Skip navigation

How do you structure you library?

1988 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2012 11:59 PM by lsb RSS
patrickriley2010 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 8, 2011 8:07 PM
Im just looking for some ideas on how to structure my library i have pictures scattered throughout multiple hard drives quadroople backed up and some not and such but i want to consolidate them all into one source.
"backed up to externals i just mean instead of scattered through hundreds of folders, just in one library.

Should i have separate libraries for like my personal family pics and a separate for business, and for my like fine artistic photography?

Or do you think i could just have 3 main folders and build down? anyways thought this would be a cool thing to see how everyone does their work!

Also naming conventions would be cool!
iMac 3.06 Ghz & Macbook Pro, 2.66Ghz Intel Core i7, 8 GB DDR3, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,570 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2011 8:33 PM (in response to patrickriley2010)
    You have indicated in other posts that your organizing tends to unravel (I think -- if not, my apologies). So some basic principles to follow as you develop your Aperture structure.
    - Keep it simple. This is hard work (ask any programmer who has tried to normalize a database). Do this work. Keep it simple.
    - Plan for the future.
    - Be rigorous in your implementation. Any plan not followed is useless.
    - The above three things are inter-related.

    Here are some links to posts of mine which address in general the issues you've asked about:
    - [Naming convention| 1]
    - [Organizing Aperture|]
    - [Things you must know well before you build an Aperture Library structure| =true]

    There are +many excellent posts+ on these topics, from some very helpful and generous contributors. Use the forum search tools.

    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger
    MacBook Pro 13", Mac OS X (10.6.7), 4 G / 500 G internal / 4 TB external / NEC 2490 / ColorMunki Photo / Sony a850
  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,570 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2011 8:49 PM (in response to patrickriley2010)
    Date is hard-wired into Aperture. IMHO (other's disagree) there is no reason (none) to organize your Library by date.

    Use Projects View to sort and access your Projects by date.
    Use Photos View to sort and access your images by date.

    Half way through [this post|] are some comments about NOT organizing your Library by date.
    MacBook Pro 13", Mac OS X (10.6.7), 4 G / 500 G internal / 4 TB external / NEC 2490 / ColorMunki Photo / Sony a850
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,795 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 9, 2011 8:41 AM (in response to Kirby Krieger)
    There is a difference between organizing by date and storing by date. My project setup is:
    # Main folder _ProjectsByYear (The leading underscore forces the folder to the top if sorting alphanumeric)
    # Year Folders - 1968 1999 2011 etc
    # Month Folders 01 to 12
    # Projects YYYY-MM-DD
    This is how I store my negatives.

    I use this for a number of reasons but foremost is it's how I did it when I shot film (except for the day part, I stopped at month) and I can still go back and find a particular picture taken 40 years ago in a matter of minutes and I seriously doubt that any 20 year old taking digital pictures today will be able to say the same thing in 40 years.

    Once the images are stored away then I can go about classifying them using whatever method is appropriate; keywords, albums, folders, labels, comments, etc.

    One big advantage (for me) to this setup is importing is a breeze. Connect camera and click import, I have an Applescript that takes the images and puts them into the correct project in the correct month and year by using the date on the image. If a folder is missing (as when a new year or month starts or I'm staring a new empty library) the script creates it on the fly. I don't have to look at the images and decide what project they go in or what to call the project or make the project.

    One other advantage is the layout of my projects in *Projects View*. *Group by Folder* really becomes a date sort. If you select the year folder you get the view broken up into months, select one of the months and you see all the projects in that month. Possible to do with Aperture's built in date capabilities but not as easy or as clear (imo of course)

    Now this isn't meant to say my way is right, do it this way. It's meant only to show that there is an almost infinite number of ways to setup your library/workflow and you need to find what is right for your situation.
    iMac Intel 3.06 GHz 8GB Mem; Macbook5.1 2.4ghz 4GB Mem, Mac OS X (10.6.7), Aperture 3.1.2
  • mrhooper Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 11, 2011 2:29 AM (in response to Frank Caggiano)
    Hi Frank,

    The system we use for structure is pretty much identical to the one you have outlined.
    Year folders
    Month Folders
    Projects by year/month/date.

