I often find myself searching sub-folders of files and photos (and I have a ton of them). After a certain critical mass of files, say 10 thousand, drilling down forever and hand-picking files doesn’t really do it for me.
I understand the old system of adding photo information to the front of photos is still in practice. And being taught. In other words, draw a wide border on your photo and type onto it.
Because I’m old and cranky, I’d like to point out a couple of huge problems with this method.
One, it takes forever if you have thousands, or even hundreds, of photos. Two, the information is not search-able unless you also include it in mile-long file-names. Two-and-a-Half, changing and updating is unbelievably tedious and messy.
Oh, and Three, depending on the software you’re using, just opening a photo can strip out the maker notes. Not everyone cares about maker notes or even knows what they are, so here’s a short demonstration.
These are maker notes.
Here are the maker notes after opening a copy of the same photo in Adobe Photoshop Elements, cropping it and re-saving.
I use Adobe Photoshop Elements for editing copies of my TIFF scans and I think it works fine for that. I’ve used it for so long I can’t even imagine doing anything else. But I wouldn’t open a photo off my digital camera with it if you paid me. I recently discovered that my digital photos that were exposed to the Photoshop Elements Organizer back in 2006 or so had their maker notes stripped out and they weren’t even edited, just imported.
I will not have Picasa on my computer so I can’t check this for myself. But, I suggest you do. Make a copy of one of your photos that hasn’t been exposed to Picasa yet, import it into Picasa and then have a look at the EXIF.
I can’t speak for the other major or minor photo-editing software that’s around. I know that ACDSee Pro 2.5 is safe.
Back to the subject at hand.
If you’re using IPTC to annotate your photos instead, or if you’re using my suggestion for MRIN filing where you have many sub-folders inside another folder, you can still do searches across all the files.
In XnView, for instance. You can pick any top folder and choose to include the sub-folders. There’s all kinds of other ways to narrow down your search from there. XnView will also search file-types other than images depending what you’re looking for. For instance, a search for a particular word in a file-name will bring up all kinds of file formats.
GeoSetter is another one where you can slice and dice your search options everywhichway to Sunday.
IPTC has been around for a few decades and I don’t think it’s going away. I’m confident working with my photos this way, including thousands of digitized source documents in image format. If you’re in this for the long-term you might consider moving this way. Think of it as source documentation for photographs because that ‘s really what it is. Except it’s easier because there are no semi-colons.