Cataloguing, listing, describing - a DAM thing to do

>> Sunday, 28 March 2010

This post is mostly for the photographers who happen to read this blog.

Having a large number of photos makes it imperative to have some way of managing them. I have close to 100,000 raw images and currently about 30,000 "developed" (processed) photos. It's more than what I can keep in my head.

For quite some time I have been using a digital asset management software (DAM sw) called Extensis Portfolio to manage both my raw files and my "develops". The DAM sw helps you organise, classify and find your images. For example, you can use it to assign keywords to the images. These images makes it possible to do searches and then find your images.

[There's a distinct difference between a cataloguing solution, such as Portfolio, and an "image browser" application. An example of the latter is Photoshop Bridge or ACDSee. They don't really create a catalogue with the image information but simply displays what happens to be in the folder that you have browsed to. That is really not sufficient for larger number of photos, or professional use.]

Extensis Portfolio is a solution that I have been using for quite a long time and invested a lot of time and effort in, as well as recommended to many others. However, lately (over the last year and a half actually) it has become increasingly clear that Extensis does not see photographers as a key part of their market. An example: Their product is not able to read and display raw files from Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras - a hugely successful professional and semi-professional camera that came on to the market 15 months ago.

Conclusion: It is time to move away from Extensis Portfolio and find a better, more modern Digital Asset Management solution.

I am looking at a couple of different solution. Mainly:

Microsoft Expression Media: what used to be iView Media Pro before it was bought by Microsoft. A product that is very similar to Portfolio but seems to have stayed more in touch with the professional photographers market.

iDimager: a new-ish DAM sw that have been enthusiastically recommended to me.

Adobe Lightroom: which in its latest incarnation seems to have the potential to be a real DAM and cataloging tool.

Over the next month or so I will be testing these and perhaps other solutions.

If you have any experience of them I'd be very interested to hear!


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