Visiting Ros Kavanagh at his studio and premises

On March 16th, Shane and I visited Ros Kavanagh at his studio and premises in Crumlin, to examine his workflow and online presence. Ros specialises in Architectural and Theatre Photography, but also does a certain amount of product photography. Ros has both a portable and office data storage at his office and downloads all his images into storage before importing them into ‘Caption One’, his preferred mass image editor, which he prefers to Lightroom as it allows direct access to his image folders without opening up an image management first. Here he makes his initial image choice of 10 -15 and sends a watermarked digital contact sheet to the client. At this stage, Ros doesn’t have a lot of metadata attached to his images, and relies on his naming system (generated by a script, that follows the old CSD naming system) to categorise them, as he feels this improves his file’s searchibility as well as making it easier to keep track of his invoicing, which his main information trail for older Client jobs, if he needs to access the.. For instance, if he’s importing a batch of images he took at a showing of ‘Let the Right One In’ at the Abbey, The image first has a three digit number that represents the Abbey, by a four digit date that covers year and month, then a two digit code for the job (i.e. the play itself) and lastly the sequential number of the image itself.

Fig 1: Anon (2018) Ros Kavanagh at his desk, demonstrating his workflow.

When the client selects his images, Ros then exports them as high grade 16 bit Tiffs and adds his metadata. He pointed out that a lot of programmes don’t read all of the metadata correctly, and only register the ‘description’ section. This is why it’s important to replicate copyright information and the photographers name into this box, along with the description, as it make it easier for potential third parties to access the information. He also pointed out that while the images he saves are high quality 16 bit images, he usually supplies the client with 8 bit images, to dissuade them from using his images for larger posters/etc, without consulting him.

I discussed the use of keywording in his work and he admitted that he doesn’t use #keywords in his work anymore because most searchable sites already have programmes that analyse the images uploaded and adjust the images searchability as appropriate. He does use #hyperlinks when he uploads his images to external image libraries with whom he has licensing agreements, like licensing agreements, such as the UK website called ‘View Picture’ that specialises in Architectural websites. He also uploads more detailed jpeg images to this website than his own site, at, because he feels high res jpeg images are more intrinsically important when for architectural detail.

Ros’s website is on the Wordpress platform, and most of the code is specially designed for his website and not ‘off the peg’ He has a special ‘clients only’ section on his website that can only be accessed with a direct link, where he uploads the digital contact sheet and chosen tiff files for his clients. These images are uploaded using a FTP system. Wireframing and layout of this website concentrated more of the effectiveness of data upload and accessibility that usability, therefore #wireframing and #layout were not a priority for Ros’s website builder, who was more interested in the back end development of the site.

While Ros does love to #print, he doesn’t get much occasion to nowadays. Most of clients are looking for digital images that look well on the #screen. Folksonomy is no an issue for him as user generated tagging is not something he’s been exposed to in his business model. He rarely finds new clients online and is more like to generate a wider client base from word of mouth. He fully admits that this might be because he doesn’t have enough #saturation online, and if he uploaded more images for licensing that might change.

Ros was a wonderful host and went to great lengths to describe every aspect of his business. Beforehand, me and my partner discussed how to approach this interview but, in the end, we had little need to so this and he was more than willing to answer any additional questions we may have, although he was somewhat nonplussed when I asked if #factography played a role on his online presence or workflow, as he found it difficult to find a connection between this word’s meaning and his photographic practice!


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