nholmes Archive

Five common mistakes with managing photo libraries

Photographs play a large role in the way we communicate. Professionally and personally, animated gifs, emojis, videos, photographs are all part of our interactions. Marketing teams are no exception. A navigable photo library is important to give teams a way to quickly share quality images via these channels. For those who want to be more organized, here are five common mistakes with managing photo libraries and how to avoid them.

Uninformative File Names

Filenames can be a powerful tool for finding and organizing photographs. Descriptive file names can tell you about the photograph without seeing it. While undescriptive filenames like Image142.jpg turn your image search into a guessing game, without a preview.

A descriptive filename looks like SI16-JS-TEAM-01.jpg. It provides information about the file, like that it’s for the Smartimage Brand in 2016 (SI16), taken by John Smith (JS), and for the Smartimage Team photo shoot(TEAM-01). A clear, consistent file naming structure will help your team find what they need faster.

You can learn more about best practices for file naming conventions from Stanford University Libraries.

Forgetting to add descriptive keywords

Everything about the photograph isn’t going to be shoved into a filename. That’s where metadata helps. Descriptive keywords are another tool to make finding photographs faster. It can also help people find what they are looking for by providing more information the person can search on.

Inconsistent keywords

You’re probably catching onto an important theme here, consistency. To reduce time spent searching for photographs, we want to reduce as much uncertainty as possible. Establishing a set of core keywords for your photographs will make your filters more findable and usable.

Identify common themes and information about the images. Review the information and consolidate any redundancies or see if similar assets are labeled by different keywords.

Organizing for yourself, not everyone accessing photos

This is a common challenge for marketing teams creating content and then sending it off to other internal teams or external teams who aren’t familiar with the marketing team’s language. The marketing team may have intimate knowledge of the specific product SKUs while a magazine editor looking for that product image will not.

Understand the various groups that will be accessing your photographs and how they will be searching for photographs. Use this information to guide how your organize and keyword your files.

Communicating photo rights

Who took the photographs and do you have permission to use it are important questions. Was it an internal photographer with your own copyright, did you hire a freelance photographer, or did you purchase the photograph? Keep track of this information so your teams are using the photographs properly.

Expanded Account Branding Options

Branding is essential to building value for companies. In addition to housing your brand assets in Smartimage, you can brand your Smartimage account. You can now apply your logo to the Smartimage application to reinforce your branding while sharing files with external parties.

Here’s a look at what’s new.

Account Logo

Your logo is no longer just an asset in Smartimage. It can also be used to brand your Smartimage account. Your logo will appear in Smartimage: Emails, File Shares, Homepage, Locked Page, Portals.
Smartimage Branded Homepage
In addition to the logo being applied to your email, your email shares will reflect your account branding!
Branded Email Example


A Favicon is an icon associated with a particular website or webpage. You can replace the Smartimage favicon with an icon of your choosing. This allows your team to quickly navigate to the browser tab containing your brand files.

Add your logo and favicon

Click your name in the upper right of the page, then choose Logo. On the Logo tab, drag and drop your logo and favicon into the upload areas. You can preview how your files will display on the right of the page.

Visit our support center for more information.

Sharpen your skills and rekindle creative inspiration at HOW Design Live 2016

We’ll be at this inspiration-packed, global creative gathering. We’d love to see you there! HOW Design Live is in Atlanta May 19 – 23.

What is HOW Design Live?

HOW Design Live is an energetic, informative conference for the creative industry. Session categories include Design & Creativity, In-House Management, Vision & Leadership, Branding & Packaging, Creative Entrepreneur, Interactive Design, and Tools & Resources.

Why attend HOW Design Live?

  • Sharpen your skills – Learn how to think strategically, develop design solutions, and effectively communicate with audiences to grow your business.
  • Rekindle your creative inspiration – Great speakers like Aaron Draplin, Elle Luna, and Oliver Jeffers will share how-tos, stories, and much more. There are more than 100 breakout and keynote sessions.
  • Say hi to the Smartimage Team – We’ll be at booth 435 in the Exhibit Hall. Ask questions, pick up some swag, or just say “hello.”
  • Connect with the design community – Take the opportunity to meet with other conference-goers. Networking not your thing? Here are some tips for how you should prepare for the HOW Design Live.

Follow the event on social #HOWLive

If you’re not able to attend, you can still follow the event on social media. Join the conversation on Twitter:

For compelling social media imagery, take cues from apparel brands

lifestyle music and apparelIf you’re looking for inspiration to boost your social media presence, the apparel industry provides a wealth of tactics. Top apparel brands are masters of engaging with their fans via the visual, and they’re able to customize their message for social channels while remaining authentic. Here are five ways you can immediately add some energy to your visual presence.

1. Focus on real life

Some of the most compelling imagery from apparel makers doesn’t simply show the product. It tells a story about how the product enhances fans’ lives.

On its Instagram feed, Dockers intersperses beautiful product shots with glimpses into typical users’ days.

  • Walking the dogs.
  • Having a beer.
  • Pulling a crumpled March Madness bracket from a back pocket.
  • Relaxing at home.
  • Strolling on the beach.

