Digital Photography – Image File Management

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 18,026
    Commercial photographer Michael Stewart discusses the basics of digital photography including Digital Asset Management.

    Michael Stewart: I am Michael Stewart. I am a commercial photographer and this is simple, digital photography. Now, we will talk about Digital Asset Management. It is very important that you save the images in more than one place. Many people just have their images on a hard drive on the computer. And it is very likely that that hard drive is going to crash and die at some point and all of your images will go with it unless you have them backed up somewhere. Now, several kinds of media that you can back these up on. I recommend a gold standard DVD is a good a way to archive your images. These last longer than a standard DVD but I still wouldn't trust them pass about five years. At that point, you really want to migrate on to newer media. The other type of media that you can use is an external hard drive. I recommend this because you can unplug it from your computer and then it is not subject to viruses or failures of the computer. Just plug it in, put your images on it for back up and then unplug it. So now, talking about having our images in three different places - on a hard drive on your computer where you can work with them, on a separate hard drive or some type of media and on a DVD. I feel that is pretty safe. Now, let's talk about work flow. I want to show you few things on the computer. One of the most important aspects of any image archive is the way that the folders and the files are named. Have your folder name 08_Images. Inside of this folder, I have one folder for each month of 2008. Inside of those folders, are the files which have been batch renamed using a program. Let's look at how I name those files. They are name used in the European date, then a unique file number and a descriptive name. European date is year first, then month, then day. Then we have an underscore, you can use an underscore or a dash and then an unique number, another underscore and then a descriptive name. Now, it is important that each file has its own name and these names line up the files in the order in which they were shot. This is really all we can do with a name. To try to name a file and have it make sense to you like Johnny. Johnny is your son, over the years you are going to have many pictures of Johnny. And so you are going to have Johnny this and Johnny that. They are not going to line up in order. You won't know when they are shot and it will make a very confusing archive for that kind of description. Those are better done in keywords inside of meta data which we will look at next. Meta data is information about the image. Now you can use Meta data fields to put in things about the creator, the date the photo was shot, where we shot. Keywords are very handy and then you can organize the files based on this meta data. Most Image Management software will give you the option of putting stars and labels on images. Now this is a nice way to organize your images. And then you can filter based on those stars and images, what you would like to look at. This green for TrashMe and then I can look at my two star images. These are my favorite from this shoot. If you look at some of the basics of managing an image archive, the specifics are going to depend on which software you are using. Your camera manufacture probably included some Image Management software which you may want to go further and purchase a more elaborate program like light room from Adobe, iPhoto. The main difference in this software is to determine whether it is a cataloging program or a browsing program. A browsing program simply shows you what is in the folders that you have. A cataloging program ingests and creates thumbnails and previews that are then recorded in a catalog and it doesn't matter whether those images are present in the folders. It may be on a drive that is unattached at the time, you will still be able to see the previews. The browsing program, those files must must be there. So get some software that works and makes sense to you and enjoy working with your archive. Those were the basics of Digital Asset Management and work flow. Next, let's talk about Color Management.