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Need solution for client photo archive
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jimtron
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« on: February 03, 2009, 07:55:44 PM »

Hi folks:

I have a client I shoot often for. I've been posting low res proofs to online galleries for them, but there are so many shots/shoot days in the Web gallery now that it's getting clunky. I want to help them set up an archive with all shots from all shoots (jpg proofs, not high res) that they can maintain, and I can access as well. I'm thinking Expression Media might be a good idea, for cataloging all images, and I'll show them how to add keywords and sort and stuff. It would be ideal if I could access the catalog as well--I noticed that EM2 has a shared catalog feature. I'm thinking about using a sync application like Dropbox to store the shared catalog. They'll probably be using Windows and I'm on a Mac, by the way. The idea is for them to have a permanent archive of all proofs, an archive that will allow them to search through 1000s of images.

Another thought was using a Web service where all the proofs (they're 800px jpgs) could be stored, and sorted and tagged/captioned. But I'm thinking any Web solution like this would be too slow.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

- Jim

eta: I have a Photoshelter account, but I think it's too slow for large collections of images.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 07:57:27 PM by jimtron » Logged

peterkrogh
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 08:06:30 PM »

Jim,
I was just going to suggest Photoshelter.
What part do you think is too slow?
Peter
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jimtron
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009, 08:23:41 PM »

Hi Peter:

When browsing galleries and viewing individual images in Photoshelter, it seems a bit pokey to me. Especially if I add a collection with thousands of images. Has that not been your experience with them?

- Jim
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 08:55:12 PM »

Jim,
I have not browsed thousands of images (my account has a paltry few test images).
If you divide the images into subgroups, does that help? I would think that it should not be that hard to keep from making galleries of thousands of images.

If I ever get a few minutes, I'll test with a large upload.
Peter


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jimtron
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 10:56:39 PM »

Peter:

In my experience, even small galleries are a bit slow, which is not a problem if you're taking your time looking at images to make selections. But for quick browsing it's slow. Also, I'm hoping for a solution where my client can add keywords. With PS you clients can add comments, but I don't think that would be sufficient.

- Jim
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BobSmith
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 05:30:29 AM »

I've used self hosted galleries in LightboxPhoto for a few years.  Before that Imagefolio galleries.  They're hosted in house on an old Mac running OS-X server.  I hosted in-house because it makes updating the gallery so much faster and easier.  It requires an internet connection with decent upload speeds and a static IP.  That can get a bit costly but worth it if you do much of this. Otherwise, host anywhere that gives you decent storage amounts and live with the slower updating (time to upload hundreds of thumbs, previews and highres images... and then do it all over again because you left out a crucial keyword... while the client is on the phone wanting to see proofs NOW)

At the time I set this up I was doing a lot of catalog photography for several clients that produced fairly high volumes of images regularly.  I would post proofs from each shoot with a short description of what that shoot contained.  A list of shoots and their description would appear in chronological order with the most recent at the top.  All individual images were annotated with keywords.  Clients would usually browse simply by category listing but the search function allows searching across all of their images or selected categories.  Web stats show that relatively few clients used this much regardless of how much I try to show them how powerful it is.

LightboxPhoto can be setup so that the client does their on annotation if you want.  I had grand plans of doing that.  Few clients seemed terribly interested in that so I've never pursued that further.  I was successful in "training" clients to give me enough info that I could put meaningful keywords in the images at the time of the shoot.  And I've trained myself to ask things at the shoot like "what's the exact model number of this contraption?"... and to keep a notepad handy to write those things down (I do miss the nice voice annotations that most of the Kodak DSLRs had).

A typical shoot would rarely have more than maybe 200 proofs.  If it did I would subdivide it into more categories.  As long as images divided so that the client is not browsing a category with a huge page count of images, browsing is fast and easy.  I've had almost zero complaints about speed.  Usually just the opposite.  My current gallery setup contains about 12K images.  I've had as many as 40K online.  A lot of images shouldn't pose a problem if its organized well.  When I go through a major server software/hardware upgrade I usually end up dropping out old work that is rarely if ever accessed any more.  That's why my current gallery is smaller than it has been in the past.  My largest user of this system went through a buyout and took all of their photo operations in-house (ouch!).  This one client would typically have several years worth of work available for viewing at one time with several thousand images per year.

All of these images are on password protected pages.  Clients can place orders for files and download files all through the same interface.  Having this system in place has helped my business tremendously from a customer service and loyalty standpoint.

Bob Smith

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peterkrogh
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 06:24:10 AM »

Bob,
Thanks for the thorough write-up - informative as always.
Looks like I'll have some testing to do soon.
peter
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