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Author Topic: Where do I place multiple derivatives of the same file?  (Read 4334 times)
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« on: October 28, 2011, 12:18:04 PM »


Firstly, sorry if this is the wrong place for this question. This might have been talked about before but it's hard to find information on this forum.

Anyway, when editing images I usually end up making multiple derivative copies of a certain file (one for the blog, one for the website, one for email, one for print, blah blah blah). My question is this, where and how should I store these images? Should I group the images into folders within the buckets like this:

Image files in progress
     Job name

Or should I just group them all together knowing that I will make catalog sets in MP? In the book Peter does divide some of the images (like dividing Master and Delivery) but I don't see him going this in depth. Any advice and suggestion would be great.

Also, when naming these files I was thinking about appending the appropriate word to the end. Something like "_Blog" "_email" "_website." Is this a good or bad idea?

Destry Jaimes
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 07:26:55 AM »

Hi Brian,

I once had that same dilemma - saving everything, and feeling like it was too much to manage, so I decided on this approach ...

My most valuable files are my RAWs and master files. Those files get the 3-2-1 back ups religiously.

I feel that it's easy enough to output files from the masters as needed for my website, blog, etc., so this is how I handle them ...

When I need an image sized for web, print, whatever, I simply find the master - open it up in PS, size it, adjust sharpening layer, convert to appropriate colorspace, and verify file info.

I then save the image to a drop folder in my working area which is further organized into subfolders much like what you mentioned (web, blog, print, etc).

Seeing that these images aren't nearly as vital as the RAW or master files they were derived from, I don't catalog them, nor do I care too much about backing them up - however, since they live in my working area, they do get backed up daily.

Every now and then (perhaps every couple of months), I'll take a stroll through the drop folder and clean it out - deleting what I don't need.

My drop folder is low priority on the backup plan, and anything living in there is eligible for a trip to the trash. The only files that tend to stick around are the files that I output for my web portfolio, since I'll often need those again on portal sites that I use.

As for naming those files, it's good for identifying the file's purpose at a glance. I only use a few such as _Web, _Print, and _CMYK.

Hope this helps
-Destry Jaimes

Destry Jaimes
Editorial & Commercial Photographer
Austin, TX
R. Neil Haugen
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2011, 02:17:38 PM »


Just to go a bit further than Destry's comments, at first we all tend to think we need to "file" anything we've made ... and um ... rather soon (especially for active pro or amateur shooters) ... you end up with a billion bits of image files. And then realize you don't really, REALLY need to keep all of 'em. So the question is almost more of where to draw the bright-line in choosing to keep them, rather than how to file them all ...

I must admit, getting the missus to adopt this (we're both pro portrait photogs) ... has been difficult. It's that whole thing of letting go your "children", you know? Or even worse, willfully destroying them! But really, ALL those extraneous derivatives are just that ... extraneous. And they take up WAY TOO MUCH TIME if you try to track them all!

So ... the derivatives worth keeping and tracking are of course the "original" (no matter the shooting format); any major-working of the image, and we may have several different major treatments through p-shop, though oft only one (and I'm finally getting the missus to be willing to leave these fully layered, in case we wish to re-visit); and any re-sized image that we prepped for printing, and these only because we often do a bit more on them after re-sizing. Hard-drive space is cheap these days, so if we've put work in it, we keep it.

EVERYTHING else ... web-jpg's for client viewing, email use, whatnot ... can easily and quickly be re-created at need. So ... you may want to temporarily keep some of these in some kind of "temp" folder arrangement, where you know EVERYTHING in there is a knock-off derivative and of no intrinsic value ... no need to even back 'em up. But they can be handy within a couple weeks or so of the original use of these ... after that, they tend to be space-takers and that's about it.

So Destry's comments about routinely cleaning out the temp folders is most apropos.


R Neil Haugen
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 11:47:59 AM »


Good point. I've been struggling to keep up with all my derivatives so not keeping all the derivatives makes sense. In truth, I can just create a photoshop action to size to print, website, blog, etc. If I ever need to do it again I can just action the derivatives again.

Thanks for your help
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