By Dan Dill.
An apparently unavoidable consequence of digital photography is the relatively rapid accumulation of a large number of images, and with it the challenge of keeping them organized. I have used the approach of building a computer folder hierarchy organized around subjects, making sure RAW image files were sensibly named to avoid duplicate names, and then organizing all work within a folder into subfolders there.
I could also then back up all of my photographic work simply by replicating the folder hierarchy on backup disks and another computer, and keeping thing synchronized with backup software.
I have been working this way for several years, and feeling that I had a sensible approach, Then, about a month ago, by chance I stumbled on a quite nice image that I had completely forgotten that I had made. This made me think that perhaps it was time to explore tools to catalog my images so that it would be less likely to "forget" things.
Quite by chance, at the same time I came across Peter Krogh's book "The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers."
The book lays out the requirements of a robust, scalable (and so for small to very large numbers of images) DAM workflow, He then goes through his particular implementation of such a workflow, based on Adobe Bridge CS2, Adobe Camera Raw 3, and iView Media Pro 3.
What I especially appreciate is the articulation of what a good DAM workflow should take care of, independently of the tools to do so. I say this because I use Capture One and Raw Shooter Premium instead of Adobe Camera Raw, and there are alternative keywording tools to Adobe Bridge (and iView Media Pro) and alternative cataloging tools to iView Media Pro. Of course, things are simplest it one follows Krogh particular implementation, but because of the careful detail Krogh provides in specifying general workflow requirements, the reader has a clear framework to adapt to the tools that may be preferred.
The DAM Book will not help us make better images, but it does give the guidance and details to keep our collections of images (however large) organized, safe, and accessible, and in a way that we can adapt to inevitable changes in software and hardware tools.
I should mention that once I dipped my toes in the water of image cataloging, I found my way to some helpful resources for knowledge and tools, and I wanted to close by pointing people to them.The DAM Book website
.DAM Useful Software
.The Controlled Vocabulary
Purchase The Dam Book here
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