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Five Essential Archiving Tips for Professional Photographers


by Alan Winslow – January 11th, 2018

Organizing images is time consuming so this article presents five essential archiving tips for professional photographers. We welcome our friend Loni Efron for this special guest blog. She holds quarterly meetings to educate about iArchive and the importance of a thoughtful, organized, archival safe archive. Next meeting is Jan 17, 2018 at 6pm held at ilon Art Gallery.

All professional photographers need to archive their work. Below are five essential tips for proper archive practices by our guest blogger Loni Efron. Before we dive in here’s a little about Loni. She is the founder of ilon and Company and ilon Art Gallery. She began her business in 1996 and was a pioneer in the field of photographic archiving founding one of the nations first archival and digital consulting firms. Recently, she has helped artists and organizations such as Keith Richards, Mike and Doug Stan, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation archive, edit and organize their work

1.  Label and Numbering Systems

This may seem obvious but labeling your work with an ID# is a crucial first step. Label your physical work, your boxes, and your digital images everything. LABEL, LABEL, LABEL.

2. Workflow Solution

Your workflow is the steps you take to stay organized and create the actual archive. All artists must have a cohesive, thoughtful workflow solution from pre-to-post production.

five essential archiving tips for professional photographers

Basic workflow solution: 

Create an image

Label the image

Store the image both physically and digitally

Back up your work

3. Database Solution

A database can be thought of as a central depository for all of your digital assets. It’s your go-to place. All the steps of your workflow go through your database including paperwork, invoicing, image tracking, sales, etc. Regardless of how your images were created, a digital format needs to exist.

I have designed, programmed and created iArchive a database solution to be able to do all of these tasks. iArchive is a comprehensive database solution that can be further customized to match each artist’s workflow.

4. Keep Assets Safe

Everything needs to be secure. Let’s break down the best practices for keeping your content safe. If it’s a digital file, you need to backup it.  If it’s a negative, positive or print, a dry, cool environment is most suitable. Use acid-free materials and, of course, label everything.  Being organized is essential to keeping the work safe in addition to using the right materials and keeping everything in the right environment. 

5. Backup

Finally, back up your work. With all of the efforts and resources that go into creating your archive, you must have good backup practices. Backing up doesn’t end with your image files it is especially relevant to backup your filing, labeling, and keywording systems as well. The loss of any of these keep components will set you back costing both time and money.


More about Loni Efron:

Loni has guided artists thru workflow, archiving and current technology solutions.  She has worked in all areas of art consulting from designing archives, to databasing to websites to social media to distribution and the fine art world.  

In 2014, Loni opened ilon Art Gallery, a boutique photography gallery and art advisory located in a historic brownstone in Harlem.  Loni believes the collection of art is as much a practical financial venture as it is a means of personal expression.  Therefore, diversifying clients’ portfolios by collecting art can increase the value of a portfolio. Visit www.ilon.com for more information.

We  thank Loni for her time and for sharing her knowledge. File management and archiving are keys to producing a lasting legacy, and it’s never too early to start developing a system. If you’re interested in her archiving solution iArchive or interested in attending one, her quarterly archiving meeting visit her website www.ilon.com for more details. The next meeting is on Jan. 17, 2018.

Remember to calibrate your monitor and scanners while building your archive to maintain proper colors. Check out www.xrite.com for all of our color management solutions.


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