Posts tagged with DAM


There’s an interesting and wide-ranging interview with Peter Krogh at The Week in Photography – including a LOL moment when Peter disinters my “DAM as serial monogamy” quip (thanks Peter!).


Last year PhaseOne finally acquired – “liberated” may be a better word –  Expression Media from Microsoft and gave it back its old name, MediaPro. I say “finally” because they had tried to add the original iView MediaPro cataloguing program to their CaptureOne raw conversion products back in 2006, and also because in those five years the post processing and cataloguing landscape has been transformed with the introduction of two major programs that combine those once-separate activities. To give an idea of how completely things have changed, I remember announcing Microsoft’s takeover to a trade show at Manchester United’s stadium, and since 2006 oil money has transformed City from a long-running joke into a pumped-up monster which might no longer need to call in Channel 4’s Time Team archaeologists to find any trophies (oh for the Arab spring to sweep away Abu Dhabi’s feudal rulers – that would be so City). Of course, some things stay the same and after Sunday’s demolition of Abramovitch’s expensive toy, United are on the verge of the 19th league title and another European Cup. . . .

New Lightroom plug-in – CaptureTime to Exif

CaptureTime to Exif is my latest Lightroom 3 plug-in. Essentially it’s an in-Lightroom interface for Exiftool:

Initially it was for Lightroom users whose catalogue contains scanned images and who wanted to make the scans’ Date Time Original EXIF field correspond to when the pictures were originally taken rather than when they were scanned. But people said they wanted to add the camera model, or the aperture details from their tatty old notebooks….
So the plug-in also lets you write other EXIF and IPTC information. One idea was to add extra boxes for specific fields, but I could never please everyone – not without a lot of work. I’m also hesitant to make writing EXIF so easy that it’ll attract people who should be kept away from it for their own good, and I reckon those who know about such stuff would appreciate a “bare back” style. So I’ve chosen to add a simple box for you to enter your own Exiftool arguments, whatever you want, at your own risk.
You can save complicated command line arguments as presets.
There’s a preview of the command . . .

SnakE Oil and image metadata

Take a look at two excellent articles by David Riecks – The Top 12 Myths about Embedded Photo Metadata and Why Embedded Photo Metadata Won’t Help Your SEO (at least without some help) :

There have been several recent articles, such as “The Definitive Guide to SEO for Images: 6 Steps to Image-Ranking Success” by Stephen Chapman, and “How To Add Embedded Meta Data To Your Images For Relevant Image Search” from NateBal, that recommend adding embedded information to the images on your website in order to enhance your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While the idea certainly has merit, and I’m all for encouraging the practice of added embedded metadata to . . .

A brand new DAM

It was no secret that it was on the way, but my friend Peter Krogh’s The DAM Book has now been listed on Amazon US and Amazon UK. The original book was immediately unusual in its cover not being emblazoned with “Photoshop CS2” or focussing on the image processing side of the pixel mountain. Peter rightly saw that the management and safeguarding of digital photos was digital photography’s dangerously-neglected aspect, and this understanding of the real needs meant the book’s shelf life extended across software release cycles and remained applicable after entirely new programs were introduced. But even long-lasting underlying principles eventually need dusting off, and this new version of the book is a complete rewrite. Thanks Peter for asking me to tech edit a couple of chapters – I look forward to my signed copy!

And now for some of my own reflections… (or alternatively). When you look back at the the original book, it offered a solution containing four main strands – Bridge, iView, Photoshop, and DNG tying it all together and letting you see the adjusted raw . . .

A rant about hierarchical keywords

It’s not specifically a Lightroom thing, and I say the same about Aperture and Expression Media 2. And I am a bit out on a limb here in holding these opinions. But I find hierarchical keywords to be an utter pain, and not worth the effort. No matter how much I try, I always end up with what should be child keywords also appearing again at the top level, for instance when I re-import a picture that’s been processed in another app. Or a child keyword will find itself duplicated in more than one hierarchy, usually because I’ve changed the hierarchy at some point and done Save As in Photoshop, or changed it on my laptop and then brought files over to the main PC.

The trouble is that I think we’re trying to make HKs do two things:

boost keyword data entry
speed up finding your pictures

So I’ve gone back to a flat keyword list, and switched effort from maintaining a hierarchy to alternative ways of making keyword entry as efficient as I can. That means I now have many more keywords . . .

