We are so happy to have Kayla Lamoreaux here with a guest post today! If you’ve listened to Kayla on the Digi Show podcast, you will know that she is extremely knowledgeable about both organizing digital supplies, and Lightroom! Here’s a little bit about Kayla:
I love scrapbooking digitally and using technology to make life easier. For the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in this industry, teaching everything from digital scrapbooking to photo and supply organization. I love technology and how much easier it has made memory keeping in my life – to that end I love sharing whatever I can with others to help them in their journey to preserve their stories and memories.
Kayla has taught Digital Scrapbooking and Photo Organization at Digital Scrapper. You can now find her at her own site where she hosts classes and blogs about digital scrapbooking, photography, and anything else that inspires her.
After teaching photo organization in five different software programs, I am often asked where I choose to store not only my personal photos, but also my digital supplies. The answer is Lightroom.
The path that led me to Lightroom was pretty long and involved stops in places like ACDSee,Photoshop Elements, Aperture, and iPhoto. I even learned about Picasa, which is another organizing program that is free. In the end I chose Lightroom.
The reasons are many – the most important one being that Lightroom is the software that allows me to accomplish the most in my workflow in the least amount of time and stress. It also works seamlessly with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Last but definitely not least, Lightroom allows for non-destructive image editing and allows me to add metadata and keep track of thousands of items on multiple hard drives without the hard drives being attached to my computer.
There are a lot of scrapbookers out there who get that Lightroom is great for photos. When I tell them I am also organizing my supplies in Lightroom, I get some puzzled looks followed by the question, “How do you do that when Lightroom doesn’t recognize PNG files?”
First things first – organizing your supplies in any software can be a daunting task. Currently I have 40,000+ images in my digital supply collection. That is a lot to think about organizing – especially when about 60% are in PNG format…
Long story short, after a lot of research on digital asset management and the PNG file format I learned a few things: 1) PNG files are great for maintaining transparency and sharing online because of their size, and 2) PNG files are not great at holding metadata or keywords because there is no uniform format to hold that metadata.
So, if I wanted my supplies organized with the keywords and info written directly into the files, I needed to convert my PNG files to another format. Keywords and metadata make it so no matter what software you organize in, you will be able to organize your files instead of starting over. I only wanted to organize my files once.
What followed after all these discoveries was a process that I am still refining. It involves a workflow that incorporates Adobe Bridge along with Lightroom. I have been working on the process since this summer.
What I can tell you is that it works. I am still in the process of keywording my supplies so that eventually I will be able to locate them by not just kit and designer, but also color, type, and season/theme. So if I want a green staple, I will just search for it and find every green staple in my catalog within seconds.
As I have continued to bring new supplies into the system, the workflow works. I also love that I can search my photos for a layout in Lightroom and then in the same software search for digital papers and elements to scrapbook them with, opening them all in Photoshop. My workflow has never flowed that easily from photos and supplies to Photoshop. And just in case you are wondering, if you are working in Photoshop Elements, Lightroom works with that as well.
The best part is even though I don’t have everything organized yet, my 15 minute organizing sessions are getting me somewhere as I am already reaping the benefits of being able to search what has been keyworded.
So when it comes to organizing, no matter what software you use I would recommend three things:
1) Find a software that feels intuitive and easy to use.
2) Make sure that the work you put into it – i.e. keywording, categories, etc. is something you can get out – even if you change programs.
3) Take it one small step at a time – organize your previews to start and then begin organizing things by designer and kit and so on.
Are you organized with your supplies? What software do you use and what do you like best about your system? Share in the comments, I am sure there is a lot we can all learn from one another. 🙂
P.S. For more Lightroom resources check out this page in our tutorials section.