OP Home > Gear > More Gear > Organizing Your Images


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gadget Bag: Organizing Your Images

Digital cameras make it possible to shoot a vast number of photos quickly. To keep those pictures organized, you need software that’s up to the task.

Labels: SoftwareGadget Bag

This Article Features Photo Zoom

So much has been written about digital workflow for photographers that it sounds like something that would be nice to have. The truth is, you already do—all of us already do. The difference is that some manage it better than others. That’s where the right software can help. Digital workflow is the trendy way of saying “processing routine.” It includes every step necessary to get from input to output, from physical reality (for example, a landscape) to final output result (a web album, a 19-inch print or mounted 2x2 transparencies).

Apple iPhoto
Apple iPhoto

For some, the process begins with previewing and deleting goof-ups on the camera’s LCD. For many, it starts when they download and archive (or safely archive first, then download) images onto their computer. Steps include browsing, winnowing and sorting into logical categories or groups. Next comes RAW conversion, editing and global editing, applying metadata information and creating another archive of the keepers. Experienced photographers have a system to produce redundant backups either automatically or by habit. The final step for most photographers is the output, be it web publishing, printing or e-mailing ZIP files. And, of course, everyone needs a way to quickly find a particular image later—sometimes years later.

Digital workflow is determined by many factors, the most influential being personal work habits. But even the most efficient outdoor photographer may deviate from his or her traditional pattern of behavior when he or she lingers over a small group of images while batch-processing a large group of images from a day of shooting in the mountains.

ACDSee Pro 3
ACDSee Pro 3

That’s where powerful, efficient workflow software shows its real mettle. Besides handling all of the individual tasks that we just briefly sketched, workflow software must be flexible and somewhat elastic.

Everyone wants to automate portions of the routine or boring procedures, but no one wants to reduce the digital processing to autopilot.

Apple Aperture 2 feels natural and intuitive, partly because it uses a logical organizational scheme that collates images into projects, folders, albums and Smart Albums. This taxonomy also extends to external drives, optical disks and network drives. Aperture offers effective tools for adding metadata to images, so they’re easy to find even months later. In addition to potent browsing and rating tools, Aperture offers multiple export options, including the ability to publish a portfolio using your MobileMe account or your password-protected MobileMe Gallery. It’s also compatible with printers from Canon and Epson that support 16-bit printing. The latest version includes more than 100 new features. The new all-in-one Inspector consolidates Projects, Metadata and Adjustments panes, and lets you switch between them with a single key press. For Mac computers only. Estimated Street Price: $199; $99 (upgrade).


Add Comment


Popular OP Articles