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View Full Version : Managing one's images!


Ian
12th December 2007, 03:52 PM
I'm trying to standardise on one application to manage my image library - which has several tens of thousands of images stored on the hard drives of several PCs, several external hard drives, CDs and DVDs.

The functionality I need goes like this: Viewer - fast and easy to use thumnail, sized to fit screen and 1:1 (100%) viewing, exif and other metadata access and editing (applicable to several selected images), Database - ability to rate images and search metadata via key words quickly and reliably, including removable media.

Applications I have been looking at include ACDSee Pro 2: Great as a viewer, with good thumbnail management and the ability to batch edit names and metadata very easily. Image editing and tweaking features are not required because I have Lightroom and Photoshop. From a database point of view, I'm a bit nervous about the robustness of the system - it has proven unreliable in less stable previous versions.

Adobe Lightrooom: Not sure that it's ideal for managing so many images across so many types of storage media - comments most welcome!

Adobe Bridge (CS3): I have this but find it a bit slow and haven't used it that much. I recognise its power, though, and its RAW support is of course excellent.

What else do folks here use? For my own use, I'm only interested in Windows apps, but please do comment about Mac for interested parties and for comparison.

Ian

Invicta
12th December 2007, 04:47 PM
Hi Ian

One product worth checking out is Microsoft's Expression Media. This is effectively iView Media Pro which Microsoft purchased a while back.

The home page for the Expression suite including Expression Media is

http://www.microsoft.com/Expression/

I haven't had much chance to check it out but the cataloging features should be excellent due to it being based on iView Media Pro.

Ian
12th December 2007, 05:51 PM
Hi Ian

One product worth checking out is Microsoft's Expression Media. This is effectively iView Media Pro which Microsoft purchased a while back.

The home page for the Expression suite including Expression Media is

http://www.microsoft.com/Expression/

I haven't had much chance to check it out but the cataloging features should be excellent due to it being based on iView Media Pro.

I had a good long hard look at iView Media Pro a couple of years ago. My main problem was its inability to provide a zoomable to 100% view of the original image. What you saw was a pre-rendered screen-sized preview image. This may have changed of course. I will have a look.

Ian

Paulpp
12th December 2007, 06:37 PM
Would also be interested in what people use on a Mac. Have used Aperture, but they are very slow in updating it to cater for new models - E3 for example - and can't get on with Lightroom.

shenstone
12th December 2007, 06:50 PM
I woulld stronly advocate taking a look at Imatch http://www.photools.com. It's very powerful in terms of it's database engine rather than things like LR which are in my opinion workflow tools with a nod to a bit or organization.

I've moved everything across to it across a couple of months and now having built a sensible catalogue ( which is easy to restructure if you get it wrong) I'm able to do exactly what you say. On-line / Offline, multiple catalogued locations, scripted loading of catalogues into EXIF/IPTC/XMP etc. etc.

I've about 20k images in my catalogue so far and finding things is a matter of seconds.

The forum is extremely active and ideas and support issues are actively swallowed up by the developer (Mario) who's in the forum every day.


Regards
Andy

PeterD
12th December 2007, 06:57 PM
I woulld stronly advocate taking a look at Imatch http://www.photools.com. It's very powerful in terms of it's database engine rather than things like LR which are in my opinion workflow tools with a nod to a bit or organization.

I've moved everything across to it across a couple of months and now having built a sensible catalogue ( which is easy to restructure if you get it wrong) I'm able to do exactly what you say. On-line / Offline, multiple catalogued locations, scripted loading of catalogues into EXIF/IPTC/XMP etc. etc.

I've about 20k images in my catalogue so far and finding things is a matter of seconds.

The forum is extremely active and ideas and support issues are actively swallowed up by the developer (Mario) who's in the forum every day.


Regards
Andy

Thanks for the tip Andy. I am downloading the evaluation version now.

PeterD

DTD
12th December 2007, 07:18 PM
Use Aperture on a Mac.
Agree with the comments about slow ot include compatibility for new cameras.

Lightroom would be my second choice.

Invicta
12th December 2007, 10:20 PM
I had a good long hard look at iView Media Pro a couple of years ago. My main problem was its inability to provide a zoomable to 100% view of the original image. What you saw was a pre-rendered screen-sized preview image. This may have changed of course. I will have a look.

Ian

Expression Media has the same views as iView, ctrl + 0 zooms to full view in many cases. I think this the original, I may be wrong.

