|You Need a Visual Library!|
Establish a Visual Library and Make Your Life Easier
If you have a company, you need a well-organized visual library. This do-it-yourself article tells you how to organize one.
Speaking from experience, having a visual library will save you a lot of time and headaches. Sales people, directors, R & D people, marketing staff, receive regular requests for product images: "Can you send me a picture of...?" If the requested image isn’t readily available, expensive hours are lost in search.
When I do photography for a company, I turn over a CD with the resulting images organized in sets of folders first by resolution (low res for web and high res for printing); then by category, product and style. Actual images within folders are named according to camera angle. These are simply copied onto your server so key employees can readily access them. Thus, when a retailer from Colorado Springs emails, “Please send me a high-res photo for our catalog” the requested image can be located and sent in seconds saving an enormous amount of time and payroll expense.
That’s why you need a well-organized image library. The power of an organization depends on its speed of particle flow. An image library pays for itself by improving efficiency. And of course quality images themselves directly generate sales.
Every picture is made up of tiny dots. Look under a magnifying glass and you can see them. Printed images, such as in a magazine, use 300 dots per square inch or 300 dpi for short. This is called "high resolution" or high res. On the web pictures aren't as detailed. Monitors display images at only 72 dots per square inch or 72 dpi. This is low res. Normally in a business you will need both versions. So if you have a photo of your product, you need a high-res version (300 dpi) for printing brochures, and you also need a 72 dpi version (low res) for the web. If you try to print a 72 dpi image in a brochure, it either prints way too small or it looks really bad since there aren't enough dots to make it look good.
Caution, when you are manipulating photos, remember to never delete your high-res master files. You can always make low res versions from a high res image. But you can't turn a low res image into a high res.
Here's a good way to organize a visual library of product shots. You can do it differently, but this way works well:
As you can see, everything is first divided into two folders -- 72 dpi for web, 300 dpi for print (brochures). Next you organize by products 1, 2, 3, etc. Then you include the individual shots, listing the camera angle in the name. Naturally you can add a level for category if needed.
There is also a flow of folders I use for processing photos and keeping copies of my work in various stages. For sure every artist may have a different system. But this one works for me and is better than not having any plan at all: