If your operation makes use of a digital camera on a regular
basis”?or even if you use a film camera and convert the images to
digital downstream”?a close examination of image and file workflow
can benefit your bottom line. The software and systems
available can help you better streamline time-consuming processes
such as image conversion and management, allowing
you and your staff to move onto the next phase of the project.
Begin by defining just what it is you're looking for. For the
photography to easily move into your established graphic-design
system, do you primarily need an image/file browser, a RAW converter, or an asset-management system?
Image or File Browsers: After the photos are shot, they must
be downloaded from the camera card onto a computer or website.
Image/file browser programs allow you to look at photos, edit out
bad ones, change file names, add caption info, organize, and file
digital photos. This program may reside on a computer hard drive,
or be an online site that helps facilitate sharing of photos with others
(which can help in choosing images for a project, for instance).
Note that many online websites also offer a print-sales service, primarily
of interest to pure photography operations.
RAW Converters: These programs convert the RAW files (directly
from your camera) to JPEG or TIFF files, which can then be edited
and printed. Often, digital cameras come with a proprietary system
from the camera manufacturer, but many third-party programs are
also available. We have not listed RAW programs from camera OEMs
that work only with that company's cameras; we assume that
you're already familiar with that camera's own RAW options.
Asset-Management Applications: These programs are
designed to catalog photos into a searchable database. They
make it easy to find specific photos and typically offer searches
by date, keywords, metadata, and text. In this listing, we do not
cover programs that focus on long-term storage/archiving.
Many of these photography-oriented workflow programs
offer a little of everything, and prices can range from just a few
dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the features a
program offers and the number of users. The sampling of programs
and services that follow can be helpful to a range of end-users”?
from print providers needing better image-management
systems to those adding a photography service or even professional
photographers who are looking for other alternatives.
From ACD Systems, ACDSee allows photographers
as well as other end-users the
opportunity to view, manage, print, edit,
share, and store photos. ACDSee features
the ability to view more than 50 media formats;
group and save images in user-defined
folders; and search by date, categories,
names, camera metadata,
keywords, or text descriptions. It makes it
easy to print photos and contact sheets.
In addition, ACDSee offers basic photo
manipulation. Price: $49.99.
Bibble Labs' Bibble allows for quick and
easy browsing through RAW files, editing
and adjusting of RAW files, and conversion
of RAW files to JPEGs or TIFFs. Features
include: thumbnail browsing; one-click
white balance; support for monitor proofing;
batch processing; interactive 16-bit
image adjustment; and more. Available for
Mac OS and Windows; offers support for
various Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Kodak, and
Canon cameras. Price: $99, single-user
BreezeBrowser from Breeze Systems,
offers a system to edit, organize, and
present images after they are down-loaded
from the camera. It combines an
image browser with a RAW converter, converting
RAW images from Canon, Nikon,
Pentax, Minolta, and Olympus digital cameras.
Price: $49.95. The company's DownloaderPro
allows the transfer of images
from the camera or card reader to the
computer with renaming and storing
capabilities. Windows only. Price: $29.95;
bundled together, price: $64.90.
In Capture One photo-editing software
from Phase One, the workflow is built
around a RAW environment. Files can be
previewed as thumbnails, named, organized,
adjusted, and processed into high-res
TIFF or compressed JPEG files for
image approval or Web usage. Capture
One allows for manual adjustments as
well as predefined film curves to match
light and color-management profiles.
Available for Mac OS X (Pro and SE versions)
and Windows (Pro, SE, LE, and
Rebel). Supports all Phase One backs as
well as various Canon and Nikon cameras.
Price: $49 (Rebel for Windows), $99 (LE
for Windows), $249 (SE for Mac OS X or
Windows), and $599 (Pro for Windows or
Mac OS X).
Collection is a Mac OS X and Linux-platform
image database suitable for large-size
files and use in corporate-graphics
workgroups, professional photo labs, and
picture libraries with mixed PC/Mac networks.
You can organize, manage, archive,
and distribute image and document files
with it, plus it features strong graphics
query tools to simplify image retrieval.
Collection also offers basic photo retouching
and ICC calibration, plus a Web-based
module. Price: $5886.
From Photodex, CompuPic Pro offers
image browsing, viewing, and management.
It supports more than 70 file formats
and allows for batch conversions. In
addition, CompuPic Pro features photo
editing and enhancing. Price: $79.95.
Digital Image Suite 9
Microsoft's Digital Image Suite 9 offers hoto organization, archiving, editing,
and sharing of photos. Price: $129.
Express Digital Darkroom
Express Digital's Express Digital Darkroom
provides professional digital photographers
with image-capture options, photo-storage
and management features, image-enhancement
tools, local printing capabilities,
and Internet publishing and storefront
integration. PC-based and for use with any
digital camera, Express Digital Darkroom
catalogs images by event, subject, or location;
adds notes to images; enhances
images; automates proof-sheet printing;
and prints directly to printers. Price: $495.
