About Me

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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My travel photography workflow 5


What I need to do with my photos is pretty much what this little Siberian Chipmunk needs to do with his nuts. No, not stuff as many of them in his mouth as possible!

Just like he needs to store his nuts in special hidey holes for the winter, I need to store my pictures in various places (internal hard drives, external hard drives and DVDs) and be able to find any of them at any time.

But unlike my little stripey friend who just needs to do it for himself, I also need to be able to show these pictures to other people in a way that is quick and painless for me, and convenient for my clients.

This is the area that cataloguing software really helps you. Firstly, as I mentioned, you can catalogue any of your pictures (or video or music files if you're getting into multimedia) stored anywhere. Some people have multiple catalogues for different types of files, some have one big catalogue for everything. Just be careful that if a catalogue gets too big it gets slow and unwieldy.

I have a catalogue for every calendar year but the Search engine allows me to search for a picture across multiple catalogues, not just the one I have open at any particular time. This is a very handy feature for people who have TB of images stored in lots of different catalogues. Only being able to search in one catalogue at a time could be a major inconvenience.

Because I can catalogue anything on any hard drive it doesn't matter where I physically store the digital file. So I can have pictures of any one particular destination in different folders on different hard drives and they can still live in the same catalogue which is great for travel photographers because you can group all your pictures of one destination in a single place (a Catalog Set) while they live in totally different places on your computer.

Another really great thing about the catalogue is that you can send it to people. In other words you can create a catalogue of your stock library and send it to clients to keep on file. Because it's just a catalogue and not the images itself it will fit on a single disc (CD or DVD depending on how big it is) and the client can simply open that file up and see all your Catalog Set groupings, keywords, ratings and anything else you wish to put in. You can also set it up so that they can double click on the thumbnail and see a 1024x768 pixel version of the picture.

So every year I send an updated catalogue disc to my regular clients of my far north Queensland stock collection. It has roughly 7000 images from the area and is very in-depth. Clients can search for pictures from the area they want and just send me an email when they wish to license a picture. It couldn't be easier.

The catalogues are also great when your hard drive crashes. Huh? How so you say. Well let's say your main hard drive with all your pictures crashes. But of course you have your catalogue saved on a back-up drive, as well as back-ups of all your pictures on an external hard drive. So you restore your pictures from your back-ups but aren't sure whether you've got everything back. If you check your newly restored hard drive of images against your catalogue it will tell you if any pictures are missing. It will do a search and find any images that are listed in the catalogue but no longer appear on the hard drive. Instant back-up check.

Another feature I often use is the Search for Similar function. This is great for those of us who migrated from film. Remember when you had multiple copies of pictures - high res, low-res, web size. Hell you probably even scanned a few slides multiple times because you couldn't remember whether you'd scanned it or not. Well iView will let you do a search for similar or even exactly the same pictures. No more wasted hard drives with umpteen copies of exactly the same picture.

One thing with cataloguing software is that any changes you make to the picture will stay in the catalogue unless you actually export them back to the original file. So that means that any Catalog Sets, keywords or notes you put about the picture can stay completely private unless you choose to export them to the picture itself. So for example I have a Catalog Set for images with my stock libraries, which I don't necessarily want everybody to know. I keep all that information within the catalogue so that nobody knows what is where except for me.

So if I haven't convinced you by now that you owe it to yourself to get some cataloguing software then I give up! :) Like I said, it has literally changed my life and the way I work - for the better. I couldn't live without it now and would never got back to a Browser only photographic life.

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