Images and captions

Is there anyone out there who is using DT to keep a large database of images (jpgs, tiffs) and captions? Is there a way of combinbing the two?

Some of the time I work for a newspaper. They have a week-by-week collections of 000’s of photographs of approx 1 to 2mb each. To find a picture that was used in a previous week or year we have to look through the images for around that time – no means of searching. We already have keywords and captions with the pictures. I was wondering if DFT could handle this – if so, I could get a trial going (the photographers use Macs)

There are many ways of doing this, and DTP is extremely versatile and generally will let you do about anything you want.

For instance, the way I’d do it would be to turn the keywords into directories… which would probably require an AppleScript that reads the keywords from all the images and then goes into DEVONthink and creates folders with those names. Then a second script could run through and import the images into DEVONthink into the particular folders represented by the first keyword and replicate the record to each of the other folders as necessary. That’s what is most in line with how DTP2 is intended to be used.

Or you could just have an AppleScript that would change the name of each image to the keywords or to insert the keywords in a particular format (for instance, an image called “%SPORTSPAGE% local high school graduate makes good.jpg” or whatever). Or you could insert the keywords into the Comments, which will be preserved inside and outside of DEVONthink.

Or you could take all of the metadata of the photos and create completely new names: “[y2008::m03::d15//%SPORTSPAGE%] (h1024::v768) |Dave| The Brutes Score at the Playoffs.jpg” or whatever… you can make the titles of the images hold a ridiculous amount of information that would be very, very easy to search for and parse, and it would all be automated with a proper script. Then, any time you wanted to add new images, you could just run the script again and it’d import. Need to change the title format? Just rewrite the script.

Really, you could do just about anything you wanted. DTP has tools built in to handle managing just about any kind of document, and these tools work very, very well. What you should be asking, basically, is: “The dream system that I have in mind is ________. Can I do this with DTP? If so, how? If not, how can I approximate it?”

It might take some time to get a script or Automator workflow written and to get the items imported and teach everyone how to use it… but really, it shouldn’t take any longer than a couple hours start to finish, and the versatility is amazing.

For several years I’ve used a program called iView MediaPro. It’s been a Microsoft product for a few years now (I think they may call it Expression) and I haven’t bothered upgrading. I know I’ll have to do that at some point so I’ve been collecting names of digital asset management software I’ll look at when the time comes. This is what I’ve come up with so far (in no particular order and without any implied recommendations):
TriCATALOG, QPict, Shoebox, Portfolio, MediaboardONE

I’m not sure of the needs of news photographers, but these are some of the things I look for:

Batch rename files (replace, increment, etc)
Ability to see thumbnails in various sizes as well as the actual image.
Batch add keywords.
Sync keywords from catalog to image and back again.
Add comments.
Edit metadata and sync.
Search across multiple catalogs (I archive all projects to DVDs and keep those DVDs’ catalogs on my disk to search. For instance, I can search on “snake skin” and find all the reference and final images I’ve done that have that name or keyword across over 100 CDs/DVDs.)
Organize files in categories or sets.
Find by date, kind, keyword, etc.
Some ability to edit the image (color adjustments, resize, crop, sharpen, etc.)
Export as a web site or a PDF proof sheet.
I’m not sure how well DtPro, even as v.2, would fill the needs of a professional photographer, but I’d lean toward a program that’s designed with those needs in mind.
If someone is using DtPro in their workflow, I’d love to hear about it, too.

You might have a look at Aperture, which is Apple’s pro-level photo management product.

I know nothing about it, except that it seems more aimed towards your needs than a text-oriented tool like DTP.


I’m a photo illustrator and have used iView in the past. I now use Lightroom just for the cataloging of over 45K photos. All my imagery is converted to DNG and Lightroom is good for this. It’s not a full featured DAM like iView is (not able to import movies for example) but the interface is better and it plays well with other Adobe apps. For my needs it works. To get DT to be in that league may be possible, but maybe not worth the energy.

I’ve used Aperture. In my experience it is well-suited for the front end, which is taking raw images from the camera or storage medium and allowing a photographer to cull through images to select ones that make the cut and to do some photo editing. You can assign–either individually or in batches–metadata such as keywords and captions, etc., and it has excellent search processes and good output options. In other words a good tool for photographers and photo editors. I am less sure how well suited it would be for cataloging/photo archiving of images (including captions) that have appeared in publication. I think it would be a bit of overkill for that limited use, and that other, less expensive and simpler options, exist, including just saving the photo in folders on a hard drive and using Finder.