At my company we do a lot of photo shoots for our products, at the moment we just organize the photo per photo shoot but with this system its hard to recover a photo of a product, you have to go over all the shoots to find the right one. So now we are looking for a better system, the most logical seems to organize per product, but what to do with pictures with multiple products and some times you just need a photo of a kid with any product, etc.

So we would like to be able to put all our photo's in a database so that we can tag them with some terms we could be looking for and keep them all in the same place.

I already looked at software like Lightroom and ACDSee and they would be great if just one person would manage the pictures but we need something that can be kept on a central server and can be accessed by everyone.

It would be a plus if you can do some basic editing in the program but this not necessary.

Anyone any experience with a program that can do this?

We have people who work and mac and others with Windows so it should be usable by both.


I work at Daminion Software. Our Daminion Server is a TRUE multi-user photo management solution for small teams (and even for home users)

Thanks to support for XMP you can easily exchange the information between Daminion and Lightroom, including hierarchical keywords.

You can restrict access to your content by user roles and protect assets by version control. Daminion Server focused on cataloguing (no built-in fancy image editors and publishing tools) with excellent bridge to external photo editors like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign.

BTW you didn't mentioned your platform. Daminion is for Windows only.

  • When will this be out of Beta, and what is the cost? thanks Dec 20 '11 at 14:26
  • We plan to release it at QI-2012. 5 user package will costs $1495 US, 10 user package - $2490. For home(non-commercial usage) the prices will be lower. Daminion Home Server will be released soon. Dec 20 '11 at 14:52
  • Seems to be the kinda thing we need, is there a Mac version on the way?
    – dazz
    Dec 20 '11 at 15:33
  • Not yet. But I guess it can be launched on a Mac via Parallels Desktop or Wine. Although we don't test it yet there. Dec 21 '11 at 10:35

Extensis Portfolio Server is one option to consider. It's been around for quite a while and has gone through several iterations as a digital asset management system for photographers, artists, and others who catalog and share media. The server works with the Extensis Portfolio desktop software to allow multiple users to browse, edit, and manage a variety of media.

  • Extensis Portfolio has been around since the 1990s. It's certainly had time to mature and conform to the needs of users. Multi-platform, and different editions according to need. I know some Fortune 500 media companies who use this software and swear by it. If I had a collaborative environment with a centralized server for assets, I would certainly be giving Portfolio Server a hard look.
    – Steve Ross
    Dec 20 '11 at 17:56
  • I'll give it a try, looks a bit more mature than the Daminion Server and is for Mac and PC. I hope its worth the cost.
    – dazz
    Dec 22 '11 at 8:32
  • 1
    I played around with both the programs for a bit and Daminion is definitely the better program concerning usability, speed and workflow. Daminion is a more modern program, it looks a bit like Lightroom with fast access to the most important options. Not that Extensis Portfolio doesn't do what you expect it do but you have to look an click a lot more to get things done, and it just looks old. Looks isn’t everything t but clear and good presentation of pictures and info is. If i can find a good work around for our Mac users Daminion is my first choice. Definitely one to watch.
    – dazz
    Dec 22 '11 at 10:40

Most consumer / prosumer photo management tools are not really designed to be used simultaneously by multiple users.

In Apple's Aperture it's not recommended that you store the library centrally and have multiple users accessing it.

However, in theory you can copy libraries, work on them separately, and then merge the changes together.

See the "Working with the Aperture Library" section in the Aperture manual for more info.

  • 2
    copying libraries is not really a solid solution, it's bound to go wrong after some time
    – dazz
    Dec 20 '11 at 15:30

I have found the following Lightroom workflow to be an acceptable compromise solution for working with the same pictures from different computers.

  • I use an all DNG workflow. When I import pictures, I select "Copy as DNG".

  • The pictures are imported into a network location accessible from all my computers.

  • There is a local catalog on each computer, and all catalogs have all my pictures imported. To keep the catalogs in sync, each time I begin to work in a computer I just import the root network folder, and Lightroom detects any missing pictures automatically and allows me to import them. The metadata stored in the DNG files is automatically imported. This includes develop settings and tags.

  • In my case, since it just me editing pictures, it makes sense to turn the "Automatically write changes into XMP" option in the Lightroom's Catalog Settings, so that my edits are automatically written to the DNG file. For a multiple person workflow, maybe that should be left disabled, and users can push changes into the DNG manually, selecting "Save Metadata to File".

  • One aspect that is not optimal, is that even though I keep all edits stored in the DNG files at all times, Lightroom likes to use the copy of these edits that is in the catalog files. When I edit a picture from computer A, computer B will still use the old settings from its catalog, until I select the picture on that computer and say "Read Metadata from File". The day this is fixed I will be very happy.

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