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Thread started 11 Feb 2014 (Tuesday) 10:05
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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 11, 2014 10:05 |  #1

I’m looking for either software or workflow advice. I do photography for a civil engineering company. I shoot primarily before, during and after shots of projects we do. We have tens of thousands of photographs stored on multiple servers, mostly organized according to the location in this state where the work was done. Most of these were taken before I got here. I am frequently asked to find images that pertain to a certain specific aspect of what we do, i.e., drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, electrical engineering, things like that. None of these images have ever been tagged or indexed in any way making it extremely difficult to find the images I need since I’m not all that familiar with what types of jobs we did in each location. I have been asked to find a way that anyone who works here can search our servers for images related to a specific subject. Or at the very least I need a way that I would be able to quickly pull up numerous images of a given discipline of our business.

Here are my options. I have a subscription to Adobe CC. I know that Lightroom is an excellent way to index photographs but 1, I haven’t used LR and I don’t know how long it would take to get up to speed on it. 2, I don’t have the numerous hours it would take to go through all of the images and tag them with keywords. And 3, even if I tag all the images, would I be the only person who could search for them? Here’s another option. We have a very bright intern who has the time and ability to go through all the images but he doesn't have LR and wouldn't know how to use it (at least not quickly) if he did. What I’m wondering is if there is a software alternative to LR that would allow him to process all of these images with keywords and have them be searchable by others who don’t have or know how to use Adobe software? Any thoughts?


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Dmitriy
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Feb 11, 2014 10:38 |  #2

Metadata (keywords, descriptions, and titles) are "embedded" into the images. All catalogue software read this data. So, theoretically, you both can use different IPTC/XMP editors to add metadata, and others will be able to search them. There are many free IPTC/XMP editors out there.

Only problem, you will need one platform that indexes the changes and provides search functionality. You will probably need a special software that works over network.

If those are local servers, I think you can set up Picasa (free photo catalogue software which can be used for search) to work with added network drives.


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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 11, 2014 13:36 as a reply to  @ Dmitriy's post |  #3

Picasa sounds like it may be exactly what I need, thank you! I'll check it out and let you know.


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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 12, 2014 09:51 |  #4

I said I'd report back. Unfortunately it looks like Picasa has fallen short in one critical area. It doesn't recognize any network drives. At least I can't find any way to get it to search any drive other than on my local machine. Therefore I'm going to bite the bullet and learn to use Lightroom. I've been wanting to anyway and this is as good of an excuse as any. Thanks Dmitriy for the help.


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Dmitriy
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Feb 12, 2014 11:33 |  #5

Try to map a network drive. This means you are defining a network drive as a new local disk. This should work.

It is easy - https://www.google.com​/search?q=map+a+networ​k+drive (external link)


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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 12, 2014 11:53 as a reply to  @ Dmitriy's post |  #6

The drives I need to access are mapped to my machine with drive letters. I would have thought that should do it but it still would not recognize any drive other than the physical drives on my computer, and I couldn't find a way to force it to "see" them. :(


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Feb 12, 2014 12:02 |  #7

LR is relatively easy to learn, tons of tutorials and videos online or get a book (my preference). I like Martin Evening's books best, orthers prefer Kelby, you should be able to find both at a bookstore to compare.

Once you have all the images imported into your catalog (which will most likely take a good while) you can tag them easily. Might be a good idea to sit together with your colleagues and figure out what good keywords would be (date, project type, before/during/after, etc) and then publish those in a document for all to see.


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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 13, 2014 06:49 |  #8

phantelope wrote in post #16683933 (external link)
LR is relatively easy to learn, tons of tutorials and videos online or get a book (my preference). I like Martin Evening's books best, orthers prefer Kelby, you should be able to find both at a bookstore to compare.

Once you have all the images imported into your catalog (which will most likely take a good while) you can tag them easily. Might be a good idea to sit together with your colleagues and figure out what good keywords would be (date, project type, before/during/after, etc) and then publish those in a document for all to see.