Smart collections for controlling your workflow

When you have a library of many thousands of pictures, querying or searching is clearly a very important feature. And you’ve got to be able to save those search criteria – after all, each time you narrow down your catalogue to find certain pictures, it’s a fair bet that you may want to find the same pictures again before too long. The more efficiently you find those pictures, the more time you’ll have for perfecting them. So two of the biggest and most welcome changes in Lightroom 2’s Library are the iTunes-style Filter panel (below), which replaces the old disc-thrashing Metadata Browser, and the introduction of Smart Collections.

Both the Filter panel and Smart Collections let you filter down the catalogue to find a selection of pictures, and each lets you save and recall the criteria you used to find them. What’s less clear is which you should use and when. The answer, well my answer, might be a bit controversial…. Use Filters when you don’t know what you’re doing, use Smart Collections when you do.

Having been lucky enough to have . . .


After my recent post on the Windows-limited Geosetter, I thought I’d take a look at the Mac-limited HoudahGeo which Richard mentioned in his comment on that post. I’d first heard about it in Lightroom designer Eric Scouten’s post Geocoding Your Photos with Lightroom and HoudahGeo. It’s certainly not as well-featured as Geosetter, and nor for all the hoo-haa on Houdah’s site about Mac design principles is it any more elegant – except for one interesting aspect:

What this screenshot shows is one of the ways you can select images for applying GPS coordinates. It’s a sort of File Open dialog box, but it’s the inclusion of Lightroom catalogues that really caught my eye.

Unlike iDVD or other Apple applications which apparently, almost magically, use the Mac operating system to display the contents of iPhoto or Aperture libraries, it looks like HoudahGeo gets the images’ locations directly from Lightroom’s SQL databases and then displays their embedded thumbnails. While it would be nice to see the Lightroom-adjusted previews (which Marc Rochkind’s LRViewer can do), that’s not a must-have requirement. It also makes you think . . .


For a while I’ve been playing around with GPS and geotagging. Without a real need, I’ve been happy just nibbling at it from various directions but for some reason in Italy I seemed to find time to try a bit of everything.

I’ve a little Garmin GPS unit that connects directly to the camera. After the wedding in Positano, I had time to look around the Amalfi coast and found a lovely location called Fiordo di Furore. Unfortunately the “fiordo” in its name means it’s a deep cove that’s well-sheltered from passing satellites. My other main location was Paestum with its Greek temples. Being in the midst of a mosquito-infested swamp (you should see my legs) it was much easier to gain a GPS signal and all should have been perfect for recording the coordinates directly into the image. But – and probably because it’s a very basic unit – the signal kept dropping. I really couldn’t be bothered checking the little GPS indicator on the camera each time I wanted to take a shot, and after a while I just . . .


The Library module is significantly improved in Lightroom v1.0, though it remains somewhat less coherent than Develop. The big change is the Folders panel replacing the old Shoots. While the name was clever, Shoots were a horrid confusion of virtual sets with physical folders that threatened to repeat one of Aperture 1.0’s worst mistakes, so the change is very welcome.

The new Folders panel lets you see where files are actually located in your folder system, files and folders where you want them without leaving Lightroom, rename or delete them, and run checks for files that Lightroom can no longer find because you’ve moved in Explorer (solution: once files are catalogued in Lightroom, only move them to new folders using Lightroom). Those capabilities are a big step forward from Shoots which let you move files only if they were stored in its managed folder tree but left you high and dry if you stored them where you wanted.

The panel isn’t perfect – you can’t yet right click a folder and simply tell Lightroom to import its contents (solution: re-import the . . .

Peter Krogh's book

As a frequent contributor to web forums on “digital asset management” software (cataloguing programs like Portfolio, iView and iMatch), you soon distinguish fellow travellers who’ve also thought a bit more deeply about the issues. One of those is Peter Krogh who dropped me a nice email yesterday.

Peter’s a Maryland-based advertising photographer and O’Reilly is just about to publish his The DAM Book: The Digital Asset Management for Photographers:

brings clarity to the often overwhelming task of managing digital photographs, with a solid plan and practical advice for fellow photographers on how to file, find, protect and re-use photographs.

Following a thorough overview of the DAM system and de-mystifications of metadata and digital archiving, Krogh focuses on best practices for digital photographers using Adobe Photoshop CS2. He explains how to use Adobe Bridge along with Camera Raw, the DNG file format and DAM software. He shows you how to cut down your image processing time, while simultaneously preparing images for a long-term archive.

18 months ago I suggested such a book to my publishers. Maybe I should have been more persuasive….
Q: How many writers . . .