MISSION STATEMENT - This site is dedicated to professional music photographers. Our mission is to advocate sound business practices, warn against predatory client practices, provide helpful and educational resources, and foster a sense of community. All discussions related to capturing, processing, cataloging and licensing music photographs are welcome.

You are here

Digital Asset Management?

This post is meant to stir some discussion on how you manage your photo archives. I use Apple Aperture but the same discipline could easily apply to Adobe Lightroom or any other Digital Asset Management (DAM) system.

My management system is a little different. Like others I import new projects into standalone libraries. There I make all image selections, apply all adjustments, apply all metadata and ratings, etc. When I'm done with this I merge the project library into my master library. The machine on which this initial edit takes place has Time Machine so incremental backups happen every hour at worst. I can always tell Time Machine to make a backup right now so that I don't have to wait for the next hourly backup to roll around.

My master library is a managed library and is stored on an external 1TB USB-powered My Passport from Western Digital. I have three more of these exact same disks. I use rsync from a Terminal window to update these three copies from the master. The master and one copy are with me everywhere I go. The other two copies are kept at home. I keep a copy in addition to the master with me at all times in case the master fails while on the road.

Because I keep my master as a managed library, I can lose the master drive and simply start using one of the copies as the new master until I purchase a replacement or have Western Digital replace it if it us under warranty. I don't have to worry about reconnecting images to a library.

I love these My Passport drives. They are commodity drives @ $90 each, and I can get them pretty much anywhere. I also like that they are USB powered so no extra power cords to drag around. They are also USB 3 so they are super fast on the MacBook Pro. Syncing them is fast and easy which encourages me to do it often so that I know I'm covered.

How do you manage your archives? Do you have a DAM?