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1  Software Discussions / Choosing Software/Other DAM Applications / Re: DAM for video files? on: January 04, 2010, 12:17:44 AM
If you use a PC take a look at the newly released ThumbsPlus version 8 from Cerious Software. I used previous versions for many years and was impressed with the quality of the software. It never crashed on me and easily handled hundreds of thousands of files in many formats. I moved to Lightroom because of issues with the previous release. Version 8 of TP seems to address all the problems I had. See

Ian Fuller
Bangkok, Thailand
2  Software Discussions / Choosing Software/Other DAM Applications / Re: Software for large numbers of files ? on: January 04, 2010, 12:13:14 AM
You may want to look at the newly released ThumbsPlus version 8 from Cerious Software. I wrote a bit about it on my blog at The official site is at

TP has a number of advantages for your needs:
  • scalability - you can use an external SQL database like MySQL or SQL Server if you outgrow the default MS Access or SQLLite implementation
  • It supports many file formats including video

  • It only works on the PC
  • It does not support the non-destructive editing that is such a powerful feature of Lightroom

You may want to try TP 8. They have a trial program.

For myself I am staying with LR and praying that Adobe will improve its scalability faster than I can take photographs. My backup plan is to revert to TP. I should get a trial version myself and see how well it imports the metadata I created with LR.

Ian Fuller
Bangkok, Thailand

3  DAM Stuff / Keywords and Controlled Vocabulary / Re: Getting started with keywords on: December 29, 2009, 10:00:55 PM
I have many keywords including spaces. Lightroom handles them once you have entered them BUT if you type a space in the keyword entry field LR assumes you are starting a new keyword. I have to scroll down the drop down list rather than keep typing.
4  Software Discussions / Choosing Software/Other DAM Applications / Re: Software for large numbers of files ? on: December 21, 2009, 04:59:59 AM

I have the same requirements and concerns with Lightroom. Currently I have about 56,000 pictures in a LR 2 catalog. The catalog file is 1.15GB. I have seen many opinions on the practical capacity of Lightroom but no facts. One of the objectives of LR 3 is that it will improve the capacity of the catalog but I have seen nothing specific.

My objective is to have one catalog / database for every photograph I take for the rest of my life for the same reasons as you.

I would try a Lightroom 2 30-day trial or the free LR 3 Beta. However, I think we've been told not to infer much about LR3's performance from Beta 1.

Set it up to import your collection and test it on your hardware. BUT since you want to catalog video alongside photos (a very reasonable request) that may not work for you.

Adobe does say they are committed to supporting professional photographers with large collections and growing of assets. I think they may be your best bet. I am trusting that their scalability will increase faster than I take photographs.

Ian Fuller
Bangkok, Thailand
5  DAM Stuff / Keywords and Controlled Vocabulary / Re: Tagging Names that Change on: December 19, 2009, 10:04:20 PM
I think this is a good use for keyword synonyms in Lightroom.

The approach I use is to use the first name plus the first letter of the surname as the keyword in LR. Then I would add synonyms for the full name and any subsequent names. Thus for your example I would have

Mary-S with synonyms Mary, Mary Smith, Mary Jones and Mary Santorini.

You can use the synonyms in LR searches and fliters.

However this will not make it easy for you to isolate all photos of Mary between the ages of 25 and 45 when she was Mary Jones. So another approach would be a hierarchy:

>>>Mary Smith
>>>Mary Jones
>>>Mary Santorini

I hope that helps.

6  Software Discussions / Lightroom / Re: Keywording Questions on: December 18, 2009, 10:34:13 PM
It all depends on the searches you anticipate you'll want to do in the future. There is no right or wrong answer when you are keywording pictures for your personal library. Keywording for others, (e.g. a stock agency) is a separate issue.

So if you think you will need to locate pictures of grass fields in the future, as opposed, say to corn fields or wheat fields, then by all means keyword for that. There's no "too far" - a researcher may want to keyword the variety of grass in the field.

I've developed some rules for my particular interests. For example I keyword cars down to the "model" level but no further. "Ford", "Escort" but not "GL" or "Ghia". For airplanes "Boeing", "747" but not "436" or even "400".

For locations I will keyword to the street level in places I photograph often and to the city or province (state, county) level in places I visit less often. Ideally I'd replace all that with an accurate geotag and corresponding reverse-geocode data in the IPTC but that's another subject.

