Photo Tagging Strategy

I have several years of photos that need tagging, which will be a lot of work. I’m trying to think of what would be the most efficient way to go about it. I would like to note all the people, pets, etc in each photo, the event if applicable, maybe a caption when warranted.

Do you make multiple passes through the collection for each type of data?

When doing names, do you go photo by photo and pull in all the names for each one?

Do you decide “I am tagging person A”, gather all the photos with that person and apply the tag? Then go back thru for each person that appears in a substantial # of them?

There seem to be a lot of situations where among a couple dozen photos that all have A, 2/3s have B, half have C (with some overlap between them) and a smattering of D E and F among them all. Batch tagging sounds like a timesaver at first, but then it turns into a nightmare of managing sets of tags that intersect in different ways.

It might be better to grab a batch of photos and give them all tags that appear in maybe 75% of them, and then go photo by photo and delete the ones that don’t apply.

How much detail do you go into when tagging? This isn’t for photo sharing, but tags and dates will be the means of organizing, rather than folders.

What program do you think has the best interface for tagging, (Mac or Windows) that writes metadata to the file (no proprietary libraries lie iPhoto)?

I like DigiKam (Linux and Windows versions available) for tagging and organising photos. I use a hierarchical tagging strategy, and work on an event (folder) at a time.

My folders are labelled YY\MM&lt;event>. All the photos have been renamed to YYMMDD@HH-MM-SS_<seq>.jpg.
I tag place, country, event type (all at once, usually), people, pets (using multi-select) etc and then individually caption and score the photos. I should geotag them as well. Doing this when I download from my camera helps, but every so often I go through a historical phase, folder by folder.


Here’s another question- Does anyone know a program that will merge tags from different copies of the same file? My wife and I both would like to work on the photos, often during downtime at work. This means copying them on to the laptop to take along. If it was just me, then I could copy them back over the originals on the server at home, but if we both do that, one will overwrite the other’s work.

One solution would be to load everything up to Flickr and do the tagging there and use a program I found that will sync the tags back to the local files. However I would like to use uploading 20gb as a last resort, that will take forever.

I don’t know - I can’t see any tools that do it. You could write a script (using the exiv2 library), but it would not be easy. I would just split the task - give your wife half the images, and you work on half. When all the images are tagged, then swap to ensure that you both have looked at all the images.