Folder organization structure for RAW, intermediary and output files (Lightroom)

Hi guys

I have recently started shooting in RAW format only and currently looking to come up with a simple folder structure to organize processed files before I start importing all the images into Lightroom.

I want to organize the images in E\Photos\Year\Event\ however unsure regarding subfolder structure within \Year\Event\. Two of the options I am considering are as follows:

> Option 1 - event subfolders: Create 4 different event subfolders titled “Capture”, Selects”, “Master” and “Output” (all sub-folders synchronized in Lightroom?):

- Capture: All RAW images are placed here.

- Selects: After basic edits are done, images exported as TIFs. Ready for editing in Photoshop.

- Master: For layered TIF or PSD files. This file will be used to go back and further make edits.

- Output: JPEG exports placed here after editing is complete and ready to be printed or uploaded to the web. Exports are no are deleted when no longer in need.

So option 1 structure looks like this:



E\Photos\2015\Japan\Master\20150130-Japan-0001.TIFF (or PSD?)


> Option 2 - only one event folder: This houses all RAW, TIFF, TIFF/PSD and JPEG images:



E\Photos\2015\Japan\20150130-Japan-0001.TIFF (or PSD?)


JPEG exports are still deleted when no longer in need.

I am not clear regarding following:

- What happens down the track if this particular RAW format is no longer supported by OS/other softwares? Should I be exporting all RAW files to TIFFs by default after basic editing is done?

- Should I be synchronizing all RAW, TIFF, TIFF/PSD and JPEG files (if I wish to keep the output/export files) into Lightroom?

- Advantages of using Lighroom for basic editing over Adobe Camera RAW?

Any feedback on these two structure options or insight on how you guys are organizing your RAW, intermediary and output files would be really apprecaited.

Thanks in advance!


  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Well partly depends on the program you use to get the files off of the camera. I use Nikon transfer. But in whatever program you use you can setup pretty much when and where you want things to go put in subfolder named whatever. Also I wouldn't worry about the RAW files being unsupported...if for some reason that happens then go and select all and export to what format you want. Sounds like you are over thinking it for some reason though because of shooting RAW. You can put them all in the same folder...I just make a subfolder for each big transfer from my camera that contains all the RAW files. I export to the same folders as jpg. I have NIkon transfer create backup folders on another drive that is the same size as my main picture drive. I only use lightroom for my editing because I don't have photoshop, but it does good enough for what I have patience for these days. Lightroom does a pretty good job of organizing photos when you open it to be able to find them also.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • BabaGanoushBabaGanoush Posts: 252Member
    I would not recommend your proposed directory arrangement. For one thing, it might not be the best strategy to put all your Raw, Intermediate, and Output files on the same drive. If that drive should ever fail, you could lose all of your work, every stage of it. Depending on how often you plan to do backups, to recover from a disk failure might mean having to redo a lot of your work from scratch. It would be safer, I think, to store your Raw, Intermediate, and Output files on different physical or logical drives. In my case, I use 4 x 2 TB hard drives in a RAID 10 configuration for that. Also, I assume from what you wrote that your Intermediate and Output image files will not be included in your Lightroom catalog along with your Raw images (or at least not in the same LR catalog). I don't think it's a good idea to mix catalog image files (your Raw images) with non-catalog files (the Selects, Master, and Output files), or image files from two different LR catalogs, placing them under the same top directory or subdirectory, even if each type/class of file is placed in a folder of its own. The complexity of this arrangement could make it more confusing for you to archive or to back up or to restore your image files by type or stage of processing, to Synchronize individual folders within your LR library, or to export image files from your LR library as a separate catalog.
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