firo sportphoto

Customer since 2004

firo sportphoto - one of the leading freelance sports photo agencies in Germany

With around 30 years of experience, firo sportphoto is one of the leading photo agencies in Germany, with international assignments at World and European Championships, studio productions and clients from all sectors (corporations, advertising agencies, football clubs, magazines, publishing houses). Boris Becker, Franz Beckenbauer, Michael Schumacher, Manuel Neuer as well as numerous other celebrities and international politicians – firo has captured them all in professional pictures. The founders also have the same high quality standards for their images with regard to the management and distribution of digital assets. After all, digital asset management is the technical basis of firo’s business.

Challenge - Digital Asset Management for a specific business

In 2010, firo already had a stock of approx. 500,000 pictures (with 3 TB of data), which they managed in a DAM, but which no longer met two essential requirements:

  1. Speed and reliability: Whoever delivers the best pictures of the current game to the editorial offices the fastest is successful. This requires a high degree of automation of the processes: from shooting the photos at constantly changing locations to uploading them to the image database and distributing them to connected customers and editorial offices. The processes must function stably and quickly at all times from anywhere under all conditions.
  2. Simple, high-performance management: Many images and large amounts of data must be managed. Easy retrieval is important, as the image database is used by firo customers as a research tool.

Cognition: A classic DAM system with its complex range of functions would be too powerful for the sports photographers, as most DAM functionalities were not needed at all. The experts from DAM United compared the efforts and advantages of a classic digital asset management system with those of a customised solution. The latter won the race, as costs for migration and DAM licences could be saved and the advantages of a lean individual solution outweighed them.

Solution - Development of a customised image management

DAM United realised a solution with a special focus on the requirements of editorial sports photography. This allowed, for example, image conversions/conversions as well as search and provision to be carried out significantly faster than with any DAM on the market. Individual features were specially developed for this purpose: for example, images are always immediately uploaded to the database in low quality for viewing when the data connection is poor, and are automatically replaced with those in higher quality when the connection is better.

The technical implementation was carried out using current technologies based on a modular service architecture, which allows the simple exchange and updating of modules during operation without stopping the overall system. The solution is scalable, fast, fail-safe and fulfils all the requirements of the research tool with automated dispatch options.

DAM United also transferred the existing data stock, including all metadata from the old DAM system, to the new image database/management system so that work could continue quasi seamlessly, but on a technically much better basis and with faster processes.

Result - optimal support for the business with digital assets

The in-house development has been running to the customer’s complete satisfaction since 2012, is hosted by DAM United and is further developed technically/functionally. In 2020, for example, the system was based on container technology (Docker) and transferred to a new data centre to make it even more powerful. The workflows function in a stable and high-performance manner: pictures are loaded into the system by the photographer from the stadium and automatically assigned to the correct folders (e.g. the current football match). Various match information from EXIF data also flows in as metadata via full-text indexing. The dispatch of the images to customers and editorial offices is also automated along the workflow.

Currently, over 1.4 million images and more than 10 TB of data are managed in the database.

"The customised image management covers our needs exactly and can be flexibly extended and adapted. It is the technical heart of our business and is appreciated by us, photographer friends and of course the reactions and other customers alike as an intuitive tool. The DAM experts have always convinced us with their technical expertise but also their business approach. We know we are getting the best and most affordable solution for us."

Jürgen Fromme, one of the two founders and managing directors of firo sportphoto