Katie Simpson is an esteemed Digital Archivist, working alongside fashion photographers to ensure their work is collated into an organised and easily searchable online archive. In 2009 she set up K. S. Archivist Limited and has since worked with the likes of Nick Knight, David Sims and Mert & Marcus. Katie has worked with both Asset Bank and Dash with various clients and has become a fantastic ambassador for Dash with her photography clients due to the easy functionality and slick interface. We caught up with Katie to ask her exactly what her days entail and how Dash has shaped the way she works.
How do you begin your day and where do you work from?
It’s been a long time since I was the master of when I awake! I have two children (2 and 8) and a husband and we live in Bromley (just outside London). Our normal routine is to have a family breakfast and then drop my eldest at school and youngest at nursery. I normally work from a brilliant co-working space in Farringdon called Cuckooz Nest. When my youngest was a baby I was able to work there as they have a creche next door - the dream! This meant I could go back to working quicker and have some flexibility with childcare.
How did you get into your job and why did you decide to go freelance?
I’ve been running my company for over ten years now, working with top fashion photographers to help them organise their images into an accessible digital archive. Before this I studied Fine Art Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. When I left I moved to London and went to Camberwell college to study Conservation of Paper. After finishing at Camberwell I went on to work as an intern at the V&A. These led me to my dream job running Nick Knight's archive. My aptitude and experience with digital photography helped me forge ahead as many photographers at that time weren’t so au fait with the digital side of things and my knowledge came in handy.
How did you come to the decision to use Dash? Were you using different software previously?
I have spent a long time researching asset management tools to use for clients, but the majority of them are too complicated and cumbersome AND expensive! Simplicity is important allowing the user to navigate the system intuitively
It was when I worked with NSPCC that I discovered Asset Bank, the sister software to Dash. I liked the functionality and recommended it to another client. Asset Bank tends to have too many features for a single photographer so I was looking for a lighter version - it’s hard to sell in extra software to clients so Dash was a more affordable solution
What is the normal workflow of adding a new asset to Dash? Do you process them in any way beforehand and what type of information do you add?
My job begins when a campaign or editorial shoot has been retouched and signed off. I archive and backup the job, then take the low res finals and add them to Dash. The folder structure is organised to mirror the client's server. It’s important the image has the original file name when uploading as it’s the key to being able to trace back to the original hi-res image. I have customised Dash's categories to enhance the searching functionality. They are able to search across their archive, pulling out all of the beauty jobs, look for particular models etc, making it considerably more efficient than searching on a server.
How do you introduce the idea of using Dash to a new client? Are they receptive to new software?
My clients tend to be very successful photographers but are very creative beings so digital technology is not always at the forefront of their minds! It can be difficult to encourage clients to invest in new software but what always helps is to be able to share a demo of how their archive could look when using Dash - it’s a brilliant visual example which tends to seal the deal. I recently set up Sølve Sundsbø on Dash and have been building his archive which is looking incredible.
What do you think are the key benefits for a photographer when using Dash?
A key benefit of Dash to any photographer is that they are able to use their archive in different ways. They are able to not only look up certain shoots, but when the time comes to work on creative projects such as books of their work, they are quickly able to cross reference images that they wish to add across their career by the sophisticated keyword search function.
What you like to do in your spare time - are you a photographer yourself?
At the moment we’re currently on lock down so my main tasks are keeping the children happy and occupied whilst juggling work! I love relaxing with a good film and a G&T - it’s the perfect respite from these busy days.
If you're interested in AI-driven tagging, text-in-image extraction, custom branding and a variety of time-saving features for your digital media, try Dash for free.