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Digital Photography Workflow-Management Software

(August 2004) posted on Mon Aug 30, 2004

Software and systems to streamline image

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If your operation makes use of a digital camera on a regular
basis"?or even if you use a film camera and convert the images to
digital downstream"?a close examination of image and file workflow
can benefit your bottom line. The software and systems
available can help you better streamline time-consuming processes
such as image conversion and management, allowing
you and your staff to move onto the next phase of the project.

Begin by defining just what it is you're looking for. For the
photography to easily move into your established graphic-design
system, do you primarily need an image/file browser, a RAW converter, or an asset-management system?

Image or File Browsers: After the photos are shot, they must
be downloaded from the camera card onto a computer or website.
Image/file browser programs allow you to look at photos, edit out
bad ones, change file names, add caption info, organize, and file
digital photos. This program may reside on a computer hard drive,
or be an online site that helps facilitate sharing of photos with others
(which can help in choosing images for a project, for instance).
Note that many online websites also offer a print-sales service, primarily
of interest to pure photography operations.

RAW Converters: These programs convert the RAW files (directly
from your camera) to JPEG or TIFF files, which can then be edited
and printed. Often, digital cameras come with a proprietary system
from the camera manufacturer, but many third-party programs are
also available. We have not listed RAW programs from camera OEMs
that work only with that company's cameras; we assume that
you're already familiar with that camera's own RAW options.

Asset-Management Applications: These programs are
designed to catalog photos into a searchable database. They
make it easy to find specific photos and typically offer searches
by date, keywords, metadata, and text. In this listing, we do not
cover programs that focus on long-term storage/archiving.

Many of these photography-oriented workflow programs
offer a little of everything, and prices can range from just a few
dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the features a
program offers and the number of users. The sampling of programs
and services that follow can be helpful to a range of end-users"?
from print providers needing better image-management
systems to those adding a photography service or even professional
photographers who are looking for other alternatives.