    It's not an Aperture thing as it has worked for me (now us), all the way back to the early 90's, and quite a few DAM programs along the way. Aperture accepted most of our system directly.
    We don't rename individual files, run everything managed.
    Our import, first pass rating takes but a few minutes.

    I've only just worked out that by working in Projects view or using the Browser with the Inspector turned off, that if I type into the Search Field a project title such as 8007 (1998 July), then it only shows those projects from July 2008, and it is only one keystroke to change to 8008 and find some projects that carry over the month line.

    At first it seemed just cute, but now it has become one of the major ways of retrieving and working with images for multiple use, or books or webpages.
    And I know, as you suggest, it can be date sorted, but being able to view it all together without having to construct a clever year/month search is so cool.

    It is what working with Aperture is all about for us. Ease. Power if you need it, and sometimes just a nice way to look at some of our better photos.

    Nice to know that the date system has been useful to others.
    Thanks for sharing.


    Imac, Mac OS X (10.6.7), 13" Mac Air
  • Jbrenner Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 13, 2011 10:14 PM (in response to patrickriley2010)
    I had 50k photo's spread across a file management system I had carried over with me from Windows. I've been reading these threads for months now and embarked last week on restructuring my library.

    I decided to create a folder for each year 2001 - 2011, then within the year folder is a project for each day I shot photo's I use a standard 6 digit date format to name each project so today would be project 041311; this allows me to sort by name in the inspector under each folder. If I have a multi day shoot, like say a vacation to New York for Three days I still have a project for each day but I keyword all the photo's and then create a smart album. Same for multiple shoots in one day - it's still just a one day project but the photo's have key words which I cause to create smart albums. Smart albums related to the project remain within the project, smart photo's that are a multiple of projects (such as all-my 5 star photos) are a smart album in the smart album folder.

    I thought this would takea long long time, but because I used the list view and sorted the photo's by date, it was as easy as dropping them into the new projects by the masses and I learned the key strokes to use at shortcuts. I got through 50,000 photo's broken into the day they were shot, and organized in the folders for the year in under 3 days without about 3 hours work per day.

    Now the hard part is going back and labeling them. I think I've decided to only use stars going forward - I tried to star a few older photo's and found I was inconsistent in my approach as to whether I was rating the photo as it relates to the project, or as to my general feeling.

    I intend to use labels in my work flow to indicate photo's imported and unprocessed, processed and rated, processed and published.
    Imac I-7, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • thenextbutton Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 13, 2011 11:34 PM (in response to Jbrenner)
    I structure higher folders by name and then put the projects under the appropriate year folder in the following structure 'YYYYMMDD | <Project Name>':

    |-> 20100423 | <Project Name>
    |-> 20100529 | <Project Name>
    |-> 20110304 | <Project Name>
    |-> 20110402 | <Project Name>

    all my photos, including masters, are renamed to:

    <Project Name><YYYY-MM-DD><TIME IMAGE TAKEN><ImageNumber>©<NAME><YYYY>

    so it looks like:

    Mac Mini 2.26GHz (5GB Ram), Mac OS X (10.6.7), , Apple TV2, Airport Express (802.11n), Aperture 3.1.1, Magic Trackpad
  • lsb Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 8, 2012 11:59 PM (in response to Frank Caggiano)

    Hi Frank,


    I'm working on the structure of my library and like to try and implement your system.  Just so I have it correct in my head, essentially, you set up a folder, not a project, that is for the year.  Then, you set up individual folders, not projects, within each year, followed by specific projects that you've worked on for that particular year.


    Can you tell me how to set up the Applescript to send the photos to the correct folder?  And is it possible to unstack the pictures in the folder so you see them all rather than individual imports?


    Thanks a million!



More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (1)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.