PHOTOGRAPHERS. If your digital imaging workflow involves more work than flow, check out the dpbestflow.org website produced by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). The term dpBestflow is shorthand for Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow.
The site features dozens of practical ideas for developing a workflow that can make your work more efficient, effective, and profitable. The dpBestflow site recommends best practices for cameras, computers, color management, image editing, metadata, file management, data validation, file delivery, and copyright registration.
A lot of the advice will be useful to any creative professional who wants to streamline and improve the processing, production, and preservation of digital artwork.
For example, if you don’t understand why investing in a good monitor matters, read some of the detailed information in the site’s section on Monitor Calibration and Profiling. Not only does Project Director Richard Anderson clarify the difference between calibration and profiling, but he also explains different types of monitors, including spec-sheet terms such as illumination type, DDC-enabled, bit depth, pixel-response time, and gamut.
At last year’s WPPI Conference, I saw two experts involved in the dpBestflow project give a two-hour presentation entitled “I Need a Workflow that Works for Me.” The presenters, Judy Hermann and Jay Kinghorn, reminded newcomers to professional photography that their profitability and future business growth can depend on the type of workflow practices they establish now. Essentially, they said the less time you waste tracking down the files you need, the more time you can devote to learning new skills or pursuing new business. Plus, some of the images you shoot and save today might have historical value later in your career.
In the presentation, Hermann and Klinghorn highlighted “good, better, and best” practices at all stages of a workflow including:
- capture and ingestion:
- image editing and organization;
- image correction, printing, or output;
- file delivery;
- archiving and storage; and
- finding archived images.
To scan the type of practical advice on the site, download the dpBestflow Quick Reference sheet. This two-page PDF condenses a lot of the best advice presented in more detail elsewhere throughout the site.
At the dpBestflow.org site, you can also download the handouts from the two-hour and four-hour presentations that resprentatives from the dpBestflow project presented.
If you find digital-imaging and archiving terminology and acronyms confusing, check out the excellent glossary in the Resources section of the dpBestflow site.
Personally, I really admire this website because I know just how much work can be involved in condensing complex subjects into concise, easy-to-comprehend explanations—particularly in fields in which the technology is continuing to evolve.
Another thing I like about this site is that it includes links to several longer white papers that can provide greater insight and context than the get-straight-to-the-point content we’ve grown accustomed to.
For example, you can link to white papers that discuss raw file processing and print rendering, non-destructive image editing, preparing files for delivery, and using a digital camera as a film scanner.
Part of the funding for the dpBestflow project came from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress wants to ensure that many of the images being digitally captured today will be properly preserved for future generations and historical records.
Senior Project Manager Peter Krogh explains that, “dpBestflow helps translate the intricacies of preserving digital images into useful information that can be incorporated into everyday working habits.”