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Thousands of Images, Now What?: Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back-up Your Digital Photos Paperback – 23 Mar 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (23 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470582081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470582084
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 1.3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,102,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

What you need is a way to find what you want

Did you realize that the average new parent snaps at least 10 photos a day? That a family vacation can yield a thousand images? Of course you did odds are, you′ve been there. And now, you′re drowning in digital photos and can′t find the one you want.

Here′s how to choose and use software that brings order to your digital chaos. No matter how many images you already have, this book helps you get them under control for good.

  • Understand the different types of software and learn to make it work for you

  • Compare database and browser–based storage systems

  • Learn the best way to download images

  • Discover the quickest ways to search for specific photos

  • Find out the best, easiest, and safest backup methods

  • Get special tips on traveling with your camera gear

  • Explore safe ways to share photos

About the Author

Mike Hagen is a professional photographer who specializes in location photography and workshops. As the Managing Director of the Nikonians Academy, he is the driving force behind this highly successful organization that operates photo workshops and adventure trips all around the world.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book arrived very promptly, 2 days in to the 2-week time window I was quoted for delivery. This book is very thought-provoking and an essential read for any amateur digital photographer who wants to catalogue their many thousands of digital images. It doesn't just tell you how to store your images but describes various different approaches and explains the pluses and minuses of each approach. The book is definitely helping me to create a safer and more useable Digital Asset Management system than I had previously envisaged.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 34 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really well-thought out approach 22 May 2012
By tachi1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a abook I wish I had found sometime around 1998 when I got my first digital camera. Five cameras--with ever larger flash cards--later I find myself in a quagmire of differently tagged images, varying naming conventions, multiple external hard drives, and (literally) thousands and thousands of images. Finding the one I want runs the gamut from very difficult & time-consuming to absolutely impossible. I know it's there, I just can't locate it. Knowing that this is all my fault certainly doesn't help matters.

This book organizes your thinking process and presents you with enough options (with the pro's and con's of each) that you're able to determine what system is realistically most likely to work with your personality, your level of discipline, and your photographic workflow.

The author, fortunately, has a good understanding about what is involved. He is aware--and makes you aware--that some type of consistent structure has to be established early on (the sooner, the better) and maintained going forward because the purpose of Asset Management is not to store but to be able to retrieve.

He covers almost all aspects of the process from capture to backup and explains the various software programs that can help you (Mac or PC, camera manufacturer, etc). He explains concepts that weren't even on the horizon when I started (such as metadata, RAW files, online file sharing, social networks, etc.). He demonstrates with screen shots and examples and explains in clear and unintimidating language.

Consistency, as a matter of fact, should be the subtitle of the book. He suggests, explains, and weighs many different options but makes it clear that the choice of system is yours: pick one and stick with it forever after. You're pretty much married to whatever system you choose, so think it out ahead of time before committing.

Consistency is also the reason his system works and mine doesn't. Over the years I have used variants of many of the systems he suggests. My folder structures, sorting conventions, backup routines, etc. have, at one time or another closely resembled some of his models. Many of them, I have discarded.

The database system did not work for me. The chronologically-named folder did not work either because I often can't remember exactly what year a photo was taken. It has always been my habit to descriptively name my photos and folders and approaches that are more number-based don't make sense to me. But, apparently, all of these do work for other people. This is why it's so important to read the book through, see the options, and think: would this be something I'd be comfortable with 10 years down the road? If I was looking for this particular picture years from now, where would I look first?

Since Adobe Bridge came out I've been using a browser-based system with a metadata tree structure which, for me, is the system going forward. Now I can find any photo I saved since settling on this system. But, regardless of how "painless" the subtitle of the book suggests the process can be, retroactively incorporating randomly cataloged files into some sort of order is nothing short of overwhelming.

I never thought I'd have this many photos when I started. I never took as many photos when I had to pay for film and developing. Digital Asset Management is what will keep your photos from becoming irrelevant GB of data. So the sooner you get a personal system thought out and implemented, the better off you will be.

I wish someone had laid it out for me this clearly years ago. I approached digital photography with the same "photo album" or "shoebox" mentality that I used for prints. That won't cut it now.

This book is well-worth the price; it will help you understand how you think and work; define the level of control you need or want; offer you options and suggestions (while providing realistic limitations to each system); and impress upon you that you first have to organize your thinking before you can organize your photos.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DAM... So many images, so little time. 4 Jun. 2012
By John Williamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Photographer Mike Hagen has taken a problem and confronted it well with his Thousands of Images, Now What: Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back Up Your Digital Photos. If you're a photographer his name may be familiar; for those who are unfamiliar with him, he is the Managing Director of the Nikonians Academy, and the driving force behind this highly successful organization that operates photo workshops and adventure trips all around the world. Mike is also the author of other photo books, and knows digital photography well.

