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The only thing missing from this mode is the ability to compare two images side by side, which seems like a real missed opportunity. It should allow me to do some very basic adjustments on my images, but it consistently failed to load the RAW files shot from my D It warned me that my images were bit color depth, and that any changes would be saved in 8-bit, but when I clicked OK the image never finished loading. Not bad for a simple right-click!

If you want to include your smartphone images in your photo collection, ACDSee Mobile Sync will allow you to quickly and easily transfer images to your computer wireless. The app is available for both Android and iOS, and is completely free. Overall, ACDSee Photo Studio offers an excellent range of ways to interact with large photo collections, and makes it much easier to sort and tag lots of images at once.

Importing may not seem like a hassle at first, but it took nearly an hour to process my photo collection. SmartPix Manager is available for all versions of Windows as far back as XP, although nobody should be using it anymore. During the initial startup phase, SmartPix requires you to import all of your images. This is a much slower process than some of the other managers I reviewed, although it does provide the opportunity to apply keywords while importing.

It also still needs to build thumbnails for each image imported to the media library, which completely defeats the purpose of an extremely long import process. Color me unimpressed. An error message on image load? Not a great start, especially since it loads properly the next time you click on that image. This program definitely needs more work.

If you want tags that actually help you find specific images, this would take an extremely long time. It offers basic flags and the ability to add metadata keywords, but there are no star ratings or color labels to help you choose winning images. There also seems to be an issue with importing basic EXIF data, as it messes up the organization names for certain tags.

One unique and surprising feature of ThumbsPlus is the ability to write Python scripts to process your images. I have a hard time seeing how this would be of help to most photographers, but if you happen to also be a programmer, you might get a kick out of writing scripts. Irritatingly, this process removes all the adjustments that you might have made to the image in Lightroom, even if all you did was add a star rating.

It feels like Adobe really dropped the ball here in terms of interoperability, especially since they control the entire ecosystem. While Bridge has some definite advantages in terms of speed and polish, this kicks it out of the running for best photo manager. After a few seriously bad programs, IMatch 5 was a very refreshing change. It still required importing all my files to the database, but at least it provided concrete information about how long it would take.

The interface is simple but well-designed, and there is a much more extensive set of labels, tags and star ratings than I found in any other program I reviewed. While it was no faster than any of the other programs that required importing, at least IMatch provides data and a forecasted completion time. IMatch also offers an interesting option for professional photographers who need to share work with their private clients.

By installing the IMatch Anywhere extension, it becomes possible to browse your database or selected portions of it over the web. None of the other programs I reviewed offered similar functionality, so IMatch may just be the best choice for photographers who work closely with clients.

Overall, IMatch is an excellent choice for managing large numbers of files. The free day trial version requires a serial key that can only be obtained by creating an account with MAGIX. During the installation process, it asked me to install a number of additional programs that I was completely uninterested in, including a music creation program and a system cleaner. MAGIX was quite slow to generate thumbnails from each image, and seems to be more focused on exporting images and creating slideshows than it is on actually managing your images.

You can set basic star ratings, keywords and categories, but the window for doing so is not visible by default, and once you enable it, it shows up as a tiny window as though it were an afterthought. FastStone Image Viewer lives up to its name: it is definitely fast. Unfortunately, it only has limited tagging capabilities, allowing you to flag a photo as a pick or not.

20 Best Free Photo Organizing Software for Windows & Mac - Flowing Prints

If FastStone ever gets around to incorporating some additional tagging and metadata features, it could have a solid competitor for some of the paid programs on this list. You can download it free from FastStone here. XnView is similar to FastStone in that it is very fast, but it has some better image organization features.

In addition to tagging photos as picks, you can also set star ratings color labels, and assign categories. The default interface is oddly designed, and hides some of the most useful organization features. I strongly recommend you create a backup of your images first in case you make a mistake in the configuration, but once you get the hang of it, the process is quite fast. It might just help you see the value in a properly organized photo collection.

So there you have it: a review of some of the best photo management software available, and along the way we also discovered some of the worst.

Managing and editing photos doesn't have to feel like work. These free programs make it easy.

Thomas, I purchased ACDsee and started using it after one of their techs told me that I could tag data using structured Metadata, but that turned out not to be correct. Of course you yourself mentioned that everyone tags differently, and you may wonder what I mean by structured Metadata, which I will try to explain. My images come from a manufacturing environment, and from different sources. I can filter by Item , by Customer. Have been looking for a while. Server requirments Not cloud based. Runs on Mac or on local apache web server. Keyword handling Fast keywording. Aperture allows drag and drop from a list, multiple sets of hotkeys for words used frequently, copy paste of keywords from one photo to another, and keywords organized in folders.