Excellent suggestions. I'm not familiar with Martin Evening, I'll have to check him out. I've been a big fan of Scott Kelby for years. Thank you!

And BTW, I've been spending a lot of quality time with Lynda.com and LR during the past 24 hours or so and I can't believe I've never given it a try before. It's amazing!


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BTNorris
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Feb 14, 2014 16:19 as a reply to  @ Phil Light's post |  #9

We are in a similar situation, but in a construction litigation environment with hundreds-of-thousands of photos. We use Thumbs+ www.cerious.com (external link).

It is a database and viewer application, so you can add whatever user fields you like and qurey, sort, etc. and still keep any needed folder structures in tact.

One key for us is the ability to import photo logs generated by others right into the database. (Engineers and consultants sometimes send us an Excel file with their comments/etc on each photo.)

Does a bunch of other good stuff too.

Early on when we needed some support, they were really responsive and helpful.


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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 17, 2014 12:47 |  #10

BTNorris wrote in post #16689766 (external link)
We are in a similar situation, but in a construction litigation environment with hundreds-of-thousands of photos. We use Thumbs+ www.cerious.com (external link).

It is a database and viewer application, so you can add whatever user fields you like and qurey, sort, etc. and still keep any needed folder structures in tact.

One key for us is the ability to import photo logs generated by others right into the database. (Engineers and consultants sometimes send us an Excel file with their comments/etc on each photo.)

Does a bunch of other good stuff too.

Early on when we needed some support, they were really responsive and helpful.

I am definitely going to check into this. It might be just the ticket for others here where I work rather than buying them LR and having to train them how to use it just so they can locate images. That would be like buying a Ferrari to drive to the mailbox (which I will absolutely do when I win the lottery).


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PixelMagic
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Feb 17, 2014 13:07 |  #11

Lightroom is definitely NOT the tool for the job; it is designed as a single user application. Lightroom uses SQLite as its database/catalog and the catalog is automatically locked once a user opens it.

It seems to me that you'd be better off with a server-based DAM like Daminion, or Extensis Portfolio Server.


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BTNorris
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Feb 17, 2014 14:55 |  #12

Phil Light wrote in post #16696395 (external link)
I am definitely going to check into this. It might be just the ticket for others here where I work rather than buying them LR and having to train them how to use it just so they can locate images. That would be like buying a Ferrari to drive to the mailbox (which I will absolutely do when I win the lottery).

I have an office of attorneys and staff trained to use it. One suggestion is to only show "thumb photos" in the tree -- makes it hard to miss. Also, they do not have delete-rights, which lets me sleep at night.:cool:


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Feb 18, 2014 08:00 |  #13

Crazy idea, if you use Window PC why not just make a "data tree" with in one of the servers.

Photos
2014
January
February
March
Etc

For each year, when a individual needs to look for a photo from a project they should know the year and month that project was worked on. Anyone that has permission can access the data tree and view the images. Just a suggestion.


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Phil ­ Light
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Feb 18, 2014 11:57 |  #14

That's similar to how they are organized now. The problem is not that they can't find photos from a specific project, what they can't find are assortments of photos of a specific nature. For example, one of the things this company engineers is water tanks. Someone (i.e., top exec, not wanting to waste their own time looking) might ask for an assortment of images of pedestal tanks, legged tanks, ground tanks, etc. If the person searching (me) is not familiar with the thousands of projects this company has worked on in the past 40 years, keywording images is the only real option if the images are to be found in less than a few days. And it goes far deeper than water tanks. The search criteria could be one or a combination of scores of subjects. That's why the images need to be keyworded. Properly done, searches like this would only take minutes.


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Dmitriy
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Feb 20, 2014 10:26 |  #15

According to "Google Support" (https://support.google​.com/picasa/answer/152​88?hl=en (external link)) Picasa can manage photos stored on some (?) mapped network drives.

Maybe you will be able to find how to set it up - https://www.google.com …e&oq=picasa+net​work+drive (external link)


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