What is Expression Media 2 good for?

Durning the course of October 2010, we’re running a special at theDAMbook.com.  Buy a copy of the book from us, and get a free copy of Expression Media 2.  For those who aren’t familiar with the software, here’s a rundown of what this versatile program can do for you.  In subsequent posts, I’ll dive deeper into these areas.

Catalog your photo collection
In order to get the most from your photo collection, you need to know what you’ve got. Expression Media 2 is a great program for viewing and organizing large numbers of image files at one time. This can help you keep a whole collection at your fingertips, and, if you’re like me, find images you would have forgotten about.

(Read more after the jump)
But I have Bridge or PhotoMechanic already

A catalog is different from a browser (like Bridge or PhotoMechanic) because a catalog remembers what’s supposed to be there, while a browser only shows you what is currently connected to your computer.

This means that the catalog can let you look through hard drives that may be back at your studio while you are on the road. I find that offline access is helpful even when I’m at home and connected to my network, since the catalog can let me find images much faster than I could by browsing through folders.

A catalog is helpful if a hard drive malfunctions
If you catalog your hard drives, you’ll know what is supposed to be there, in the event of a problem.  That can save time, money and provide peace of mind. If you know what is on the drive, you can tell if something is irreplaceable (and requires data recovery) or if you can restore from backups and simply move on.

Catalog many different media types
Expression Media does not just catalog photographs.  You can also catalog audio and video files, fonts, PDFs, word documents, and more.

Helps you sort out a disorganized archive
Because Expression Media works with so many file types, it’s a great tool to help straighten out a disorganized or duplicated archive. If you’ve been working with digital images (or other digital media) for a while, it’s pretty common to have a jumble of files hanging around your hard drives.  Expression Media lets you see what you have, and put things in proper order.

Helps you resolve duplication
Expression Media offers good tools to find multiple copies of the same file, and tell what the difference between them is. Easily check and sort on modification dates, file size, color space, pixel dimension and more.

Open multiple catalogs simultaneously
This enables you to check the contents of backup drives to confirm that all files are backed up, and check before throwing away files.  It also helps you deal with large collections.

But I already have Lightrom or Aperture
Lightroom and Aperture are great tools to view and sort a modest-sized digital photo collection. I love the ability to adjust images from the same environment that I organize the pictures.  But once the catalogs get too large, they can get slow.  And a catalog for a very large collection might not even fit on your laptop. Expression Media catalogs are small and fast to work with, by comparison, which may be the best way to catalog older files.

And while Lightroom and Aperture work fine on a well-organized collection, if you want to use them to help you straighten out an archive that’s less organized, you’ll find that they are not really made for that.  In my own most-common workflow, I’ll run images through Lightroom as working files, and then catalog them with Expression Media once I’ve archived them.

Check back here over the course of the month to see examples of what this versatile software can do for you.

Special offer for book and software outlined here.