Digital asset management is not new. Digital Asset Management is a fancy term for what photographers have always done….just not always digitally. Photographers always had backup systems, metadata, catalogs, filing systems, originals and derivatives.
A woman ahead of her time, my great-grandmother decided to travel the world. As an older widow in the 1950s she didn’t just go to Yellowstone and Yosemite, she visited Thailand, Tibet, China, Japan and Iran (seriously!). One small detail… she did this alone! No guides. No experience speaking the language. Just Mama, a small suitcase, and a decent camera. While she was there, she took some amazing photos. Some look like they could have been shot today. Some show the time period.
She kept the negatives securely locked away in a fire safe vault. For the prints, she carefully stored them in a photo album. She took notes in the margins with the locations and dates. My mother became the caretaker for Mama’s photos and converted the slides into digital files using Go Photo. My mother then sent them out to the family. Prints now are prominently displayed in my sister’s dinning room among many other places. (more…)
Today’s cameras do a lot, but they give the image files terribly boring names like IMG_01234.NEF. This file name doesn’t tell you much about the image. Starting at the image ingestion process, it is important to setup a complete digital asset management system for keeping track of your photos. One of the first things you can do to begin the image archival process is to give your photos a proper name.
You might be thinking that image catalog management software packages like Lightroom and Aperture do an awesome job of searching for images across folders using the file’s metadata, so why bother renaming the files? I would somewhat agree… if the only purpose of the files were to live in Lightroom or Aperture. But as a serious photographer, you export files to the web and share them with clients or friends. When exporting photos outside of the catalog, you want to have a proper name that makes the photo identifiable. You also make derivative files in programs like Photoshop. It is important that you are able to identify images outside of the comfort of Lightroom and Aperture. (more…)