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I was wondering if anyone might be able to help me find a solution to a problem I'm having.

At work we hire out items of equipment, as part of the process we take photographs of the items and accessories, we usually take this photos 'per contract' so the images can become mixed up and then someone will have to manually go through and sort them into folders according to which contract they belong to.

Ideally there would be some simple software that lets us upload directly from a camera (we don't mind buying a new one) to a folder according to the contract number. If there was a solution where the person taking the photographs has to type in the contract number on screen before taking a number of photos - then the photos are then kept in contract specific folders.

Hopefully this is a simple problem, though i've been struggling to find something user friendly enough for us to work with,

any help greatly appreciated!

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Hi Ron, it would help answerers if you added what type of camera you are using currently, what computers you have available, your budget, what volume of photos, how regularly you transfer the photos, and anything else that would effect the usefulness of different aspects of the software. Otherwise, this is a clear and direct question. –  damned truths Nov 4 '13 at 10:21
    
Hi Damned, Thanks for your reply, currently we are using this camera amazon.co.uk/Kodak-PlaySport-Waterproof-Dustproof-Shockproof/dp/… mainly due to its rugged nature. the photos are taken in a busy warehouse so it's useful that if it gets dropped it wont smash and doesn't require lots of expertise to work. We're open to buying a new camera if needs be. We have windows 7 and XP computers here. There are roughly 60-80 photos each day on about 10 different contracts and ideally they'd be transferred ASAP after being taken. Budget wise anything up to £500? –  Rob Nov 4 '13 at 10:35

4 Answers 4

up vote 0 down vote accepted

RoboImport can do exactly what you are asked for. If you'll place the %project token in your output folder/file naming template you can enter a custom project value before each photo transfer from your camera.

You can even check the option to prompt for new value every time the %project token appears:

enter image description here

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This certainly looks useful! I'll have a look at this, thanks for your help! –  Rob Nov 5 '13 at 10:08

Canon's EOS Utility for their DSLRs allows you to designate which folder to upload photos. It will also create a new sub-folder based on one of any several criteria such as Shooting Date or Time. One of the options is for folder number, another is for prefix. (Some newer Canon models allow you to change the prefix of the images your camera creates, older ones do not in which case you are stuck with with IMG_xxxx.jpg (or IMG_xxxx.cr2) for photos saved in sRGB color space and _MG_xxxx.jpg (or _MG_xxxx.cr2) for photos saved in Adobe RGB color space.)

Prior to taking the photos all Canon DSLRs will allow you to create a new folder on the memory card and place subsequent shots in that folder. If you create the folders in the camera on the fly the numbering goes in sequence: something like 100EOS7D, 101EOS7D, 102EOS7D, etc. But if you use a PC to create the folders ahead of time you can number them anything you desire within the folder naming parameters: 3 numeric digits followed by 5 alphanumeric characters consisting of upper or lower case letters, numbers, or an underscore. Note that only one folder per card can contain the same 3 digit number that begins the folder number. If one of your folders was 101ABC_D, you could not also have a folder named 101W_XYZ but you could use 102W_XYZ.

This gives you the option of creating a separate folder on your memory card named for each client with the first 3 digits ranging from 100-999 inclusive for a potential of up to 900 unique folders. You could then name the 5 letter/number/underscore combination to help designate the client's name that belongs to each folder. For example, you could use something such as 101ACMEP for a client named 'Acme Products', 102GenPr for a company named 'General Products' and so on. Each time an employee needs to take a photo they would simply select the correct folder for that account to save the photos to and then take the photos. You could take several photos for one client, select another folder for another client, then later come back and add more to the first client's folder. You could even create multiple cards with the same folder structure and EOS Utility should sort photos taken with different cameras into the same sub-folder on your computer. If the image numbers were duplicated, it would simply append the second one, so that if there was already an IMG_0001 in the folder, the next time you tried to upload an image named IMG_0001.jpg to the same folder it would be renamed IMG_0001_1.jpg, then IMG_0001_2.jpg, and so on.