The focus is on feelings — camaraderie, relaxation, fun — rather than on products.

You may not be a morning person, but you’ll look like one.

A video posted by Dockers (@dockerskhakis) on

2. Customize for the platform

Different platforms call for different approaches to social media imagery. To use your visual content to best effect on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and all the others, understanding your unique audiences is critical. Apparel brands strategize how to properly segment their messaging and key into users’ unique interests on each platform.

Louis Vuitton uses the power of Instagram imagery to showcase its high-fashion chops with artful product and location shots. The high-fashion retailer also makes use of stills and video of runway shows and celebrities wearing Louis product.

At the same time, the brand uses Pinterest as a virtual catalog. Since the Pinterest page itself functions as a sort of collage, photos tend toward individual product shots with sparse or simple backgrounds.

3. Engage with followers

Social media is all about conversation with loyal fans, and apparel brands are establishing two-way communication through their imagery. By incorporating user-generated content, fashion brands help fans see themselves using the products — the first step to creating loyalists and evangelists.

American Apparel recently ran an Instagram promotion encouraging customers to show off their bodysuits. The promotion, #WearBodySuits, has generated thousands of user responses.

4. Create captivating themes

Combining beautiful imagery with creative design, some apparel brands use themes and collections to showcase their products.

Fruit of the Loom maintains its somewhat-edgy image with regular creative reboots. On its Instagram feed, the apparel brand intersperses product shots with stills and videos from ads, along with clever collections tagged #UnderthingsOrganizedNeatly.

The collections group items by color, function and season, with witty tags like “Waiting for your cornucopia? We’ll give you all the fruit you need.” A “lemonade” theme notes “When life gives you lemons, dress for the part.”

5. Make it a video event

Many apparel brands have some foolproof content for creating compelling video on social media: Fashion Week and various runway shows. For other retailers, occasions that warrant video might not be so obvious, but you can get creative about using video to connect with loyal fans.

Versace recently made a chair into a video event with its “Where’s the MESEDIA?” campaign on Instagram. Using a short video, Versace asks fans to “follow the journey” of the new chair through “key design destinations.” On Facebook, Fruit of the Loom deviates from its Instagram tactics and uses mostly videos.

Doing a photo shoot for your catalog? Get footage for a “making-of” video. And any event that calls for a press release — opening a new store, a visit from a celebrity, the announcement of a product new line — certainly warrants a video.

Boost your visual content

Even if you’re not crazy about all the looks you see on the runway, you can still take some tips from the apparel industry for improving your social media imagery. By creating stories, incorporating user-generated content, customizing for the platform, and using themes and video, you can add some impact to your social media presence. To keep track of all your compelling imagery, consider organizing your image library.

5 Reasons to make time for categorizing and organizing company photographs

Camera on deskHow long does it take you to find the right images for a project? How long do you think it takes others in your department or company? When asked about digital clutter, Laura Stack, president of time-management consulting firm The Productivity Pro said, “Most people spend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day looking for things.”

If reducing your organization’s digital clutter isn’t enough, here are five more reasons why it’s time to categorize and organize your company’s photographs.

1. Minimize financial loss of lost or misplaced photographs

When things aren’t organized, things get lost. When things get lost, they need to be replaced. Your team’s digital workspace is no exception. Add up all the devices your team uses, the shared folders, and the various file organization practices each person uses and you’ve got plenty of opportunities for lost and misplaced files.
Keeping your brand’s photographs organized in a single place with a single organizational system helps minimize the cost of re-creating or re-purchasing photos. The larger your library of photographs and the more people contributing and access the content, the more important a consistent organizational system becomes.

2. Maintain brand consistency

Consistency is important for brand recognition. With consistency in your brand’s style and imagery, your audience can recognize your content – even without seeing your logo or brand name.
The more people creating and sharing content representing your brand, the bigger the challenge maintaining a consistent brand image can be. Control the photographs and images that are available for use in representing your brand to build and maintain a consistent brand look.

3. Stay focused on what you’re working on

Being organized helps you stay focused on what you want to achieve. When your end goal is a PowerPoint presentation, time looking for an image you need for that presentation is a distraction from completing that project. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time creating great looking content instead of searching through unorganized folders and emails.

4. Minimize time spent in email and other work communication channels

A poll estimated that U.S. workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email. Fielding emails for image requests is time-consuming. Especially when there’s back and forth emails to get the exact photo someone’s looking for. A photo organizational structure that allows for quick, easy access of content will help reduce the emails asking for help.
Make an effort to create self-service access to your photo library for your team. If everyone shouldn’t have access to all the photographs, find a solution that allows you to control access.

5. Reduce stress

Have you ever scrambled to find a photograph right before a meeting or presentation? Or have you ever needed to field image requests while you’re out of office? Urgent requests for images can be stressful for the one needing the image and the one looking for the image. When your company photographs are categorized, organized and accessible, you know where to look and can find what you need quickly. There’s no need to wait for others to get back to you – reducing stress for all involved.

If you’re ready to categorize and organize your company’s photographs, check out these tips.