College athletic departments add massive amounts of photos and videos to their collections every school year. Photographers are shooting headshots, game action, tailgates and more for every game and every team. If your school has somewhere between 18 and 30 sports, that’s a lot of visual assets to manage.
As Creative Services Manager for the Purdue University Athletics Department, Paul Sadler uses images from across the university’s sports teams every day. He is in charge of the creation of all the department’s graphics, including ads, posters and marketing materials. When he first started, each sport had a point person in charge of their photos, and it was difficult for him to track down the assets he needed.
He looked for solutions that would allow him to put all of the athletic department’s images in one centralized location, and decided Libris by PhotoShelter was the right fit. Now, everyone has access to a cloud-based library full of Purdue Athletics images where they can find what they need quickly and easily.
“I can’t stress how useful it’s been for us – just being able to have all your assets in one place and being able to search through metadata or visually being able to scroll through,” says Paul. “I can’t imagine going back and having to look through Finder or thumbnails. It’s just a big time saver.”
Paul has a student intern who tags images for him. Thanks to that metadata, he can quickly search the library to find exactly what he needs. This is especially helpful when he is looking for photos for baseball or football, where there are a lot of players on a team.
So, let’s say Paul needs a photo of Purdue football player Anthony Brown. He can run a keyword search for “anthony brown football” and find a range of photos to choose from. He can also narrow his search by selecting a date range or orientation.
Once he selects the winning image, he can download it in whatever size he needs (since he’s a designer, high res is the right fit) and plug it into his design.
The cloud-based visual media library saves time in Paul’s everyday workflow, and makes image sharing easier among Purdue’s 10+ sports information directors. People who work on different servers or in remote locations can access the images they need just as easily as Paul can. The new system has even helped them streamline their image sharing process during games. Let’s take a look at an example of a Purdue photographer and sports information director working together to post photos in a flash.
Lightning Fast In-Game Image Sharing
Purdue photographer Charles Jischke and sports information director for the men’s basketball team Chris Forman work together to publish game photos to social media in real time. Before they had access to a visual asset management system, Charles would send out an email with 1-3 low resolution images to Chris and anyone else who needed images during the game (and keep his fingers crossed that the email actually went out). The process was inefficient and risky. Now, he can create a gallery of several high resolution photos for Chris to choose from, all within a short timeout. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Selects
Charles shoots with a Nikon D5 or a Nikon D4S camera. They allow him to make selects on the fly, so he can transmit only the best images.
“When you’re shooting sports, especially, you shoot a lot of images and you really only need a handful of selects,” says Charles. “One of the big hurdles we face is how do we cull through a thousand images and find what you want right away?”
Using cutting-edge technology that allows Charles to choose selects as he’s shooting cuts down his task list during the timeout.
“It accomplishes two things,” says Charles. “It gives you a very nice cutdown, and it saves you the time of importing because you’re importing as you go.”
Step 2: Import
Charles shoots tethered to a laptop or wirelessly tethered to a laptop. This works well for basketball games when he is fairly stationary. He sets up Adobe Lightroom to automatically pull images from a hot folder and apply preset import settings to them, giving the photos a predetermined look.
From that batch of selects, he can easily publish straight from Lightroom to Libris or export to a local folder and drag and drop using the Libris web uploader. All of this can be done within the few minutes of a timeout.
“It’s a great distribution,” says Charles. “It allows me to dish out full resolution where they can potentially crop if they want to, and they can use it however they’d like.”
Step 3: Social Media
Chris has invited user access to the Libris account, and can access Charles’ photos as soon as they come into the library. He can download the images in whatever size he needs. If he’s looking for a quick Twitter graphic, he can choose to download a low res version and the system will resize the image on the fly – no extra steps.
“I grab the photo and Tweet and Instagram it with the ‘pertinent’ information,” explains Chris. “It is fantastically easy. Postgame, the folder is populated with many photos in no more than 30 minutes after the game and we then do our full photo gallery.”
In-Game and Beyond
Charles says the streamlined process saves him an hour to an hour and 15 minutes per game. Once the game is over, he doesn’t have to go through the entire process of narrowing 1,000 images down to 100 and delivering the best shots to his coworkers, because he’s done most of the work already. It makes a huge difference both in the moment and well after the buzzer.
“Libris provides a very easily accessible, easily usable way for other people to access the photos as I’m putting them up in real time, but the real power of the library is you can search it so easily,” says Charles.
After using visual asset management with the athletics department, Charles convinced the Purdue University Marketing and Media Department to adopt Libris. Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture have caught on to the trend, as well. Now, staff members across the university are saving time, streamlining workflows and using images more effectively with visual asset management.
“Libris is phenomenal,” says Chris. “We love the service and think it’s the easiest way for us to handle our photography.”
Forbes estimates that improving photo storage systems could save colleges $30,000 annually. The more departments that use visual asset management, the more a university will save. Universities like Purdue that take advantage of the benefits of visual asset management across departments will see a high return on investment.
Cover photo courtesy of Purdue University Athletics.