One reader of my Gear Where You Are article reminded me that some of us are already using mix-and-match systems to do some of what I wrote about in that article (Thanks Jan). If you haven't read the original piece, please do so first. It sets a tone for how I'll be dealing with the pieces of the system I (and many of you based upon your emails) want.
Warning, there are a lot of breakable pieces in this approach if you try it today:
- Use an EyeFi Mobi card in your camera.
- On your iOS/Android device use the free EyeFi apps to automatically transfer images to your mobile device. Load the Dropbox app as well and configure it to automatically grab and upload photos to the cloud, but only send to the cloud when WiFi access is enabled.
- On your computer at home, set your Dropbox folder as a Watched Folder to ingest from. Make sure Lightroom is set up to move files, not copy them. This automatically cleans your Dropbox folder so that you don't go over your budget plan.
- Now comes a tricky part. Some of us have our own "cloud" storage (e.g. Synology NAS boxes), and guess where our Lightroom data lives? That means that I can still get to my images from my other devices while traveling, even if they've been moved through the system like a ghost. Another way to do this is to use one of the cloud backup plans, like Crashplan, Zipcloud, or one of the other many services like that. If you've got them properly set up and current, you're likely to have all your images available via the cloud within 24 hours (though you have to watch out for big transfers of images, which might take a few days to back up depending upon your plan and your home bandwidth capability).
So yes, what I wrote about in my article is remotely possible with today's products. But…how did your Lightroom stuff get key worded? ;~)
In a perfect world—the world that the camera makers aren't even dreaming about yet let alone approaching with product—I'd be creating my metadata up front, not far after the fact.
Let's say I'm at Wedding 1 (of 5 this weekend). Prior to leaving for the shoot I had all my wedding data pre-entered into the camera: name of wedding, all locations I'd be using, the names of all the people I'm taking pictures of, and the list of shots that the bride and I agreed to. Any wedding photographer worth the lucre you spend on them knows all this stuff long before the wedding actually occurs. As I take my camera out, I select "Wedding 1". All my shots until I change that setting will be metadata-ed with key information about the wedding itself. As I get ready to take a shot, or immediately after I take it, I can tag the location, names, and shot list to the shot. All that gets recorded in the metadata, too. Wait, what menu is all that in on a Nikon DSLR? ;~) The NONEXISTENT menu, the one right after the hardly ever used RETOUCH menu that keeps growing like a weed.
Of course, my camera is connected via WiFi to my "live slide show" at the reception. I've been tagging photos to put into the slide show, too (finally, a use for chimping). But as I'm wandering around the reception my computer is sucking all my images off the camera and also sending them on to the remote watch folder in the cloud that my copy of Lightroom (or Aperture, or whatever software product that gets its act together first) is watching. All I have to do when I get back to the office is press the Produce Wedding button. Wait, what button is that in Lightroom? ;~)