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BOOK REVIEW: The DAM Book, Second Edition

dambook

Peter Krogh‘s The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, Second Edition is a fabulous resource: 500 pages encompassing all aspects of digital asset management (DAM) for photographers. Software products like Lightroom serve to control most aspects of DAM (and, in Lightroom’s case, publish digital photos as well) and many Lightroom books I’ve reviewed are surveys of digital asset management options. However, The DAM Book stands out because of its depth, knowledgeable author and full coverage.

Sorely needed and still relevant

Digital photography has changed radically in the last five years and a book like The DAM Book needs a new edition now and then to stay relevant. The second edition has several important changes in its content and Peter does a good job of drawing attention to revised recommendations and techniques. Digital photography has changed enough in the last few years that I would recommend buying The DAM Book even if you already own a copy of the first edition.

It’s also refreshing to note that The DAM Book has several chapters that remain timeless and rooted in the fundamentals of digital asset management. Topics like image storage, backup and validation, cataloging and data migration change very little no matter what hot gear is in the latest issue of your photo store catalog. I’m a reviewer who has a lot of stale and outdated books on his shelf, everything from two-year-old Lightroom books to Photoshop 7 Down & Dirty Tricks, and I appreciate the books that earn a place of the shelf every year.

Good visuals and writing

The DAM Book nails the three crucial elements of photography book design: good writing, good photography and good graphic design. I was pleasantly surprised that there are many diagrams in The DAM Book: file organization, photo workflows, archive systems, RAID, hard drive backup systems and more are all charted clearly and supported by Peter’s clear writing style. I referred to these diagrams often when I was developing my own backup strategy and system.

The DAM Book is a little out of the ordinary in that Peter’s photography is not emphasized in favor of prolific text and charts. This goes against the usual strategy of publishing large photos in photography books—Scott Kelby’s books often cover the majority of its pages with photos and screenshots. But I’m very happy that Peter made the writing the primary content: his photos are beautiful and he lists the keywords catalogued with each photo, but the written content is properly emphasized. And while not everyone will find his recommendations to their liking, Peter makes sure to list as many options as possible and explain the pros and cons of each one.

Conclusion

The DAM Book is a timeless resource—I’d put it on par with Dan Margulis’ Professional Photoshop for its depth, its breadth (almost 500 pages long) and thorough assessment of digital asset management techniques. This is the book I’ve used to help catalog my own digital photos, and I will be going through the book again to refine my system. It’s an excellent buy for any professional digital photographer.

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, Second Edition
Peter Krogh
Published by O’Reilly
US$49.99
Rating: 10/10