Category Archives: Announcements

Shelter-in-place sale extended to May 31

Well, we hoped that things would go more quickly and we’d be back out in the world by now. Some of us are still (mostly) sheltering in place. We’re doing a final extension of the 50% off shelter-in-place sale of all DAM Useful publications until May 31st. This applies to both electronic and paper publications when purchased from DAMuseful.com

While we don’t expect that things will be back to normal by June 1, we are hoping that we will all be able spend more time outside, while observing proper social distancing.

Note that we have not updated the copy on every link on the site, but if you buy from DAMuseful.com, you will get the discount. (Sorry, can’t afford to do this on Amazon,)

Stay safe everyone. See you on the other side.

Webinar this Friday May 8

Here is a link to the notes for the presentation.

Use your shelter-in-place time to work on your photo collection – shore up your storage and backups, organize your photos, and create something! I’ll be doing a webinar this Friday, May 8 at 2pm EST on Facebook Live. The program is being hosted by Ripple Effects Images. You can find it on their facebook page.

There should be something in here for all photographers and people managing photo collections. I’ll provide some clear, actionable advice for improving your digital photography management.

Ripple Effects Images is the brainchild of National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths. The organization sends some of the best photographers and videographers out to report on the challenges facing women and children in the developing world. The images and videos are them made available for free to vetted nonprofit organizations. It’s a fabulous organization, doing great work.

I’ve been involved with Ripple for a while, and now as a member of their Board of Advisors. I’m thrilled to play a part in their important work. Here’s a video of Annie speaking to Adobe Max a few years ago, which should provide a little inspiration for our troubled times.

Also note that we have extended our shelter-in-place 50% off sale for all my books for another two weeks.

Offer Extended! 50% off Shelter-in-place sale

PLEASE NOTE: To guaranteed you get the discount, please go to DAMUSEFUL.COM instead of using the BUY buttons on this site!

Well, it looks like it’s probably going to be a longer shelter-in-place period than any of us want. So we’ll have lots of opportunity to catch up on streaming series, Zoom meetings, cleaning out closets, and calling old friends. We can’t help you there.

You may also want to catch up on some reading, or organizing your photo collection. We can help you with this. We’re dropping the price of all our books to 50% of the cover price, something we’ve never done before. This applies to both printed books as well as digital downloads. (Discount codes don’t apply during this period.)

Our sale will run for the next two weeks, until April 10 until the end of April.

We also have a limited number of rail systems for copying 35mm slides and negatives. Since some of these parts come from China, so we’re not sure when we will be able to restock.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Back in the Product Saddle Again

Six years ago, I was hired by PhotoShelter to create “PhotoShelter for companies.” Five months later, we launched Libris, which has now overtaken the photographer-oriented part of the company in both growth and revenue. I stayed on for a couple years, and eventually parted with the company, although we have stayed on good terms. I’m proud of my DAM achievement there, and I’m happy to see it doing well.   

And now, I’m back, making web services again: this time at a new company. A few months ago, I signed on as the Chief Product Officer at Tandem Vault, and we’re in the process of creating a brand new version of their software, redesigned from the ground up. 

While Tandem Vault is not the most well-known name in cloud DAM, it’s an extremely capable service. It’s a rare product that allows both self-service startup and scaling to enterprise-level functionality. 

I STARTED AS A CUSTOMER
I became acquainted with Tandem Vault when I was working as the Director of Digital Strategy at History Factory, a leading national agency specializing in heritage-based storytelling and institutional archiving. 

We were looking for a service that would allow us to provide increased engagement with the brands we represented. In that search, I looked at a lot of different services, from the venerable old-line DAMs to the high-end cloud services, to buzzy startups. In the end, the decision to go with Tandem was not even close. The capability, value and responsiveness was head and shoulders above the competition. 

FROM WHITEBOARD TO CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER
When I left History Factory, I kept in touch with the Tandem Vault team, and they hired me to help whiteboard a new version of the product. Many of their features had been added organically over the course of several years, and it was clear that they needed a strong product vision to help build an even better user experience. 

Our whiteboard session was a smashing success. We shared a vision of the challenges and opportunities facing media management in the coming decade. We were also able to solve some complicated problems quickly and with no rancor. I’ve come to value a good working relationship as a requirement for any possible employment, and we really clicked.

In the last several months, we’ve been hard at work rethinking the service from the ground up. We’ve included a number of innovative features that are not found in any DAM service at any price. We believe we will be market leaders in areas like collaboration, mobile functionality, crowdsourcing, machine learning integration and scalability, to name a few. (If you want a more concrete idea of what we’re building, pick up a copy of The DAM Book 3.0 – it’s really a blueprint for modern cloud services. It’s also available at a shelter-in-place discount of 50%.)

We’re almost done with the design and data modeling process. The wireframes are nearly complete, and the dev team has begun to wire it up. It’s coming along nicely, and we will have something to show early in Q3. 

IT’S GOOD TO BE BUSY
It’s been a real godsend to have something to put all my energy into in this very strange time, and will be an even more important distraction moving forward. I know that new product announcements are not of much interest in the current situation, but I also know that we all need to be able to remind ourselves that the worst of this will be over one day.

I’ll do periodic posts outlining what we’re up to as we get closer to release. If you want to be notified of our progress, you can sign up for updates over at Tandem Vault.

Stay safe everybody, and keep in touch.
Feel free to ask any questions below.

Petapixel Article on Megapixels and Camera Scanning

I wrote an article that has just been published in Petapixel. In the article, I offer some insight on megapixels and camera scanning, particularly for 35mm film originals.

We are hitting a point of diminishing returns on pixel density where going to very high resolution sensors like the Sony A7 RIV (61 megapixels) may actually get you inferior quality to lower resolution (30-45 MP).

