Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Photography-The Business Side-Keeping Records

At the NANPA Colorado Regional Event I attended, one of the pros commented that the difference between amateur photographers and pros was not so much in the quality of the photos but in the self marketing.

There are many ways to market photos, but I've been making submissions to various markets over the past several years. My primary record keeping system has been making duplicates of each image and storing that image in a folder with the place the image went. While that had the added benefit of giving multiple copies of my better photos, it also increases the amount of storage. It also did not give me an immediate look at all the places I had submitted a given image.

When I first started submitting images, I had set up an Excel spreadsheet. However, in a short period of time I had set up 30 columns of markets. It was definitely unwieldy and I did not continue long with that system.

I know that this year I need to expand the places I submit photos. A data base was the logical answer, but I've always been a "spread sheet person" not a "data base" person. Henry is my computer guru and he is a "data base person." I asked him to see what he could find that would work for me. (And as a writer, he needs the same kind of data base.) He came up with the program "Bento."

My first attempt at using Bento was not encouraging. I set up a photo library and a publications/submissions library, but I could not figure out how to connect them. I was creating a form that was going to be just as bad as all those columns on the spread sheet. Henry bought the program for himself and began experimenting.

The solution was actually easy - I still have a photo library and a publications/submissions library. They are connected with a table. I can enter the information about each picture with each market and date on a separate line. I can easily see where each photo has gone (when I get all the data entry done.) The other bonus about Bento, I can insert a thumbnail of the photo - so I can see exactly which photo the unique name is referring to.

While the information on the older photos is less critical, I find myself enjoying seeing the number of places where I have submitted work over time. I also am pleased that when I look at the older photos, I know that my work is improving. Some of the older ones still hold up over time, but most the photos I'm taking now are much better than the ones I used to take. It will take me a while to get all the older photos entered, but I really want to get my more recent work and submissions current.

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