Digital Workflow: File Structure and 3 Folder System

March 11, 2013  •  1 Comment

"Starting early will save you a lot of pain in the future"

 

One of the biggest problems for photographers is their digital workflow. Organisation of their files and folders into a logical structure and using naming conventions that make sense. For someone who is starting out in photography or those who are not very computer literate, this can sometimes seem daunting. Starting early will save you a lot of pain in the future.

 

File Naming: Problems

Deciding on a name for your imagery can be an absolute nightmare. Creating a big long file name combining the shoot name and the date seems the logical solution when looking back through your work. The problem with long file names become apparent when trying to view them on screen or when copying them to CD/DVD's for archiving. Keeping them in order can also cause some people problems.

On screen your computer tends to 'clip' long file names making them unreadable. You can get around this by changing your folder view, but this takes extra time eating into your already tight deadline.

When burning your files to a CD/DVD most burning software only allows 127 characters in length to comply with ISO (International Standards Organisation) standards and believe it or not, 127 characters can easily be swallowed up by some imaginative users.

Finally, ordering your files and folders can also cause some people issues. Computers order their filenames by the first character then the second, then the third and so on.

 

"Your meta data contains the date information"

 

File Naming: Best Practice

Folder StructureFolder StructureThe 3 Folder Digital Workflow System

There is a simple solution to all of these issues and I shall try and be brief.

- Choose a folder in which to keep all your images. A folder called "Pictures" is perfectly fine.

- Name folders with the date and shoot number backwards: 20130301 (YearMonthShootNumber)

Start with the year and then the month using a 4 digit year and 2 digit month format (YYYYMM). The final 2 digits are the shoot number and not the date. Your meta data contains the date information and if you do more than a single shoot in a day this allows you to separate them out. The same as storing negatives.

- Add a short description: 20130301 - Smith Wedding, 20130302 - Kate H Fashion and Portrait

- Add an image number and remove the description on files within the folders: 20130301-001, 201301-002, 201303-003

 

"a logical and organised way of storing our images"

 

Three Folder System

So far we have created ourselves a logical and organised way of storing our images but we have not discussed how we can use this for workflow. How we edit our "Original" images, saving an "Edit" copy and and a resized "Output" copy will be covered in another blog post, but for now all we have to do is create a "RAW", "Edit" and "Output" sub folders within our main shoot folder.

This allows us to keep our work all in one place but our file versions separate.

 

Backups

All that is left to do is keep regular backups by copying them to another drive or CD/DVD or using a backup program.

 

Enjoy!

 


Comments

Grog(non-registered)
Never heard of a 3 folder system, were did you learn that?
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