The Light Table view with multiple pictures is limited by the size of the screen but will display at 100% allowing you to move around in the picture e.g.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/510/msexmedia.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/1182)


p.s. I use Windowblinds so the screenshot has some odd looking window bits in it from my Xmas theme

Ian
13th December 2007, 09:47 AM
I woulld stronly advocate taking a look at Imatch http://www.photools.com. It's very powerful in terms of it's database engine rather than things like LR which are in my opinion workflow tools with a nod to a bit or organization.

I've moved everything across to it across a couple of months and now having built a sensible catalogue ( which is easy to restructure if you get it wrong) I'm able to do exactly what you say. On-line / Offline, multiple catalogued locations, scripted loading of catalogues into EXIF/IPTC/XMP etc. etc.

I've about 20k images in my catalogue so far and finding things is a matter of seconds.

The forum is extremely active and ideas and support issues are actively swallowed up by the developer (Mario) who's in the forum every day.


Regards
Andy

That looks interesting - I'll certainly try the eval download :)

Ian

emirpprime
13th December 2007, 10:02 AM
Extensis Portfolio is often highly regarded. I think it is pitched at the Pro level, with a price to match, but you also get a lot of power and features, so the reviews tell me. Might be worth a look.
Personally I'm still in Lightroom, but really need to sort my files and have them catalogued properly, as it currently relies on my memory :eek: keyword would be a better option I think...
Phil

Ian
13th December 2007, 10:04 AM
Extensis Portfolio is often highly regarded. I think it is pitched at the Pro level, with a price to match, but you also get a lot of power and features, so the reviews tell me. Might be worth a look.
Personally I'm still in Lightroom, but really need to sort my files and have them catalogued properly, as it currently relies on my memory :eek: keyword would be a better option I think...
Phil

I have looked at Portfolio and wasn't impressed. Its search capabilities are very inflexible in my experience.

Ian

emirpprime
13th December 2007, 11:35 AM
I would be curious what you found it coudn't cope with? I am looking at it more for my own needs, and downloading the trial for mac as we speak. I thought it had full boolean support in searches, and has a smart folder feature that combines searches and virtual folders. Just wondering what I have overlooked! Although of course our needs are bound to be different.

On a general note, I think whatever you use, a good folder structure and keyword scheme are key. That way you arn't dependent on the software so much, and can migrate more easily/browse without it if necessary.

Phil

Glyn R
13th December 2007, 11:38 PM
Why are you not thinking about Lightroom?

shenstone
14th December 2007, 09:14 AM
On a general note, I think whatever you use, a good folder structure and keyword scheme are key. That way you arn't dependent on the software so much, and can migrate more easily/browse without it if necessary.
Phil

Hi Phil - not sure I agree totally with this. Yes you are technically right, but also that's why you move into software to help you.

It really depends on how many pictures and how detailed you want to be. I want to build hierarchies of natural history listings based on Linnaen classifications and that drives a lot of detail.

I still maintain a basic folder structure (geographical in my case), but when you get into Nature photography for instance you often want to find a picture of a specific species of plant and location isn't so important. Then you get into which specific subspecies or variant you want and it gets quite complex without some decent software. I have in my cataloge (the term used in Imatch) about 3000 seperate categories and suspect that by the time I've finished inputting my current backlog of images I'll be at about 4k. I would not want that number of folders.

Yes it took some time to get this set-up exactly how I want it, but like I said I want detail (there us a basic catalogue that you can just use without any set-up) I've found that using the software has improved my access times to pictures such that the couple of hundred hours in set-up and categorization has already paid back.

Yes I will be importing the structrue back into the files in terms of keywords in case of problems or at point of use before sending any out, but that's just workflow really.

I don't mean this to be a specific sales pitch and I know that everyone out there will have their own favorite software, more of a comment that if you really want power then you will need some of this more advanced function so don't be afraid of relying on GOOD software. There is plenty out there.

The basic rules I guess for moving into DAM (Digital Assess Management) are: -

Find what work for you.
Spend some time setting it up how you need it
BACK THINGS UP - any good software will have some form of catalogue back-up or export
BACK THINGS UP - External disk is a good 1st point, but don't leave it on all the time it's no good if a virus has just trashed that as well
BACK THINGS UP - DVD's etc. offsite.

Did I mention.. BACK THINGS UP - I have 4 back-ups actually

Ian
14th December 2007, 10:19 AM
I would be curious what you found it coudn't cope with? I am looking at it more for my own needs, and downloading the trial for mac as we speak. I thought it had full boolean support in searches, and has a smart folder feature that combines searches and virtual folders. Just wondering what I have overlooked! Although of course our needs are bound to be different.

