11 Replies Latest reply on Aug 16, 2016 5:26 PM by PowerSlave

    Is Filemaker Pro for Me?


      I am an assistant at an art gallery. We are looking for a new program to use for our inventory of thousands of photographs. Another gallery uses Filemaker and I am wondering if it would be a good fit.

        • 1. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

          You came to a FileMaker forum and asked if you should use FileMaker? Of course you should!  


          Joking aside, it depends on what your exact needs are. A photo inventory in FileMaker is certainly possible and workable. If you use iOS devices, you can even use location features to indicate where the particular asset is stored. There are some cautions associated with "thousands" of digital assets - there are some best practices you'll want to follow - but yes, it can certainly do the job.


          Maybe give us a little more information about your precise use case(s), and we can give more precise advice.



          • 2. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?
            David Moyer


            my answer is also a slightly tongue-in-cheek, Yes!

            I've done this before with millions of images (without using FM's "external containers").  I'm not entirely certain everything you want to do is available inherently within FileMaker.

            However, FileMaker would be great at storing and displaying data pertinent to photographs, including thumbnails.

            Here's a rather lengthy (and somewhat contentious) conversation regarding this topic that might be important to your decision:

            FMS15: External Containers

            (... the point to get from this thread is that you "can't just go opening your FM-managed digital images willy-nilly.)

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

              We use FileMaker to store hundreds of thousands of xray images, patient movies, lab results, faxes etc.

              We use internal container storage and have files above 300gb.

              I think, in the past, FileMaker has actually used demos of a fine art brokerage.

              Some nice display features exist including thumbnails, sideways portals etc.

              I can't think of a product that would make it easier.


              Eric Jungemann

              General Partner

              InfoMatrix, LLC

              The Home of VetFM and CareFM.


              • 4. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                I am a photographer and use Filemaker (starting with v3, currently 14) to store all of my info including scanned images.

                I keep dates, subject, location, developing and even detailed printing info (for darkroom stuff), a separate table for actual prints (framed or not), another for shows I've submitted for (accepted or not - don't want to submit the same ones twice to the same show next year, etc).

                I have seven large binders of negatives of 3 format sizes and I can go right to any image by finding by any number of criteria.

                My wife has been in the art business and I can't imagine what you might want to do that you couldn't with FM.

                And with the help you can get from this group, you can do a lot with the software yourself, although you might want to hire a pro to get you started.

                I built mine from scratch myself, and really learned FMP in the process, but would do it very differently if I did it again today, mostly for not having more experienced help when I started.

                • 5. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                  I've done a couple of FM-based systems for artist/galleries over the past couple of years. They've been very happy with both the systems I built and FileMaker in general. Big plusses (for the end user) - ease of use and ability to add more to the system without difficulty. Additional bonuses - easy deployment for desktop and iOS devices, less printing of things within the gallery.


                  Both systems started as basic contact management and artwork inventory then grew to track artwork sent to other galleries and sales. The inventory was a bit more complex as it included multiple copies of a piece (he was a mixed-media photographer) and artist proofs where the other was a painter where there is only a single piece.


                  Back to your question - FileMaker is a good fit. You just need to define what it is you want to accomplish and maybe split it into several phases - start simple and then add more functionality. You'd probably want to find an external developer to assist with the project. Taking on what can be a fairly involved system as your first project is a big endeavor. You want to get it up and running correctly the first time.

                  • 6. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                    And one caution about packaged or "off the shelf" solutions: they can seem easy and quick to start up, but almost never provide the functionality you will eventually want, because what you want is not the same as some kind of average of what all other operations like yours want, which is what the packaged solution might be designed for. Then you start to modify your operation to suit the software, when the software should support your process.

                    I know of a non-profit organization who bought something off the shelf that, out of the box, required regular exports / imports via excel to move data (financial, and twice a week) from one table to another because there was no relationship between the tables and could not exchange data. And they knew this when they bought the product, but didn't know they had other options.

                    • 7. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?


                      we have an application that manages 100,000 photographs, ... all ok.

                      Tips: capture FileName, Size, path store.




                      • 8. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                        I'm curious about whether you're real questions is: "We need to have new program to use for our inventory of thousands of photographs.  Can I as a layman purchase Filemaker and learn it so I can create a new program myself?"


                        If that is your question then you would have to provide info on your experience with computers, etc.  My answer (as a layman who has done it) is:


                        • Yes, if someone has the motivation and interest to invest considerable time into learning Filemaker.  Filemaker has a far larger learning curve than Excel or Facebook.  Getting up to speed will be measured in weeks rather than hours (I'm assuming you have other duties there also).


                        • However, the advantage of doing it yourself is that it is inevitable that you and your fellow art gallery experts will think up wonderful things that you could do with a software app.  If you have created it, then you can quickly make changes and play with them rather than the usual weeks of back and forth with a development firm.  Whether it's cheaper depends upon your ability and imagination. 


                        • A related advantage is that if you've never done development it can be difficult to understand the possibilities of what an app can do.  If you have climbed the learning curve then it is far easier to have a conversation with a professional developer to quickly outline the parameters of that advanced thing that you want to create but don't quite have the time or expertise to do.



                        • 9. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                          If you do go with FM get the Advanced version as it has more debugging (script) and programing options. Saves a lot headaches.

                          • 10. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                            Good afternoon smilla,


                            I hope your day is going well. Yes, FileMaker Pro is definitely capable of helping you achieve your goal of managing your photographs. Like greatgrey already mentioned, MAKE SURE you get FileMaker Pro Advanced if you are going to develop the solution yourself. As you've already experienced, the FileMaker Pro community is awesome and always ready to offer assistance when needed. Good luck!


                            God bless,




                            • 11. Re: Is Filemaker Pro for Me?

                              Hi Smilla,

                              the best way is to at least have a taste of what Filemaker 15 is like. Download the demo and create a new 'Content management' starter solution. This will work for you in it's basic form but you have a great toolbox to modify it at your own free will. This will get you off the ground and running up in the quickest possible way. This way you also get  templates (Layouts) that demonstrate iOS tricks and techniques to make up for an overall good UI experience Across all platforms.

                              Good luck and have fun