When you adopt a system that meets your needs consider that you'll need to apply it consistently maybe for years. So if your system is too detailed you may not have the time and energy to both keep it updated as your needs change and to apply it consistently. I find keywording new pictures quite satisfying but going back and changing keywords on old images very boring.

Regarding synonyms - I use them extensively in Lightroom as it saves a lot of time. I have guidelines for the synonyms I'll add when I create a new keyword. For example for Thailand I try to include the Thai script equivalent for place names. This helps when I export to Flickr so Thai people can more easily find my pictures. I also include common differences in transliteration from Thai to English - e.g. "Sukhumvit" and "Sukhumwit".

If you're interested I've written more about my approaches on my blog at and

I hope this helps.

Ian Fuller
Bangkok, Thailand
7  Software Discussions / Lightroom / When Are 1:1 Previews Deleted? on: December 09, 2009, 09:45:37 AM
I have LR 2 set up to delete 1:1 previews after one week.

When does this happen, or perhaps better, what part of LR is responsible for doing this deletion?

Maybe it happens only when I backup my catalog using the LR facility and it does its "test integrity of the catalog". That means that if backup my catalog another way (I use Microsoft SyncToy to an external drive) then my cache won't get pruned.

But perhaps it happens in a background thread / process in the normal operation of the LR user interface. In which case I don't need to think about it.

I discussed here how I deleted my cache directory entirely as it seemed to be growing without bounds. It is huge again and possibly slowing down LR because of the way I am frequently examining old pictures.
8  DAM Stuff / Keywords and Controlled Vocabulary / Re: Getting started with keywords on: December 07, 2009, 07:55:34 PM
Smart Collections are excellent for locating pictures based on criteria in the metadata. Remember you can filter them to get more precise. I was concerned having a lot of Smart Collections would be a performance drain as they are "live" but I have not noticed a problem so far. They just work. I am impressed.

If you think you'll need to find interior shots in the future then by all means keyword them. I do the same for my vehicle pictures.

It's good to start with a subset of you pictures, keyword them and then think up some "use cases" for a searches you'll want to do when you have them all catalogued. You can save custom filters for searches you'll use frequently.

9  DAM Stuff / Keywords and Controlled Vocabulary / Re: Getting started with keywords on: December 07, 2009, 05:23:45 AM
I'm glad it was helpful Once I get typing it is hard to stop - but then I wondered if my ideas were relevant.

My "Mazda 3" problem is a by-product of the way I set up my keywords in a hierarchy. I want to be able to find all Mazda care and also all Mazda 3's. So "3" is a child of Mazda. This works great in a hierararchy - it provides context - but when I do something like export to Flickr all that's exported is the "3" - an that's where I lose information.

There is a similar problem in tagging aircraft and some people came up with the notion of typed "aerotags". Flickr supports them as a specialization of the type "machine tag". I developed my own "vehicle tags" along the same lines. See

You asked in your original post:
I have a lot of family and friend photos.  Do I indication the location and the occasion in the keywords?  The names of all of the people in the picture?  Whether it was a group shot or a solo portrait?  Whether it was night or day?  What I was trying to accomplish?  Whether or not it was a good shot?  All of the above?

My rule for "people shots" are:
  • I want to be able to search by date, location and who is in the picture.
  • LR enables me to filter by date very easily so it does not need keywording.
  • I don't worry about groups vs. solo portraits but I have seen requests for the ability to search for "Jim, Bill but not Sally". I don't know how to do that!
  • Whether or not it was a good shot. That's what ratings are for. There are other fields in LR for process related information. In addition my Vehicle Metadata plugin I mentioned in my Workflow blog post has a free form Notes field. John Beardsworth have a plugin that has the same thing. You could use that for private notes.
10  DAM Stuff / Keywords and Controlled Vocabulary / Re: Getting started with keywords on: December 06, 2009, 07:31:54 AM
I don't know if I have enough experience or knowledge to give you a definitive answer, but here are a few ideas.

First, I assume you are keywording your personal photos. They are to help you to find them later. That's as opposed to, say, a stock photographer who keywords so others can find (and buy them). Or a corporate photographer who keywords so others in the company can find them.

Second, I think the first thing to consider is how you anticipate you'll search in future. Think about the kinds of searches you'll want to do. For example, I photograph a lot of vehicles. I want to be able to find all photos of a Bangkok MTA Hino AK bus on route #2 on Sukhumvit Road. Or all photos of a British Airways Boeing 747 at San Francisco Airport.

