Black and White Photography

My Lightroom file directory contains jpg, nef, dng, cr2 and who knows what else files. I wanted to understand what happens if I open Lightroom, go to my top level folder, click on it, then do command-s.

I did some more searching, and found this:

Am I correct that one by one, Lightroom will open every image and either write a sidecar file to the raw images, or add all the data to the original image file?

Also, while I realize if I open the file later in Lightroom, it will open normally, but what will happen if I open it in PL4 ? Will PL4 be aware of my editing, or will it ignore the previous editing?

Finally, if I copy/move the entire folder structure (after doing the above) and put it on an older iMac still with the original Lightroom 6 in place (but do not move over the catalog) will Lightroom 6 on the old computer recognize the files and edits? Maybe I should ask this in a Lightroom forum…

PL4 doesn’t know anything about your LR image edits. I don’t think any of the raw developer programs can read each other’s edits. However, PL4 should see the metadata edits that LR has done (e.g., Rating or any of the other tags that PL4 reads).

I was thinking about your question. Let’s forget about Lightroom for now, for many reasons. Starting with January 2020, I don’t think I have added new photos there. I think of it as a closed "image storage system. All my images used to go there, and my editor was Lightroom.

When I switched to PhotoLab, I created a new top level folder named _ PhotoLab _ with the folder structure shown above.

Maybe I’m not doing this correctly - where should I store images that cannot be edited in PhotoLab? This includes raw photos from my Leica M8.2 and my Fuji X100f (with X-trans sensor). That was the purpose of my _ Other _ top level folder, a place to store all. images that don’t work with PL4.

I doubt I will be using the older Leica very much, but especially when I’m overseas, the Fuji is the camera I use most often. (In India I also often use a smaller Canon G7X Pro Mk II, but PL4 should work with those images.)

(A year ago, it was suggested here the PhotoLab was closer to having the ability to work with the X-trans sensor, but nobody has discussed it since then. I just tested it again - jpg images from the Fuji work fine now, but PL4 still doesn’t recognize the raw images. Maybe the answer is to shoot in RAW+JPG, and at some point PL4 might be updated.)

Lightroom uses a catalog to store metadata and development settings.
Lightroom’s catalog corresponds to PhotoLab’s database.
Photos are, wherever you put them,

  • they are NOT in Lightroom’s catalog file,
  • they are NOT in PhotoLab’s database either,
  • they are free to be moved or copied (beware of issues if done wrongly)

Using command-s writes data from Lr’s catalog into the image- or sidecar-file,
as you noted in post #79 above.

As for Fuji X-Trans raw files: I’d be greatly surprised if DxO added this capability to PhotoLab anytime soon. They’d have to re-invent the demosaicing and deep prime code, two of their most important assets.

As @platypus suggests, you would likely be better off to have your folders structure based on the images themselves, rather than on the program(s) you might use to develop/or manage them. After all, you might use more than one program over time to develop a single set of images.

For example, you could use a folder structure using a ‘Photos’ root folder, with subfolders based on the source of the images (e.g., scanner name or camera name). Below that you could use year/date-based folders (e.g., 2020/January etc.; the specifics would likely depend on how many images you want in each folder).

Conceptually, this is much simpler than separate sets of folders based on the program(s) used to process images.

As noted above, if you use a DAM to manage your images, that can also considerably simplify folder naming/organization. It means for example you could use simple date-based folder names and use image metadata (e.g., camera used, image location, etc. that exists in the DAM) to find/manage specific images for processing. It’s a different, simpler way of thinking and organizing your images.

The last response from this thread in 2019 implied it might be coming:

I’ll find an alternative way to do this, or maybe I’ll change my mind and use Lightroom. Or, I can shoot raw+jpg planning ahead. I tested it earlier - PL4 seems to work find with Fuji jpg images.

That makes a lot of sense.
Apple has a “Pictures” folder. I could create a new folder under that named “Cameras”
Within the “Cameras” folder, I can continue doing just what I’m doing now, but the images under the “Nikon Df” folder, for example, all would have come from my Nikon Df. Ditto for each of my cameras.

I will sleep on this for a day or so, and see what issues there might be. The most negative thing I can think of, is let’s say I made a two day visit to some city, and mused multiple cameras. Doing it this way the different groups of photos would be in different locations.

Maybe I’m just being silly about this. Maybe I should just create a folder for 2021, and lump all the images tougher regardless of which camera they came from, or which editor I used. I can start again in January 2022.

I’m having second thoughts about all of this. I think I’m about ready to start out all over again, and under my Apple Pictures folder I’ll just create a single folder ‘2021’. All my images, regardless of which camera, or scanner, or whatever will all be lumped together, using the sorting system I use now, but they will all be in one place. I’m just making things too complicated for myself.

