When I first started out in photography I didn't have any specific process to manage any of my images and files. This is one of the primary reasons I don't have many of my early images anymore. It's a shame because I was quite proud of some of the images I had produced.
Life happens; a few home moves, working through a couple of new computer systems and hundreds of projects can make it tough to find all of your images and files. This is precisely what happened to me and because I didn't have an effective digital asset management system in place, lots of my early projects have been lost. Of course, this was early in my career when most of us tend to make our biggest mistakes. Since then I've of course implemented various system in place to ensure my files are not only easy to locate but also protected. Well managed files are less likely to become lost files.
More recently, however, I've been looking more and more at ACDSee and the tools they offer to help in this regard. The software they have is in my view incredibly intelligent and might just be at the forefront of digital asset management (DAM).
The Tools Available From ACDSee
ACDSee Quick View
Image by Anete Lusina
For a long time I had used Windows Photo Viewer to preview any of my JPEGs. Unfortunately, this software was in my view, mostly terrible. The software was slow, often unresponsive, and a complete pain to use. Scrolling through images always seemed to slow down the software to almost a standstill even when I was viewing lower resolution files. This software was just not an effective way for me to quickly go through images. For this reason I would have to import all of my files into Lightroom in order for me to go through them. The downside was that I'd have to import all of my files before I could view them in Lightroom which still seems to take an absolute age when it comes to importing files. I just don't have the patience when all I want to do is view some of my images quickly.
Over the last year I've been using ACDSee Quick View which is now hands down my most used software. It's so odd to me that almost no one thinks about having a good image viewing software. Seriously, how is this not a more important issue?
Once I finish a shoot I just want to be able to go through all of my files quickly without having to go through long importing processes and slow loading software. The Quick View software from ACDSee doesn't require you to import any of your images and it's just so straight forward. The software doesn't need to load or boot up with logo screens and such. It works exactly like Windows Photo Viewer did except it's a world faster and it doesn't crash after scrolling through the fifth image.
I know this is a sponsored post but seriously, Lightroom and other photo viewing software make me want to punch screens. I'm so thankful to have the Quick View software from ACDSee because it individually has made a huge impact to my overall workflow.
Although I haven't shot lots and lots of portraits throughout my career, I've shot enough to need a system in place to manage them all. One of my favorite tools that ACDSee have is "Facial Recognition." If you haven't tried this feature I highly recommend you give it a go because it's brilliant. This has to be one of the smartest pieces of software I've used in a very long time.
As the name would suggest, the software is able to detect and recognize faces in images. Once you assign a name to a face the software is able to locate other image with that person and sort files in relation to them. I can't stress how useful this is in real world scenarios. For many professionals their workflow is one of the most important aspects of their business and this individual feature is a huge benefit to workflow.
Location Data and Geotag Images
This is pretty straight forward when it comes to how it works. Most of us now understand how and why geotagged images can be of great benefit. If you travel a lot which I'm assuming many photographers tend to do, then I'd say having location data is beneficial. For example, if I wanted to search all of the images that I produced in Geneva then I can simply search for that term in ACDSee and all of those images will appear. There's no need to go through messy skimming processes or search through lots of folders and such.
There was a specific contact that I had which required me to travel to several different countries. These included, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. Sorting images using individual folders is one thing but it's so much easier to just type in the country or city name and having specific files just appear.
The most useful thing however was the fact that I could manually geotag images too, meaning that images I shot with multiple cameras all appear with one geotag. My Canon 5DS R for example doesn't offer any location data, but my 5D Mark IV does. This meant that in some other software I'd only be able to search for images based on location for one or two cameras I own. Many of my images wouldn't appear in those searches. ACDSee has made this a ton easier cause now I can assign location data all my 5DS R images too, making them easy to search for via location data.
Why This Is so Important
In my mind a photographer's workflow is essentially their manufacturing process. There are several reasons why companies like Ford did so well and their manufacturing process was one of the key reasons. The time you spend on inefficient and outdated processes to manage your files only costs you money and time. If you can cut down the amount of time spent on the little things, they really do add up.
Unfortunately it's these kinds of things that we tend to overlook and we get stuck in a particular way of doing things. Many of us are creatures of habit and that can be a good thing; however, we need to be aware of bad habits and try to correct them. We as photographers really need to be able to look at our current methods and workflows and try to work out how we can improve them.
On many occasions it can be something simple and quite small which tends to add up. For instance, a photo viewing software that slows down the preview section. Honestly, I still feel like I haven't ranted about this enough. I'm just glad that's over now because the Quick View software has relieved so much stress in my life that I feel like I'm a better and more well-rounded person overall.
Jokes aside, I really can't stress the importance or having a good an efficient workflow and ACDSee seem to one of the few companies that really think about this. Their software focuses on the whole process from start to finish and that's not something I'm used to with many other options available. For this reason I highly recommend that you check out ACDSee and their DAM features.
You can improve your workflow by investing in software from ACDSee. Prices start from an incredibly reasonable $39.95 for the Home Studio version which does include all the features mentioned in this article.