You don't have to be a pro photographer to understand how perplexing and often frustrating exercise organizing digital images can be. All too often they are downloaded to the computer, only to get lost after a few are emailed, posted on Facebook, Flickr, Google or such online places. Yet this is not a new problem, as it's been going on since the early days of film photography, when photos were often put into shoeboxes to be sorted at a later date. And for many, things are not much different with digital photography.

With his new book, the author does a great job explaining Digital Asset Management (DAM), a method of efficiently organize, saving, and backing-up your digital photos into an intuitive filing system that will meet your needs, whether you use a Mac or a PC. The aim here is to generate a functional digital photo archive that will be easy to maintain and use. And without getting into a lot of technical jargon, author Hagen offers us a book that's easy to follow and understand.

Within the covers of this book, you'll find a well-organized grouping of topics broken down within nine chapters that follow an easy to understand logical sequence. The numerous color photos back up the topics quite well, with numerous screen shots that make it all that much easier to understand. After the introduction, in which Hagen clearly explains the basics of Digital Asset Management and how to use and implement the time-tested methods for managing and storing your digital images. Here's what you'll find:

Chapter 1: Building a Manageable Image Collection

Starting with an explanation on understanding the elements of your digital system, and how you can straighten out your own unorganized images.

Chapter 2: Database or Browser-Based Photo Management System. Which Should You Use?

Do you want to organize using a database organizational system or is browser-based organization better for you? This chapter may help you decide.

Chapter 3. Downloading and Ingesting Your Images

Here we find the reliable methods to ingest images, along with other things that can be done in the process, such as adding Copyright notices and geo-tagging images.

Chapter 4: Keywords, Ratings, and Tags

Are keywords, star ratings and color labels important? If you don't use them, then don't miss this chapter. Good, clear explanations on EXIF, IPTC and XMP, and why they are important.

Chapter 5: Finding Your Images

Here we find solid details on searching a database, using Photoshop Lightroom, Aperture, MediaPro, and iPhoto. Searching in a Browser covers Mac Finder & Windows Explorer, Nikon View NX2, Photo Mechanic and Adobe Bridge, followed with an excellent summary on all of these.

Chapter 6: Protecting Your Data

Excellent info here on working with your files and how to back them up safely and reliably, including using cloud storage.

Chapter 7: Working in the Field

Covering backup technologies for the field, you'll find laptop computers, tablet devices, external hard drives, memory cards and more here, along with data safety while traveling.

Chapter 8: A Look at Different Systems

Here we find a worthy summary of the different DAM methods, along with their benefits and risks. Worth noting is the section on saving images on your computer and backing up to external devices.

Chapter 9: Sharing Images with Others

Now that you've created your own DAM system and methodologies, this is where you'll find good info on sharing your photos by utilizing Flickr, 500px, Facebook, Google+, photo blogs and more.


The glossary following the final chapter is well done, offering simple and clear explanations to the terms found in the book that neophytes would find handy without being condescending. The index is quite thorough, which this reader found to be very well done.

There's not a single chapter here that this reader found to be uninteresting or boring, with even for those of us with our roots in 35mm silver-based imaging. Mike Hagen has thoughtfully backed up his information with numerous photos and screen shots that clearly illustrate the topics of items being discussed, and even for one requiring reading glasses, they're quite pertinent.

We each have our own methods of employing DAM to our best personal needs, but of particular interest to this reader was the section under Chapter 3, entitled "Date-Oriented Folders" where the author states that has become the most efficient method for downloading and organizing his work on the computer. As one who arrived at this method some years back, I can fully agree, yet there were some interesting tricks that Mike Hagen has offered here that are quite helpful, and that after a small sampling of older images and folders, I've begun to employ. I'm currently using Nikon's freebie View NX2 and Nikon Capture NX 2, along with Adobe Lightroom for the bulk of my DAM tasks, and some of his pointers are quite logical, as they were in his earlier book, Nikon Capture NX 2 After the Shoot.

Who says that you cannot teach an old dog some new tricks?


The methods that author Mike Hagen suggests for storing, systematizing, locating and backing up our photos in a personally standardized fashion are easy to follow. As one who has personally used most of the software that he has covered here, on both the Mac and Windows PC platforms, I can only say that this book is one that can be an invaluable solution for anyone who has ever lost a digital image or three within the depths of their hard drive. This book is a highly recommended 5-star resource for anyone owning a digital camera.