On a general note, I think whatever you use, a good folder structure and keyword scheme are key. That way you arn't dependent on the software so much, and can migrate more easily/browse without it if necessary.

Phil

With regards to Portfolio (not the client/server version) I found the search interface cumbersome. I recall search boxes stacking on each other to build up boolean keyword searches. But it was a couple of years ago.

Ian

emirpprime
14th December 2007, 11:27 AM
You are right, but so am I :D
I think it all depends on aplication, and folder structure if no replacement for DAM software, just complimentary. If for example you didn't use the DAM for some reason, you could still make your search quicker using the folder structure you have (even if just a bit) or filename conventions (if you use any). It isn't a replacement, but a backup/aid.
For simple uses, kids/pets/snaps etc folders alone could be used, but granted it just isn't practical to use only it with the numbers of pictures most of us will have.

On "BACK UP" I couldn't agree more! The golden rule :D Even if you are totally disorganised, atleast you still ave the pictures ;)

Phil

j.baker
15th December 2007, 10:07 PM
I cannot agree more this "shenstone". Back up , and keep backup of backups.

I lost 60GB of data several years ago. That taught me a very important lesson. I now have hardware RAID 5 for my day two day photo usage. This is backed up every night t to two different NAS boxes (both with RAID1), and I also backup to portable 2.5"HDD units. I also backup to DVD about once a month. These then are sent offsite.

Regarding my image management, I use two things.

1. Every set of images is inserted into its own directory, and subdirectory. E.G. Family Zoo photos. If I have multiple trips to a zoo, I store each visit as a directory. E.G. December 2007 This allows me to find what I need quickly.
2. I will probably get comments for this, but I use Paintshop Pro for image browsing and editing. I do have Photoshop elements, but I gave this to the wife. I also use the Olympus Master software for the RAW conversion.

I currently have about 17000 images which takes up about 46GB. I lost a lot of my older photos when I lost the data.

PeterD
15th December 2007, 10:22 PM
I cannot agree more this "shenstone". Back up , and keep backup of backups.

I lost 60GB of data several years ago. That taught me a very important lesson. I now have hardware RAID 5 for my day two day photo usage. This is backed up every night t to two different NAS boxes (both with RAID1), and I also backup to portable 2.5"HDD units. I also backup to DVD about once a month. These then are sent offsite.

Regarding my image management, I use two things.

1. Every set of images is inserted into its own directory, and subdirectory. E.G. Family Zoo photos. If I have multiple trips to a zoo, I store each visit as a directory. E.G. December 2007 This allows me to find what I need quickly.
2. I will probably get comments for this, but I use Paintshop Pro for image browsing and editing. I do have Photoshop elements, but I gave this to the wife. I also use the Olympus Master software for the RAW conversion.

I currently have about 17000 images which takes up about 46GB. I lost a lot of my older photos when I lost the data.

John

I can sympathise with your loss and the belts & braces & elastic & ......

If you lose the amount of data that you have, no wonder you are taking this approach. I have just invested in a TByte network storage system which has two drives to create a mirror image. Data is now held on 3 separate drives and I now feel secure.
As for the software you use for browsing/editing, I have found that there are so many permitations that it is difficult to choose. It ends up being very pesonal. What works for some does not for others.

Kind regards

PeterD

j.baker
15th December 2007, 11:05 PM
I currently run at about 8TB of storage across 3 systems and 2 NAS boxes. All with gigabit connectivity. If anyone need any advice on networkingm security or storage, just ask.

Napper
17th December 2007, 02:26 PM
I read this thread and decided to give Imatch a go and I love it.

Up to now I've deliberated over how to arrange and name my photographic folders and have never really come to a satisfactory solution. I end up just up loading according to date taken and then adding specific name to the various date folders. This works OK but when there are several topics taken on a single date then it gets very long winded to sort them out . But with Imatch its very simple quick and easy to multi tag images into several different categories in seconds. I can now just upload my photos by date taken and then work the Imatch magic to tag them, wonderful.

It has very much more than this to offer, which I have yet to discover, but I think that it is the best software I have come across for keeping tabs on the large and growing number of images on my machines. Its not free but at £41.45 it's certainly not crippling and in terms of hours saved categorizing and searching for images well worth this amount. as for back up I have twin 500 GB external disk drives which I synchronize my images with so that I have got back ups of all my pics.