Category Archives: DAM

ASMP Webinar July 26 – Digitizing Photo Archives

I’m happy to be back in the ASMP fold, doing a webinar next week on digitizing photo collections. Of course this will be based on our new book, Digitizing Your Photos, but with a special emphasis on the relevance to professional photographers.

I’ll be demonstrating how camera scanning can allow for large-scale conversion of film and print originals to digital images, which is important for those of us who have large film archives. I’ve digitized more than 50,000 of my own images, and continue to add new images.

I’ll also be touching on business models that photographers can consider for new services for their clients. There are a lot of companies and institutions that have large collections of physical photos. I’ve been able to help some of my clients with the process, as part of my professional services. I’ll discuss some business models for adding these services.

What about DAM Book 3?

Inquiring readers are asking, “What’s up with The DAM Book 3?” Wasn’t that supposed to be published by the end of 2016? As John Lennon famously sang (borrowing a phrase), Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. In the case of 2016, family obligations once again took me in an unexpected direction. We had some significant health challenges (that seem to be successfully met) as well as some other significant family milestones.

Krogh_161222_2812One of those milestones has reprioritized my writing schedule. We moved my dad out of his house of 55 years, and this has left me in possession of a massive family photo archive to manage. There are tens of thousands of photos in all formats  – from daguerreotypes to glass plates, to vintage and modern prints, many thousands of slides, negatives, framed prints, scrapbooks and more. There are more than 10,000 images sitting on this cart, and that’s just a part of the archive.

There is some real urgency here. First, I need to get this stuff sorted and put away so I get my studio back. But more importantly, I need to get my dad to help me tag these images. He’s the only one left who can identify a large percentage of the people shown. Krogh_170116_2883Here is a small selection of the framed prints we copied.

A new DAM Book Guide
DYP Cover Mockup

Working with my daughter Josie, we’ve been able to sort, triage, digitize, annotate and curate a growing share of this collection. And we’re making a book from the experience, Digitizing your Photos. It’s a multimedia volume that will give you a step-by-step cookbook for managing this entire process, using  a digital camera to scan and Lightroom to control the optimization and management.

We expect to be shipping digital versions in April. The manuscript is essentially complete and I’m currently shooting photos and videos. I’m really pleased with the results of our scanning and with the comprehensiveness and clarity of the book. Stay tuned for more info as release nears.

Okay, so what about The DAM Book 3?
Our plan is to make 2017 the year of the book. I’m fully committed to getting TDB3 out the door this year (along with one other book as well). The DAM Book is a lynchpin to our entire publishing effort, and I feel a deep commitment to modernizing it. So, yes, barring some other curveball, I’m looking forward to pick it back up well before the solstice.

 

World Backup Day

Once again, it’s World Backup Day! While it’s not as fun as Talk Like a Pirate Day, it’s arguably more important. All of us have important digital stuff that we’d hate to lose. So if the lack of a solid backup plan is something that’s bothering you (even a little), take the opportunity to do something about it.  Here are some suggestions.

Send in the Clones
If all your stuff can fit on one single hard drive, then you’re in luck. You can make a clone of your drive.  A clone is simply a copy of the drive, written out to another hard drive. It’s really useful if your hard drive crashes. And a clone that lives in a separate place from your laptop will give you protection in the event of loss, damage or theft of the computer.

Clones are easy to make, and offer a high level of protection (as long as you update them regularly). I think of a clone as a disaster-recovery backup. As someone who really values my data, I like to keep an extra clone stored offsite, in case there is a fire or theft that destroys both my laptop and my main clone.

You can read about making a clone over at dpBestflow.org.

Krogh_150331_WD_Air

I’ve been using this nice little WD My Passport Air for my clone, it’s small, light and durable. It also has built-in encryption so your stuff is protected even if the drive is lost. 

Online backup
While I think everyone needs a clone for fast recovery, I’m also a big fan of Backblaze for continuous off-site backup. It’s a real set-it-and-forget-it system. It costs $50/year per computer to make a duplicate of your entire computer up to the cloud. This protects against the threat of total loss of onsite data, as well as any files that have not been backed up to offsite storage.

