, so all the originals are safe.
I tag all my images so I can find related images using Windows Gallery.
I don't like Elements organiser at all.


Standard Member
IMHO the first thing you need to ask yourself is how serious are you about your photography? If you think you may get serious and end up with large volumes of photos taken on mid - high end equiptment then its worth spending the time and money on getting top notch software.

I personaly dont own a Digital SLR camera therefore i'm not about to spend large sums of money on photoshop software.

Keeping images organised with year - month - event via the windows folder structure is the most sensible place to start as it assists with backups (PLEASE BACKUP, I lost 4 gb of irreplacable family photos through being complacent :( ).
Once that is done, free apps like picasa and the windows and mac viewers are nomaly sufficent for people who are actualy interested enough to keep their photos organised on a computer (it never ceses to amaze me how many people just keep photos on memory cards!?! :rolleyes:)

I use the visa photo viewer to tag and occasionaly crop photos. Then upload them to my media center. I have a few free apps such as GIMP for any more detailed messing about.

I'm no David Bailey and I havent' spent tousands on my equipment so taking days over digital darkroom / workflows is overkill for me.

just my two pence.....

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