Gav's Blog

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear, you shout and no one seems to hear

Archive for the ‘feature request’ tag

FR: Lightroom should automatically mange files and folders

without comments

I have just submitted the following feature request to Adobe. I think it would be fantastic to have the option to let Lightroom automatically manage all files and folders using the capture time metadata field. This approach doesn’t make sense to everyone, but for those that manage their files by date and time, I believe it makes good sense.

Update – amusingly, Adobe limit their submission form to 2000 characters, and mine was about 3600. So I split it in two!

*******Enhancement / FMR*********
Brief title for your desired feature:
Provide configuration option to allow Lightroom to automatically manage files and folders by date and time metadata.

How would you like the feature to work?
1. Lightroom Preferences. I believe there should be a preference option that allows LR to automatically manage all folders and files in a catalogue. In the preferences the user would be able to set the following policies that are applied to all images.

1a. Folder structure – determine the folder structure e.g. yyyy/yy-mm-dd/
1b. File name – determine file name e.g. yyyymmdd-hhmmss-n
1c. Manual or Automatic update – determine whether changes are made immediately when date/time metadata is adjusted (Automatic) or if a user-initiated refiling is undertaken only when the user manually starts the process (Manual). Recommended default should be Automatic (e.g. immediate) updates.
1d. Time field – probably want to default to capture time. Not sure if this approach is useful for other times.

2. When a user imports images using ‘automatic file management’ the file handling import option is greyed out, and indicates that it is being automatically managed and shows the file/folder naming structure selected in the preferences. All other relevant import options are made available.

3. When a user edits date/time information in any way, upon saving the metadata, the image filename, and if necessary the folder it is located in is adjusted to represent the new date/time metadata (Automatic). This results in immediate refiling of the photo when the date/time is adjusted. Otherwise, the image stays in the same location until such time as the user interactive tells Lightroom to refile all images based on their current capture date/time (Manual).

4. If the user opts to change the filing policy set in the preferences – Lightroom should support a complete refiling of the library. E.g. if the directory policy is changed from yyyy/yy-mm-dd/ to yyyy/mm/dd/ then Lightroom should prompt the user to restructure the whole library now under the new policy, and indicate that this may take some time depending on the size of the library ;)

5. Provide an option to check and refile all images that are currently selected (whether in grid, or by folder). This would allow the user to force a manual refile immediately. This option should of course only be visible to users that have enabled automatic filing.

Why is this feature important to you?
I would like to avoid having to manage names and locations of files and folders. I would like to optionally configure Lightroom to fully manage the names and locations of all folders and files. As long as I can define a policy for how the folders and filenames are structured, I am not concerned about having full control over the filename and location. I would like the image metadata to determine where it is stored on the hard drive.

As Lightroom currently stands (v2.3) when the capture date/time is adjusted, the file retains the imported time (which is clearly incorrect) and possibly is stored in the wrong folder (if the time adjustment has been across midnight). This is particularly an issue with travel photos.

It would be very nice to have the option to have all this managed automatically and transparently by Lightroom. Of course this should be an opt-in process only, as it really makes sense for uses that manage their photos using date and time. Conceivably, it may be possible to have Lightroom manage files and folders using other forms of metadata automatically in future, but I believe date and time makes the most sense to start with.

Written by Gavin Treadgold

April 22nd, 2009 at 1:44 pm