Backblaze is particularly valuable for family members or other who are not vigilant about backing up their stuff. I set up both my daughters before they went off to college, and, wouldn’t you know it, one of them dumped a pitcher of water on the keyboard of her laptop during freshman year.

Note that Backblaze is not really designed for large image libraries that many photographers have.

PhotoShelter or other web service
You can also use a photo-oriented service for backup. If you are a PhotoShelter customer and you use Lightroom, you can automatically publish images to the cloud. I have mine set to publish high quality JPEGs from all 4 and 5 star photos.

Publish Backup

 

 

 

 

 

Lightroom’s Publish Services can be used to backup images to the cloud mostly automatically. This can provide a current JPEG (or original file) backup that is updated as new files are added to the catalog. 

Big Drives
If you have a lot of data like photos and videos, you might want to get some big drives for backup. WD is now shipping 6 TB drives that are about $250. That’s a heck of a lot of data in a small package at a reasonable price.  There’s no excuse not to keep those photos backed up.

Krogh_150331_Toaster(Back them up twice if possible – once on-site, and once off-site, for a total of 3 copies.

Here’s a really economical way to backup files. Get a bare drive and a “toaster”. You don’t want to use the toaster for everyday use, but they are great for backup.

 


Don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Good

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the considerations that go into a perfect backup system. So don’t try to be perfect, try to be better. If you don’t have a clone, get one. If you travel a lot, then online backup may be a good addition. And if you have only onsite backup, consider adding an off-site.

Each time you make an improvement to the system, you add more protection, and reduce the chance that you’ll lose important data.

Disclosure
I’ve recently been working a bit with the folks at WD. They have sent me some equipment to evaluate, and they sponsored my last talk at PhotoPlus Expo. And a few weeks ago I went to a Product Summit in Laguna Beach. I still have to buy most of my own hard drives, and I’ll typically buy WD when I’m spending my own money.

I have also been working with PhotoShelter to create a new service for people who buy photographs. Again, I’m working with a company I really believe in, because I really believe in them.

Cyber Monday 25% off DAM Useful Publications

We’re offering our largest ever holiday discount here at DAM Useful. Our Cyber Week deal gets you 25% off all books published by DAM Useful. Order before Dec 7.

Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5Organizing_Your_Photos_150px

Electronic Delivery  $34.95  Sale $26.18
DVD $39.95 Sale $29.93
Book and DVD Combo $59.95 Sale $44.96

Multi-Catalog Workflow with Lightroom 5MCWF_150px

Electronic Delivery   $34.95  Sale $26.18
DVD  $39.95 Sale $29.93

The DAM Book 2

Electronic Delivery   $19.95  Sale $14.96DAM Book_150px

Open Roads Open Minds by Steve UzzellOROM Cover150

Electronic Delivery  $12.95  Sale $9.71
Book and DVD Combo $29.95 Sale $22.46

 

What’s a Multimedia eBook?

As I’ve been presenting to audiences recently, I’ve realized that the books we’re producing are a bit mysterious to some. Most people don’t have experience with true multimedia publications. While some eBooks will have “bonus video”, few are created from the ground-up to integrate both text and multimedia as a seamless experience.

Right now, we have two books in this category: Organizing Your Photos and Multi-Catalog Workflow.

I’ve made a short video (1:24) that helps explain what we’re producing. I’m sure this will be a common media type in the future, but for now, it’s still a bit unusual.

If you want to download a sample of Oganizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5, there’s a link below. See the Table of Contents, Introduction, and the first two spreads from each chapter. The videos have been downsized for faster download.

Note: The links in the Table of Contents will work for any pages in the sample document, links to missing pages do nothing.

cloud-download-2 Download Sample

Lightroom mobile now available – eBook Too!

Adobe has just released the first version of Lightroom mobile. This allows integration between a Lightroom catalog and your iPad, as well as publication to a website, as shown above.

LRM2This screenshot shows the same collection, this time on the iPad.

On the iPad, Lightroom mobile enables a two-way workflow between desktop and tablet. You can export photos to the iPad, and then make adjustments, set flags and add to collections. Changes you make on the iPad get synced back to the main catalog on your computer.

