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Digital Pro

Digital Pro Screen View

Digital Pro has put the word fun into digital image editing. Conceived by professional wildlife photographer, Moose Peterson developed and written by digital gurus Dave Cardinal and Mike Ouye, Digital Pro is in a league of its own. A free trial download of Version 1.5 is available at Pro Shooters.

I've worked with several digital management programs like FotoStation, CompuPic Pro, ThumbsPlus and ACDSee over the last few years. While these programs do a great job of viewing and archiving your images they are not ideally suited for the photographer who needs to edit, label, file and submit their images.

Prior to using Digital Pro (DP), image editing was a time consuming task. I always dreaded the chore of manually sorting, renaming and filing each individual image. When Moose first showed me an early beta version of the program earlier this year, my first reaction was "WOW, I've got to have this!". Images were previewed, edited, sorted, renamed and filed at the mere click of a button! It was so fast and easy.

Use of Loupe to check image sharpness

Image Editing

Once I had my first beta copy of DP, I eagerly sat down at my laptop to edit the images for that day. DP recognizes your

CompactFlash card when you insert it into the reader and asks if you would like to download the images. Your images are downloaded into a temporary folder called "My Shots" under Shoots. This folder can be renamed or you may create your own folder. Double-clicking My Shots will start the process of creating thumbnail images. These images are placed on the Light Table (LT) as they are created. Clicking on a thumbnail on the LT will display a preview image at the top. Want to check the sharpness of an image? No proble Click on the Digital Loupe in the toolbar and hold it over a section of the preview image. The magnification of the Digital Loupe can be set according to your specifications. The default is 1000% magnification (see above Screen Shot II). Digital Loupe can be used in either the LT or Slide Show to check image sharpness.

Important note: Digital Pro does not alter the original image. The thumbnails images that are created and rotated are separate from the original file. This is a very important feature as some image editors actually alter and resave your original image whenever you rotate the thumbnail.

Working With Your Images

Selecting images on the light table is easy. You can either use Windows selection (shift-click to define a range or control-shift to select individual images) or you can use the Moose Selection Mode (Ctrl+M or Edit/Moose Select Mode). Once the Moose Selection Mode is activated, there is no need to hold down the control button to select individual images, you just click away.

Rotating your images is easy. Simply highlight the images that need to be rotated and click on the Rotate button. The default rotation direction is counterclockwise, which is the direction you would need to rotate an image taken vertically with the Nikon D1. You also have the option of rotating the selected image clockwise.

Choosing Image on the control bar or right-clicking an image on the LT will bring up the Image options menu. You may choose from the following:

  • Tag Image as Priority
  • Show All Tagged Images
  • Show Histogram
  • Slide Show (Image Viewer)
  • File or Submit Images
  • EXIF (Shooting) Data
  • IPTC (Captioning) Editor
  • Batch Captioning Images
  • Edit Image
  • Re-create Thumbnail

Image Tagging

Being able to color tag your images is tremendous help when it comes to pulling images for submission. Tagging choices are: Urgent, In Progress, Best Seller, Published, Printed. Each tag has its own unique color. You can turn on the tagging by either right clicking on an image, using the Image menu or from the Slide Show. Once your images are tagged, you can Show All Tagged Images on the Light Table. This feature alone has saved me quite a bit of time when I'm hurridly searching for a specific image.

Slide Show

Another great feature is the Slide Show. Select images on the LT that you wish to preview and press the F5 key or select Slide Show from the Image drop-down menu. The Slide Show is not an actual presentation for an audience, but rather a great way to edit your images in high-resolution one at a time. You can rotate, tag and check image sharpness from within the Slide Show.Rename Images

Labeling & Filing

Once the images are edited, I select the images by category/species and choose which directory I would like to move these images to. I also have the option of renaming these images. When you enter your code for this particular subject, DP appends a four digit sequential number to each of the images, beginning with 0001. Thus, if I entered DJ-BNO-BO as my image code, DP would name the first image DJ-BNO-BO0001.jpg, the second image would be DJ-BNO-BO0002.jpg and so forth. If I already have images in that particular directory, DP will resume the numbering after the last image. Very nice and very fast. (See above Screen Shot III)

Shooting Data

Another useful option is the ability to view all of the image EXIF properties including the GPS information recorded at the time you took the picture. You can also view the histogram of the image.

Captioning Editor

For those of you who like the ability to search for images using keywords, this feature allows you to manually add keywords to each of your images. Batch captioning copies your copyright information, photo credit, city and state to all of your images.

Travel & Return

Before I leave for a photo shoot, I click on "Tools/Travel" to duplicate the image folder tree to my laptop computer. Once I get back to the office, I click on Return to move (or copy) all of the images I filed while on the road to the permanent image folder. DigitalPro will also re-name files if there is a naming conflict.

Proof Sheets & Submissions

Once I have selected the images I want to submit, I let DP copy them to the folder I've set up for that particular publication. From this folder I select the images and choose which proof sheet template I want to use. I typically select the 4x5 template, which is very similar to the traditional slide sheet. The other options are 1x1, 7x9 or 2x2. All of the templates are based on the standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper. You also have the ability to automatically resize and change the image format for editorial submissions.

Bottom Line

I highly recommend Digital Pro to anyone who uses a digital camera and wants to be able to organize and find images quickly and simply. For the professional photographer, Digital Pro will save you a lot of time in the office, which means more time in the field for shooting!

Article © 2002 Jan A. Allinder, All Rights Reserved