Digital Asset Management (DAM) for Sports Photography… My Background


As the team photographer for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Braves, a great percentage of my time was spent researching and developing Digital Asset Management Solutions that eventually led to final online image archives residing on Getty Media Manager (Buccaneers) and Critical Axiom Photocore (Braves).

For the Buccaneers… An Overview

Upon arriving in Tampa, my first order of business was to review the Buccaneers digital and analog archive and determine a solution that would enable it to become one of the most comprehensive and searchable sports archives in the world. This was not a small task but one I knew was achievable with the commitment from the Bucs ownership. Prior to my arrival, not a lot of value was put into the need of having an in-house storage system for the Buccaneers digital assets and because of this, many of the Buccaneers Super Bowl Parade photos were lost on crashed drives. 

After a thorough review of the Buccaneers imagery, I found that 90% of the digital archive existed on various CDs/DVDs, external drives that had crashed or were barely working and various laptop/desktop computers. Much of this work was organized in random fashion and had very little attention to detail in regards to file structure, naming schemes and metadata.

I implemented the following File Structure & Naming Schemes:

  • Year Folder: 2007 (EX)
  • Game Folder: YYMMDD_AwayTeam_HomeTeam
  • Unedited Images: YYMMDD_XX_AwayTeam_HomeTeam_0001.jpeg (XX represents photographers initials)

I will upload a PDF that further explains the system that I established for all photographer shooting for the Buccaneers. However, for now know that this is the most important part of establishing a solid Digital Asset Management solution. Once this was established, all Buccaneers photographers had to follow this system just as if they were shooting an assignment for one of the sports wire services. The 2007 season saw the first in the Buccaneers history were high resolution images were available for download within an hour or so following the game. 

Early on, my request of having an in-house Apple XServe was shot down, but about a week or so into the project, we began experiencing problems with files disappearing on a PC based server. After much research, it was determined that the lack of structure with file naming was the issue and days later, an Apple XServe was approved and ordered. Several weeks later, we hit the ground running and never looked back. During the spring, summer and fall of 2007, I managed a team of nearly 20 student interns whose main focus was organizing, renaming, captioning and uploading photos to Getty Media Manager. 

The relationships I developed while in Tampa will never be forgotten, and for what it is worth, it was the best job that I have ever had. I will never forget my time there and value the commitment that the Buccaneers organization made for developing such an archive. I left for one reason, and that was my daughter who lives in Helen, Georgia. 

In later posts, I will be discussing file structure, naming schemes and metadata in greater detail. Additionally, I will cover my research on various Digital Asset Management systems and the programs we used to get the job done. Programs like Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s Lightroom provide reasonable solutions but do not have the metadata capabilities or speed in workflow that Photo Mechanic has in combination with Photoshop.

More Coming Soon…