FileMaker Pro 7
FileMaker Pro 7, from FileMaker (a wholly
owned subsidiary of Apple), is database
software that allows professional photographers
to organize and keep track of photography,
assignments, and more. Price: $299.
From the Norwegian software company
FotoWare, FotoStation Pro is a digital-asset
management system designed
specifically for companies dealing with
digital imagery (from digital photography
and scanning) including professional
photographers, stock agencies, and magazines.
It supports more than 30 file for-mats
and is compatible with RAW images
from most digital-camera systems. A 30-day trial download is available. Price: n/a.
program and image-tracking database for
professional photography studios. File-Maker
Pro-based image-tracking system
with added business-management functionalities
such as estimating and billing
jobs; managing contact lists and calendars;
analyzing costs; and preparing
progress reports and shoot sheets. Price:
Photools.com offers IMatch 3 image-management
system for photo professionals
and graphic artists to organize
photos, create albums, convert images,
work with RAW data from digital cameras,
and integrate with other applications.
Supports more than 50 image file formats
and a variety of RAW files, as well as offering
ICC color management. The IMatch
license is user-bound”?the registered
user can use IMatch on as many computers
as he/she likes. Price: $49.95.
Apple's iPhoto allows users to import,
organize, edit, and share photos. iPhoto is
part of the iLife package for Mac, which
includes GarageBand, iTunes 4.2, iMovie
4, and iDVD 4, and sells for $49.99.
iView MediaPro 2.5 features media management
(browsing, converting, and
organizing), presentation, editing, publishing,
and cataloging applications. It
supports more than 25 file formats, and
is available for both Mac and Windows
systems. Price: $199.
Paint Shop Photo Album
Jasc Software, Inc. offers Paint Shop
Photo Album that allows users to move photos
from the camera to the computer with
one click, and then organize, enhance, and
share them. Archive photos to CD and add
special effects. Price: $49.
Camera Bits offers Photo Mechanic for
both Mac and Windows systems. It allows
users to view, organize, and process digital
photo images. In addition, it offers
batch captioning, image renaming, high-speed
browsing, and automatic collection
of metadata. Price: $150.
Photoshop Camera RAW Plug-in/
Photoshop CS ($649) offers RAW file support,
file browsing, and file tagging, as
well as a vast array of photo-editing,
modification, and graphic-design capabilities.
The Photoshop Camera RAW plug-in,
now only available as part of Photoshop
CS, was updated earlier this year, and
supports an array of cameras including
Canon, Contax, Fuji, Kodak, Konica
Minolta, Leaf, Leica, Nikon, Olympus,
Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony.
Photoshop Album ($39.99) allows
users to organize and share digital
images, as well as to perform some basic
edit functions. Photoshop Elements ($99)
is more geared toward the photo hobbyist
and features importing of photos from digital
cameras, file organization, and basic
editing. Photoshop Elements and Album
are together as a package, price: $129.
Although it's primarily a printing application,
Digital Domain's Qimage can convert and
work directly with RAW files from several
cameras, including Nikon. Price: $44.95.
Logical Designs' SharpRaw can process
Minolta, Canon, Fuji, Nikon, and Olympus
RAW files. It can also process JPEG, TIFF,
and BMP files for levels, color correction,
and distortion correction. At this point,
only Windows is supported (Mac and
Linux versions are in development). Price:
$99 ($269 for “Pro” version, with print
profiling and calibrated color target).
From Lasersoft Imaging, SilverFast DCPro
supports RAW files from Canon, Minolta,
Nikon, Olympus, Kodak, Fuji, and Sigma
cameras. Default and custom RAW image
settings are available; settings can be
applied across multiple files from the
same photo shoot. Also includes a Virtual
Light Table for organization and management of images, as well as a GANE noise
and grain removal feature. Price: $299.
StudioMaster Pro 3.0
StudioMaster Pro 3.0 is workflow software
for the professional photographer
from Fujifilm. Users can accept images
from digital cameras or scanners, edit
images, layout albums, and write an
order to the photo lab. Price: n/a.
StudioWorkhorse, from The Workhorse
Group, features workflow software for
corporate photo studios and graphics
workgroups. Content creators can
exchange information and images with
internal and external clients. Project
information is stored in a scalable SQL
database that can be integrated into the
enterprise's other workflow/billing systems.
Windows only. Price: n/a.
Cerious Software's ThumbsPlus is a customizable
graphics editor application that allows
users to view, catalog, locate, maintain
and modify graphics files. In addition,
version 6 supports more than 100 file formats,
including several RAW images, and
converts, resizes, and zips images. Price:
$49.95 to $89.95 for a single user.
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