How to organize files of PL4 images

One of the things I liked about Lightroom was the way it organized images, and allowed me to find things months or years later. Does PL4 have a similar system that I haven’t found yet?

What I’ve done so far, is to create a top-level folder named PhotoLab inside my “Pictures” folder on the Mac - just like my lightroom and luminar folders.

Within that folder I’ve created “main” topics, such as India, USA, Personal, and so on.

Within the USA folder I created folders for different locations, such as Colorado, Miami Beach, New York, and so on.

Within the Miami Beach folder I now have folders for 2019, and 2020 - will add 2021 soon.

Within those folders, I have folders for events, or functions, or something to remind me of where I was and what I was doing - what the folders are about.

This may or may not be the best way to organize my photos - I did this for Lightroom, and I’m just following the same organization. I can change it if there’s a better way to do this. That got me to wondering if PL has some organizing tools I’m not yet aware of, to help me find my photos in the future.

Finally, if I re-organize my Lightroom photos, I need to do this from inside the Lightroom program. If I do it using the normal tools, like using Finder to re-arrange things, that confuses Lightroom. Is PL the same? If I want to rename, or move, a folder, is there a reason to do it from with PL, rather than Finder?

No, DXO does not have a catalogue system like LR.

There is a basic find system when you are in the Photo library view.

Take a look at this for starters:


Aha! Much of that makes total sense to me.

So, suppose I want to be able to search for all my photos of boats, or trees. I need to find the “keywords” field, and enter the appropriate keywords for each appropriate image. Then I could search for all my images that relate to that keyword.

I will go through my existing photos, and add keywords to them, and starting today, as I add new photos I will take the time to add keywords for each one of them.

If I’m on the right track, can I add a keyword to ALL the images in a folder at once?

Thank you. This seems very logical.

Hello Mike,
in the old days people put their pictures in a shoe box, maybe leveled “Vacat. Hawaii 1979” etc…
What you are doing now is you create the electronic version of a shoe box. The problem with that approach is that it is very hard to find specific pictures unless you remember all of them.
But if I ask you to “show me ALL the files where your wife is on” it would be a long undertaking. If you have labelled it correctly in a DAM software you would have it in seconds.

I can recommend you have a look at proper DAM software and organize your files there and NOT on a folder level. Keep the folder level as simple as possible.

A good book to get started on this is “The DAM book” - especially the first edition explains a lot about folder structures.


I haven’t yet found the first edition, but I did find the new release:

It’s $72, and doesn’t come with any software as far as I can tell.

One good answer to my concern is Lightroom, but I can’t “own” Lightroom any more, only rent it, and if I stop paying for it, it will probably stop working.

I know you’re right - all I’m doing now is creating electronic shoe boxes.

I’m going to give up on this for now, and go back to learning my Leica, and learning PhotoLab 4. In the meantime, if keywords work as well as described. that may be enough.

[quote=“mikemyers, post:5, topic:16217”]
One good answer to my concern is Lightroom, but I can’t “own” Lightroom any more, only rent it, and if I stop paying for it, it will probably stop working.

If you stop paying for Lr you still have access to the Library (Dam) module but not the Develop module. An alternative might be Adobe Bridge which is free and does a good job as a basic dam.


I can support this without hesitation. Folder structures do have limits and here’s why:

Let’s take a moment for a simple PLOT model:

  • Assume that an image can have four dimensions: People, Location, Occasion, Time.
  • Assume a binary model where each dimension is either relevant or not (1 or 0)

We could now create a set of 16 folders (Folder 0 to Folder 15) into which we could put our images.

  • Folder 0 (all dimensions are irrelevant) is the trash or the place for unsorted images
  • Folder 1 (People) could be used for portraits of aunt Maggie
  • Folder 2 (Location) is for Landscapes
  • Folder 3 (People and Location) Aunt Maggie at the beach
  • Folder 5 (People and Occasion) Aunt Maggie’s wedding
  • Folder 13 (People, Occasion, Time) Aunt Maggie’s 3rd wedding
  • Folder 15 (everything is relevant - similar to folder 0, but not quite)

Although the model has some potential, we can see that things can get complicated:

  • There’s not only aunt Maggie, but also George, Barbara and Ali as well as…
  • Q: Where to look for all images of aunt Maggie?
    A: In all folders folders with an uneven number…
  • Add criteria “Animal” and “Plant” and you’ll get 64 folders instead of 15

Asset Management (and more) to the rescue! AM offers almost unlimited numbers of criteria, sub-criteria, sub-sub-criteria etc. with hierarchical keywords. Adding keywords is work that you must do yourself or trust to be added by someone/something else like Adobe Sensei or Google or uncle Sam. Collecting images is easy, finding them later can get tricky (in a few years, your kids might want to find things too).

Walking the asset managed path takes some effort and is best done with gear that is meant for that purpose. PhotoLab is a good raw developer, it is not a good asset manager yet - imo.

[quote=“colin_g, post:7, topic:16217, full:true”]

You may find this helpful

Where can I find a list of proper DAM software that I could buy?

In the Internet? It got me this site, your search will probably go somewhere else… I have not read through the site, so be your own judge…

I’ve been using Lightroom since version 1 and it still does what I want…

You really should look at Bridge. It is quality stuff and free - you have nothing to lose :slight_smile:

If you use Lightrom, you can continue to use it as DAM for free.

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Thanks again. PhotoMechanic Plus has a new asset management system, integrated with the basic program. I just bought it. I had a very long phone discussion with John in tech support, who explained how it works, what it does, and so on.

Now I need to learn it.