From camera to hard drive, with organization

Organization is not one of my natural talents. I want to do more photography but am sometimes overwhelmed by post, especially this step.

Ultimately I think I want to use darktable for tagging and editing.

Going from camera to computer I want to cull, organize file folders by year and month (each month gets a folder) and rename with day-month_description where description is a location or event. For example 48Nouary-Person_Birthday. Out of focus shots or too underexposed shots wouldn’t make it to the computer. (I’m on the fence about making folders for descriptions.)

Is darktable a good tool for this transfer process or should I consider other softwares? I’m using Windows 10, but may migrate to freebsd/plasma/kde in the future. I’m currently local to my laptop but I am thinking about adding a storage server as I move from a 4 mp to a 36 mp camera with 100 mp medium format aspirations in a year or two.

Hello Mark, paraphrasing your post, organization is my obsession… we could go into the details but in short, I think that darktable is definitely a good tool for keeping your photo library in good order.

If by editing you mean processing, well there’s no need to say more – darktable is probably among the best options (I’m making no distinction between commercial and open source apps here) even if less user friendly than others.

In case you mean editing = sorting the library, deciding what to keep and what to throw away, yes by all means; you have the usual tools available like 1 to 5 star ratings, color labels, sort by time/filename, compare before/after, selecting the best among a subselection, whatever you need really.

Tagging is probably something that initially could seem a little behind some of the other DAMs. Having moved away from Apple’s Aperture and Lightroom where I was using a lot albums or virtual folders (I can’t remember what they were called in Aperture or Lightroom so I may have used the wrong names here but the concept is clear), initially I was surprised not to find something similar in darktable.

Tags however can be anything you like and they can be hyerarchicals; so I started creating tags like ALBUM|Isle of Man|TT2015 or ALBUM|Cuba_1972 to replicate the album concept. You also have the possibility to assign keystrokes to specific tags using a LUA plugin so there’s really a lot of powerful tools to manage this aspect too.

Lastly about renaming; at the moment I’m using Rapid Photo Downloader to copy files from the camera and rename the files according to my defaults. The last version of darktable should be able to rename files too but haven’t tried it yet. I should point out that this renaming and placing the files into specific folders is a bit unnecessary if one uses tagging and exif data appropriately but obviously people have different opinions on that (I also have very broad and generic folders where I move files but I don’t obsess with multiple folder levels – my folders are “PERSONAL”, “TRAVEL”, “MOBILE” etc, so each of them can easily have 4-5000 photos inside).