Thursday, December 18, 2008

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

I've recently started organizing my photo's more formally, on the one hand for my personal collection, on the other for professional aspirations. I have about 15,000 photos in my collection dating back to 2002 digitally, and digital scans of film. The mountain of information I had and have ahead of me can be quite intimidating, but I found a few great resources that's made my job easier, or at least helped break the monumental task into manageable steps. Adobe Lightroom - I originally had my files organized by Picasa, but with the limited transferability and flexibility of that program for rating (only one star), tagging, keywording, and entering other meta data I needed something more robust.

Books & Articles

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, by Peter Krogh, has been a great resource for me in organizing my photos and getting some ideas of where to start. Although written with Adobe Bridge and Photoshop in mind, many of the tips and concepts can be applied to any DAM system.

I also came across this article by Eric Scouten about organizing your lightroom catalogue that's worth read.

After implementing the "bucket" system recommended by Peter, I've found the easiest way to keep track of my progress is doing a screen print using a screen capture tool and recording on those sheets what I've done to each folder. For example, if I rate, keyword, and at location information to the IPTC tags of all the images in a certain folder, I'll note that as I go along.

It'll be a long road of organizing, rating, keywording, etc. to go, but when it's all done my catalogue will be better for it. What are your thoughts on Digital Asset Management and how do you keep your photos organized?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

10,000 Hours

I got this idea after reading one of Chase Jarvis' posts here. It talks about how to "make it" as a photographer and some of the requirements to get there. The simple two-part answer...

1.) Be undeniably good - Be so good they can't ignore you

2.) Dedicate at least 10,000 hours to whatever it is you're looking to master

The second point is what I'm trying to track - not that after exactly 10,000 hours I'll be a master, maybe far from it or maybe I can settle at 8,000 hours and call myself a "pro". The point is that it'll be some sort of metric to how I'm moving along.

Historically speaking, I can't really nail down how many hours I've spent becoming a master, but over say the past 10 years through workshops, gereral interest, and varoius 'learning' I'll put meyself down for 2,000 hours - just to start somewhere, and feel good that I'm 20% there.

So on the extreme side, I could work 10 hrs a day and be a "master" in just over two years. More realistically, while still having a day job, working on photography say 20 hrs a week, I'll be a "master" in just under eight years. With the ability and drive to spend more time each year on photography as I progress, my time to becoming a pro seems to be somewhere between 2 and 8 years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Calgary At Night

One of the joys of living in Calgary is the cold winter and short
daylight hours...wait that doesn't sound right. But it does get
darker earlier this time of year which makes it easier to capture some
night photography right after work - if you're willing to brave the
cold. I tried my hand at some night shots of the city from Nose Hill
park, although the wind picked up a so my tripod was shaking a bit
during exposures.

This last photo took my 18mm up to 55mm over 4 seconds in a zoom burst.