Digital Asset Management requires the careful choosing of image-editing and media-management applications. No decision could be more critical in the pursuit of the imaging workflow. The features of today's application software are enticing. Best-practice workflows depend upon sound decisions with regards to application software. Yet, our workflows must remain adaptable and somewhat independent of any one piece of software. So, what's the best choice in all this?
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Digital Asset Management
I fear that someday soon I'll be a bald, toothless, old man sitting in a rocking chair telling the youngsters of the world about the good old days—of negatives. My hair is already gone. Thankfully, the teeth are still with me. The rocking chair is still a concept. But the day when few understand the nature of photographic film and negatives is no concept at all. It's pretty much already here.
Almost all brands of photo-management software have the ability to assign colored labels to you image files. It's been my experience with clients and students that the label feature is, more often than not, ignored or misunderstood. People ask me why—given the myriad combinations of keywords and other kinds of IPTC metadata (location, copyright, author, title, etc.)—one must also be concerned with the assignment of colored labels to our images. The answer is quite simple. It's visual.
Organizing and finding digital image files—it all seems to be a forever challenge to many people. They set up all kinds of folders to try to keep things straight. The problem is that cataloging photos is a complex thing and trying to shoehorn images into a rigid file structure is a pursuit destined for utter frustration. One must be able to find and view images in fluid ways and organize them instantly according to the needs of the moment. This cannot be done by stuffing them into the static categories of folders.
I don't know anyone who enjoys tagging their photos with keywords. Most people consider it a chore. Most of us also put it off, do it halfheartedly or don't do it all. This is a shame because keywords can be so very valuable to anyone who loves photography. And it can actually be rewarding. It all depends on your attitude and how you approach it. Let's see if we can make if fun.