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource for photographers 17 April 2012
By jjs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first it was easy. I stored my digital photos in files organized by date and subject matter. Years have gone by and now I have thousands of photos in many files; Jpegs, Raw photos, Tiffs, edited, non-editied.. all the usual. Things are getting messy. What to do??
There is tons of available information on camera equipment, software and on how to take photos. There is very little information available with general ideas for organizing, saving and backing up digital photos.

I just finished going through "Thousands of Images, Now What?", by Mike Hagen and I found it to be a very well written resource on this topic. This is the first book I have found that has excellent examples of various ways to manage your photos no matter what specific software you may be using.

Whether you have thousand of images or are just starting out, I can highly recommend this book.

By the way if you use Nikon Capture NX2, Mike Hagen wrote a book called "After the Shoot" which I can also highly recommend.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5-Star Guide for Everyone Except Photoshop/Bridge Users 24 Nov. 2012
By PD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm that persnickety Photoshop/Bridge user, and there was a huge chunk left out of this book in that area. HOWEVER, it's still a must-read, because 90% of your image management workflow happens before you get to Lightroom,Photoshop, Aperture, whatever. And because that part is done so well, I still gave it 5 stars.

Mike covers it all. I'm sure other reviewers have already shouted this, but I wish I had this book years ago. The prepatory stage before you get to actual editing has got to be well-planned and executed, and that instruction to me is the biggest strength of this book. I really like his methodology of renaming images FIRST, how he structures image folders, and his excellent (almost paranoid) backup strategy. If you just followed his tutorials on that, 70+% of your image jungle would be solved. I am SO GLAD he pushes to turn off all of the auto junk that Windows throws at you, so YOU can manage it.

The one area missing was how to manage your images using Bridge. He does admit that there are a VAST array of amazing tools in there (and there are), but I get the feeling he doesn't know really how to use it, OR, he wanted to keep this more Lightroom oriented. Lightroom is pushed in this book to almost advertising levels. Anyway, Lightroom and the other software solutions he covers are all about importing your images into some black-box catalog. I much prefer to organize my assets on my drives the way I like and just use Bridge to browse to them. THEN I get all of the excellent tagging and rating and key wording I want, yet the images are simply on my drive, not stuffed into a catalog and then bound to using Lightroom. LR is. Great combo solution, but you get what you get in the database and the editing part, and that's it. Bridge and Photoshop allow you WAY more editing power, so it would have been nice to see a Bridge-based workflow written about. But let me reiterate that the 90% that needs to be performed before getting to the software is very well written about, so Photoshop/Bridge users still need to read this.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Organize? Yes. Painlessly? Not a chance. 9 Oct. 2012
By ML - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ask yourself these questions: Do I hate being unable to find specific images on my computer? Do I hate not knowing which version of an image file is the original? Am I willing to spend a bunch of time fixing the problem? Am I willing to pay at least $100 for new software? Am I a person who can develop new habits and rigorously maintain them?

If the answer to all of these questions is "Yes!" then buy this book. It will definitely help you.

Otherwise ...

Thousands of Images, Now What: Painlessly Organize, Save, and Back Up Your Digital Photos is a straightforward, clearly-written book with step-by-step instructions on how to manage the zillions of images you've taken with your digital camera and/scanned from film, slides, or prints. The book is well-organized, has ample illustrations, and a couple of helpful tables.

The central point of the book is that the only way to take control of your photos is to adopt a standard set of habits -- a WORKFLOW -- and follow them religiously. These habits include a particular way of uploading photos to your computer, renaming the files, adding keywords, and loading the photos into your image management software. Author Mike Hagen's not wrong about this; if you really want to be in charge of your photos -- be able to find what you want and keep track of what's what -- you must adopt a workflow.

And it's a PAIN! It requires some tedious work. If you're not truly SERIOUS -- if you're not prepared to do the work -- you probably won't benefit much from this book.

And that's too bad. I think is possible for casual photo buffs to do a better job of managing their images without adopting a rigorous workflow or spending a bunch of money on the semi-pro software products Hagen clearly prefers, such as New - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v.4.0 - Complete Product - 1 User - ND1999 and Aperture 3. (Hagen does talk about Google Picasa and Apple iPhoto, which are free, but he doesn't give them a lot of consideration.)

Bottom line: If you are strongly motivated to clean up your digital image mess, you have the discipline to adopt and adhere to a strict workflow, and you have at least $100 to spare, this book will be a big help. Otherwise, you may be better off hunting for tips on the web.
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