Photography Focus: Managing Digital Assets From Shoot to Delivery

How you can use good digital asset management fundamentals to improve your process no matter the job.

As photographers, our job is to create visuals for our client, our business, or our own portfolio.  But after you finish the shoot, what processes are in place to organize, deliver, and maintain them? 

This is an aspect of our work that can easily be overlooked, but in reality, how visuals are managed after a shoot is just as important as capturing the image in the first place. Let’s have a look at the processes photographers should use to quickly deliver high-quality well-organized content and ensure clients are impressed every time.

PROCESS

1) Culling

Culling is the process of deleting the assets the client won’t receive upon final delivery. All photographers know there will be images from a shoot that don’t make the cut because they don’t compare to the quality of others in the same session (the subject is blinking, sneezing, out of focus, etc.).

Several different platforms allow for convenient and easy culling. Our favorites are Adobe Bridge and PhotoMechanic. Immediately after a shoot, all images should be copied to your preferred platform, final selections flagged, and outtakes deleted.

Following these steps will make your editing process much more manageable and save time, space, and memory. 

You can read more about culling and tools to make the process lightning fast here!

2) Renaming

Once culled, you should rename the final selections to make them client/project-specific. This helps distinguish the images from others with similar names. If you are producing assets for a company or institution, they may have a specific file naming structures they utilize. 

If you are shooting for individuals, we recommend starting with the date the images were taken, followed by a subject, and ending with a sequence number. Let’s imagine we have 150 photo selections from Colin and Caroline’s wedding on October 8th, 2019. We might name them something like this: 

20191008_ColinAndCaroline_0001
20191008_ColinAndCaroline_0002
20191008_ColinAndCaroline_0003

3) Retouching

Every photographer has their own method for retouching photos and preparing them for final delivery. Two popular platforms for photo retouch are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. The important thing to remember is to export your visuals correctly and into a separate location from the RAW photos.

4) Delivery

The delivery method of the assets varies depending on the client. If you have visuals for an individual or group of individuals, such as wedding photos, headshots, or other events, we recommend file-sharing platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box to deliver the photos to your clients without losing any quality along the way.

If the job is more corporate-focused, the client may have an asset library already set up. You’ll want to ensure sure that the visuals include all the metadata needed by users to search for and manage them. To learn more about asset metadata, check out our post, here

Conclusion

Growing your photography business can be tough in an increasingly competitive space. Even if your work is exceptional, making it easy for your client to find the photos they want and need is just as important. By employing some digital asset management fundamentals, you can improve your client’s experience of working with you and ensure you give yourself the best chance of earning their business again.

Stuart Mauck

Stuart Mauck

Stuart works as a Visual Engineer and Library Architect with Stacks, ensuring quality asset enrichment for all of our clients. He uses his own experience in photography and video production to help build our our clients' Visual Asset Libraries.

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