James Duncan Davidson on Big Catalogs

James Duncan Davidson, perhaps best known in the photography world as a conference photographer, has written an article on ways of managing large Libraries (which is equally appropriate for Aperture as it is for Lightroom users).

I imagine that when these, or indeed any photo management applications, were created the developers hadn’t quite considered the management possibilities and pitfalls of truly huge Catalogs.

Huge Catalogs are perfectly manageable, and very useful for searching through all your images, but do you need to keep all of your images? Some will say “Yes, because you never know…” and others are perfectionists who keep only the best. As other strategies have shown, there can be a use for a holding Catalog to hone what you import. This can mitigate against bloat, but it will only hold off for a while

One way to tackle questionable images is to put them into a Collection, and revisit them after a period of time. That will give you a fresh perspective and may avoid hasty judgements which lead you to delete an image which later down the line has some potential. You could take that further and put them in a separate To Be Revisited Catalog, so you still use Lightroom rather than another piece of software, as described in James’ article.

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