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File naming, archiving and time management

575 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jun 17, 2012 9:32 AM by macorin RSS
macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 15, 2012 6:21 AM

I've posted on this subject before, but I have a new twist that I'd like to get some feedback on.


I usually import my photos, keeping the master (now called original) file name until the end of the calendar year.  At the end of the year, I like to change the original name for classification and archiving purposes.  By then, I've usually made all of the deletions for the year, so I feel comfortable renaming the photos with some sort of counter or index.  My preferred classification system is: "Custom Name"/"Image Date_"/"Counter" (0000).


The problem that I'm experiencing is that it is impossible to rename my originals using this format without some inaccuracies if I try to name them all at once without readjusting the computer's internal time zone settings.  I live on the east coast, so if I have a photo shot at 10:30 pm PDT on 2011-03-14, it gets named with a date of 2011-03-15, which obviously isn't accurate for when that photo was shot.  Well, it is accurate based on East Coast Time, but I want the file to be renamed with the date that it was shot, where it was shot, not where my computer currently resides.  Of course, I could rename the batch of 2011 photos in segments, but that would mean multiple quits/reopens from Aperture in order to change the time zone appropriately.


It seems that my only choices are to either rename my photos at the time of import using the correct time zone settings on my computer, or to not use this renaming format.  Neither of these options are very appealing, since this renaming format is my preferred method.


I guess my question is: does anyone have any insights or advice on either how to better work around this problem, or if not, other renaming methods that they like to use for archival and organizational purposes?  I know there are many to choose from, but I'm looking for something simple, which also provides direct information about the image, should I want to reference my Originals (which I do outside of Aperture from time to time).


Thanks for adding to this discussion...



Macbook Pro 17, Mac OS X (10.6.7), 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2012 7:17 AM (in response to macorin)

    Originals should be backedup prior to import into Aperture, so name each folder that the camera card data gets copied to for the correct date of the pix in that folder. Later when backup is complete and you go to import into Aperture include that date info in the folders imported into Aperture as Projects (not more than one date per Project). A year later when you go to rename each Project will have the correct date for the pix in that folder available for you to batch rename with.


    Another way after backup is to just assign a keyword during import which contains the date string (e.g. 20120615) that you want to use for those pix. That way one is not dependent on the camera-assigned metadata to define what date each pic is assigned.


    I suggest the exact punctuation-free YYYYMMDD format that I exampled above to ensure correct sorting wherever the string may ever be used in the future. Or do what I do in my worflow and use YYMMDD (120615), which is less intuitive but saves two characters.





  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    Jun 15, 2012 10:13 AM (in response to macorin)



    Personally I create a folder for each Project and copy pix from CF card into those folders. Then I import from the backup hard drive into Aperture using the folder name as the Project name.


    Usually each Project includes only one day or less, and I may have YYMMDD_JonesWed_A, YYMMDD_JonesWed_B, etc. for a large or multiday shoot. I do not let any Project contain more than ~400 Nikon D2x RAW+JPEG files.


    Projects are just that and never put into folders other than by month and/or year, just a forever chronological list. All organizing is done via Albums and Keywords. JonesWed_2011 is a keyword that can be an Album instantly when needed; bride is a keyword; wed is a keyword; flower is a keyword; etc.


    I use wedding just as an example. The process applies to all kinds of shoots.


    I use the 1-9999 Nikon auto-numbering of image files, and never rename image files except  sometimes during export. That way original image names can always be found across mass storage devices in the future independent of any application.



  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2012 10:24 PM (in response to macorin)

    Why do you keep the photo count in a project to around 400 files or so?  Is it detrimental to speed, or are there other considerations that have led you to work this way?

    Yes, at some point 200-800 images larger Projects have been found to slow down operation. We do not have a firm number and it probably varies by cmputer and workflow.



    So, you are saying that you sometimes put projects into folders by month and/or year?  Or, do you just keep all projects at the top level of the hierarchy?

    Basically all Projects are just as Aperture placed them, except that I may reduce the long list by collecting some older Projects in a folder like pre-2010 or something like that.



    It sounds as though you don't actually rename your images at all, but rather just keep the original names.  I don't like to do this because after deletions, it creates gaps in my sequence, and I also end up with multiple images with the same name.  I like for each image to have its own unique identifier by name.

    Yes I just keep original names. I do that because I am adamant about backing up before letting any images management application have its way with my images. That means no matter what catastrophe happens I can always manually find DSC7832.NEF or manually find the 110615_Jones_Wed Project.


    It is decidedly not elegant, and it does mean that more than one unique DSC7832.NEF exists, but that does not bother me, and it is bombproof. If I ever need a global search for DSC7832.NEF it is easy enough for me to discern which one I want. Hopefully I never do need such a global search - - but I have needed to in the past...




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