Monday, May 18, 2009

Organizing My Photos (Part I)

How you organize photos is all a matter of personal preference, but here's the way I do it and it works for me (most of the time). I have folders for every year. For every shoot, it's its own project. I label each of those projects, "MM-DD Name." For example, 06-15 Farmer's Market or 10-12 Fleet Week. Since all those are in the annual folder, I can usually jump to a particular shoot pretty quickly. When I do a shoot or have an event that spans multiple days, I put each day or each major piece of the event (for example, each day of a vacation or each location) in its own project. Then all those projects sit inside of a folder with the first date of the shoot as its title. For example, 05-12 Hawaii. Then that folder sits inside the annual folder. If I was more prolific as a photographer, I would probably have both annual and month folders. But I'm not. So the annuals work fine for me. Another benefit to using projects and folders in this fashion is that clicking on the folders will give you a thumbnail view of all the pictures contained within the folder.

Why projects instead of folders and albums?
Well for one, you have to start with a project to get your files into Aperture. And that oh so convenient feature of clicking on a folder to see all the children photos doesn't work. So if you started out with one project then made folders of albums within that project, you won't be able to see the aggregated thumbnails. Sorry!

The thing about projects is that they are the basic units of import/export by Aperture. If you control click, you'll find a bunch of features tailored to projects. So if you kept everything in one giant project, some export/relocate/consolidate functionality will be really hampered. I'll get into how I manage my files later and I depend heavily on relocating and consolidating photos.

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