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[Poll] Do you need a DAM? And what should it be like?

Do you need a DAM-program by Serif? And what should it be like?  

199 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you need a DAM?

    • No thanks. I'm just fine with the OS native File Browser / I happily use a 3rd party program for browsing my assets and RAW editing.
    • Yes. I would like to have an Asset Browser. It should provide reliable Preview of all Affinity filetypes and of other popular file types. I do not work with RAW files / the current RAW editing implementation works well for my needs.
    • Yes. I would like to have an Asset Browser, but it needs to have a powerful RAW processor built in. I often work with numerous files which need common base-corrections as well as individual tweaking – therefore the Develop Persona and working on single files one at a time doesn't cut it for me. I would appreciate better interchange with 3rd party RAW editors, hence sidecar files were very helpful. Affinity still could embed the RAW file along with its settings for compositing with other artwork – but in a way that one can return to the DAM for further tweaking of the input RAW file. Note: This implementation should work equally well for those who voted for 2).

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My most immediate requirement is for a DAM to replace Lightroom. I''m running Photoshop and Lightroom on old purchased versions on a Mac. Given Apple's stated intention of withdrawing support for 32-bit apps, I need to replace Lightroom (I'm happy with Affinity Photo) as a priority.

I'd be happy to pay a reasonable monthly sub for editing software (if I need Photoshop). But I hate the idea of my edited images being held to ransom, as is the case with a subscription-based DAM - I can't stop paying (whatever the price) if I want access to my images. I'm willing to sacrifice the latest bells-and-whistles functionality for this security (I guess I can pay for an upgrade - as I did with Lightroom - if it adds value) so I'm tending towards Picktorial atm.

RAW processing would be useful, but isn't necessary - there are functional alternatives out there. I rarely use local adjustments.

'Round tripping' to external editors, picking up the adjusted images, is essential for me. As well as basic editing, I use Nik Efex and potentially others) for different versions.
As is a flexible batch export process (print, FTP, etc.). Being able to create presets for repetitive tasks is important.
I'm not particularly bothered about slideshow or book printing (Publisher is pretty good for that :)).
Generating a web page is a very 90's thing now - most sites use scripted code generators (for so many reasons) rather than reading flat HTML files.

I'm a bit of a hoarder, so I've a lot of images, not all in their filesystem folder structures. Many are infrequently accessed, but I still want them catalogued / accessible.
They cover a number of genres (wildlife, events, people, music gigs), and I use keywording/tagging a lot (not least for remembering who is in the shot, or creatives who contributed). Each genre will have its own set of tags,  so it's much easier each has its own catalogue, so lists don't get clogged and unwieldy.
I like Lightroom's catalogue systems because I can restrict the view to the relevant bits. I wouldn't have a problem with all images in a single database (providing it's performant), if it has the ability to slice by a different view for each genre. I'd prefer this to constant hard-disk reads.

I use Lightroom's colour coding to drive my workflow - 'yellow' is selected for edit, 'green' is work-in-progress, 'blue' is complete, toned, and ready to share. I sometimes use 'purple' for versions cropped to print dimensions.
I also use Lightroom's flags, and I use stacking a lot to keep different versions together.

I use collections to pull together images used for different portfolio sites, but also to drive workflow (I set them up for my 'to do' lists of images to be edited).

The important bit (for me)
I like hierarchies / taxonomies.
I'd like more (e.g. to group images for a specific shoot or project) - it would actually be easier if keywords could be applied at that level.
Ideally, I'd like custom, context-specific / genre-specific taxonomies which could be optionally output as keywords.
To explain a bit more ... for wildlife, I'd like to be able to log the species (binomen and common name - literally the Linnaen taxonomy). For my Scuba photos, I'd like to record a dive reference, which can lookup my dive log database (which has temperature, depth, location name and equipment). For gigs, I'd like a record of the band, and for fashion shoots I'd want designer / model / MUA etc.
There used to be a LR plugin called "LR Transporter" which would let you output XML files from Lightroom, alongside the image export. Some years ago, I built my website to interpret that data, which drove the site formatting & display (I've attached a page to show how this worked). So I think that output in json or XML would be useful.
A bonus would be if each taxonomy entry had multiple attribute fields, so I could record the model's agency (a taxonomy in itself) , portfolio site and Instagram handle, for instance - which would make things easier when posting an image with credits.


Contextual keywords.png

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I look at this from a workflow perspective. In my workflow, the DAM tool is at the heart of managing the images from a photo shoot.  

My workflow:

  1. Ingest images from cards
  2. apply keywords to images as they are being ingested
  3. Conduct first-level sorting, review, and selection of images
  4. Apply raw processing changes (for example, synchronizing white balance, noise reduction, sharpening, etc.)
  5. Begin adjusting the reduced set of images to get to a final state.  This includes sending the images to other applications, like Affinity Photo, Nik Collection, etc and then having them return to the DAM tool.
  6. Making final selections and exporting images for the client to review.

Having another Affinity tool to manage this workflow would be outstanding.  

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Maybe media/file browser instead of DAM. Like Adobe Bridge.
Currently it's little awkward to find and open them in Affinity.

I can use 3rd party one such as XnView for now.
But would be nice to have media/file browser with tight integration with Affinity Suite on both Mac/Windows.

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