PhotoShelter be DAM’d

PhotoShelter be DAM’d

I was trolling the message boards and came upon this posting.

It was very interesting to see how people characterize various software vis a vis PhotoShelter. Many people consider Aperture and Lightroom as digital asset management (DAM) suites. They certainly have this capability, but I wouldn’t characterize the DAM functionality as their core feature.

I have always considered Aperture and Lightroom as a new class of multi-image editing software (as opposed to Photoshop, which is great for a single image, but not so great for a batch of images). They also handle non-destructive RAW edits very well.

Photo Mechanic has always been my favorite tool for image selection and captioning. It has never tried to be a DAM system, nor a pixel-editing system. And therefore it’s satisfied the needs of a specific class of photographers, namely photojournalists and sports photographers, who shoot a ton, and need the ability to rapidly edit metadata.

So what is PhotoShelter? And could it be used in lieu of these other products?

First, PhotoShelter is a post pixel-editing tool. This means that we have no interest in replicating the functionality that is highly graphics-processor intensive, and much more suited to local desktop work. So we’ll never replace Aperture, Lightroom or Photoshop. Since we don’t work locally, we’ll never have the onsite speed of Photo Mechanic for selection and rapid captioning.

But we do think that PhotoShelter is very well-suited for any process or workflow after the pixel editing phase. And we take the opposite tact of those that think asset management should occur on the desktop. Asset management is largely about finding an image when someone requests it. Professionals rarely need to find an image for their own personal edification with no intent of engaging in some form of commerce.

Therefore, sending the image to a client, and eventually getting to the point of sale is usually a logical follow-up to initially finding the image. And often times, requests come in when we’re on the road, or not at our computers. So having all your assets online and available 24/7 is a huge time saver. And having the assets linked to a system that can distribute and sell reduces the manual steps that photographers currently take.

The advent of open standards from IPTC to XML means transporting assets between applications is easier than ever before. Interoperability will be the cornerstone for successful workflow tools whether photography or otherwise. We try to be agnostic to how people use PhotoShelter, but we certainly think that we have a pretty darn good solution whether you only use a subset or the full gamut of our features. So comparing PhotoShelter to Aperture is an apples to oranges exercise, but not for the reasons that I think were articulated in the aforementioned post.

Non Sequitars
Jeffrey found this on the Vanity Fair website.

I knew Sammy was a talented guy, so why not add photography to the arsenal? Not all the images are great by any stretch of the imagination, but some of them are, and if nothing else, he had access to subjects that others didn’t. And access has always been a major part of taking interesting photos.

Seeing this work reminded me a bit of Matthew Fox’s behind the scenes photography on the set of Lost. I had no idea that he was a photographer either, but the Season 1 DVD had a great short film on his work. Purists and snobs might object to “non-photographers” masquerading as artists, but I applaud anyone who works at their photography. Somebody tell that guy about PhotoShelter.

And finally, I’ve often scratched my head with friends over the photo illustrations that appear on the CNN website, but this recent one about Kansas and the evolution curriculum had me scratching my head again. Are those stars or dandruff? I mean really….who comes up with this stuff?

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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