But not really about picture taking. But all the more important:
The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers
By Peter Krogh
If you do digital photography (to any extent) this is a book you should read.
And who does not work digitally today? The book deals with different aspects of digital asset management for photographers (or in other words, the digital workflow): explaining things like metadata, giving good advice on how to build your data infrastructure (your archive) and the more down-to-earth IT infrastructure, including backing up, going on to getting into quite a lot of detail on working with Adobe Bridge (in association with Photoshop and DNG), on how to work with a cataloguing software, and finishing up with discussing output files and migration strategies.
Sounds boring? It is not. And more importantly, if you don’t organise your digital asset management and workflow efficiently you will sooner or later face a data loss catastrophe or un unmanageable file mess.
This is one of the few books I have seen that deals with all these questions and it does it in a very good way. You might not agree with everything Peter Krogh says (e.g. the unquestioning bet he places on Adobe’s Digital Negative, the DNG file format, or the total affection to iView MediaPro). And you might find that some of the things he says are irrelevant for you (but not many) or that he’s missed out on some aspects (e.g. he very superficially deals with keywording, which is a big workflow and metadata issue if you do a lot of stock photography).
Before reading the book I had spent quite a lot of time thinking about “DAM” and had developed my own methodologies. Much of that is very similar to what Krogh describes, some is not. Some things I do would merit to be covered in the book and some things Krogh does would not work for me. But everything in the book was worth reading and will greatly improve my workflow and my confidence in it. Some of it just because it gives confirmation on that some things I do are done by someone who’s spent much more time on it than I and some things in the book can immediately improve what I do. Krogh perhaps focuses a bit too much for my taste on his two pet applications, Adobe Bridge and iView Media Pro, but I can live with that. It’s a bit too vendor specific but it not too difficult to generalise from those principles, if you work with other apps, and on the other hand it has the benefit of making the examples very concrete.
So, have you ever struggled with how to organise your files, how to find old images, how to make sure you don’t lose a year’s worth of images in a hard drive crash (make the calculation and you’ll see that that’s easily how much time you’ve invested in a single HD, that may (will!) one day fail) and other similar things you will find answers here. You might not find all the answers but it will certainly make you think through things more thoroughly and give you a lot of pointers on how to do things, in an admirably practical and down to earth way.
Buy this book. Read it. Think about it. And then design your own workflow, data infrastructure and digital asset management. If you don’t, at least you can’t say you were not warned.
There’s plenty of information on the book’s site, http://thedambook.com, including some sample chapters, but I definitely recommends buying the book anyway.