Other programs that have good keywording include IMatch and Photomechanic. One of the key aspects of this is to have multiple ways to do things. Additional fields are written to sidecars Controlled vocabulary. I want an extra step to add a new keyword to my list of keywords.

20 Best Free Photo Organizing Software for Windows & Mac

This helps with the the Sommer Vacashun problem. Hierarchial vocabulary. Parents are stored with keywords. Moving a keyword in the master list, or changing spelling, corrects all usage in photos. This can be done as a background task. Parent items are automatically entered as keywords. With the correct database linkage, this comes free as a side effect of the point above. Facets: For a set of pictures I want to be able to define a set of facets or categories for collections or folders.

Facets would be things like: Weather; Who; Where; Ecosystem; Season; Lighting Not all collections would have all facets, but a collection having a facet would nag me to put it in. Facets allow me to go through a collection in multiple passes and get the missing keywords. Yes, I do use searches like that Saved Searches.

These are the equivalent of smart albums in Aperture. As new pix meet the standards they would be shown. A master should be able to list derived images. Derived images are not linear but form a multi-branched tree. Metadata applied to a master should propagate down to derived images. Some form of exception handling for this: e. Ability to track through external editing programs. If I edit a program in photoshop, it will mark the PSD file as being derived, restore as much of the metadata as the PSD format allows. If Photoshop is used to create a jpeg image, that too is tracked.

Data robustness All metadata is indexed. Metadata is also written to sidecar files. Where possible metadata is written to the image file itself. Sidecar contents include the name of their master file. Should be able to restore all file metadata from database. This requires a lot of under-the-hood time stamps to determine which has priority. All database actions should be logged and journaled, so they are reversible. Reasonable speed with catalogs of more than , images. Support for previews of all common image formats and most raw formats. Previews and thumbnails are treated as versions of the master.

They inherit metadata. Nice to have: Simple non-destructive editing — crop, brightness, contrast. Rating system Smart albums Drag and drop functionality with other mac apps. Lightroom and Aperture both support simple versions — different edits on same master. Aperture supports Stacks — a group of related pictures. Possible contender, Requires MS windows box. Photo Supreme: Erratic quirks. One man shop. Slow after 10K images. They have server based software too that is big bucks. Commandline tools Much of the special features for version tracking could be implemented with scripts using calls to these programs.

Enterprise level. WebDAM No real information about capabilities on web site. Joke program. Cloud based set of shoeboxes. Cloud only. Asset Bank. For each master image generate a unique ID based on the content of the file. The latter is preferred as it can be regenerated.

In some cases previews can be modified which changes the checksum. This ID is written to a set of fields in meta data that most editors will leave at least one intact. When an image is edited, a file system watcher notes that the file was opened. When a file is closed, this is also noted. If there has been a new file created it is checked for metadata. Photoshop is notorious for not respecting all metadata. Hi Thomas, Thank you for putting some massive time into this review.

I appreciate it very much. The photo industry is shifting to Mac at a mind bending rate and this difference between the two versions is a deal breaker for me. To me, this is reason enough to not use this product as it appears to me to be heading toward a dead end. Thanks Thomas. Another powerful and cost effective tool that has allowed us to share digital assets with others in our organization is DBGallery.

I think this should make your list in the next review, we have really found it useful for a lot of our workflow. Great review. Thomas, I found your piece very helpful. This program has one of the best object removal features we have seen. You can adjust colors, create HDR images and make basic editing changes using cropping, selection and red-eye removal tools. You can even use this program on an iPad or Android tablet.

You can organize your photos using keywords, ratings, dates, face tags and location tags, but there is no way to add color labels. Unfortunately, you cannot password-protect your photos and albums, like you can with ACDSee. Corel does provide its users with free online storage, so you can have a place to keep your favorite images.

You can also set up backup reminders to protect your images in case something happens to your computer. PaintShop Pro enables you to share your photos directly to social media sites such as Facebook and Flickr, but unlike other programs, this software doesn't allow you to create slideshows or burn your images to CD. If you need this option, we recommend Magix Photo Manager.

ACDSee excels when it comes to security and management options. If you want to protect your work, the software has a section where you can create and add a watermark to your photos.

