Friday, February 20, 2015

Let me help you sort your images out.

I have a really exciting announcement to make. Well at least I'm excited about it, and so are the clients that I've worked with so far. An expansion of my business into a slightly different, but totally related area.

For those of you who don't know, I've been a photographer for close to 15 years now. Which means that I have a lot of pictures. I mean a truly astounding amount of images on both film and digital format. Now for most assignment photographers work involves shooting a job, sending the images to the client and then forgetting about it. The images get stored on some hard drive, backed up to another hard drive, and then are never seen again.

But for me a major part of my business has always involved stock photography, which involves shooting images and then having them available for clients at some point in the future if and when they might like to license them. Which means that I can shoot a picture and it might not sell for quite a long period of time after the shutter has been pressed - sometimes years!

But when that call (or more frequently these days - email) comes I need to get my hands on a specific picture very quickly. I can't spend half a day searching for a particular image of Paris which might be on one of a number of internal or external hard drives or DVDs. I need to get it out to the client as fast as possible.

All of which means I had to become an expert in cataloguing and sorting my pictures. The screenshot above is of one of my photo catalogues and if you have a look down the bottom right hand corner you can see that there are nearly 50,000 images in there. And I can pretty much find any one of those images in a very short period of time.

How many organisations can say the same thing? In my experience basically none. And this is costing companies a lot of time and money when employees try and go looking for pictures that they know are somewhere, but have no idea where. Or even those pictures that they have on file but everybody has completely forgotten about. What a waste of valuable digital assets.

And this is where I come in. Last year at the request of James Cook University I was hired as a consultant to help them sort out their image library. 45,000 digital files with very little information to tell people what the pictures were of, who took them and any other relevant information. Marketing and Communications were getting bombarded with requests for pictures that they would then have to spend time searching for and delivering to other departments. All of which was a burden in both time and money.

So the first thing we did was do an inventory of their pictures to find out what they were dealing with. All the pictures were on a central server but nobody knew how to find stuff on there. So we created a system whereby all the images were not only catalogued, but staff from the different departments could see all those images, search for those images and then download those images directly from the server. Bang. The whole university suddenly had access to over 45,000 pictures that before they had no idea existed. But Marketing and Communications were still able to control which images were able to be used and which weren't. They were also able to keep track of what licenses applied to which pictures to stop inadvertent copyright infringement - always a big risk for major corporations.

Is your image library in a total state of disrepair? Does it take you hours to find pictures for a specific project? Do you have multiple version of a single image filling up servers? Then I can help you.

As I said, I'm very excited about this expansion of the business because it's something I love doing. I love the look on people's faces when they suddenly realise how easy it is for them to find images, to classify images, to use images in specific projects and to share those images with other staff members.

I rarely post ads on the blog but I'm hoping this one will appeal. If you are interested, or know anybody who you think could use such a service get them to email me at for a no-obligation appraisal and quote. And let's get our digital assets back in order!