If you are putting a camera scanning system together, you should carefully evaluate critical sharpness and make sure that you can get consistent sharpness across the entire frame.

What I did not say specifically in the article is that use of a rail-based system becomes even more important as you go to higher megapixels since it allows easier alignment of the camera to the film I stayed away from any specific hardware mentions in the article.

If you are interested in rails, which offer precise alignment of the camera and film, I’ve just produced a new batch of the PS-4 version, which seems to sell out as fast as I can make them.

Vote for our 2020 SXSW proposal!

Anna Dickson and I have, once again, made a proposal for SXSW. This time it’s called the Machine Learning Bake-off. In this presentation we’ll do some real-world comparisons of Machine Learning services for analyzing photos. We will test services and present findings on the good, the bad and the ugly.

Here’s the proposal, including the link to vote.
And here’s the proposal info.

Machine Learning Bake-off

Is ML the solution for making sense of vast collections of images? In demo form, it looks amazing. But does it really provide actionable information for you, or does it junk up your tags with a lot of low value (and wrong) information? Time for a taste test! In this presentation, you’ll see the results of real world testing from leading services – Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Clarifai. Our test set includes a wide variety of images representing multiple industries and tagging challenges. We’ll show you where each ML shines, and where each misfires, and how the serviuces have evolved. Armed with our evidence and conclusions, you can decide if it’s delicious, or not yet ready to eat. As a bonus, we’ll show you how to easily run your own test on tens of thousands of images for under $200.

Takeaways
• Get a solid idea of the info that Machine Learning can currently add to image collections. Understand what it’s good and bad for.
• Get a handle on the differences between ML services and how each can help you. Get a better idea of how to evaluate your options.
• There is no substitute for some real-world testing on your own material – at scale – if you want to determine the value of a service. Here’s how.

New Rail Systems for Camera Scanning Available

I’ve just finished a new batch of rail systems for camera scanning and I have a few additional ones available. These are among the very best tools for camera scanning slides and negatives with a DSLR. You can use just about any camera and macro lens. Faster, better, cheaper than a conventional scanner.
I have 5 rails and four light kits currently available. Here is the order page.

More info is in my book, Digitizing Your Photos.

The rails are $350/$375 depending on rail length. light kits are $200.

After making 50 or more of these, I’ve finally gotten it down to an assembly-line workflow, best done with at least five units at a time.


Drill press time! I’ve created a jig here so that I can properly place the access hole in the cover plate repeatably. 

My SXSW proposal – Small Photos, Big Data: A Connectivity Manifesto

It’s Panel Picker time again! Please take a moment and vote for my  session proposal for SXSW 2019. Once again, I’ve teamed up with Anna Dickson to explore the use of visual media and the data that is connected to it.

Small Photos, Big Data: A Connectivity Manifesto

On the mobile web, images serve a greater purpose than simple visual description. Rich media images are increasingly used to connect people, events, institutions, ideas, advocacy and commerce. As we move into a new era of visual communication, this trend is accelerating. While the use of connected images blossomed on social media services, it reaches far beyond walled gardens into API-based interchange on the open web. Machine learning and linked data are creating new methods to make connections, and the Data Transfer Project is opening up access to the underlying graph for portability and innovation. In this presentation, we will explore the current state of visual media connectivity, what it can do for you, how to enhance your own image connectivity, and how to avoid costly mistakes.

Adobe Max – A great conference for visual creators

I’ll be headed to Los Angeles in mid-October for Adobe Max, my third time there.  Over the last several years, the conference has grown like crazy, including the addition of a lot of photo-related programming. In each of the years I’ve attended the conference, I walked away with a much better understanding of the emerging media landscape.
Here is a highlight video from 2017. It gives you a peek at the type of content at Adobe Max.

There is a fascinating mix of programming at Max. There are breakout presentations, workshops, pre-conference multi-day workshops, and plenary sessions. The big plenary sessions are the ones that were most interesting to me, including inspirational talks from Annie Griffiths, and Jonathan Adler.If you are interested in where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is going, Max provides a showcase for Adobe’s massive undertaking, Sensei. Sensei is purpose-built for the creative, marketing and communication industries, and it is poised to have far-ranging effects on the way visual media is created and deployed.

The Sneaks are a look at experimental development efforts, including products that are still on the drawing board. Always fun and popular, and hosted by a people like Nick Offerman or  Kumail Nanjiani.As you can see, there is a lot of the content available on free video channels. So why go? Like all good conferences, the value is frequently found in the personal connections you make rather than strictly in the programming. And in the best conferences, you open your mind with new programming at the same time you are making connections with new people.

There’s also a pretty good party at the end of the thing, usually including good live music, a ton of great food and drink, along with other fun and games.

Max is not cheap – list price is $1595, and the discounted price of $1295 is only available until July 31. I have still not cracked the code to get a presenter slot at Max, but this year I’m going as a TA. I’ll help out someone’s classes, learn, and meet new people. If you are looking for a hint of what the future of media will bring, I suggest you give Max a try.

The DAM Book 3.0 Index

We’ve created an index for The DAM Book 3.0. While this was not terribly necessary for electronic versions of the book, it’s quite helpful for the print version (at the printer now – expected delivery before the end of July).I’ve never personally created an index before, so this was a learning experience for me. It ended up being a tremendous amount of work – maybe 50 hours of combing through the book, making entries, organizing information and then reorganizing it.

If you have already bought the PDF, you’ll soon get an announcement of the update along with a download link. If you don’t have a copy of the book, the index will give you a very good idea of the breadth and depth of the content it includes.

Here’s a PDF of the Index. You can click the top right to see it full screen, or download it onto your computer.

Download (PDF, 4.12MB)