Can you find your photos? I can and here’s how

Finding a photograph is more important than making a photograph. Why? Because putting your hands on photos when you need them is how you make money.  
Now where did I put that?
Years ago when you bought the Nikon scanner a software came with the scanner called Image Access.  This was 1993 when I was introduced to what would later become Cumulus.  
Today the company that produces this image database software is Canto.  I now own the Cumulus Single User 8.5 version that sells for $399.  It works on PC as well as the Mac.
This software is like buying PhotoShop or Adobe Premier products. This will do 100 times more stuff than you will probably every use it for, but the good thing is it is a scalable software.  You can buy versions that are multi-user and web based if you like.  But starting small with something that can grow is important for me.
I want to revisit my workflow and more specifically the text that is embedded into each photo.  This is called the metadata.
Adobe’s Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is a labeling technology that allows you to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself. With XMP, desktop applications and back-end publishing systems gain a common method for capturing, sharing, and leveraging this valuable metadata — opening the door for more efficient job processing, workflow automation, and rights management, among many other possibilities.

The IPTC fields are integrated into the XMP fields which also capture all the settings from the camera like f/stop, shutter speed and more.

Searchable

The key point to all this is that each of these fields is searchable on computers.  If you have a photo with information in those fields and on a PC or Mac you do a search of your computer it will find that information.  However without some software like PhotoShop or database software like Cumulus you cannot read all that information.

If you do not put text into the metadata you will not be able to search for them. 

I print a label on a DVD and then put all the images from a shoot on it.
After burning a disc with all the images I launch Cumulus on my Mac.

Launch Cumulus

Ingest the DVD Disc of Images.  You can easily ingest from hard drives.  My thought is I just want to know where one of the copies is and I don’t want to have everything live.  I can search later for an image and it will say what disc it is on and the disc naming I use is based on date and is easy to find that disc.

If the Disc is corrupt I then can find it on other Disc or Hard Drive backups.

Cumulus looks like this for me.  You can customize it to have many different looks, but you get the idea there is a thumbnail view as well as you can read the text.
When I ingest the disc this comes up.  I have set the preferences to always show me High Quality Thumbnails as the first choice.  The point is you can change it up if you like.  I like to see a good thumbnail when I search for an image.  Once I can see a bunch of thumbnails I can narrow down the search to those I want the high res file.
After the photos are ingested I remove the Disc.
I put the Disc into a binder.
The binder goes on a shelf in chronological order.

In general I am all done at this point.  You can read about those steps here.

The phone call or email
Stanley do you have a copy of the Disc that you made for us? Or I get a specific request, do you have a photo of President George Bush?
I go to Cumulus and do a search.
As you can see here is the search for George Bush.
The last field here “Asset Reference” is the name of the Disc followed by the name of the folder on the disc.  031003 tells me it was shot October 3, 2003.  I go to that disc and put it in and can then click on the image thumbnail and bring up the high res file.  I can then email it full size or re-size it.  I can then put it in a folder or create a new Disc to send to a client.
Once I had Sports Illustrated asking for a specific player that played at Georgia Tech.  I had at the time one of the largest collection of images.  Within minutes I was able to find the headshots and action photos of the player.  Since I had thumbnails I narrowed down my pick and within 30 minutes of the request I had 10 images to them for consideration.  
Find it: Make Money

There are other solutions like Filemaker Pro or Extensis Portfolio.  The point of all this is if you cannot find it you cannot make money with it.