Photo Madness

I got a new laptop (yay!) and I imported a corrupted iphoto library (boo!) and it has caused any number of problems. Part of the problem is that my iphoto library is huge, nearly 100 GB and 20K + photos. I like to keep them all accessible (which is dumb, but my laptop backs up to the cloud and I worry about losing a backup drive) and I’m trying to find a workable photo management system. iPhoto seems to get a little clunky up at that size, but if I split out the libraries, I have to reboot iPhoto to choose a new library.

I’ve been googling some options and here is what I’ve found so far:

  1. Continue using iPhoto and wait for it to implode.
  2. Split iPhoto into multiple libraries and buy Aperture to do light editing and toggle between libraries.
  3. Use Picasa to edit and access photos, but I still need to figure out where to store the darn things. Picasa is more of an overlay than a management system, unless I’m not understanding how it works.
  4. Export dud photos (especially the 1000s of early Spencer pictures that aren’t great or there are a ton of the same thing) and store them on the cloud or maybe Flickr and set them to private.
  5. Get Lightroom.  I must admit that Lightroom freaks me out. I got the 30 day trial once and could barely wrap my brain around it.

Is there something I’m missing? I want a simple import to something and have most of my pictures right there sort of system. And I am a bit of a photo hoarder so telling me to delete all the things probably won’t help. What do you use?

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11 Responses to “Photo Madness”

  1. Brigid Keely says:

    We have an external drive for all our media/backups and every few months I dump photos there. I use Picasa to upload (IF I edit a photo it’s in photoshop, I mostly don’t edit anything) and it automatically saves photos in folders by date and month. Accessing photos is as simple as plugging the external drive’s USB into the computer and waiting for it to connect, then opening a file folder.


    Amy Reply:

    Is your external drive backed up? Because I had one just poof, complete with a puff of smoke, once at work and it traumatized me from using them to store things I would hate to lose.


  2. V says:

    I am a photo hoarder also, and I use Lightroom. You really have to work with it to get the hang of it and figure out how it all works. I would recommend a book or online class, and reading various tutorials about workflows. One thing I like about the library is that if I have 20 shots of my kid laying on the bed with only a slight difference between them all, I can stack the shots so only the best one shows and the rest are still there, but I don’t have to scroll through them. I like using sets and collections to categorize the photos so I can find what I’m looking for quickly. I can’t recommend it enough but it will be a LOT of work at first for you to get set up and organized. After it is set up, it is as simple as plugging in your memory card and tagging/adding to a collection or set/and maybe basic retouching like color correction, if you’re into that sort of thing. It is geared towards professional photographers, but you will get a lot of use out of it once you get it figured out.

    As for photo storage, I have internet through a wireless hotspot through Verizon and only 10gb per month, so I only have them on my hard drive and on an external hard drive that is in a fireproof safe when I’m not copying my Lightroom library and photos to it.

    Ideally, if I had unlimited internet, I would limit the photos stored on my laptop to just a few favorites, but have the rest available through a network attached storage device, with redundant backups. I would figure out some sort of cloud storage but realistically I would have to limit the photos I backed up. Like, I don’t mind if I lose 28 photos of the first chicken I roasted, but the 100+ photos of my son’s first steps better not go anywhere, even though only maybe 20 of them are good, and 5 are great.

    Sorry this was long-winded.


  3. Amy says:

    The stacked shots sound ideal for food photagraphy. I was thinking about storing them elsewhere on my laptop just to tuck them out of the way. I have a new, large harddrive and already pay via backblaze to have the whole thing backed up. I just need to figure out how to manage them. Lightroom might be the ticket. It’s just so complicated.


  4. Audrey says:

    I keep originals on the drive and upload smaller web versions to Flickr, where I can endlessly load pictures and sort and whatever and never worry about losing them. Plenty of photographers actually use Flickr for their originals as a backup system since if you lose your drive you can order CDs of everything on Flickr.


    Amy Reply:

    Maybe I should look more into Flickr. I’m just so overwhelmed. I’m sorting things out of iphoto into folders for month/year to start.


  5. Emily Y. says:

    I have the same scary problem! I’d love to hear what you decide on. Lots of people seem to love Lightroom, but like V said, it’s a crapload of work in the beginning. I’m too busy (lazy?) to really consider it. Just trying to sort out the stuff in iPhoto is overwhelming!


  6. Rebecca says:

    I’m not quite where you are yet but I am headed there quickly.

    Plus I need to get all my old old photos off my archaic PC and somehow get them on my Mac (hold me.)

    I have Aperture and I don’t love it. But I would guess it’s because I haven’t spent near enough time working with it. And things like Picnik and PicMonkey are so much easier.

    I would start by deleting all the blurry/duplicate/crap photos. And I say that from a place of love and with a heavy heart as probably half my library is blurry/duplicate/crap yet I can’t bring myself to delete them.


    Amy Reply:



  7. Leah says:

    Dude, I don’t even know. I have routinely lost gobs and gobs of pictures because of computers that have crashed. we have an external drive somewhere but that also has Bruce’s crap on it. I need one photo dedicated drive. Or two, so there’s a back up.


  8. […] Link up your wordless wednesday post below. (Yes, I know it is still Tuesday and only the 3rd) Also, I’d love to hear what you have to say about my photo hoarding problem. […]

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