LRm1And here you can see the Develop tools at the bottom of the screen. Once you make changes on the iPad, they can be synced over to the main version of the catalog.

The Lightroom mobile release version is just a start. Adobe will add Android and iPhone platforms, as well as plenty of new functionality. At the moment, you can do some basic develop adjustments, and you can flag images and add to collections.

lrm1_350x279

Victoria Bampton, The Lightroom Queen, has published a new eBook that covers the use of Lightroom mobile. You can buy it from us for $6.50. It’s a very reasonable price for the time it will save you.

Lightroom mobile is included as part of a Creative Cloud subscription, as well as the $9.99 Photographer’s Bundle (Photoshop CC, Lightroom and Lightroom mobile). If you have bought the “perpetual” version of Lightroom, the only way to get Lrm is to move to the subscription.

 

 

Cloud Wars

The competition to provide you with cloud storage is starting to reach a fevered pitch. It’s now possible to add excellent cloud backup to your storage system for a very reasonable cost. Some of these costs remain artificially low, and may therefore not be reliable in the long run. But we’re also seeing the big players in computing (Google and Amazon) offering really low pricing.

Krogh_061001_8516

First, a word of caution
We’ve seen some low-cost options for years. This includes services like Carbonite and Backblaze that have claimed “unlimited” storage for prices around $50/year. This means that someone like me with a dozen terabytes of data will be a money-loser for each of these companies. I’ve always been distrustful of these plans, fearing that the companies will go the way of Digital Railroad, which shut its doors with little advance notice in 2008.

Carbonite gets around the super-user problem by limiting the cheap backup service to your internal drive. As you add external disks, the price goes up. (Let’s also take a minute to note that Carbonite does not forecast profitability anywhere on the time horizon, which is problematic.) Backblaze does allow for truly unlimited data, and explains their strategy by saying it will average out between low and high volume users. This is okay for backup, as long as you realize the service may go away someday, and it’s not your only backup.

(Note: I personally use Backblaze for my computers and for my family. I’m currently testing the unlimited storage with my own archive. You can get a discount off Backblaze by clicking my affiliate link.)

The big boys jump in
Last summer, Amazon rocked the world of online storage by offering a new cloud backup and archiving service called Amazon Glacier. The price for the service came in at 1/10th of Amazon’s regular S3 pricing. You can now store a terabyte of data in Amazon’s cloud for $10/month.  This one is a game-changer. Amazon is the 800lb gorilla in cloud service, so the prices that they set will determine what the rest of the market does.

Krogh_060729_3167

Amazon Glacier is positioned as a real backup or deep archive solution. They say it may take up to 5 hours to access the data, so it’s definitely not a place to store stuff you expect to access frequently. But it does promise great safety and reliability from a blue-chip company.

(I’ve heard, from a very good source, that Amazon can offer this service because they are making use of some “free” capacity. In order to speed up its regular service, Amazon is using the outer rings of the hard drive platters, which deliver faster data throughput. So the inner rings were sitting on drives unused. They created Glacier to make use of this spare capacity.)

Google responds
A few weeks ago, Google matched Amazon’s bet, and even raised it. Not only did they match the $10/terabyte/month price, they made the offer on Google Drive.  This means that Google is offering the price on storage that is always on, not just a backup service.

DriveOnWhile Google will probably lose money on this specific service, it’s part of a larger strategy from the tech giant.

(Note, I’ve been slogging through Google’s Terms of Service to get an idea of exactly what rights you give to Google Drive, and it’s not totally clear to me. It does look like private data stored on Drive is private. But other stuff, like your public photos on Google+ do seem to give Google a  non-terminable license to republish.)

It’s really about “My Stuff Everywhere”
The real competition at work here is not about collecting money for storage. The real competition here is to become the universal shared storage system which can work across all your devices.

Dropbox has been the category killer for this service, seamlessly  sharing between you, your friends and coworkers, your computer(s) and your phone. It has been able to do this where Apple (and others) have failed numerous times. Dropbox has rocketed up in value, and is poised to become even more valuable.

