I have been asked what I do with the photos I take. Well, to get some perspective at one stage I had circa 25,000 photo files on my desktop PC. Is that all you say? A couple of years back these were all imported into Adobe Lightroom, my photo editing application of choice. This was the beginning of some sort of semblance of order. The sheer volume of photos however created a bit of a nightmare when it came to searching for specific images. Fortunately Lightroom has several cataloguing options including sorting by year, or by camera model, or lens used etc.
It was apparent from the beginning that there were many duplicated images as well as images that were just not worth keeping. Over time I have sliced and diced my Lightroom photo catalogue down to around 15,000 images at the present time, a reduction of some 10,000 images. This is ongoing work and as I get time I will continue to cull photos that from my purely subjective viewpoint don’t make the grade.
Many of what I regard as prime images are now also copied into folders in Lightroom with titles such as Sunrise, Sunset, Beach, Street, Landscape, Family etc. This has further helped simplify searching. I have also started including the automatically generated photo file number with photos loaded on my website. This further helps find the file quickly when I receive inquiries for canvases, prints, or .jpeg files.
The key photo management strategy for me then is to keep reviewing and culling photos not worth keeping. When I take new photos. I firstly download them to an iPad, review them and delete the rejects and then load the rest to Lightroom in RAW (unprocessed format). Once in Lightroom, I review again and cull all but what I think are the best. I may initially take and download dozens of photos but ultimately keep only one, two or three. You have to be ruthless to avoid being overwhelmed.
I limit the number of images on my website gallery in order to ensure the pages are not slow loading and also so as not to overwhelm viewers with choice. If someone contacts me and asks if I have other photos with a specific element, say for example someone surfing while standing on their head, or dancing in the street then I will look through the Lightroom catalogue, select any contenders, copy them to a folder and send them (in low resolution) to the inquirer.