Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yah, yah ... I know

I know it's been a while since I've posted here. It's certainly not from a lack of working on and in Lightroom. I've been bouncing off the walls validating the program, then the upgrade ... talking with the engineers ... talking with legal experts ... and much more.

The update to all this and the determination we've all been waiting for:

Use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom with caution in the criminal justice / law enforcement world ... and only after having a serious discussion with your legal team.

This opinion (which is entirely my own) has nothing to do with how Lightroom works with images (edits, tonal controls, etc.) It has everything to do with e-discovery and record retention rules and how they vary from state to state.

For those like Adobe's Rick Miller and Julieanne Kost, who have photography passions outside their office, Lightroom is a great tool. They may have one catalog for personal stuff, and one catalog for professional stuff. Organising things inside each catalog is simple and efficient.

Unfortunately, those of us in the LE world have to deal with discovery. Depending on the jurisdiction, that catalog may be discoverable (it is, after all, a "document" that relates to the case). If the catalog is open for discovery, then you don't necessarily want to mix cases within the same catalog (you may in "serial" situations). This leaves you with hundreds or thousands of catalogs over time.

Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just an organisational headache. Additionally, there isn't a way (currently) to search across catalogs. This combined with a (current) lack of network support makes it harder to manage in multi-user environments.

From what I've gathered, these issues won't be addressed soon. Remember, the LE market is tiny compared to the prosumer and professional photography market. We may be professional photographers ... but we have to answer to an entirely different client once that image has been captured.

Don't get me wrong. As a professional photographer, I love the program and use it almost daily (in private practice). For the "one-man cop shop" it may be the best thing for you in terms of asset management. Just use it with care and with a sound knowledge of how the program works under the hood.

I'd be happy to get into more detail off-line. In the mean time ... we'll resume the previously scheduled weekly posts next Thursday. We've got a lot of catching up to do.

Until then ... enjoy.

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