Joost's Notes on Photo management discussion

February 24th, 2016

This document provides an overview of the various strategies and workflows some of the photo club members use in dealing with the large volumes of data associated with digital pictures. These notes are based on a discussion during the meeting on February 24th 2016.

Because of the highly diverse methods I opted to list the workflow by person instead of trying to fill a complete spreadsheet.

Karen S:

  • All digital, JPG images

  • Rename images by data + auto number, and store them in folders by year and month.

  • Some tagging of pictures

  • Main software for organizing: Thumbsplus.

    • + keyword tagging using central database

    • + create galleries / slideshows

    • + basic editing

    • + auto rename

    • ++ lot of different ways to organize images

    • ++ offers just enough of all editing / cataloging features

    • --- can not write tags to EXIF; cannot export to other programs


  • Digital, JPG

  • 5000+ images

  • Main organizing software: Picasa (offers many automated keywording, editing and sharing tools)


  • Stores negatives going back to 1984

  • ~ 2.5 TB of RAW + small JPG files

  • Uses Smugmug for storage and backup, as well as sharing of wedding galleries (contact Kelly Owen for referral discount if interested). Kelly’s website

  • Upon import, images are moved to folder on external hard drive & uploaded to smugmug for backup

  • Use Photoshop & Bridge for editing and browsing

  • Storage of external drives in a safe at home.


  • So far, using iPhoto but interested in new approach

  • JPG only, 10 years + of images; rarely deletes photos

  • Use organization by folder structure


  • (semi)pro wedding / sports photography

  • All RAW; 2 TB

  • Selectively deletes some images

  • Renaming and regrouping in Adobe Bridge

  • Batch processing and actions to speed up editing in Photoshop

  • Backups on external drives and Photoshelter (including RAW files)

    • $50/month for unlimited storage incl. RAW

    • Can use FTP for uploading

Karen L:

  • RAW only, ~ ½ TB

  • Use iPhoto for managing photos on local drive, then move images to external drives when iPhoto slows down noticeably. Organized in manually named folders, no file rename.

  • Very few deletions

  • Previewing and quick editing (to determine potential) done in iPhoto

  • Editing in Photoshop

  • Best images to Flickr


  • Aggressive culling of images

  • Few TB of data, RAW+jpg

  • Use FastStoneViewer for viewing and culling 80-90% of images

  • No renaming of files

  • Nikon NX2 for basic RAW processing

  • Autopano for panoramic images, PaintShopPro for post-processing

  • 10% of keepers go to a Dropbox folder at low-resolution for sharing, renamed with date and description

  • Only after final backup to external drives, images are erased from memory cards


  • Both JPEG and RAW, ~800 GB

  • Claims to be poorly organized (but improving!)

  • iPhoto to organize to some degree, large library

  • Sorted in folders by year and month.

  • Cloud backup using Google Photos (has some limits but is free)

  • No longer uses iPhoto or Apple Photo- frequent updates are frustrating and take away control.

  • Recently shifted to Lightroom on a PC, and is reorganizing photo library into year and month / subject folders.

  • Using external HDD with Google Photo cloud backup.  Less than 16MP photos, storage is unlimited and free, and there is no compression.


  • Aggressively erases iPhone JPG photos

  • RAW files from DSLR; 99% family photos

  • 3 TB

  • Aperture (being discontinued) for organizing and basic editing

  • Sorted in folders per month, no file renaming

  • Backup on external HD

  • 5-10 GB of RAW images per month get converted to JPG for free storage on Google Photo for backup and sharing

  • Additional sharing using DSLR WiFi → phone → text for quick family photography sharing with other parents


  • ~ 12 TB, all RAW. Very few deletions, timelapse images take up a large amount of space

  • Always keep at least two copies of each file: two on hard drives + online backup

  • Online unlimited backup using Backblaze (backs up external drives too, but not network drives)

  • Use Lightroom to flag best images, edit only those selected

  • Use Lightroom to tag all images, including people, places, various elements, activities & geotag from phone (using gps4cam Pro)

  • Use Photoshop for panorama’s, manual HDR & focus bracketing + advanced editing (luminosity masks, perspective warp, etc)

  • Rename folders by date and description (e.g. 2016-02-06 Lassen snowshoe), then start new parent folder whenever the folder reaches ~ 1 TB. Files go to “temporary folder” first until they are tagged, flagged, basic editing applied (sometimes takes month, have large backlog). No renaming of files, although each camera is set up to name the files starting with the model name to reduce conflicts.

  • Sharing/publishing via Smugmug (see my site), using private galleries and small public galleries. Also used for occasional redundant backups. Images are uploaded to smugmug straight from within Lightroom. Uee Lightroom mobile to sync to phone for easy sharing.

  • LRTimelapse for timelapse editing & initializing

E [sorry missed your name]:

  • RAW, 2 TB

  • Copy files, name by date

  • Some deletions

  • Use Lightroom, export jpgs to separate folder

  • Some editing in Photoshop → saved in separate folder as well

  • External HD for backups


  • < 1 TB, JPG + RAW

  • I begin with a program called ExifRenamer to name my files in the format yyyymmdd_hhmmss-<original file name>-<cameraname>.<filetype>.  This allows files taken with multiple cameras to interleave in chronological order when listed alphabetically.  Great for family travel, intermingled iPhone shots, etc.

