Australian Fine Artist

Image Filing for Beginners

From Camera to Computer to Folders

We are studying Photography as an extra subject at TAFE at present. Having just received a beautiful Canon digital SLR I wanted to get a grip on more of the functions.

During the classes which are also going through some of the basics of Photoshop and taking images from camera to computer several of my classmates who have not had the advantage I have of working in the graphic arts industry for over thirty years, are having a little trouble with what I take for granted.

I have decided to do a simple step by step of taking files off the camera and creating a good filing system for images as you alter them and prepare them for uploading to the web for sites such as Pinterest.

So here is my suggestion:

  1. Have a folder for your photography course
    Mine is called Photography
  2. Create sub folders for each Assessment Task
  3. If the task has several components create a folder for each of these
    For example I have three called Lines, Patterns and Crops and Rule of Thirds for one of my Assessment Tasks
  4. In each of these folders I have three folders:
    Originals (for files straight off the camera)
    TIFF or PSD (for files that I am manipulating in Photoshop)
    Low Res (for files to go to the web)
    If I was creating printed material from the photos I would also have a folder named High Res with a TIFF file in CMYK saved in there.
  5. I copy my original file from the camera to my Originals Folder
  6. I then SAVE AS TIFF or PSD to my TIFF or PSD Folder (Note try not use any Compression when saving to TIFF, the menu will come up, just use “NONE”)
    It is in this file that I can change the size, resolution, colour space, crop, apply filters etc etc without losing my original file if things go wrong and in a format that will not lose quality as I work on it. I usually work at 300dpi in RGB as it allows all the artistic filters to work. I can always change the file to CMYK if I decide to use the file for a hard copy print later. This is the time to decide on the size (in millimetres or centimetres) of your file as well.
  7. Once I have done everything I want to with file I then SAVE AS again if sending to the web (my website, blog site or something like Pinterest. Pinterst in particular will not accept TIFF files and will not accept CMYK files. CMYK is for printing to paper and RGB is for the web.)
    The file for the web can be JPG (JPEG). Pinterest will happily accept that format.
    72-100dpi is large enough resolution for the web. The file does not have to be as large and large files take too long to upload.
    When you have saved your low res file to your LOW RES FOLDER as a JPG, check that it is RGB (under the IMAGE/MODE Menu) and that the resolution (under the IMAGE/FILE SIZE Menu) is either 72dpi (recommended) or what I use which is 100dpi.
  8. You can now upload your low res file to Pinterest.

The above method might seem a bit complicated but I have found over years of using Photoshop and having to create files for both the web and printed material that I need to have a filing system that keeps an original just in case, and has a file for each use kept separately to avoid mistakes.

Naming your files with their purpose helps. For example: Tree-trunk pattern-LR.jpg (the LR = Low Resolution), or Tree-trunk pattern-Web.jpg (the Web part will tell you it is a low res file) or Tree-trunk pattern-HR.jpg (the LR = High Resolution).

You could also include the colour of the file in the name. For example: Tree-trunk pattern-LR-RGB.jpg or Tree-trunk pattern-HR-CMYK.jpg

I hope this information is a help and as always comments and suggestions are most welcome.

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