How do you organize your photos?

I also use Apple’s Photos, like @colinpurrington and @sullivanribbit, and like the former I use the scientific name as the title for the same reason – exported photos have the title. I sometimes put common name in the description field, sometimes other comments, and when uploading photos to Flickr this field is automatically populated. Then keywords/tags are used to add higher taxon levels for better searching, but I also always add my name and the country as a keywords. If I have a new moth photo I know is Larentiinae, I can search for that among the keywords and compare my new one to ones I already have labeled to species. Or if I want to look at all my Arctiinae from Peru I can search those two words. (Except iNaturalist was calling all my uploaded photos from Peru Wild Turkey, so I added that as a keyword only after uploading there.)

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I recently had to do picture research for a major scientific publication here in South Africa and received image contributions from all over. It was shocking to see how many “so called” photographers didn’t use keywords at all and other important metadata pertaining to each image where very skimpy/non existent. In the end, myself and staff members who worked for the organisation who published the work, had to fill in most of the blanks ourselves. I personally feel, if you want to contribute your images (however good or bad) to any project, the least you can do, is to fill in the metadata to the best of your ability. Isn’t it after all YOUR intellectual property? I won’t go into detail how I organise my personal image bank, since it’s probably not the best way of doing it, but I try to keep the file name as short as possible and fill in as much metadata as possible. For this purpose I still use Adobe Bridge CS5.1.

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I consider myself a life long learner and observer of the natural world - I just happen to use photography to record my observations. Filling in metadata is a new idea to me. What metadata would you expect as minimum for a project?

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Using keywords doesn’t make you photographer, neither the opposite way.
If the project needs additional information and they didn’t provide it, it is the other thing.

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This thread isn’t about what defines a “photographer,” if that is even a definable thing. I was just curious as to the methods iNatters use to organize their photos, since we all have the shared interest of documenting nature and sharing our records with others, and I’m sure many of us also like to organize our photos. As @bobmcd said, most iNat users interested in nature and use a camera as a tool to document it, not needing to know much else about the photography side.

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I sort them by use (art, nature journal, people-memories), and inside the folders they are by default sorted by date taken. Sometimes I edit them before posting, but not often, and in this case I replace the old photo with the new. Because I take trips places and take photos throughout, sorting by date sorts by place; this makes it easier to upload them into iNat and remember where I got them. There isn’t enough in each trip to do taxonomic sorting, and I want all my nature journalling to be multiple-taxon anyway, so I can see at a glance what’s going on in a place when I look in my photos. But to sort by taxon I use the iNat search feature and then it goes through all my photos, and from all places, which is nice.

I use Windows Photo Gallery. It also will only save about a years worth of photos (400-500 a day from April to October). It also freezes a lot. Since I still use Windows 7 I assume when I get a new computer I will need a new program, so I love this question!

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I use scientific names as files names. I add keywords and captions to the image files and make corrections to GPS locations, currently using the unsupported Picasa. I upload to Flickr and import to iNat following that workflow.

Fantastic @bobmcd – thanks for being open and teachable! Filling in metadata and keywords is very much part and parcel of “organising your photos” in my opinion (even if you don’t regard yourself as a “photographer” - it’s YOUR photos and therefore YOUR responsibility to document them properly). During the project I referred to in my original post, quite a few contributors commented that they will have to go through all their thousands of images to find what we where looking for. If they recorded proper keywords/metadata from the start, the search process would have been só much more productive for them and for us (the end user) who had to work with their images. And because the publication was of a scientific nature, many of the contributors where scientists themselves (most of whom simply don’t adhere to this crucial aspect of recording observations by means of photography). To answer your question – first prize would be to fill in as much metadata as possible. Minimum info: Creator | Creator: e-mail | Description | Keywords | Location | Credit Line | Copyright statement. Not sure about other image organising programmes, but Adobe Bridge lets you create metadata templates so you don’t have to physically type in all this info every time. If you need more guidance/help in this regard, you are welcome to e-mail me and I will help to the best of my ability: contact@oswaldkurten.co.za.

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That just sounds wrong, who told which way of documenting is right or wrong? Photographers are Not scientists, for good photo you don’t need date, time or location. I’m sure we all feel that we save our photos properly doing it the way we do, one or another. Your posts are clearly about science.
And yes, iNat works right like adding keywords, you can search thousands of photos in a moment.

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I use iNat to organise my photos :grinning:

Otherwise, they are all just dumped in the folders automatically created by the camera. On the rare occasions I need to go back to a photo to get a high resolution copy I use iNat to find the exact date and time, which makes them easy to discover.

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Your minimum info is then for a publisher and about copyright. In that context the information is necessary.

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Good to know this @oswaldkurten. If I ever get into a project such as you mention, I will consider it. I am currently in line with @reuvenm.

I did notice that Nikon’s bundled ViewNX 2 will allow me to select individual and/or multiple thumbnails and allow me to add quite an extensive list of metadata, some of those being from your selection of minimum info. However searching by some of this data is currently obscure to me - I cannot find a search function within the program.

Windows 10 File Explorer will allow me to select individual and/or multiple thumbnails and allow me to add some metadata: Tags, Title, Authors, Comments, Subject. And, I can search by those within File Explorer. Tags that I added using ViewNX2 are searchable on File Explorer but some of the other metadata is not.

I’ll further explore the freeware Adobe Bridge.

We do post a blog so maybe I should consider some attached metadata for that. iNaturalist adds my selected copyright to my images posted there. I retain the high resolution original in both cases if there ever is a copyright dispute.

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Sounds like you’re on the right track @bobmcd. By looking at other people’s comments about this subject, it’s clear there are lots of ways to “organise” ones photographs. By no means am I saying my way is the best/right way, but it sure makes a huge difference if one day you find yourself looking for something very specific you recorded years ago. Good luck with your endeavours :raised_hands:

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I used to use an automatic Seagate backup program that came with the external hard drive. However I’m currently using a rather cumbersome (but successful) approach by manually copying and pasting the Nikon Transfer file into a year-dated file on the external hard drive. I’m thinking it would be far easier to use an automatic program, but haven’t organized it so far, and this method doesn’t have a problem with large files.

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All photo’s are stored on one drive and in one folder.
That folder has “Sub” folders, name usually is whatever particular trip, ie, Paris, New York or Rome etc.
The camera generates the unique file number but my camera allows me to set a prefix of 3 characters example R18 then 4 numbers from the camera so, R18 would be Rome 2018 and 1234 being the camera generated number.
Always remember to set the time zone, date and time in the camera settings.
I prefix these numbers with the scientific name.
So if i am looking for a particular location say Rome 2018 i can search for anything with R18.
Also the scientific name allows for a search on that family or species so an example would be
Cadlinella_ornatissima_A09_5641.jpg
This works for me.
Hope its of some use to you.

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Photoshop CS5.

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The way my camera imports them… LOL! …I really need to sort it out :-)

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Basic folder structure by date with multiple folders for various categories. Some images placed in multiple folders, but all images have keywords/tags. Because the keywords become part of the EXIF the iNat bulk uploader automatically includes them, at least on the web. Don’t know whether the same holds true for phone apps.

Have only changed a camera-assigned file name to include binomial when a specific image is requested by a researcher.

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