DAM! :-) Need Digital Asset Management Advice

Started Jan 11, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Alec Contributing Member • Posts: 695
DAM! :-) Need Digital Asset Management Advice

The volume of my work has been slowly ramping up, and a simple directory-tree based approach to asset management with some file naming conventions begins to fall short. I would like to hear about folks' best practices. I am on 64 bit Windows but general advice across platforms would be welcome. The Lightroom Beta 3 looks good but given the customization options I am primarily interested in how one configures it to serve various objectives, and what those objectives are that I might not be aware of, not merely "use software XYZ it's great" type advice.

Some specific questions and things I'd like to address:

  • Use one vs multiple database / catalog (in LR terms)?

  • LR-specific corollary: I hear performance begins to suffer past a certain catalog size - is that driven by memory size or??? Give me a sense of the size past which it becomes a problem? How well would it scale to a couple of million images? What drives up the size and what are good practices to keep it down?

  • Somewhat LR-specific: for what purposes and how you use the color and star ratings and keywording?

  • Do you integrate a laptop into the workflow? Perhaps for extended or urgent location work, or to load, select and rough-process the images on the flight home? How do you integrate the work later on? Does the laptop have a copy of the main image database that you later sync, or you have a separate temporary db that you merge once you're back? Or no DB and you just dump the fines into a "watched" folder on the main machine or the machine sees that "selected images" folder on the laptop once you connect it to your network?

  • From a given project, I have raw originals, DB/sidecars (LRb3 and DxO6) with development settings, some 16 bit developed AdobeRGB TIFFS for home printing, sRGB jpegs at several resolutions targeting clients' digital photo frames, facebook, preview albums on my site; digital download from site; photo book and wedding album services. If I edit the images in Photoshop, there are also sometimes intermediate and final edits saved. For my archival image restorations, I have the aggressive and light versions. Also there are different derived media, such as PowerPoint and youtube and DVD based slide shows, DVD disk images, actual DVD covers and printable disk images, and so on. Sometimes there are "behind the scenes" videos taken by an assistant associated with a given shoot / project, and so on. In a word, a diverse lost of assets ranging from plain-text to bluray entire-disk images. How do I keep them all associated from a data management perspective? At the very minimum, if say you have 20 versions of the same photo, counting the various resolutions, color spaces and Photoshop edits, how do you keep them associated with the original as well as individually discoverable by the type of work done to it or target output?

  • Are you using LR3 in combination with DxO or any other 3rd party raw processor? LR3 is plenty good in most cases, but I feel for the 20% images I care most about, some may benefit by this or that option that is available in DxO. How to best integrate the DxO processing with LightRoom? Any way to enable DxO batch processing out of LR or it has to be on a per-image basis? Are the sidecars compatible at least to a basic extent (like metadata, exposure compensation?)

Your experience and rationale / why you do it the way you do, would be greatly appreciated.

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