What’s In A Name?

January 04, 2018  •  1 Comment

What's In A Name?What's In A Name?

For Cataloguing of this image, see “Technical” at the foot of this blog

I shared in my 1 January announcement that I had spent much time in 2017 upgrading my workflow with new software tools for post-processing and Data Asset Management (DAM).  The latter included a long-delayed investment of time in cataloguing my images with keywords with a view to rendering my enormous database accessible and fully useable. Since I can now be “holier than thou”, I am starting the year with an encouragement to you to do the same. If you are already in that angelic crowd who have properly identified all your images in depth, then I take my hat off to you.


Whichever case that you are in, any comments and/or advice that you have to give me on the following exposé of my methodology are very welcome.


The Curse Of Being Special And Different


I am a serial repeater of the error of creating my own solutions to generic problems. This has caused me much pain in the past, whether with equipment decisions, software choices and enormous wasting of time, but I appear to be obsessed with finding a path that satisfies my uniqueness and ego. I find myself reversing back up a well-trodden path to go back down the other fork in the road, all the while declining to ask help from other travellers who have already been to where I need to go and know the way. I am not recommending this to anyone.


That is the bad news. The good news is that when it occasionally works out well, I am able to pat myself on the back and feed the ego-monster with a large dose of praise. Luckily for me and this blog, my tailor-made key-wording method is proving to be very helpful, both in the inputting phase, as well as the search process.




The first element is a no-brainer: "Location". Professional camera makers are truly challenging Hubris by turning their noses up at the internet-based features of camera phones and compact devices used by the image-taking proletariat. I am thinking of the simplicity of file transfer and distribution and geo-tagging. While my iPhone images are saved with pre-loaded, precise time and place information, my Nikon will condescendingly let me know only the time of the capture and its time-zone, giving me a choice of perhaps 20 countries to guess where I took the image.


I compensate for this by taking photographs of signs marking the area or item, when available, and/or taking a photo with my phone. The latter is not a better, or cheaper, option than investing in a satellite-capable, professional GPS locator, but it is one less thing to carry.


So, Location is my first data entry point, within which are nested: Location/ Country/ Region or State/ City/ Street/ Quarter and Monument. With one click, marking up an image of the Eiffel Tower, for example, creates the chain of “breadcrumbs”: Eiffel Tower/ Paris/ Isle de France/ France/ Country/ Location, any of which can be the subject of a search term. The image will appear in all of these.


My second category took the greatest amount of thought. I have a strong sense of the particular subjects and types of photography that drive my passion for image making. I call these my “Genres”. I did not come to this knowledge of myself naturally, but only when professional sites asked me to identify myself and my body of work in writing. When I looked over my creative efforts, in an attempt to bring some order into what was until then a non-structured view of my activities, I was surprised to find that they fell into some very distinctive categories that have proved to vary very little over time.


These are, in alphabetical order: Abstract; Aerial; Architecture; Black & White; Close-Up; Events; Night; Still Life and Water. To round out the cataloguing exercise I found I needed to add “Fine Art”, simply for commercial image identification and “People”, for work where I receive private and public commissions, but where I am not emotionally engaged, oddly enough.


Most of these categories have “nested” sub-categories, allowing me to refine my searches for other recurrent categories such as silhouettes, reflections, the moon etc. Architecture has the greatest degree of sub-editing, since it includes a large variety of structures and circumstances such as “Church” which includes:  Abbey, Cathedral, Gothic, Monastery, Mosque, Shrine, Synagogue. Every such detailed, “nested” keyword list is constantly evolving, as my key wording activity finds so-far unidentified subjects.




The last remark is most relevant for my third category: “Subject”. This is the one on which I spend most of my time and which gives rise to the greatest number of itemisations per image. Since the “nesting” capability of the software allows me to burrow keywords underneath as many layers as I want or need, I can be as precise as I need to be. So far, I find that a maximum of 3 levels suffice. For example, Equipment/ Musical Instrument/ Piano. If it so happened that I was interested in the latter to a high degree, I could dig deeper with the layer Piano/ Grand, Harpsichord, Upright etc. and even further categorise “Piano/ Grand" into  “Piano/ Grand/ Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Steinway etc.


Driven by my historic activities, the core Subject layers are: Art, Equipment, Cityscape, Emblem/ Sign, Landscape, Person, Plant, Seascape, Species, Structure, Vehicle, Weather/ Season and Work. I list them alphabetically in order to more quickly mouse over the appropriate choice, but I rely on the software’s ability to re-order them in any way, should I decide to change. For example, were I to bundle Persons, Species and Plants under, say, “Life”, it is simply a matter of “pulling” the relevant items with the mouse into the proper topic and level. The system will adjust the embedded data in the photograph accordingly.




My commitment for all new work from 01 01 2018 is to use Capture One to:


  • ingest images from the camera cards
  • automatically rename them with the date, time and a date sequence number
  • cull images to be discarded
  • transfer images to the disk holding the database of originals


Next, using Media Pro:


  • Catalogue the images with Location, Genre and Subjects
  • Rate the images for quality and later processing
  • Create new processing “Sessions” for the post-processing candidates



  • Backup everything!




Cataloguing the featured image. This is how it went:


Location/ Country/ Sweden/ Region/ Skåne/ Falsterbo


Genre/ Fine Art

Genre/ Night/ Landscape, Sunset

Genre/ Water


Subject/ Seascape/ Beach, Sea, Shoreline, Waves

Weather Season/ Winter


Any experiences you would like to share with me or others? Let me hear from you.

Copyright Paul Grayson 2018 All Rights Reserved


Cette image pour illustrer la lumière de la classification de tes photos dans l'immensité sombre de ton disque dur ?
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