Outgrowing LR

cw1

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
6
I’m using Lightroom to manage files for product photography, but there are few essential features missing—file versioning and file renaming. I’d appreciate work-around suggestions to improve my LR workflow.

After culling for keepers of a Client’s product photos it’s necessary to rename them before post-work begins as the names must be meaningful (descriptive) when they’re viewed on an image server. Post work is mostly outsourced and files containing edits overwrite the renamed originals.

The concept of check out/in, filename changes and file edits doesn’t exist in LR and I doubt if such a feature will ever exist. I understand that LR isn’t the right App to use as a DAM and perhaps others have experienced a similar issue and what did they do to work around it or did they abandon LR altogether.

Thanks for helping.
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,474
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
I’m using Lightroom to manage files for product photography, but there are few essential features missing—file versioning and file renaming. I’d appreciate work-around suggestions to improve my LR workflow.

After culling for keepers of a Client’s product photos it’s necessary to rename them before post-work begins as the names must be meaningful (descriptive) when they’re viewed on an image server. Post work is mostly outsourced and files containing edits overwrite the renamed originals.

The concept of check out/in, filename changes and file edits doesn’t exist in LR and I doubt if such a feature will ever exist. I understand that LR isn’t the right App to use as a DAM and perhaps others have experienced a similar issue and what did they do to work around it or did they abandon LR altogether.

Thanks for helping.
I can't answer all your questions completely, but I'll give it a try.

Lightroom is indeed a very powerful post-processing system, as evidenced by its leading position in the RAW editor marketplace.

Lightroom absolutely can rename photos. Assuming you shoot RAW and then export TIFF or JPG, it can rename the RAW files or create a set of names, with lots of options, on export.

As a non-destructive RAW editor, versioning the RAW file is not an issue. For edited files, Lightroom support "virtual copies," which allows you to apply more than one set of edits to an original, with a diffierent output for each virtual copy. For each regular edit or virtual copy, Lightroom creates a history file.

You mention that you outsource your post work. Lightroom is a single-user system, so the concept of check-in/check-out is simply not applicable. However, you can export and import a catalog of photos to your outsource contractor. The export operation will include all the RAW photos. The finished post-work can be returned to you in that same catalog, which you can then import, assuming that the outsourced post contractor uses Lightroom. That catalog will include the entire edit history, so you can modify the returned work if necessary.

As a single-user application, Lightroom is indeed a DAM. However, unlike other Adobe creative cloud apps, Lightroom was not designed for workgroups, departments, or enterprises. If you need an workgroup or enterprise DAM, be prepared to hire an IT consultant and spend a lot of money for the software itself, plus infrastructure, and configuration and customization, and user training.

The base Lightroom application is enhanced with a very powerful plug-in ecosystem. Several prominent plug-in authors are members of this forum.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
692
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
.. necessary to rename them before post-work begins as the names must be meaningful (descriptive) when they’re viewed on an image server

Sounds like you may be on the route to a DAM that can provide multiple releases of images, in multiple formats, while keeping track back to the parent. I'd suggest getting all requirements, including metadata for administration and monetization understood.
 

cw1

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
6
Here’s some more information. I create a Client-specific lrcat so that another person on my team can access a project after it's completed without interrupting a current project and it’s also is a clean way to archive projects. Graphic designers often request a Client’s images to repurpose, for example, and someone else can handle that. This is the closest I can come to making LR a virtual multi-user App for my purposes.

I’ve found that post-processors live in Photoshop and don’t want to know much about LR. After culling, raw images are ftp’d to services for editing and I download psd, png, jpg, tiff files depending on the work order for the job and sync those into a Client sub-folder in LR. I don’t overwrite the originals. It’s not unusual for Clients to request further edits so the files I downloaded are uploaded again to a processor, and I download them (again) to the same folder and overwrite the previous version.

Creating additional filenames because there have been a few rounds of edits isn’t an option because filenames are sync’d from LR to an image server and clients can’t change file names as they’re used in urls. I use sirv.com to serve images to their websites.

This paradigm is manageable, but any intermediate edits to files are lost, which causes issues at times. This is where I miss check-in/out etc. that I had in a previous life administering an m-files.com installation for several insurance companies.

I think DAM Apps are very overpriced for what they do and I’ve found that those that seem competitively priced usually have poorly implemented features such as roles, comments bound to files, weak CDN serving, and the list of shortcomings goes on. I’ve not found a DAM that has a shopping cart so that people can buy client images, which is a request I’ve had more than a few times.
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2007
Messages
22,915
Location
Isle of Wight, UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
I’ve found that post-processors live in Photoshop and don’t want to know much about LR. After culling, raw images are ftp’d to services for editing and I download psd, png, jpg, tiff files depending on the work order for the job and sync those into a Client sub-folder in LR.
That depends on the kind of post-processing company you employ. Those focused on raw processing are almost entirely based around Lightroom. Those focused on retouching are of course using Photoshop.