  • Then I use PhotoReviewer (from Stick Software), a bit of $15 shareware for deciding which images to discard, which to keep as only jpeg, and which to keep as both jpeg and raw.  This program is a gem, but almost nobody has heard of it.  It works better for me than Lightroom or anything else I’ve tried (have not tried photo mechanic, though).

  • Then into Lightroom (am slowly converting from Aperture).

  • In LR I keep each “shoot” in a folder, but re-aggregate into collections.  Generally I make two collections for each place / event / topic, one with all ‘keepers” and another with the ones I’d like to share.  I do this, rather than relying upon star ratings, because:

  • I post photos to be shared to SmugMug, using LR’s “publish” capability that keeps things in sync.  I use a smart collection for this; hence the desire to make the original collection just-right.

  • The vast majority of my photography is casual, a record of my experiences, travels, family, and friends.  My memory is not-so-good, and photos bring the past back for me. I won’t go so far as to say that without a photo it didn’t happen, but it’s close to that. With that warning, on SmugMug I’m “knowledgeseeker” and images may be found at (e.g.) .

  • I also use LR mobile on iPhone and ipad so that I can have my photos with me.  Main drawback is lack of captions.  If I want portable photos with (sometimes elaborate) captions, I download from SmugMug into an app (such as the SmugMug app).

  • When traveling light, I carry an iPad Mini, Camera Connection Kit, and a Western Digital MyPassport Wireless drive with built-in SD card reader.  Mine is 500 GB but much larger ones are available. With this setup I have a backup of all the jpeg’s and raw’s taken with my camera, and with those of my wife and daughter (or other traveling companions), as well as a backup of any images, panos, etc. taken with our iPhones.  These can all be streamed to iPhone/iPad for viewing/editing/sharing online.  No renaming of images at this stage (that can be done later).  I _really_ like the MyPassport Wireless. Nice to leave the laptop behind most of the time.


  • 1.  My shots are mostly in RAW, with some scattered shots in JPEG.  I make a backup copy of the original files on a separate hard disk that I retain until I am certain that I am done with the batch.  My RAW files are typically 12-20 Mb.  

  • 2.  I keep my initial files in Dropbox as "originals"

  • 3.  I open the files initially in either DxO or Lightroom and scan for obvious deletions (poor focus, over/under exposure, clearly bad shot).  In DxO, I have set up "standard" processing that works as a good starting point for many of my shots and have a similar process in Lightroom.  Right now, I find DxO easier for this process.  

  • 4.  I work on the pano shots, moving the originals for the panos to a separate folder, moving them into Autopano, and processing them.  If the pano looks worthwhile, the output goes back into the originals folder.  If the pano is obviously not good, it gets discarded along with the originals that I had moved into the separate folder.  These pano files can easily become quite large - 100-200 Mb is not uncommon - but in the end I only retain the absolute best shots.  

  • 5.  I group the pictures by subject or location or in some manner that allows me to compare "equivalent shots", either renaming them so that they group or putting them into folders that allow them to be grouped.

  • 6  At this point, I view the groups and do a significant amount of weeding - typically deleting 60-70% or more of the pictures (remember, part of this is getting rid of the "other" parts of the autobracket).  [Obviously, if I am doing an HDR blend, this is somewhat changed].  When I weed out pictures, I delete the files from the originals folder [remember, I still have the backup]

  • 7.  Then, with the remaining pictures I do two rounds of fine tuning, usually in DxO, with my wife and I doing more weeding out of pictures on the way.  The DxO pictures are transferred to Lightroom and finished within Lightroom (I find that I can fine tune certain things better in Lightroom)

  • 8.  The final pictures are produced in a TIFF (if original was RAW) or JPEG (if original was JPEG) and put into a folder on an external hard drive that I keep for photos.  This drive is backed up to the cloud continuously.  I now have slightly over 1 Tb of photo storage

  • 9.  Typically, I take my "final photos" and move them into Flickr in either a public form (mostly as a "best of") or a form to share with others (such as people who were on the same trip or event).  I find that I usually do the viewing of photos on Flickr rather than on my original copies on the hard drive.  

  • 10.  About 3 months after I have "finished" my final pictures, I review things one last time and then delete the backup copy of the complete set of originals.  I always still retain the original version of the file that produced a final picture - and have reprocessed such pictures as I get better (or the software gets better) to improve the final quality of the shot.  

Club Zenfolio Site
For username and password please contact the club president, John Christensen.


Looking Glass Camera and Photo Supply (located in Berkeley) -

B&H Photo video -, online camera gear rental -

Calumet Photographic Supplies -

Digital photography school -

Gamma Black and White -

Light Impressions -

Looking Glass Camera and Photo Supply -

Roy Kaltschmidt -

Roy's Zenfolio site -

Sarber's Cameras -


As a follow-up to Roy's portrait lighting demo see instructional video clip and links to a number of other related instructional videos on the following website:
(Thanks, Steve!)

The following album on contains 24 photos from Chronicle photographers with captions explaining how/why they took the photo, and with camera settings:
(Thanks, Bob!)

* Information on this page is strictly informational; the club does not endorse any of the businesses or practices listed on this site.