I chose Lightroom as my cataloging tool when I fully committed myself to a full-scale Digital Asset Management workflow. Now that I have my system set up, backed up and in use, it’s interesting to see how my workflow has changed.
The new process begins with file transfers from the camera. I always used to do it manually into folders I created in a hierarchical date structure. Now I have turned back on the Lightroom feature to let it download the files into a single directory. At the same time, it applies a few global keywords and metadata, like my copyright and my preferred Adobe Camera Raw profile depending on which camera I have used. (Digression: Why doesn’t Nikon include a copyright symbol in its on=board character set so I can have the camera automatically fill this field in at capture? I don’t like how the (c) compromised solution works).
I also have Lightroom rename the files according to the scheme torrence_yyymmdd_xxxx.ext where xxxx is the camera’s unique extension number assigned at the time of the shot. this insures that I have a unique filename for every image, even if using multiple cameras at one time.
Once ingested into the Drobo, I use Lightroom to create a subfolders to collect images from a single day or shoot. I name those folders “yyyy.mm.dd keyword or two” and drag these folders into another folder labeled for the next DVD in the back-up sequence (currently DVD129). As soon as that container folder has reached around 4.3 GB, I burn it to a DVD and use Lightroom to move the container folder to the main archive directory structure, which is organized by year. DVD129 will go into the 2010 folder.
One little trick I discovered: Lightroom won’t import and show empty folders, like the 2010 folder was before I dragged any subfolders into it. If you created an empty folder on your hard drive (say with Mac’s Finder), you can use the Library>New Folder menu item to “choose it” and Lightroom will add to the list, but show it greyed out, meaning that it is empty, until you put a folder in it.
I’m still extending this workflow as I come to appreciate Peter Krogh thoroughness. He moves each image through a series of folders that represent progression from ingestion to fully keyworded and archived. I’m trying to do it all in one, but if I lose track of where I am, I may adopt more of his complexity. For now, I’m enjoying the fruits of all this labor: the confidence that everything is safely backed up and the rediscovery and repurposing of images that got left behind in the dust of putting out the book. Time to rope ’em in and put them to work!