Photo Chaos – Taming the Beast

As a long time photography hobbyist, I am in an unenviable position. My collection of images is, how should I put this, a chaotic mess.

If I was a professional, I would have long ago adopted a workflow, with a definite process for handling images, sorting, grading, and culling that would have some consistency across the decades. Alas, I am a duffer, and just keep adding without any rhyme or reason for processing. Hence my current hand wringing.

Sure, for big vacations, I do some “workflow-like” things, but in general I import, fix blemishes, and occasionally process in Photoshop to share.

I wrote about my trials and tribulations here highlighting how the Apple iPhoto app at first was great, but became overwhelmed, and then my attempts to improve beyond that.

Of course, at that time I was considering/playing with Adobe’s Lightroom. Alas, as a hobbyist without a workflow discipline, I was flailing. Sure, it had great tools, and capabilities, but like with Aperture, I was barely using the capabilities. It felt “heavy”.

I have come to the realization that I am not a ‘Pro’ and I am not ever going to be as disciplined as a pro. I need to find a solution that works for my situation.

Thus I fell back into the Apple Photos paradigm. Here I am a year later, and in misery. As I have used Photos, while they got rid of the concept of “Photostream” they replaced it with this undergirding of “Moments” that you have captured. Thus when I exported my pictures of the last year to break free of this jail, I had about 300 folders of “moments”. Some tagged by date, some by GPS location (from my iPhone).

Now it is time for a clean break. Fortunately, I have discovered a pretty simple, “lite” tool, and even better, it is bundled with Photoshop (and free as in beer) tool called Adobe Bridge.

Instead of being a database driven tool, like Lightroom, it really is a browser and tool to categorize your images (and other files too besides images). It can import, it can bulk rename, it can alter IPTC tags, and the meta-data associated with your files. It handles RAW files, and can even do some “developing” when importing.

It works on the file structure in your computer or storage device, and it is pretty snappy to boot.

A shout out to my longtime friend Inge Fernau who recommended it. I had seen it, and ignored it, jumping straight to the heavier solutions (Lightroom, Aperture), or using the bundled solution (iPhoto, Photos).

My current state is that I have all my images in a directory structure, mirrored on a couple of HD’s (for backup), and am cleaning up a lot of cruft. Alas, iPhoto/Aperture/Photos have some hinky ways of managing albums that change and lead to a large number of duplicate image files.

I will keep Photos, primarily since I take a lot of pictures with my iPhone (the best camera is the one you have with you, and I always have my iPhone). But I will clear out the old images and reduce the amount of storage in the iCloud, probably falling back to the free tier – Yay, one less paid cloud storage service!

(Image at the top РMont Blanc from the Telepheriqué in Chamonix Рa three shot panorama, stitched in Photostitcher, and processed with Topaz Labs B&W Effects filter)

1 Comment

Going legit. Real photoshop

I have an admission to make. I have long been a scofflaw. I have been a Photoshop pirate. I am not proud of this. And indeed am somewhat ashamed. But to be fair, I haven’t used it for professional purposes, and mostly have used it to re-sample images for use on the web.

I have not felt too guilty, as I have purchased Photoshop Elements a few times. So Adobe has gotten money from me for my photoshopping in the past. I also have a version of Acrobat pro that I have bought (with my cold hard cash). Yes, I use that just about every day for my job.

Photoshop is one of those programs that you love to use, and is probably the most pirated program apart from Microsoft Windows.

What tipped me over the edge?

Well, I have been less than thrilled with the direction Apple has taken Aperture. Aperture was/is the Apple “pro” package for photography workflow. It does work well. Or at least it did.

Lately, Apple has spent more time updating it to be more iCloud friendly, working with streams, and sharing. All things I don’t give a rat’s ass about.

So, I was going to the Adobe site, looking for a evaluation version of their photography workflow product, Lightroom, when I was hit with a banner. Get the Adobe photographer’s creative cloud package for $9.95 a month. Get access to both lightroom, and photoshop. Install it on every computer you own.

Yes, I know that it is ~ $126 a year perpetually. But no longer do I need to buy two licenses, one for my PC and one for my Mac’s. It seems like a no brainer to me.

So I am now up with Photoshop. I have wiped off the uhm, non returnable versions of Photoshop that I had, and I am beginning to migrate from Aperture to Lightroom. I have it installed on both my Macs and my work PC. So I am ahead (no, my work PC never had an illicit version of Photoshop. I am not that crazy)