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How do you catalogue your work?

  1. SteveR
    Good afternoon everyone,

    This is something I've been thinking on a bit over the past year or so, since I've started digitising more of my images. Generally, most of my negatives live in binders, I don't even have a special cataloguing system there, I basically just have them separated into formats, a folder for 35mm, one for the various 120 sizes, and one for 4x5 (which also has some 6x12's in it, if they were taken with a 4x5... don't worry, the logic works for me... sort of...). What I'm really curious about, however, is how people catalogue and keep track of their digital images? Usually I'd feel a bit silly posting this on an analogue photography forum (even more so a LF forum!), but since there are examples of work here, I can only assume that some of you have (well, one at least) digital images stored somewhere.

    I've read a few things on other forums and blog sites about different software used to track your images, keyword them and show you thumbnails of all your images across multiple hard drives. But, lets face it, us Aussies can be a frugal bunch (with my Scottish heritage, my hand is definitely up), and the programs I have looked at are pretty pricey. if I were a predominantly digital photographer, maybe I could justify the price, but for my needs (semi-acceptable scans done at home, with the occasional hi-res scan from a specialist imaging mob when I have a real winner) I just need a good way of storing, cataloguing and retrieving my images, both digitised and original sheets (& rolls).

    Do you scan with a naming convention? Do you just dump everything in one folder because you are so intimately acquainted with your work that you know what's there anyway? Do you start a new folder for every trip/location/subject? Or do you run all of your images together (multiple formats, if you use others) and separate them by date?

    So many questions, I know, but I would be very interested to hear how some other LF shooters deal with their 'modernised' media.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. largeformat pat
    largeformat pat
    Have a look at GIMP ( freeware, will run under windows) as software for your cropping, I scan my 8 x 10 negs on a micro tech scanner. I use gimp to save and change anything. I only use this to give me access to my negs without having to dig out folders. I save with the location name and then the date and a number, this number will increase if multiple shoots are taken in the same location. I can then see at a glance the file name and then only have to select one or two files. I do the same for scans of my prints,I just list with a "p" in the file name.
    Hope this helps
  3. OldBikerPete
    I assign a number, simply in the order in which they are taken, to each of my 5x4 color negatives and store them in individual sleeves in numerical order. I scan each negative at low resolution to produce a thumbnail image (about 1600x1200 pixels) and use the number (4 digits in every case ie neg. No. 11 thumbnail filename is '0011_RusselFallsTasmania.jpg') as the first part or the file name. This ensures that the operating system will list them in numerical order (and therefore date order). I then just use Windows Explorer to browse thumbnails (of the thumbnails - if you know what I mean) and the default windows viewer to view the images which are all placed in one folder.
    This works OK so far but I'm only up to neg. Number 139 after eight years. Perhaps as the numbers increase I may want to split the thumbnails across more than one folder, but I would still retain the sequential number system so that I can go back and find the negative easily. I already have a 'select' folder which contains copies of the thumbnails of those images which I believe are 'wall hangable'.
    The negatives (in their sleeves) of the select images are still stored in the same place but have been scanned at high resolution and the scan files (approx. 1Gb multi-layer Photoshop PSD files) are saved on a DVD which is stored with the negative which are now both placed in an old 5.25" floppy disk sleeve. You guessed it, my storage case is an old 5.25" floppy disk storage case.
  4. SteveR
    "You guessed it, my storage case is an old 5.25" floppy disk storage case." Ahhh, I knew I shouldn't have thrown all of those out!!!

    Thanks for the tips guys, GIMP looks like an interesting program, even if only for its thumbnail previewing. At first I thought it was a PC only program, but found the download to run it on macs under X11, very handy! As for image editing, my partner is a graphic designer so I, ummm, get, errr... 'copies' of her programs... ie, when she upgrades her design packages, the licences for the previous versions get passed down to me (will my life of hand-me-downs never end?), so I'm lucky enough to have Adobe CS for any editing. I had heard of great things about Lightroom, but as I mentioned, can't justify the price... unless I can convince the other half it will fit in with her workflow

    I was flipping through some negs/transparencies yesterday, we have a family wedding in April, and I was going to gift the couple with some 'customised' prints (something my partner and I do for fun) I took on my last visit to them. My shots spanned two formats, and I found the first reason to ignore format, and file purely by date (or numerically) as you're suggesting Pete, I think that makes a lot more sense. Usually I'm just after one image, and know which camera it was from, and so can find it quickly, or if it's more than one I'm after, it's usually for a job and so I've kept them all together and out of the files until I'm finished that project.

    Thanks again for the insight guys, you've got some great suggestions, they're all going into the melting pot.
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