This is "Part three of an unknown number of parts" in a series I'm calling "Cory talks about how he manages his images." In Part One, I described the history of the schemes I used to manage my photos, including some of the rationale behind each of my switches to a new management system. In Part Two, I ponder the affects of various systems which I could use for photo management. It's also worth noting that I sat on this draft for a very long time, so some of the time is messed up.
This is no giant shock, because it happened several months ago, but I've recently switched to a workflow featuring Adobe Bridge for organizing photos. One of the main features of this system is a heirarchy of folders and Adobe DNG files that consist of my master images, Photoshop PSD files that have files that have been changed at all, and images I've already prepared for output.
Adobe Bridge is what we'd like to call image browsing software. It's capable of interpreting Camera RAW data, building little previews of almost all types of files in any given folder, and things like assigning keywords, ratings and other metadata properties to files. It's somewhat less efficient in some of these processes (particularly rating and keywording) than a few other options available for the Mac, but on the PC, it works great. (More on that later, I'm sure.)
One great side-effect of this system is that I can actually access my files from any computer that doesn't have Bridge or Photoshop installed. Another cool aspect of Bridge is that it doesn't even require I be using a specific type of computer, or accessing my files in a particular way. Because there's less overhead involved in using the files, I can feel confident hooking them up to a network server, or leaving them on a FAT32 formatted drive and using them with my mobile Windows PC as well as my Macintosh at home.
After using the iMac to convert just over thirteen thousand images to DNG format, then split the files into the four gig buckets specified by my workflow, I started using it to give keywords to the images in the first bucket of images, from when I got my first digital camera several years ago.
One thing I noticed at this point was that while Bridge "worked" it definitely wasn't the smoothest possible solution on the Mac. it lagged when loading any significant number of images, and during the process of keywording, something that's specific to the Mac version prevented it from being able to actually add a keyword to an image unless you follow a strange set of keystrokes for each image.
But alas... as a result of PHO382, I was switched to Bridge permanently.