You can also use this software to lock files and folders with a password so only you can access them. Organization is also a strong point for ACDSee. You can view metadata, add keyword tags to your photos, rate your photos, organize them by date, add color labels, create custom categories, tag locations on a map, and the program can even tag and remember people's faces. You'll be able to work with many file types including RAW images. The editing tools in this program are vast and high-quality, but they often take a step or two longer than most programs to complete, which makes this software a little frustrating for anyone who is already familiar with photo editing software.

Still, you'll be able to remove unwanted objects and get rid of blemishes like acne using the supplied tools. If you want to use ACDSee's cloud storage, you will need to pay extra.

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  • Best Photo Management Software 12222 - Photo Organizer Reviews.
  • What's Important in a Useful Photo Manager.

This is a downside to this software since many other programs provide some amount of cloud storage for free. AfterShot 3 is available on both Windows and Mac and is our pick for the most affordable Mac photo manager. You'll also be able to work with RAW files and view your photos' metadata. The software doesn't allow you to view a map when tagging photo locations, so you simply need to add the location to the metadata tab. We were also surprised to find that it didn't have a face tagging feature. This means that if you want to sort your images by specific people, you need to use their names as keyword tags.

You cannot lock files or folders so if you're wanting a program that can help protect your images, this might not be the one for you. Many photo management programs offer free online storage; however, this program doesn't offer anything of the kind, so you will need to store your photos on your hard drive or a different cloud storage service. You'll find cosmetic tools to touchup blemishes and heal tools that can be used to completely remove unwanted objects from your photos.

Corel's website offers tutorials and a FAQs page if you need assistance or you can phone or email a customer rep.


While AfterShot is missing many tools and features found in other top photo managers, its affordable price make it worth considering for Mac owners. We have been testing photo manager software for the last six years. In this year's testing, we spent 85 hours using nine different programs. Our testers have backgrounds in photography and graphic design, so they were able to thoroughly evaluate each product using their previous experience. As always, we created a fair testing environment for our photo manager reviews. To get additional insights beyond our testing, we reached out to Alex Brazeau with Corel PaintShop Pro to see what features the company found most important when creating its photo managing software.

10 Free Photo Management Software You Should Know

We also contacted Felicia Lee, a local professional photographer of 10 years, who gave us insights on her own photo manager preferences and uses. Quotes and details from these interviews are found lower on the page. Our purpose in contacting these individuals was to obtain unbiased information that could help us understand the best uses of photo manager software for both the experienced photographer and the novice. Typically, the more expensive programs will include editing tools and sharing features in addition to the organizational tools, while the least expensive will only focus on photo management and might provide a few basic editing tools.

You don't have to pay the most to get the best software for you. Look at what each program offers and determine which one fits your managing and editing styles best. We took photo management programs that had high user ratings and then compared them against each other to see which ones were the best. We personally tested each of the programs in this comparison to better understand how easy they were to use and what photo organization features they offered. Our intention was to find software that was simple enough for beginners to learn while offering advanced features that experienced users and professionals could appreciate.

We used the same group of photos on each program and tested their tools to see how many organizational options each offered. We wanted to make sure that the programs we ranked most favorably were easy to use, so we gave each program a score based on how intuitive the user interface is. We awarded higher scores to programs that make it easy to share your photos directly to social media sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. While editing tools are not the main focus of photo managing software, it is important that you can enhance your photos as well as organize them. The ones that easily made good edits scored highest.

Their advanced organizing, metadata and editing tools set the bar when it comes to photo manager software. There are a few reasons why we didn't include these programs in our testing:. Adobe Bridge, on the other hand, is completely free to use. While definitely preferred by professionals, Lightroom and Bridge are designed to work in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop, which makes them more technical and gives them a steeper learning curve than the programs we tested.

However, the program itself technically doesn't provide managing tools. If you plan on using Adobe software regularly and you already know how to use it or don't mind taking the time to learn it, we still recommend it as one of the best options on the market. If Adobe doesn't seem like the right fit for you, here are some additional things to consider about the programs we tested:. File Management When we asked local photographer Felicia Lee about photo management software, she told us that the most important features for her are organization options and editing tools: "I need to be able to see all of my photos, have different ways to catalog and organize them.

I need an easy, simple way to edit as well. Managing your photo files definitely should be a simple, intuitive process. These programs allow you to view and edit metadata, as well as tag your photos in a variety of ways. Some programs have standout organizing features. You can then sort photos by location.