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dpBestflow Quick Reference

dpBestflow is the new guide for every aspect of imaging technology. Visit now and see where it can take you.

d i g i ta l
photography

dpBestflow offers practical


solutions for preserving
digital images along with
their color, intent, quality
and appropriate metadata.

best pr actices

workflow

. ORG

Funded by the Library of


Congress, dpBestflow is the
product of more than two
years of research by industry
experts and thought leaders.

Workflow guides are


designed to meet the
needs of every level and
working style of professional photography.

dpBestflow.org is a rich
web resource including
illustrated text and tutorial
movieswith a series of
educational seminars, the
dpBestflow Handbook and
more resources to come.

Project Background
dpBestflow is a research and educational project funded by

Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow Handbook

the United States Library of Congress, through its National Digital

(Focal Press, 2009): Richard Anderson and Patti Russotti

Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

(dpBestflow Project Director and Contributing Author,

dpBestflow is shorthand for Digital Photography Best Practices

respectively) are key participants in the dpBestflow project.

and Workflow and the shortened version is used

Their book presents workflow practices for planning,

for ease of reference.

capturing and archiving digital photography.

For two years, the dpBestflow team of experts has conducted

The DAM Book (OReilly Media, 2009): Author Peter Krogh (dp-

extensive research to produce dpBestflow.org. Now, by accessing

Bestflow Senior Project Manager) is another key member of

the web site, photographers and others in the visual arts commu-

the dpBestFlow team. His book on Digital Asset Management

nity have real-world solutions for preserving the quality and

is an essential guide for photographers moving from film to

integrity of digital images; proven best practices that have been

digital and shows how all the components of a digital photo

shown to produce superior results; and guidelines

library fit together into a comprehensive system.

for streamlined production workflows.

The dpBestflow team has designed their materials for those

The content of dpBestflow.org and the materials produced are

who are newer to photography as well as the technologically

adapted from, and build upon, two important books:

sophisticated. The result is a set of clear workflow guidelines


designed to meet the needs and solve the problems that
photographers face every day in process, production and
protection.

Quick Reference
This Quick Reference offers a short list of recommended best
practices for digital photography. A more comprehensive
description of best practices can be found at dpBestflow.org.

System Set-up

Hardware
Invest in the best monitor you can afford, and keep it
regularly calibrated and profiled in an appropriately illuminated
environment.
Acquire abundant hard drive storage capacity.
Maintain your computer and operating system properly.

Use metadata and cataloging software to manage the content


of your image collection and to streamline image searches.
Design workflow according to image lifecycle phases:
capture, ingestion, working and archive.
Metadata
Embed credit, contact and copyright information in all
image files.
Add bulk metadata to describe the shoot and add keywords
as necessary.
Use the appropriate metadata field for more specific tags
such as location.
Be aware of programs and workflow steps that may
strip metadata.

Capture
Backup
Shoot raw, if possible. This provides the highest image quality and Use a 3-2-1 backup (3 copies, 2 different media, 1 stored
the most flexibility for image correction and interpretation.
offsite) whenever possible.
Color
Embed and preserve the appropriate color profiles in image files.

Clearly distinguish the primary and backup copies of your


digital image files.

Use a large color space for image editing, such as Adobe


RGB (8 or 16-bit) or ProPhotoRGB (16-bit).

Schedule system backups to occur at appropriate places in


the workflow and image life cycle.

For the best possible results, profile your camera and printer.

Clone your system periodically to avoid lost time and lost


data in the event of system drive failure.

When delivering image files, make sure all parties understand


color profile requirements.

Preservation Management Practices

Archive
Image Editing
Use parametric image editing tools for as much image editing as Archive capture files as soon as possible in the workflow
to protect your images.
possible.
In order to enable non-destructive image editing in Photoshop,
use and save layers, adjustment layers and smart objects
to master files.
File Format
Use TIFF or PSD as working file formats.
Use JPEG or TIFF as delivery file formats.
Use TIFF or PSD as file formats to archive rendered master files.
Use DNG to archive raw file data.

Storage and Organizational Practices

File Management
Assign unique file names to images in order to distinguish
one file from another and to prevent overwriting of files.
Create a naming convention that is easy to use and remember
and that can be automated.
Use folders to organize and store files.

Archive layered master files to ensure projects can be


re-created in their entirety.
Migrate to new media periodically, to prevent loss due
to media failure and to increase the speed of access.
Migrate to new file formats as necessary to stay current
technologically and to avoid obsolescence.
DNG offers a secure openly documented and forward compatible
format for image archiving.
Data Validation
Validate critical file transfers to ensure the transfer has
occurred without data corruption or loss.
Validate both primary and backup storage regularly.
A DNG archive can be validated with a much higher level
of certainty than any other image file format.
Use write-once media as part of your archive backup plan, since it
can be validated with certainty.

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHERS


D I G I TA L P H O T O G R A P H Y B E S T P R A C T I C E S A N D W O R K F L O W.
A N A S M P I N I T I AT I V E F U N D E D B Y T H E L I B R A R Y O F C O N G R E S S .

ASMP is the premier trade association for the worlds most respected photographers. Learn more at asmp.org