Photography client display system

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BrokeButLovinIt, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. BrokeButLovinIt macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Okay so I'm new to this and just looking for some advice for my photography

    I am running a small photography business and I'm looking to allow clients to view organised masses of photographs, up to 2000 from a single day of shooting.

    I am shooting small sport competitions and am looking to set up a display system to allow competitors to view photos at their own leisure. i want multiple computer displays in the back of a ute for potential clients to operate and view folders of photographs before buying.

    what i want to know is if anyone can help me with what hardware i should be looking at. i want a single location where all photos will be stored, 2TB for now but expandable to 4TB or more as i store more and more older photographs.
    is a server an option here? or is there a way i can run multiple and seperate screens from the same storage, keeping in mind that do not want slow connections and do want responsiveness so users don't lose interest
    i could set this up easily with multiple cheap tower+monitors though hate dealing with synchronising each of these when i add photos, time consuming, expensive and just a hassle

    i don't know what else you need to know but please ask if you might be able to help
    thanks in advance
     
  2. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I want multiple computer displays for onsite viewing, using those are redundant when you have your own website
     
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #4
    Multiple Mac Minis (get the older discounted ones off the refurb store), each with a cloned photo gallery installed. For the current shoot you could attach them via ethernet network to a NAS (networked attached storage) since you won't have time to clone that day's galleries to the Minis.

    Multiple Minis means you are not dependent on a single system, so one can crash and you can carry on that day. Worst case is that the NAS crashes so you can't show that day's work. Local storage means they will be snappy. But since they don't need to be current they can be bought cheaper. Local storage means you are not needing local internet access to work as well. Ethernet connection gives the greatest bandwidth/flexibility for set up. And ethernet cable can be quite long - so in different situations you can set up in different ways. Ethernet means not having to fight for a clear WiFi channel if you set up somewhere there is a lot of interference.

    I think creative use of file/permissions would allow you to lock down the Mini so only the photo folders are visible. Locking the Mini into a cage that blocks access to the USB ports would eliminate unauthorized copying of the folders.

    Just an idea to get things started.
     
  4. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #5
    It seems like some kind of cloud solution would work best for you. Maybe a few iPads all accessing the same online gallery full of albums via a fast photo browsing app? I'm sure some others here can offer up some more specific suggestions regarding which cloud service and which browsing app, but it's hard to beat the experience of using an iPad for photo browsing. I've noticed that people tend to have all the time in the world for viewing my photos if I hand them an iPad for viewing them.
     
  5. cupcakes2000 macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Yeah, definitely iPads are a good viewing experience for photographs.
    Maybe a mac mini as a server and some form of photo browser to view them on the iPad? Then you don't need to worry about uploading to the cloud. Just put the pictures directly on mini, and they're ready to view via wifi in the iPads..
     
  6. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    You’ve got a few options, but it really depends on scale. How many people will you have looking at these photos at once? Will it be a mad rush of people, or a couple of people over the course of an hour or two? Are you printing the photos right then and there?
    The best example of a business that does this that I can think of is a theme park. When you are on a roller coaster and they take your picture and then try to sell it to you when you get off the ride. They usually have a few big screens (like 42” plasmas) rolling through the pictures as you get off the ride, and then multiple self-serve kiosks or people at kiosks to sell and print off the photos.
    To save on hardware costs, you could have one large display cycling through all of your photos as they are taken (use an EyeFi card or something) and then pass out your business card with your website information on it for people to go to your site and order high quality prints.
     
  7. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    hi guys thanks for all your responses have considered some of these and its good to see other people thinking on the same lines
    AND YESS!! a fleet of mac minis would be awesome but it still seems like a painful expense

    though, has anyone used or know how a mac mini server could be used in this scenario? if so at all. or a similar grade Win setup if i want to go cheap
    have also been looking at multitouch pc monitors which could be great under $200 which is bearable if i can cut costs on the rest of the system

    Same with the iPads too, costly to buy, internet costs too, though almost everyone knows iOS now and photos look great on them, id like to use touch interface though.

    yeah just anything about how i could use osx or win servers please?
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #9
    A server is not going to help you, I'm not sure why you think it will. The iPad suggestion is probably the best one - buy a few of them and sync the photos with a computer before handing them to a potential customer.
     
