I feel like I’ve been quiet on the photography front lately, at least in the way that’s more public. It’s mainly because, behind the scenes, I’ve been working diligently. I’ve taken on a massive project – I’m organizing ALL my photos into one Lightroom catalog.
When I started playing around with a digital camera back in 2004, I wasn’t very good about keeping my photos straight. I would get so excited about the images that I taking that I would rarely consider how I was storing them or where I was putting them. I went through several phases of file management: creating a series of random folders with names that I might recognize later, cd’s with files from each month, and then feeling overwhelmed when trying to find something weeks or months later.
Somewhere along the way, Picasa (Google’s photo management system) came along and I went all in. I had everything in one place and with the press of a few buttons, I could see my photos in a variety of different ways – including sorting by facial recognition!
Around this time, I got introduced to Photoshop Elements and learned the power of editing beyond simple adjustments. It was great, but it turned my orderly file structure on it’s head. I had copies of photos everywhere and duplicates of duplicates as I tried new techniques.
I lived like this for way too long. And it only got worse when I kept running out of storage space on my computer on a regular basis. I had thumb drives and backups in a shoe box in my desk drawer. My husband decided it was time for our family to invest in a network storage device so that I could put everything in one place and have an automatic backup at the same time.
The NAS works great for keeping my files in a safe place and I still use it today. But at the time, I had just made the move to Lightroom for editing and organizing my photos. I started my workflow by creating a new catalog each year, thinking that I could keep my current year’s photos on my computer since I was working with them a lot and all previous years catalogs could live on the network storage.
My biggest problem came when I went to build my website and I had to go searching through catalogs, opening and closing them, digging through dates and guessing what year I had taken certain images. Not to mention the photos that happened before I was using Lightroom, circa 2012. My client work was mixed in with my personal photos and my projects were a jumble of names, dates and numbers.
It’s no small hole that I’m trying to dig my way out of, but as I muddle through the arduous process of combining 16 years worth of images into 1 spot, I have been amazed at the things that have noticed in my photography practice. The subject matter, the memories, the processing styles (helloooo cross-processed fad of 2011) and the countless crazy projects mark my progress over time.
Even though the work has been challenging and not very sexy, it’s been especially rewarding to stumble upon images that help me remember why I care about keeping them.
Working diligently behind the scenes – Angie