I'm in the situation now that i have to bring some order in my folder structure. Up to now I had a single folder for each shoot, made up by the date and a short description for the shoot. For example: 20151015 Mountain shoot with fuffy

This quickly became a mess, and i need to begin with a new and better structure. What would be a good folder structure that lets find pictures quickly depending on model, subject, year, stock/assignment/private life, etc.?

Is it Worth spending time keywording and cataloguing all pictures in lightroom for each shoot? In what way can this simplify searching the pictures? I would like to find a good workflow that covers folderstructure, download process, cataloguing, editing (seen as step, not going into the details.. I would rather like to see something like "open in lightroom, base editing, and then menu/edit in Photoshop" or something like that), searching for files.

I expect the answer to be sort of a tutorial for beginners.

  • 2
    Soo.... You want us to rewrite Lightroom's Getting Started tutorial? Nov 13 '15 at 11:18
  • does lightroom's tutorial cover folder structure? lightroom is only one step in the process.. what i am looking for is more the complete workflow, to avoid a mess and avoid doing lots of things that can either be done better or avoided completely. Nov 13 '15 at 11:22
  • 1
    tv.adobe.com/show/… Nov 13 '15 at 11:22
  • 2
    Really, folder structure is mostly irrelevant in a database-backed system. Nov 13 '15 at 11:23
  • here it is! :D heh Nov 16 '15 at 15:15

i have to bring some order in my folder structure

No, you don't. You are trying to solve the very problem that cataloging software like Lightroom addresses.

Existing Metadata

As technology evolves, folder structure will have less emphasis, but even today I would argue it is a waste of your time. The existing gold mine is image metadata, in the form of EXIF/IPTC tags and attributes. In the future desktop users will likely be treated with even more machine learning benefits that rely less on EXIF but instead combine with them for even better results.


Beyond what is done for you, image keywords in today's world are quite critical to the successful cataloging of many images. Keywords can be added in a variety of different ways and at really any step in the process that you desire. More information on Keywords can be found here: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Help / Use keywords


You can spend all day creating a folder that you may think best describes the images contained within. "2015-11-13 - Fun Fall day at the park". This sounds descriptive and useful. It tells you the date, season, location, and experience. But what if tomorrow you want to look for images that were shot with your favorite 35mm lens, at the widest aperture of f/1.4, during the golden hour, were rated at 5 stars, and had your best friend Bob in them? The folder name did quite literally nothing to help you find that image. Does it matter that the image was on D:\Photos\2015\11\13\2015-11-13 - Fun Fall day at the Park"? No it doesn't. In fact, it doesn't matter with Lightroom if the image is even stored locally, it could be on a disconnected drive and the Lightroom catalog will still reference it.

Lightroom Features

As far as searching specifically, Lightroom has vast options such as:

  • Library filter bar (Text/Attribute/Metadata Filter)
  • Collections / Smart Collections
  • Keywords
  • People view mode
  • 3
    Forget all the extra criteria. Try just finding all photos that you have which have Bob in them. Utterly trivial with properly used cataloging software; downright impossible without. (Even if you sort photos into a directory structure based on who's in them, where do you put that photo showing Bob and Alice at their wedding?)
    – user
    Nov 13 '15 at 21:39
  • This what I learned earlier this year and why I'm tagging all my images that I have. I would like to add geotagging (location tagging) as well since I was having issues tagging the location. I've been fortunate that I dumbly take shots of places I go into/visit. Once tagged, the catelogues will be a lot easier to find, for details but also location. Nov 16 '15 at 23:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.