  9. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    yeah thanks anyway
    unless i can connect them to wired network storage they're not ideal, even 64GB won't store anywhere near enough for what i need, internet solutions aren't an option here either

    looking like cheap pcs are the way to go with NAS
     
  10. Phrasikleia, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #11
    Why does it have to be wired? Couldn't you have one computer that provides an ad-hoc network for the iPads to join (i.e. no internet required)? Then all you need to do is keep that one computer updated with the newest photos and point the iPad photo browsers to its galleries.

    Edit: a possible app solution would be AirPhotoViewer, which enables an iPad to view photos served from a PC over WiFi. No sync or internet required. So the photos would not be stored on the iPads, and you need only one actual PC to act as a server.

    Seems like the cheapest solution too. A few bottom-of-the line WiFi iPads plus cases that can lock to a table will be cheaper than several PCs, monitors, mice, cables, ethernet hub, etc.
     
  11. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    speed and reliability both turn me off wireless I've never really liked dealing with it, and the fact the entire set up is confined to the back of a ute or maybe a trailer later on like 2m by 2.5m
     
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #13
    Your space limitations just strengthen the case for a wireless solution, perhaps with iPads.
     
  13. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    what are the differences in transfer speeds, wire vs wireless, RAW files (approx 20mb each)
    i don't want to duplicate everything into low res JPEGS just for viewing
     
  14. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

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    #15
    I would like to add this bit of thought… look at your question as if a person asked you the very same thing, what would you think based off that and the replies given from all parties, so…

    If a person who is a professional, that I went to for my needs and they handed me over 64GBs of work to view (that wasn't in the specific area of concern) and not their best work or case in point, was able to provide me with say 36-50 photos (that is a large amount for most attention spans) in the area of my needs, I'd walk away.

    I'm saying if the client has to go through all your stuff to find what they are looking for that would be mistake one and add to that having no idea of direction, then it doesn't really matter what setup, sync speed or anything related can or could help out.

    I think I'm a bit confused by all your work and the cheapest way to show all that work. I don't have cash flowing out either but try to make a few things easy on yourself, you have a long road to travel :cool:
     
  15. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #16
    Yikes...you want to do this with raw files?! I have to agree with Artful Dodger: it's a lot already to present clients with "up to 2000" photos per day for them to slog through on their own, but having those be raw files is really over the top. Browsing any amount of raw photos will be slow even on a very fast system, unless each file already has a preview rendered. But even if it could be a snappy experience to move from file to file, it is just plain bad business to show your clients everything you shot and expect them to play editor.
     
  16. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #17
    2000 is an awful lot of pics. Unretouched RAW? Why not use a smaller sample of your best or representative pics? iPads work great. Although I am not pro-photographer I use one all the time to show pics. I often can't count on WiFi so I just create an event in iPhoto and export it to iPhoto on the iPad. Easy, particularly since I work in Aperture.
     
  17. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I find the concept a little confusing. Dozens of photos is already a lot for many people to digest in a single sitting; thousands is simply overwhelming. If the goal is to have a viewable product by the end of the event, (imo) the focus should be on designing an efficient on-location sorting/editing process, and not on maximizing the amount of technology and hardware used. I don't see the purpose of showing raw files to clients for the same reason I don't see the purpose of showing every single photo taken: it's pointlessly laborious, and potentially harmful (unless you have a 100% keeper rate). With sorting and processing, you're able to distill the day's shooting into the best examples of your work, which will be more effective for selling that work to clients than simply overwhelming them with quantity. Plus, jpegs are much more easily transferred to and viewed on multiple devices (esp. iPads) than raws.
     