The companies that become successful in creating a shared filesystem  are well-positioned for long-term success.  This kind of engagement is hard to pull away from, since  you build it into your collaboration and your fundamental relationship with your own media.

DAM Edition 3.0 Postcard.indd

In The DAM Book 3.0, I’ll dive into the use of cloud storage as part of a DAM strategy. This new development in pricing and strategy offers some excellent value for photographers looking for storage, backup and sharing services.

Another Drive Failure – this is getting old

I turned on my computer this morning and got a warning that my hard drive’s SMART data indicates a pending failure. Crap. Shown below is the message from SMART Utility.
FailingDrive

SMART Utility tells you when your drive is failing before your system may alert you. In this case, the relevant numbers are the Bad Sectors. It was 0 yesterday, 16 when I booted up in the morning, and 40 after I updated by backup drive. This should be considered notice of impending failure.

This is the second time in 6 months. The first time was caused by rough treatment of the computer on my part – this one just seems to be drive malfunction. I had a full bootable clone from a week ago on a desktop drive, and another one that was on a small drive from a month or two ago. I updated the older clone, and swapped that drive into the laptop. In all, less than 90 minutes from start to finish. For those keeping score at home, these were Seagate drives. I’m looking forward to installing WD Black Squared drives my laptops soon (combo SSD and Spinning Disk!).

driveswapping2
It’s wise to have a clone of your drive handy so that you can swap out a failing drive. Unibody Macs are very easy to work with – less than 5 minutes to swap drives and put the computer back together. You’ll also want to have another backup, like a Backblaze cloud backup or daily Chronosync backup to a local server. 

Let this be your reminder to have a fresh backup.

The Fire Hose

Dateline SXSW – I’ve written over the last year about how Instagram is creating a commercial service to supply photos for editorial and marketing purposes. The legal foundation was laid in January 2013, the service was turned on as a trickle last fall, and now it’s starting to get traction.

At SXSW, I spoke with some people who are making use of these photo streams. This includes people on the client side who are building campaigns with these services, as well as companies that help clients make sense of the photos and other data.

They have a name for it. The Fire Hose.

The analogy is obvious on one level. There are so many images coming through these services, it’s like the difference between a drinking fountain and a fire hose. These companies are excited to create engagement with their audiences by mining the millions of photos, tweets, Facebook posts and more that make up the world of User Generated Content (UGC). UGC creates a  new kind of media engagement.

And the Fire hose analogy is also useful in another way. In these arrangements, the company does not pay for the “water” (the photos), they pay for the access to the “pipe” (the API.) This allows the service to sell access to the material in a way that denies that the photos have any value. The value being charged for is the underlying access to the Fire hose and the connectvity. (See Getty).

Of course, this has profound implications for the independent creator. If you put your images on sites like Instagram that are part of the Fire hose, they may be republished widely with no money coming to you.  And use of UGC is creating a great deal of excitement for the client companies. It will take an ever larger share of the budget and attention of advertising, marketing and editorial teams.

Even though the use of the Fire hose does not replace the use of professional photography, it will certainly divert money away from it. I believe that it will take a while for companies to understand the best way to get a proper mix of UGC and PCC (Professionally Created Content, to coin a term.)

Still lots unsettled
I can also report that much of what I have previously identified as unsettled remains unsettled. This uncertainty is what is holding back the full blast of the hose. The unsettled issues are, in my view, primarily about the legalities of the TOU agreements.

• Are the rights in these contracts really something that can be sublicensed?
• Are the liability protections in the TOU going to hold up in court?
• Does the user really forfeit the right to terminate the agreement?
• Will there be a public relations nightmare in the early days that makes this a risky tool for marketing?

As we see companies pushing the envelope, we’ll start to find the legal and moral edges of what is considered acceptable use of the Fire hose. I expect that the boundries that we settle on will give Facebook, Twitter and Google an extremely broad right to make money from the Fire hose.

If you are a professional creator, it would be smart to factor this into your business strategy and your long-term planning, carving out a viable value proposition in a world drowning in UGC.