Knowing the kinds of questions you want to ask suggests the keyword structure you need to build. I effectively developed my own "Controlled Vocabulary" for keywording. Some serious keyworders purchase a controlled vocabulary. I think my needs are unusual (Ok ,weird) and I am frugal so I developed my own. I entered many of them before I keyworded a single photo and made sure that the organization, using Lightroom's hierarchy, was general enough to expand.

So, for example, I want to be able to search down to the street level in major cities. I have a keyword hierarchy that reflects the organization of Bangkok as that is my home. But I also made sure that it works for cities I visit, for example London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Similarly for vehicles I developed a hierarchy based on vehicle type, manufacturer and model. For buses and coaches I developed another hierarchy based on operator and route identifier (number).

And that raised an interesting little issue. That is that keywords are "typeless". So it isn't possible to tell from a photo that has the keyword "3" if it is of a "Mazda 3" car or a bus on route #3. Indeed "3" appears in many places in my Lightroom keyword hierarchy and sometimes confuses it no end.

I developed some workarounds for that using keyword synonyms to add a notion of type.

Having typed this I have no idea if I am on the right track to helping you with your needs.

Let me know if this in any way fits the way you think about your photo collection. I've written a lot about it on my blog so feel free to take a look if you are interested. For example the post on My Workflow : describes my keywording in a bit more detail.

Cheers from Bangkok.
11  Software Discussions / Lightroom / Re: Expanding Trees in Lightroom on: December 02, 2009, 06:42:39 AM
Ha! Well - I did know about 2 out of 4. I will try them. When I am keywording I use the Keyword Suggestions more than a Keyword Set but I don't think there are shortcuts to select them.

I'm bemused why the random keyword tree expand behaviour changed though. That is a little weird.
12  General / Photo Blogs / Bangkok Photographer on: December 02, 2009, 06:10:25 AM

I started my blog about six months ago, talking about photography, computers and life in Bangkok, Thailand.

I try to make a post or two per day. When I started I thought I might run out of topics to write about. But the opposite has happened - I have far more ideas in my head than I have time to write about.

There's a lot about DAM in the blog, starting from my experience moving from Thumbs Plus, through a disappointing experience with ACDSee Pro and now to Lightroom. I'm more of a database-techy kind of guy than a photographic artist so most of my experiences and comments are on image organization and metadata.

I also talk about photography in Thailand and my efforts to be a frugal photographer who takes good picture without the latest and most expensive equipment. I do drool a bit about new kit, but not too much.

Feel free to take a look and tell me what you think. I am thousands of miles from Europe or North America so blogging is a great way for me to learn as well as to erect my soapbox.

Thanks for reading this far.

Ian Fuller
13  Software Discussions / Lightroom / Re: Expanding Trees in Lightroom on: December 02, 2009, 03:52:51 AM
I did not know about Alt-clicking. Thank you.

When I tried it it did collapse the whole tree - then clicking without the Alt enables me to expand branches selectively.

The interesting thing is, I started Alt-clicking around as an experiment. Then I tried adding a keyword and I didn't get the random expansion of the tree anymore! That's a remarkable behaviour. LR must have known I was talking about it.

14  Software Discussions / Lightroom / Re: client submissions on: December 02, 2009, 03:39:39 AM
When I was doing this my solution was to maintain a separate LR Catalog for each agency I was submitting to. Then I used Collections in each for Pending, Accepted and Rejected.

I selected the images I wanted to submit in my main LR Catalog and exported them in the format required by the agency but without keywords. I imported them to the correct Catalog and added keywords, again according to the agency's guidelines.

Of course that meant I had multiple copies of the pictures and had to manage multiple catalogs, but it seemed to be the safest way to ensure complete separation and security.

Ian Fuller
15  Software Discussions / Lightroom / Expanding Trees in Lightroom on: December 02, 2009, 03:30:34 AM
On the subject of Lightroom annoyances this is a minor one, but I wonder if others have encountered it.

When I add a keyword to my admittedly very complex tree LR opens not only the branch I have added it to, but many other branches too. Not all, but a lot, seemingly at random. I know it need to open the branch where I added the keyword, but why others?

That makes it a real pain to scroll through a long list. I wish LR wouldn't do this, or if it feels it has to I wish it would give me a little button to collapse the tree.

The same thing happens if I add a directory but I do not have as many directories so it is not as annoying.

I am running LR 2.5 on a PC with Windows XP. Does this happen on Macs as well?

I have a longer write-up on my blog at

Ian Fuller
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