I'm planning on taking about 5,000 product images and I need to catalog them. I am aware of Lightroom, but is it used on a large scale? Is there another program that larger companies or organizations use?

  • Why doesn't Lightroom fulfill your needs? – dpollitt Jan 15 '13 at 23:23
  • Most likely I will be using Lightroom, but I wanted to learn more about the catalog, metadata, and workflow of those highest volume companies. – Jill Jan 16 '13 at 0:07
  • Large companies have ad agencies that manage such images, but nearly all of them use enterprise content management systems. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_content_management – cmason Jan 16 '13 at 0:18
  • Canon has an article on image cataloguing - see page 3, where they discuss Reuters. – j-g-faustus Jan 16 '13 at 0:49
  • So if this question is just about what big companies use, remove the part about your catalog as that isn't part of this question. – dpollitt Jan 16 '13 at 1:48

The biggest challenge to Lightroom is concurrency, not the size of the catalog, which can support up to one million images. Concurrency is not supported by Lightroom at all. While professional asset management software is designed for multiple clients all accessing the same database at the same time.

For that type of environment, look at DAM software from Extensis. There must be other such software, but the ones I knew appear discontinued.

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The companies like Target and Macys most probably use Enterprise level digital asset management (DAM) systems with pricing started from $100k, complex deployment, and with some level of learning curve.

Are you really need such system for 5k assets?

LR can handle your image archive library easily, but as Itai said: concurrency is the biggest challenge of Lightroom.

Another big challenge of Lightroom (and any other standalone photo organizer) is the potential risk of damaging your catalog located on shared locations. Because a remote computer might be disconnected for some reason during catalog updating and this leads to completely damaging and losing of your catalog data and annotations.

Unfortunately StackExchange rules don't allow me to offer you a multi-user photo management software at an affordable price that can fit your requirements. Because this might be treated as an advertizement of a company where I work ;)

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  • Actually, if it is relevant as an answer to the question, it's probably fine. FAQ: Promotion "Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, so be it. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers." – a CVn Jan 17 '13 at 12:15
  • Fotoware DAM is 7500€! – Unapiedra Jul 10 '13 at 16:27
  • Michael, thanks for the suggestion. The product I mentioned above is Daminion Server ($1k per 3 concurrent connections). On the latest Daminion version it's possible to convert RAW images to DNG format on the fly during image ingesting, and now Daminion and LightRoom can be completely integrated with each other on the metadata level. – Murat - Daminion Software Jul 10 '13 at 20:08

I happen to know that there is a product called FotoStation (www.fotoware.com) that is used as an image management, search and retrieval system for newspapers and that kind of thing. Doubtless there are numerous others. But, truth be told, your five thousand images are nothing, nothing at all, compared to the massive amounts that such systems are designed to handle. Lightroom will easily be able to do it.

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  • The key is getting the right info into the metadata, that's all. Unfortunately that is mainly a manual task. I've tagged well over 5,000 images just using the facial recognition on raw files in Windows Live Photo Gallery though and it's not even broken a sweat. :) – James Snell Jan 15 '13 at 22:38
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    Oh, yes. Metadata is the life-blood of image retrieval, the actual software used is less important. It's the old story of garbage in, garbage out; if the metadata you enter is bad, the search results will be bad. – Staale S Jan 16 '13 at 1:30

I have approximately 80,000 images in my Lightroom with multiple tags, smart sets and other meta information (camera, lens info, etc). No issues with being slow or unresponsive.

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