Sideshot wrote in post #18519953
Personally I can get by without DAM, I probably process 10-20 images a week the viewer on PhotoscapeX is enough. If I just did photos for 40hrs a week that would be a different story. Basically I just new something to adjust RAW pics before PS. levels, curves, light masking,
Photoshop I can not get by without. I COULD use Gimp but my workflow would not be the same or as productive. One thing Adobe software has for me is a ease of workflow, Gimp just dosn't have it for me.
For your professional photographer(40hrs a week-10zillion images) DAM probably is a huge requirement. The real professional photographer is probably a small fraction of the software market. Once you get into the casual user market functional requirements needed start to get much smaller and Adobe has some decent competition.
A couple of other factors in casual user market are
-Marketing, the software has to be easy to find and buy
-Ease of use the average person has to be able to use the main functions without taking a night class.
I'm not a pro, but my Lr catalogue has over 50K images in total. I would never be able to manage all of those images just using a file manager, not even with Bridge, which is my favourite browser for images and the like.
The database functionallity allows me to find particular images very quickly, based on mixtures of subject, location, and time. Using things like Lr's Smart Collections, which can work just like directories on the file system, with the advantage of images being available in more than one collection at a time.
You can do similar using the file system without the database. Bridge has Smart Collections too now. The problem is performance, Lr can keep the Smart Collections up to date in real time, run the collections parameters as a search and it takes milliseconds using the database. Do the same in Bridge and it literally takes tens of hours. The computer has to open and read the data from every image, either from the associated .xmp file, or from the image file itself, depending on the file type. It has to do this for all 50K images every time. I suppose the one advantage is that it only needs to do that once even with multiple Smart Collections.
As well as all the basic images I also have quite a number of Virtual Copies. As well as using them for different treatments, such as a colour and black and white version, Lr also uses VCs for things like saving images that have been prepared for printing. The great thing about this is that you only need the one copy of the image file, all the copies are just saved as additional conversion instuctions, which is simple text.
Actually I don't know why Adobe don't add VCs to Bridge. All it would take would be a second .xmp file, with the copy name appended to the file name, so for example img1234.xmp and img1234 copy 1.xmp, along with img1234.CR2.
Actually I think that quite often it is not the professional photographer that needs complex DAM systems built on a database, but the keen amature. For many working photographers simply putting images in folders by client and date will be sufficient. Many will never need to access images again after delivery to the client, even if they are archived. It is the photographer who shoots a wide variety of different subjects, and needs easy and quick access to those images who really benefits from advanced DAM software.
So if I didn't have Lr, I would still be using some database driven DAM application. What is nice about Lr is that it also has a leading RAW converter integrated into it, along with some very powerful output and export solutions. All in one common interface. Yes I could use separate applications to do the RAW conversion, and generate output, but then it becomes more complex, with different interfaces etc to learn.
Actually if you look at Lr as just a DAM tool, it still looks pretty good. In fact if that is how you want to use it, Lr Classic CC actually becomes a free program. You send the RAW file out to the converter of your choice, and bring the converted RGB file in. Then off to a pixel editor of your choice if necessary. Then you still have access to all the output, export, and publish options. All remain available without a monthly fee. You can still make basic edits using the Quick edit tools in the Libary module. The new Auto algorithms may mean that is all you need for a lot of images. So Lr now needs to be considered as a free DAM program too.
As to the learning needs, it will always take a while to master any new software. DAM software is no exception. Personally I don't see Lr's DAM tools as being any harder to work with than any other comparable system. I always thought I could manage using a file browser only, and then one day when trying to figure out which JPEG file matched the most up to date PSD, and that I had to do that for thousands of different images. I realised there had to be an easier way, because as the number of images grew this would just get worse.