How We Edit: Folder Structure and Importing Cards
“How do you setup your job folders”; “Do you have a separate Lightroom catalog for each or one giant one for all jobs?” — these questions regularly come up in the various facebook groups so we thought we would take the chance to detail how and why we structure our job folders.
On Dropbox we have a “new client” template with the job folder structure already set up. It looks something like this:
/Client Name /Date + Job Type (e.g. 2018-01-30 Wedding) /~JPGs /~RAWs /~Rejected RAWs /LR + Client Name (e.g. LR_James and Michelle) / (Lightroom catalog, smart previews etc. are in here)
There are a few things going on here that I want to explain:
Each client get their own LR catalog; This makes archiving jobs so much simpler and faster! When you are done with the job just move the ENTIRE client folder to your archive harddrive or cloud service, no exporting/importing catalogs required!. As a bonus we've also found this makes life x1000 easier if you have two people in your business or outsource your editing.
Each job gets its own sub-folder setup; so if a client has multiple jobs, e.g. a wedding, + engagement shoot + album... each would get its own sub-folder under the clients name.
Each job sub-folder has its own sub-folders; These can easily be customised for the particular job types and then you can keep a template setup somewhere to help setup new clients/jobs quickly.
For photography jobs we always have the standard sub-folders 'JPGs', 'RAWs' and 'Rejected RAWs' (we use the tilda '~' to keep these standard folder at the top): 'JPGs' & 'RAWs' are pretty self-explanatory; for exports from lightroom, and for the raw files being imported from the SD; but 'Rejected RAWs' is something we added recently. It's for the files that don't even make it past the first curate. By moving these into their own folder we can speed up processing in photomechanic and lightroom and also make it easy to find 'safe-to-delete' raws if we ever start running out of hard-drive space.
We are pretty lucky in that we set up this structure in our first year, and it has continued to work us and stayed flexible as we've changed software and processes regularly.
Importing cards to a new job
We starting importing after a job as soon as possible - for wedding sometimes we are even importing while the guests are all eating dinner! - we want to start making those crucial backups as soon as possible.
We copy the “new client” template folder from dropbox to our external SSD. Before we start coping files from the SD card, we rename the DCIM folder on the SD card to match the name of the card (all our cards are named and labelled) + the client's name.
When you put the card back in the camera it shows "no image" - this means that when we come to format a card in the future, if we put it in the camera and it shows an image, we know to not format that card. On the flip-side "no image" means it safe to format (once you have checked the images are all safely on your computer of course)
If you find a corrupt file or some other error when you are checking your computer copy, its super easy to figure out which card the file came from and re-copy it.
Once we have re-named the DCIM folder, we simply drag/copy the whole folder to the ‘~RAWs’ folder on our external SSD.
Once the copy is complete, we have a nicely organised client folder with the RAWs in an easy to find location ready for curating with Photomechanic.