Thursday, April 9, 2009

DAM-Digital Asset Management 2 of many

Earlier this week I went over the basics of setting up DAM and some of the things to consider when doing so. Now I am going to switch gears a bit and go over why it is important to have a system in place. Whether you are a big firm or a one man shop this can be beneficial to you, especially in this time of economic crisis. If you have some down time getting the ball rolling is very easy and will benefit you in the future when you are busy, so get it done.

Another good reason to get this implemented is it is easy to access from wherever you are. Lets say you are at a photo shoot in another city, state or even country but your designer needs to get these shots you just took into a layout and to the client. Well, you just upload them instead of burning a disk and printing out a proof sheet and finally overnighting them, which is time consuming and costs bucks. This also allows you to have freelancers or people work from their home and you have the confidence and peace of mind that you are using the right image.

Right now clients want way more bang for their buck then a year ago and what better way then to build a digital asset system that your client can use too. This also keeps your clients close as they will begin to depend on you for managing there photos. There are a number of ways that you can provide this service to you clients whether it is a simple FTP site or a fully functioning online database. You can set the parameters as to what each user can do, ie. junior designer can use an image but can't approve, client can download low res images but not hi res, etc. You can easily move an image from photoshoot to approval to retouching to final output rather quickly and seamlessly.

I am sure that you are curious if this is going to cost a lot of money in hardware and software and the answer is no. I currently have all of my digital assets on it's own server without any specific software but this isn't necessary you can simply have a folder on your current server. I have a folder for each one of my clients and then I just put the image in that folder, some of the folders have many images and some have just a few but either way if I can't remember what job or what meta data I tagged it with it is easy to scroll through in preview mode. You can however buy software that allows you a bit more customization especially if you are going to set it up for your client to have access, they may require you to style it to their look and feel and this can be done easily enough.

Having a database of your images allows you to use a "new" image without the cost (ie left over shot from previous shoot not already used), work collaboratively, please your clients, work more efficiently and organized.

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