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In the “old days” the process of archiving and organizing photographs involved compiling the negatives, contact sheets, proofs, final prints into boxes and then marking the boxes with appropriate labels. When I occasionally need to find a particular photograph the “looking for” part becomes a project in itself.
Digital Image Archiving if not done properly can turn into complete nightmare over time. Even if you name your files and folders properly searching for particular image can become highly frustrating experience. However if your images have been properly organized and keyworded, searching for an image or group of images can take only a few seconds.
There are many programs that allow you to organize your images. Among professional and advanced photographers usually the following programs are used:
Aperture for Mac (by apple cost about $200),
Lightroom 3 both PC and Mac (by adobe about $230 also available as student / teacher editions for $79)
Adobe Bridge (comes for free with Photoshop or Elements)
In This tutorial we would like to focus on Bridge because if you have adobe Photoshop or Elements you already have Bridge as it’s a part of the installation.
In Bridge you can add your own keywords and make your files easily searchable. When you switch from one software to another lets say from Bridge to Lightroom all your meta data will remain accessible because most leading programs and web applications recognize XML. And specific list of keywords can be exported as well.
Bridge allows you to quickly assign keywords to your images. Keywords can be broken down into categories and subcategories. For example if you have travel footage from Ecuador. You can create a keyword “Travel” and a sub-keyword “Ecuador” and attach that keyword to all the images taken on that trip.
Photo by Sasha Gitin, Ecuador 2004
You can also get very specific with your keywords. For example an image depicting a group of kids (above) taken in the central highlands of Ecuador can be keyworded for every element in the image: “travel” with sub-keyword “Ecuador”, with sub-keyword “Central Highlands” with another sub-keyword “Chugchilan” (the village near the place where the image was taken). Also general keywords can be attached such are “road” , “mountains” “kids” “girls” “boys” “hat” “curious” etc…
So when you are selecting entire hard drive in bridge with “show items from sub-folders” option checked you can search for keywords Ecuador + Kids + mountains and all the images that depict “Kids in Ecuadorian mountains will be displayed.
Keywording might take a little extra time in the beginning when you upload new photos on your computer but will save a ton of time later when you search for a particular photo that you took years ago.
You can create a list of keywords as you go like Carl demonstrates in the video above. Also you can use some ready made sets. This one is put together by Rick Potter and available for Free: Rick’s Keyword Sets
When you download this lists you can import them into Adobe Bridge by clicking on drop-down box in keywords tab (see screen-shot on the right)
There also more comprehensive keyword sets available for those who use industry recognizable keywords. Useful for someone selling photos for stock or doing a lot of of travel or documentary photography:
Two most popular sources are:
If you know of other good resources to download keyword sets please share it with us in your comments.