Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our hiking trips result in a huge number of digital photos - how we manage them on Windows

Our workflow on Windows XP:
  1. Capture the card data into a folder called PhotoStaging (our computer has slots built in for the various memory cards). We put the card in the slot and get a choice of programs Canon for the Canon camera card and Nikon for the Nikon camera card.

  2. Rename every image so it starts with date - time - for example: 2007-03-07_11-19-07_1222_SD700 IS.JPG

  3. This is easier than it sounds. There is a powerful free utility called The Rename that does it once I select all the images. It pulls the date, time, camera model out of the info stored in the image. More on TheRename later.

  4. I have a master folder called Photos. In there are subfolders by subject, such as birds, mammals, East Bay Regional Parks, etc. Some of these have further subfolders. Once the images have been renamed, I either move or copy them into the appropriate folder. Sometimes they go into more than one folder. These are the original fullsized images.

  5. I do another step you may or may not want to do. I have a master folder called PhotosWebSized. The originals are too big for web use or for fast digital projection. I use Photoshop batch processing to automatically resize all the staged images to 1024 by 768, which matches most digital projectors and is suitable for web posting. Depending on the number of images, I either resize into a PhotoStagingWebSized folder, or directly into the appropriate folder in PhotosWebSized. So, all the photos end up in at least two locations.

  6. This does require a lot of storage. I have two external 500G hard drives. One has all my data, not just images, and the other is a backup.
Now, about the The Rename utility. The original site is in French. You can get it from various places such as cnet . There is no support or forum, but it comes with a tutorial in English that has useful examples. It can do a lot more folder manipulation, but it is so powerful that it makes me nervous, so I just use it for this one purpose.

Some hints on its use:

  1. When you open it you get a window. Go to the top right, select naming rules tab and where it says Prefix and change Modify prefix to free form.

  2. In the box below Prefix, enter

  3. That is what I use. ExifModel gives me camera name plus model.

  4. Now go to the Folder tab and find the folder with the files to be renamed. Your image files will pop up in the left window.

    Select 1 or a block of them, and click the preview icon at the top(that little white square under the Disk option). If you like what you see, click rename.

    In my case it says Canon Powershot, which I don't want, so I go to Edit-replace at the top of the window and change it to a _. This applies to all future renames unless I change it again.

  5. Now I select the entire range of files, preview again, and then click rename

  6. I'm done so I go to file on top left and exit. Do Not just x out The Rename. That will leave a rename process running. This utility has a lot more capabilities, but it would be easy to get yourself into trouble if you do it wrong, so I only use it for this limited purpose. An aside, we've been getting some unattributed taking of blog content so inserting © 2009

  7. I almost forgot the way you get to Help. Not from a button at the top of the screen. Select All Programs from your Windows Start, go to The Rename, and one of your choices will be the Help file, which is an html file.

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