Digital Asset Management (DAM), folders organization and RAW files-- what is your flow?


Currently I use following DAM flow utilizing Rapid Photo Downloader, Darktable and Digikam:

  1. Download files from the camera with RPD and store it separate directories based on the type but with same hierarchy, for example ~/Videos/Year/Event for videos and ~/Pictures/Sources/Year/Event for RAW files
  2. After that I import RAW files from the specific source directory into Darktable for further processing
  3. Final results are exported into dedicated directory ~/Pictures/Final/Year/Event and finally processed in Digikam (tagging, rating, etc.)
  4. Make soft links to specific Videos directory into Photos one (so I can quickly navigate to videos if I currently browse event’s photos)

The reasons why I prefer such flow are:

  • Final event directory always contains only final instances of images and no intermediate version files like I need to have if want to non-destructive process RAW or regular image files in Digikam
  • Every time I can re-generate all the photos with new settings in place, i.e. different format

Disadvantages of such flow are pretty clear and I have to use 3 applications as well as re-write tags into final images on updates of raw ones. I wonder if I can do similar DAM flow utilizing only DigiKam? What DAM and folders organization do you use for handling RAW, final JPGs and video files?

I have Rapid Photo Downloader put everything in a single folder img/YYYY/MMDD_jobcode with filenames as YYYYMMDDHHMM_YY_XXX where YY is the short camera model name and XXX is a part of the original file number just to ensure uniqueness. I would have liked shorter file names but find the above works well.

Raw files, sooc jpeg’s, video all goes into one place. When I shoot essentially the same thing over several days I get several daily folders with the same jobcode.

Exports end up in subfolders to the above most often web and export. The latter being full size. If I explore multiple edits I create differently named subfolders as necessary. Say BW for black and white or warmer for a different whitebalance etc

I previously (many years ago) used a top level directory for final images as you describe. I realised it’s hugely beneficial for me to have a tree where the outer leafs are final products or experiments and where files, copies and different edits from the same occasion are close to each other.

Images published or sent out get copied out of the img folder to a sort of admin part of my harddrives. This is mostly to document what went out when but also to make a final selection. I find I need to collect it all in one place before deciding on the final set. I could use collections in Geeqie or similar tools in other software but find it easier to copy them over. My backup system deduplicates so identical copies don’t increase my backup size. I do sometimes add or remove metadata from the files in this “out” folder.

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Thanks for sharing your personal DAM flow and thoughts on it!

Exports end up in subfolders to the above most often web and export.

Do you use Digikam’s built-in non-destructive editing and Batch Queue Manager for this purpose? Consider you have a fresh photo imported into img/2023/0823_foobar under filename 202308231300_FJ_123.dng. Then you made several editing rounds therefore have more related files in the same directory:

  • 202308231300_FJ_123_v1.png
  • 202308231300_FJ_123_v2.png

What filenames will be listed in img/2023/0823_foobar/export directory?