Help with workflow changes DAM

Hi: Long-term LR user here and trying to explore how to best integrate PL5 into an efficient workflow and data management/storage routine. I mostly photograph birds, nature and family - taking several hundred shots.

Current workflow:
camera>copy to working folder>cull using FRV>import to LR, copying source(RAW) files to a backed-up storage folder>tag and process>external process some in PS and/pr Topaz DeNoise>Export and print as jpg or tiff as desired.> review remaining photos and cull more after final review. I then back-up the LR catalog.
I have not been keeping any XMP or other sidecar files as all of my adjustments are “in” LR. I use the tags and metadata stored in LR to search for older photos as needed. I keep the RAWs to potentially re-process in the future using newer software and new/different output. I also like the way I can search in LR sing the Map function for photos taken in an area (for my geotagged bird and nature photos).

I very much like the way PL processes the RAW photos and, by default, does a better job of lens correction and basic noise reduction by default for all photos. So integrating PL5 into my workflow has benefits. But means more files to manage - the original photo (RAW), a tiff or DNG of similar file size, another catalog, and sidecar files (.dop and perhaps xmp).

My initial thought is to insert PL5 between FRV and LR import. Then my LR workflow stays the same beginning with PL5-generated DNGs or TIFs. I would then store bot the RAW files and the DNG/TIF in by backups. But this ignores the PL5 catalog and .dop files. This appears to be the least disruptive, but requires I store 2 large files (RAW and DNG or TIF) for each photo and keeps me tied to LR.

So…exploring alternatives
Does the DNG option embed the original RAW file in a way that it’s recoverable for future software (such as a newer version of DeepPrime which only works on RAW files)? If so, perhaps I don’t need to save both the RAW and the DNG?

Is there a way in PL5 to duplicate the Map function in LR? Can PL5’s filtering and keyword searches be set up to cover a large database of photos similar to the way LR’s catalog’s search functions?

Which files should I save (archival) in such a workflow? How do you organize them (one large folder or subfolders)?

Are there other programs for DAM that work well with PL5 such that I dump LR altogether?



I use Photo Mechanic Plus (PMP) to copy files from camera card to hard drive then use PMP to cull and tag. if I need to compare similar files in more detail I use Fast Raw Viewer (FRV) to tag the best photo. Finally I do all my processing in PhotoLab (PL).

PMP is my DAM where I manage all my photos and has the ability to use multiple databases where I can seperate different projects into different databases. I do not use PL as a DAM and set it to create .dop files and to synchronise to .xmp files so that it reads tags etc. I use filtering in PL to select photos to process.

The result is:

  1. PMP is my DAM
  2. PL is my RAW processor
  3. FRV is used if required for extremely quick culling and to check RAW histogram and focus with up to 4 photos side-by-side for comparing.

I was a LR user from version 1 through 6 and dumped it in favour of the above programs.

Hope this helps.

PS: You can use LR in the same way as I use PMP if you don’t want to buy more software.

Thank you!
I will check out PMP for DAM.