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Getting Started with Lightroom 4
Illustration by John Hersey

Establishing a folder structure


From:

Getting Started with Lightroom 4

with Tim Grey

Video: Establishing a folder structure

In many respects, Lightroom is a reflection of your existing folder structure for your digital photos. As a result, before you really get started in Lightroom, it makes sense to review the folder structure that you're using for storing your images. First, you need to consider where your images are stored. I recommend using a single location to store all of your photographic images. That could be an external hard drive, it could be a particular folder on your internal hard drive. The key is that all images are going to go to the same place.

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Getting Started with Lightroom 4
3h 22m Beginner Mar 06, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether you're completely new to Adobe Lightroom or have been using it from the start, this course from author and digital imaging expert Tim Grey will help you get up to speed quickly with Lightroom 4. He provides a complete overview of the Lightroom interface and workflow and shows how to set up Lightroom to best suit your needs. Along the way, learn the basics of importing, managing, optimizing, and sharing your images. Plus, discover how to use features like auto-advance, Smart Collections, the Library Filter, the Map module, and more.

Topics include:
  • Getting to know the Lightroom interface
  • Establishing Lightroom preferences
  • Using catalogs
  • Importing images
  • Image review
  • Identifying and locating images
  • Optimizing and sharing images
Subjects:
Photography Raw Processing video2brain
Software:
Lightroom
Author:
Tim Grey

Establishing a folder structure

In many respects, Lightroom is a reflection of your existing folder structure for your digital photos. As a result, before you really get started in Lightroom, it makes sense to review the folder structure that you're using for storing your images. First, you need to consider where your images are stored. I recommend using a single location to store all of your photographic images. That could be an external hard drive, it could be a particular folder on your internal hard drive. The key is that all images are going to go to the same place.

That way, at a basic level, you always know where to go looking of your photos. In this video training, I am going to store my images in the Pictures folder. However, because there are some other files, for example, Vibrant Catalogs in the Pictures folder, I am also going to create my own folder. In this case, I have called it Tim Gray's photos and that will be a master folder, the primary source location for all of the photos that I am going to manage with Lightroom. If I open this folder, you'll see that I already have a couple of folders with images.

And chances are, you already have a large number of photos containing digital photos that you've accumulated before starting to use Lightroom. For those individual folders, I tend to use one folder for what I think of as a photo shoot. Of course, photo shoot can be a little bit of a loose concept. It might be an outing to photograph flowers in your yard for just an hour. Or it could be an extended trip over several weeks. The key in my mind is to consider how you think about your photos. If I asked you for a particular photo, you're going to think of that photo as being part of a group of photos.

Whatever that group is should be the name of the folder. So, for example, here I have a Europe Road Trip folder and the structure that I use is whatever I think of as the identifying name for those images, I use that as the primary name of the folder. But then I'll add the month and the year as part of the name for the folder as well. So, in this case, Europe Road Trip September 2011. I also have a folder that contains some images captured during a tour of Grand Central Terminal in New York. I don't feel the need to include New York in the title, because from my perspective, Grand Central Terminal is most certainly in New York. There's no ambiguity there.

And so, I'll just identify the folder as Grand Central Terminal, with the month and year that I photographed that subject. Sometimes, the folders that I use might not seem like they make a lot of sense. For example, here, I have a folder that's called Europe. I didn't identify a single country because I visited several countries during that trip. On another trip to Europe however, I was in Austria primarily, but I also visited some other countries. But in my mind, it was an Austria trip, and so that folder would be called Austria even though Austria is not the only country I visited and photographed during the trip. Once again, the key is to have these folders reflect the way you think about your photos.

So that when you're navigating among the available folders in Lightroom, you'll be able to navigate to the one you're looking for relatively easily. By taking a little bit of time to plan out a folder structure and to actually clean up your existing folder structure before you start working with your images in Lightroom, you'll make that work in Lightroom go much more smoothly. .

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