The big image library cleanup

Your images are scattered everywhere on hard disks. This post, one of a few will share my experience with a personal digital library of hundreds of thousands of photographs and images. This library continues to grow as I add images from our travels, local flying around Darwin and also family.

Many people would be in a similar situation with the added pressure of working through albums from other family members because you are the designated digital image librarian. I probably won’t be covering the challenge of scanning grandad’s photos stored in tin boxes or photo albums, but who knows.

To get the process started I recorded a 7 minute audio note to get the structure in my head and I include this here. After dropping it into Adobe Podcast, I literally shaved two minutes of dead air out of the recording.

The transcript is below and I want to push this out, so apologies for the mistakes in the text.

I just want to document this because it’s pretty fresh in my mind. And what it is, is sorting out or consolidating the images and videos. I have stretched across many, many terabytes of disk. So the problem I have is that. I have lots of photographs and videos, hundreds of thousands dating back to over 25 years. They’re scattered across 30, at least terabytes of disk space.

I have problems with naming conventions. I had duplicates. The software that I have used to manage those photographs of Lightroom has changed over the years and has brought with it the mobile version of the app.

We are spending more time taking photographs with. mobile devices, with cameras on their iPhones or Android devices. They have to be consolidated in with pictures from other sources. So what I’m going to discuss is.

My process for actually cleaning up these files on an extremely large scale. But the process is the same whether you have 10,000 or 200,000 photographs. If you’ve got lots and lots of photographs, some of the paid solutions, I’m going to suggest something that you consider. If you have just a few photographs, then you can go with the free options.

So what I’ll be discussing is the hardware I have and the things like disks and even the kind of cameras, what I’m capturing my capture sources, you know, whether it’s a GoPro, Nikon or an iPhone, and the transfer solutions that are available with those.

So GoPro has its own transfer solution or you can take the memory card out and copy files to your hard disk. The iPhone has its own environment with AI cloud and trying to get all of these photographs together so that the various cameras are used on one day, whether it’s a GoPro, an iPhone or Nikon.

Gather all of those photographs from that same date, put it in a same location, same folder, so you can operate on it and maybe produce a story or produce a photo album. that’s kind of the objective of what this is about.

I’m also going to discuss the photographic related software. There are use and I’ve already mentioned Lightroom. And also the tools, the cleanup tools, they’re probably the most important thing in the thing that you’re interested in, whether it’s remove empty directories, duplicate file, find beyond compare the app that I built my go pro imports. Then we’re going to go through the steps in actually doing a big cleanup and you can apply this to a simple cleanup or a big cleanup.

And along the way, there are some gotchas where you need to watch out for this because you could actually lose files and or put them in the wrong place. And a very quick example is date modified versus date created? You want the date the photograph was created to go into the folder with that same date. But sometimes with movement software, it will move things based upon the modified date and it will give a new modified date when you copy it to a new directory. This gives the false impression that the file was taken on a later date. So things like that that you need to be aware of.

Once you’ve got everything sorted into the directories and then you decide to run an imaging software solution across the top. My solution or my suggestion would be Lightroom. You can then say, Well, okay, I’ve now got everything in the place I want it to be and I want to now move into maintenance mode. And that’s making sure you’ve got the right kind of backups, you’ve got the right kind of ingest or copying to your new location.

So you’ve got this process where you’re merging either images coming in from Lightroom. For your phone to your GoPro, to your Canon, Nikon, or whatever else you’re bringing in, in the format that tools like Lightroom will be able to say, Oh, okay, I’ve got some new photographs here, I need to index them. And we’re also going to cover things like once you’ve got those photographs in there, how do you then automate?

The uploading and sharing of those photographs to websites like WordPress. I will be focusing on WordPress with the notion of creating blogs and stories around the images you upload. Of course, you can do the same thing with tools like YouTube to create videos, but that requires some editing and I won’t be covering Premiere, but you might also use something simple like Adobe Express to bring in. Images and video to create your own story and then publish that as well. It’s always handy to know that where your files are and what date they were created on so you can create great stories based on that.

So that’s what we’re going to cover. Uh, and it’ll be broken down and it’s not a drip feed of content. It’s basically me wanting to take each of those sections, chapters or whatever you want to call it, and treat it with the amount of detail and respect that it deserves. So this is my plan. I’ve documented it in a way format. I’m going to now transcribe this. So I’ve got a document format which will end up being my section headings, which may change a little bit as I get into the writing. Thanks for listening. This is Mark Christie.

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