As I do now, I’ll have sub-folders based on country, and for each country I’ll have the organization I’m currently using.

Should/if I want to use Lightroom again, the photos will stay put, and Lightroom can add them to its database based on where I first put them. I just have to use the ADD function, not COPY or MOVE.

This sounds too easy - I must be missing something…

For dates it is best to use yyyy-mm-dd for sorting

I now agree completely. I will set this up tomorrow.

I learned that in the PhotoMechanic learning curve - I now follow it for both folders and files, such as:

Screen Shot 2021-01-07 at 20.11.02

It was also suggested I put the vertical bar “|” after the date.

For all these years, I never realized this. Thanks!

1 Like

One issue - for folders, I agree with you, but I find PL4 much easier to work with when I put the original image name first. My folders would look like this, but when I’m inside PL4, it’s instantly obvious which image is which.

I couldn’t think of any other way to do this:

Any better suggestions?

When I look down at the film roll at the bottom of the screen, I want to know the file name - at that point, the date isn’t so important to me.

My third column for the year may not be needed - I’ll leave that column out.

Any other suggestions?

All of my images (at least for now) are going into my hard drive, which has these locations:

The most logical thing for me to do is either continue keeping all my images underneath the main folder “Pictures”, or at some point to move it alll to an external drive. My backup software, Apple Time Machine, will be making backups of the “Pictures” folder along with other manual backups I do from time to time.

Gosh, it’s been so long, I don’t remember what I used to do with Windows many years ago. I’ll check that out later today, assuming my Lenovo laptop will still boot.

My newly created 2021 folder will be directly inside Apple’s “Pictures” folder.

You guys (and gals) have done me a big favor. I’m normally a creature of habit. What I will do “tomorrow” is the same as what I used to do “yesterday”. Then you come along and question “why”, and discover there is a better way to do things. Thankyou!

Don’t use a default os directory as Pictures.The os is using that. In windows but I think apple to.


Not a problem on MacOS. “Pictures” is just a normal folder (with a nice icon and localized name) which is used as a default location for some software. Unlike “Documents” it doesn’t default for iCloud Drive synchronization which I think is reasonable given the size of images and because the Photos Library is located here by default.

1 Like

That’s why. Wouldn’t be my choice.


I don’t see the problem with creating another folder inside Pictures. As @Calle said, there is nothing special apart from it existing by default and with a localised name and icon. The only reason I don’t store my photos in there is due to size. If I decided to have my photos on my internal drive, I would just drag my Master Photos directory into Pictures without a second thought. Nothing will write into my folder except that which I tell to.

Screen Shot 2021-01-08 at 20.59.11

1 Like

From an efficiency point of view, you’ll want to balance the number of folders per layer and and the depth of the folder structure: Let’s say that you have 100 folders. Putting 100 folders on the top level makes things unwieldy, same as 100 folders below one top folder. Creating a 10x10 structure could be an idea…

I see two (simplified) concepts for a photo repository:

  1. Toplevel by item, sublevel by date -> best for people who shoot specific things, occasions etc.
  2. Toplevel by date, sublevel by item -> easiest for the casual shooter

As a casual shooter, my photo folder looks like this:
Entry folder - Year folders - Occasion folders (and subfolders*)

As for file names:
I let Lr replace the four leading characters (IMG_) by the shooting date YYYYMMDD.
If you shoot with several bodies in parallel, some additional info is necessary to circumvent occasional name duplicates…

@Joanna seems to use a structure along concept #1

my toplevel photo folder is /Users/Shared/Shared Photos/ because I access the bunch from several user accounts…
subfolders*: DPL is not very well suited for large folders, therefore I limit folders to 200-300 images.

What I changed to, based on what I’ve learned in the past, and the new things I’ve learned here, is to do it like this:


The folder that will become most crowded is what I called IMAGE-FOLDER. This will be the folder that PhotoMechanic copies my images into, when they come off the memory card(s).

As the people who work with Photo Mechanic, and then you guys, suggested what I’m calling IMAGE-FOLDER will have the date at the beginning of the file name.

As to my IMAGES, since PM4 shows the beginning of the file name, that will be the file name created by the camera, followed by more information about the photo(s).

Just to reiterate what I suggested above, if you’re using PM as your DAM, location information should be available in the DAM and doesn’t really need to be used in your folder structure (it’s just a duplication of information that can complicate folder management). That is, if you trust your DAM (in most cases you should).

Yes, definitely.

We can do the things we did in the “chemical darkroom” in the “DPL darkroom” and then some, easier, and less smelly too.