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In this course, photographer Derrick Story teaches the concepts and techniques behind efficient photo management and backup, which becomes increasingly important as a photo collection grows. The course begins by showing how to transfer and organize photos "by hand"—that is, by copying them from a memory card to a hard drive without using software. In the second portion of the course, discover how to take advantage of the photo-management features provided by programs such as Lightroom and Aperture, by assigning descriptive keywords, by giving photos ratings and color-coded labels, and how smart album features can automatically collect photos that meet certain criteria.
The course concludes with a look at aspects of a good backup and archival strategy, ranging from the best file format for long-term backup to the best hardware options for offline storage.
At some point when you're working in the folder-based approach to organize your photos, there are going to be images that you want to image edit. So how do you manage those? Because when you're working with a, what we call, regular image editor, like Photoshop, that is a destructive image editor. It's not the advanced nondestructive type image editing that we see in Lightroom or Aperture. So you have to do some work with the file names and so forth, and that's what I'm going to do right now.
So I started with an image that's here in our archive, and in fact, if you go up here you can see that there is my hard drive, and there as my virtual filing cabinet; Derrick Pictures 2010. And there is a folder in there: Morgan Portraits, which is where we are right now, and I picked an image out of there, and we're going to edit it in Photoshop. And actually what I want to do is convert it to black and white in Photoshop. So I've done that; I've created a black and White layer right here in Photoshop.
And so I have a layered document, and now it's time to organize it. So how I do that? Well, there are two things to consider. First of all, when you go to save the document, you want to make sure that you Save As, and not Save using the same file name. Because if you just use the regular Save command, what you'll do is you will overwrite your master file, and you probably don't want to do that. At the same time we're starting out with a JPEG.
That was how we shot this photo. And JPEG is a lossy format, which means that if you open it up, and edit it, and then close it a number of times, it will lose some quality. Editing is what causes it to lose quality; not just opening it up and closing it, but it's actually making changes to the document. So we want to do two things. We want to change the file name, and we want to save it in a format that isn't lossy. In this case, we're going to save it as a Photoshop file. That way our layers will be preserved.
So if we open it back up again to edit it, then all of this information will be available to us. So let me go to Save As. Now we want to make sure that it goes back into the same folder where our original is, and we're going to save it as a Photoshop file. So here is our folder here; and we're going to save it as a Photoshop file: .psd, but I'm going to alter the file name.
I'm going to do, underscore, and I'm going to do Black and White edit. Now, the naming convention that you use -- it's like so many other things that we've talked about in previous movies -- will depend really on how your brain works; how you think about these sort of things. But what you want to do is have some sort of consistency. So if you're saving the file, and you've edited it, and using _edit makes sense to you, then that is a fantastic way to go. If something else makes better sense to you, then go that way.
But try to be consistent, so that when you go back and look at these files, you can tell a little bit about what's going on by looking at the file name. So that's all we're going to do. We're just going to add basically a suffix on to this here: black and white edit, and we're changing the file format to Photoshop. We're going to preserve the layers, and we're going to hang on to the existing color profile, and then we're going to click Save. And we get our notice about compatibility, which is a courtesy of Photoshop to let us know that. And it has saved a file, and you can see now our file name changes here.
So let's go back to our folder and take a look at what's going on. Our file name is 7396. Now I'll show you a little hint on how to manage this stuff. If you go up here and you sort by Date Modified, whatever you last worked on will show up at the top. And then if we sort by Name, it should be right next door. 7396; so we've got a couple 7396s, and they're all grouped together here.
We have the JPEG that we worked on, we have a RAW file version of that also, and then we have the black and white version. Now, I like to retain this basic file name right here, and just add on to it, because now I know that all of these photos are just different file formats of the same image. In other words, they belong together. And that helps me when I'm organizing images to know, okay, this one, and this one, and this one: they all go together. Whereas, when we edited the shot, if I changed the file name altogether, then I might have a hard time remembering the originals that it is associated with.
So you have to do a little bit more work when you're working just in the file system, as opposed to a digital asset manager, such as Lightroom or Aperture. But if you're consistent, then you can have good results, and still keep track of all the images that you have in your virtual filing cabinet.
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