I think DAM Apps are very overpriced for what they do and I’ve found that those that seem competitively priced usually have poorly implemented features such as roles, comments bound to files, weak CDN serving, and the list of shortcomings goes on.
DAM software is designed to suit the needs of most photographers, and your requirements are simply not typical for most photographers.
I’ve not found a DAM that has a shopping cart so that people can buy client images, which is a request I’ve had more than a few times.
There are Lightroom Publish Service plug-ins that tie into shopping carts, but again, they may not suit your very specific requirements.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
11,123
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
I’m using Lightroom to manage files for product photography, but there are few essential features missing—file versioning and file renaming. I’d appreciate work-around suggestions to improve my LR workflow.

After culling for keepers of a Client’s product photos it’s necessary to rename them before post-work begins as the names must be meaningful (descriptive) when they’re viewed on an image server. Post work is mostly outsourced and files containing edits overwrite the renamed originals.

The concept of check out/in, filename changes and file edits doesn’t exist in LR and I doubt if such a feature will ever exist. I understand that LR isn’t the right App to use as a DAM and perhaps others have experienced a similar issue and what did they do to work around it or did they abandon LR altogether.

Thanks for helping.
Reading this makes me wonder f you use Lightroom, or Lightroom Classic?
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
692
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
poorly implemented features such as roles, comments bound to files, weak CDN serving, and the list of shortcomings goes on. I’ve not found a DAM that has a shopping cart so that people can buy client images, which is a request I’ve had more than a few times.
These requirements point to something other than a typical single user library management system like LR. In particular, the ecommerce aspect seems to imply you will need multiple products.
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,474
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
I think DAM Apps are very overpriced for what they do and I’ve found that those that seem competitively priced usually have poorly implemented features such as roles, comments bound to files, weak CDN serving, and the list of shortcomings goes on. I’ve not found a DAM that has a shopping cart so that people can buy client images, which is a request I’ve had more than a few times.
Regardless of the size of your business, even if you are a "solo proprietor" your requirements point to "business." And "business" is shorthand for, "be prepared to spend hundreds and probably thousands of dollars/euros/pounds initially and more every year on maintenance fees and continued support. Your shopping cart requirement alone is an issue. There are many different shopping cart systems. Your IT consultant will have to do an "integration" between your DAM and the shopping cart and then design in the specific features you need. For the kind of DAM I think you require, for the intended audience, they are not overpriced. They only seem that way in relation to "desktop DAMs."

The "desktop" or "consumer priced" DAMs are, in my direct experience, not a lot better than what's in Lightroom, and they often lack features that are found in Lightroom, such as renaming a file with a sequence number. I tried to work for a while with Photo Supreme but there were just too many issues, and it appears to be one-man shop, which means that its continued development is risky. iMatch is also a one-man shop. Daminian lacked (in 2017) some key features.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
605
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
This paradigm is manageable, but any intermediate edits to files are lost, which causes issues at times. This is where I miss check-in/out etc. that I had in a previous life administering an m-files.com installation for several insurance companies.
I was curious about the m-files solution that you mentioned, and it looks like a serious enterprise-level system. If that's the goal here, Lightroom Classic may not in its league for a certain feature set, but also, Lightroom Classic would not be in its league for pricing. There is no pricing on the m-files website; you must contact a rep for a quote. That implies that m-files costs a lot more than the $10/month or even $50/month Creative Cloud plans. If the current selection of photo-capable DAM applications on Mac and Windows is actually overpriced, that implies that there’s a strong market opportunity for a low-priced multi-user competitor in the consumer/small business space. But after many years, no one has emerged to take that opportunity. In fact the opposite has happened as reasonably priced applications with valued DAM features such as Apple Aperture and iView (later PhaseOne) MediaPro were pulled off the market. All of this adds to the sense that serious DAMs are not overpriced, they're appropriately priced for the level of coding necessary to make a multi-user system that supports check-in etc. over a network without corrupting anything.

As for renaming files, part of my standard Lightroom Classic import preset is to automatically rename all imported files to an absolutely unique name using a standardized convention, set up using the convenient Lightroom file naming tokens. Lightroom Classic even maintains a "Previous File Name" metadata field, so that the original filename can be retrieved from within an exported image and restored, in case a recipient changes the filename after being told not to.

I only have one complaint about the powerful file renaming feature in Lightroom Classic, and that’s there is no search-and-replace within filenames. I think that’s a serious shortcoming because it's a key feature in many other file renaming utilities including Adobe Bridge, but I live with it for now.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
12
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Classic
I once looked at Daminian (got a licence for free from a giveaway) and I got put off from the GUI - there was no dark theme, I just found everything too bright.
 

cw1

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
6
Thankyou to those who chimed into this thread. I have the following challenges using LR as a local DAM. Hope someone has found a workaround.

It seems that I’m unable to search for preserved filenames, although they’re included in xmp files.

I have a client who has 300 product images promulgated across websites. The products are herbs in small bottles. The FDA has requested that the disclosure on the label of the products be changed, which implies the images must be changed/updated. The original images are to be retired, but the filenames must be reused so that urls don’t break. Appreciate suggestions on how to do this “easily.” Thank you.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
692
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
If this is a one off, you may want to look at the batch processing capabilities of EXIFTOOL especially if LR is not exposing some of the metadata. There is also an associated GUI tool.

Given that metadata can be changed by anyone and anytime, I would confirm what the FDA allows for the traceability of such an image derivative.
 
Top