When uploading the images from the camera to your computer, you would simply set up EOS utility to upload all photos to a folder named, for example, 'clients'. You would also configure EOS utility to create a sub-folder based on the name of the folders on the memory card and place the photos from each folder on the memory card in the correspondingly named folder created inside the 'clients' folder on your computers hard disk. If the designated sub-folder already exists within the 'clients' folder, EOS Utility would add the new images to the preexisting sub-folder.

The bulk of the difficult work would have to be done once when setting up EOS Utility and creating memory cards with the appropriate folder structure. I would recommend saving a disk image of the memory card with the folders set up and periodically reformatting the card(s) in camera and then using the computer to write the disc image to the card.

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Thanks for your comprehensive answer Michael. I think there is a way of using your method that would suit our needs, one further question - does the EOS utility work with cameras other than canon? Someone here has also suggested Eye-fi might be part of a solution too, does anyone have any experience with that at all? Thanks for all your help –  Rob Nov 4 '13 at 11:34
    
To the best of my knowledge EOS Utility only works with Canon DSLRs. However, the basic file/folder structure is governed by the DCIM standard. You might be able to create a similar file structure for use in other cameras. –  Michael Clark Nov 4 '13 at 13:36
    
That would be useful! I'm wondering if a program exists where it prompts you for a name for a set of photographs before letting you import them and defines the structure of folders as a result? It would seem to be a simple idea but it would be of great use to us! –  Rob Nov 4 '13 at 16:31
    
Are you only importing photos from one client at a time? Or taking photos for multiple clients and importing them together? –  Michael Clark Nov 4 '13 at 20:14
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The photos are for internal use, but now and then they will be taken out of sequence, for instance it might go 3X photos for Contract X 1X photo for Contract Y then another 2 on X. If we could prompt for a new contract number that'd be brilliant. Thanks –  Rob Nov 5 '13 at 9:55

If the quality of the photos doesn't have to be super high resolution, a smartphone or something like the Galaxy Camera that can run Android apps might be an ideal solution. The one thing I don't know for sure is if there is an Android app that can take the folder you want to associate it with, but it certainly has the best bet of being able to handle the functionality you are looking for in camera.

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Hi thanks for your response, that is an option, the photo's need to be relatively high resolution, but they are just to prove there is no damage before we ship the items, so it doesn't need to be a pro-level slr. The folders issue is the one really, with so many contracts and in the future a much greater quantity coming through each day it's all about being able to find the right photos quickly if a case has to be made. Thanks for your help –  Rob Nov 4 '13 at 16:59
    
@Ron - depending on your tech resources, you might be able to even directly integrate a client to hook in to your records and directly attach the images on a Galaxy Camera and it could even work over cellular. Not sure what your budget or scalability needs are to know if that would be worth it, but if I was building a system to meet your needs and had sufficient budget, that's what I'd do. –  AJ Henderson Nov 4 '13 at 17:51

Ron,

Having worked in warehouses, my concern for you is any solution that adds more than a couple of simple steps. If you aren't the one doing this, I can almost guarantee that after a few weeks of a new solution, you will start to see blank fields where the contract number was supposed to go, or see the last entered value in the contract field so all the photos end up associated with one contract. If you have a typically busy warehouse, warehouse employees are usually more focused on getting the packaging correct and getting it finished on time.

You may be better served with a simple clipboard to record photo numbers and corresponding contract numbers. Then, at the end of the day, type the numbers into your contract database. Or, if your warehouse employees use a computer to log certain items per shipment, the photo numbers could be one additional item they key into the system.

If you do find a purely technical solution, I'd be interested in hearing back from you after you implement it. Hopefully the solution will work and we could pass on your good experience to others who may need it.

b shaw

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That's a very valid point. One of the problems we are going to have is often an order comes in minutes before the courier deadline, so getting the equipment packaged up and photographed before it is sent out becomes a race against the clock. I think we will try the roboimport solution for now, and see how it goes, i'll definitely report back here with what our end solution is if it would be of any use to anyone facing a similar scenario. Thanks! –  Rob Nov 7 '13 at 8:46

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