  18. someoldguy macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I'm not so sure about iPads . While they're great photo viewers , their portability creates a potential problem with having them walk off . snberk103's idea of multiple mini's seems to be much more sound , as regards the cloud or wifi , it's another layer of things that can go wrong, there's no substitute for hardwiring .
     
  19. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #20
    I've been a client in this situation, and the folks that were providing photos simply had cheap PCs and monitors set up in a trailer, with each individual's photos in a directory. Just used Windows 7 to view them; it's essentially a picture viewer application. I imagine he just had the same volume shared across all the PCs.

    I'm not sure about the number of people that can access iPhoto or Aperture shares (now that iPhoto can share an Aperture library) but if you set up separate albums folks could look at those on old iMacs or something.

    I don't recall how we selected photos for printing; most were just buying DVDs with the whole lot in our case.

    Rob
     
  20. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Rob i think you have the best idea of the type of system I'm thinking of, larger volumes of clients so i can't have iPads set up specifically for each person who walks in, I'm more looking universal use for all clients with the of indexing all my shots, both current and from previous events by, event name-> competitor class-> competition time, all in a photo library application with not exit button, keyboard removed and explorer.exe closed in windows. this will give them a group of photos that still isn't specific to them but close enough to identify themselves among such large masses of images, and secure from tampering

    I also do not have the time to individually sort through all these images other than quick checks while shooting removing obvious failures

    this seems like the easiest way to appeal to hundreds of potential clients on site for what I'm doing

    may not have mentioned it before its sports I'm shooting, from surfing to motorsport and equestrian, hence the masses of potential clients and photographs thanks to motordrive

    ideally i don't want to need duplicates just for viewing and yes all untouched I'm not going to separately edit all the photographs.
    though if i had to duplicate id set up a batch retouch which does an S curve adjustment throughout just to bring a little life to the RAW conversions
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #22
    Wireless can be a bit quirky at times. You really need to test the hell out of it before considering it finalized. Again it's not a good idea to render everything on the fly. That's a lot of data. Assuming a reasonably powerful computer with a hefty ram allocation and either capture one or lightroom, this shouldn't be too bad. They give you a lot of good options including the ability to set white balance to a neutral starting point while still offering other tools to modify the overall look without some of the heavy saturation issues you get when people play too much with the white balance values.

    It does seem like you may need some kind of dedicated file server given the requirement that multiple users be able to connect to and access storage simultaneously. It requires a method of queue management for such situations given that data may reside in the same folder or volume for more than one potential client. You're going to want to process these out to jpegs unless the viewing software can access previously cached previews, which would basically be jpegs anyway. Asking it to render previews of each folder of raws isn't a good idea.
     
  22. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    This sounds a bit more more like what i was originally considering though I'm never got the time to sit down and analyse network structures enough to know how they work and how to do this

    guess ill be getting use to jpegs for previews

    What sort of specs would i need to be looking at here? you mention ram requirements there, what else should i be looking at? i guess network adapters are fairly key components in terms of maximising transfer speeds?

    could i run this from my old laptop pc with upgraded ram and added storage? see below signature for specs, just a cheap idea
     
  23. thekev macrumors 604

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    #24
    Oh concerns over ram were regarding mass processing. Lightroom and Capture One are somewhat ram hungry, especially if a single directory opens up into 2000 raw files. Consider 8GB to be the low end there. You can go further if it's being gobbled up too quickly if it's going to apply settings and process jpegs of many many images at a time. I am unsure of how many clients (either client computers or business clients) need to be able to access this data concurrently, but you're getting into potentially expensive territory with the need for storage that offers solid multi client access and adequate performance. There isn't enough detail established here in terms of required performance, and obviously I don't know the layout of your office or what kind of clients will be viewing, or even if any of them will be connecting remotely. There are many things that would need to be answered, and you are best off recognizing this and speaking to someone who is truly knowledgeable so that you don't end up spending thousands on a bad solution.
     
  24. BrokeButLovinIt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #25
    fair enough I'm sure i can find someone
    thanks for your input
     

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