I think I started digging around in my Lightroom catalogue because I'd decided to make myself a "best of" photo book. (I did, by the way - and I thoroughly recommend it to any keen photographer. It was such a buzz to see the book.)
Anyway ... I started with star ratings, and then rediscovered that I'd never had a really consistent way of rating my work. In fact, most of my images have no rating whatsoever, meaning I would be thrown back on that least reliable device in my arsenal: my memory.
So started trawling through my images - and found in incredible amount of rubbish. Three, four or more copies of the same image in various formats and sizes; most of which is the legacy of my pre-Lightroom days
BLR (before Lightroom), I'd load my raw file onto my computer and open it in Photoshop. Then I'd tweak it a bit and because I wanted my "negative" file for the future, I'd save it as a TIF. TIFs have the advantage that they aren't lossey - but they're big.
I did an experiment, to demonstrate file sizes - based on a file from my 16.3 Meg Fuji X100s:
A 34 Meg raw file becomes a 64 Meg TIF to protect the data after processing - or I could have saved it as a .PSD file to allow for more processing, which would be the same size. Alternately, I can save space with a JPEG or one quality or another - but only by throwing away much of my data. Oddly enough, the smallest non-lossy format was Adobe's DNG format. Maybe there's a lesson in that.
But the point is that I did this for several years: creating TIF and JPEG versions of files - often with a smaller "web" version of the JPEG - and cluttering up my drives, and thoroughly confusing myself in the process.
Then Lightroom appeared - and I saw it was good.
Now, my workflow is to load the image files onto my computer using LR - which places it in my catalogue. I then always (and for once, "always" means always
) keyword the images, and can process them.
Processing in this case means making adjustments which are stored by LR with my raw file at a cost of around 10k per file. The raw file remains pristine, and I can make virtual versions of any image, which allows me to have multiple versions of my images - at a cost of about 10k per version.
And because all these files are key worded - as well as having all their metadata - I can find a particular image in moments.
Yes, I'm a fan of LR and no, I don't get a spotter's fee from Adobe. In fact, due to their introducing their ridiculous subscription model for most of their products, Adobe's off my Christmas card list this year - but Lightroom is a great product.
As for my back catalogue, I find that 84% of the 29,500 images in LR have no rating - and most of the rest are rated in an idiosyncratic manner (to say the least!). So, if I rate 100 a day, say six days a week ... that will only take 11 months to complete.
What I really need is a 100% reliable script which will rate my images for me.
Christmas is coming up, so if Father Christmas and the Birthday Fairy work together, maybe I can have my wish.
Or ... I can suck it up and just do it ...