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:. Best photo organizing software Sort, tag and categorize your images.
Best Photo Slideshow Software of Corel PaintShop Pro Review. InAlbum Deluxe Review. MySlideShow Gold Review. Pictures Slideshow Maker 1. Easy Slide Show Creator 1. Photostory Deluxe Review. 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.
What's Important in a Useful Photo Manager
Some programs have standout organizing features. You can then sort photos by location. Being able to back up files is also incredibly important, so look for a program that not only allows you to do this but also lets you schedule frequent reminders about it.
Sharing Being able to show off your favorite photos is an important part of photo managing software. The rep from Corel emphasized the importance of being able to share projects directly to social media sites: "Having this ability helps a user become more efficient by uploading their images to their chosen platform directly instead of exporting, opening a browser, and then taking several steps to upload and share the same photo natively. Most programs allow you to share photos directly to Facebook and Flickr. Some even allow you to make and share slideshows. If you plan on taking a lot of pictures and find yourself running out of room on your hard drive, keep an eye out for a program that comes with free online storage.
While some companies offer cloud storage for an additional fee, there are many services that provide some storage to upload your photos for free. As Brazeau told us, "Having the ability to edit photos directly within your photo management software is a crucial feature because it allows a user to own, learn, and use a single program for all their photo management and editing needs. A comprehensive, all-in-one photo editor provides photographers of any skill level the tools they need make a minor edit or create complex composited photos.
Most programs make non-destructive edits, which means they make edits on a copy of your photo and save the original from changes. These editing tools can help you brighten a dark image, adjust the colors of your shots or simply crop your photo. Some programs even feature cosmetic tools for smoothing out blemishes in skin or whitening teeth.
If you want to make the editing process easier on yourself, make sure to take the time to get the right settings and positioning on your camera to begin with.
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It will save you a lot of time later on. Most programs will work with a variety of file types, but the file type you choose should depend on what you're wanting to do with your image. This gives editors more freedom to correct problem areas in post-production, such as recovering blown highlights or adjusting shadows, which results in a higher quality final image. RAW does take up more room on your memory card and hard drive, so stay aware of your storage capabilities. What is Metadata? All image files have metadata — information that stays with the image wherever it goes and helps you catalog the visual information of your image.
Exif metadata tells you the shutter speed, dimensions, resolution, exposure time and other camera information at the time you took your shot. More advanced cameras can even tell you which camera took the shot, what lens was used, what the focal length was and where the image was taken. This is incredibly helpful if they ever wanted to duplicate the shot or its settings. Metadata can be especially helpful for sorting your images or correcting information.
Reclaim your device's storage Sync thousands of files to your devices using a fraction of the space. Organize with face recognition Cutting edge face recognition can help you tag and organize thousands of photos in minutes. Protect your memories In Mylio, Vaults ensure your data is protected. Mylio gives you the power to edit photos wherever you are on whatever device is handy. Editing transforms average pictures into memories, so bring out the best in your photos with these classic features:. Filters and Presets. Red-Eye Removal. Batch Editing. RAW Editing with paid subscription.
Exporting with Watermark. Popular Photography. Digital Camera Review. Why Mylio. My scanned photo collection in Google's Picasa v3. It's easy to have low expectations when it comes to free software. They usually cost you nothing out-of-pocket, but instead make you pay with frustration. They often use in-application advertising banners, nagging pop-ups to get you to buy the premium version of the program, or offer so few features there is little reason to devote your time to them. Picasa is free and I must admit, really has none of these strikes against it. Additionally the interface is so clean and fun to use, it's like they are just begging us to latch onto it and trust it with our entire photo collection.
I was using this program when it was just called Picasa for several years before it was bought up in with Google's war chest of money. This was back when I was a die-hard PC guy and built my own Windows-based computers. It was a fantastic program then, and has only gotten better. Picasa manages your photos in a sort of semi-automatic way. You have the option to have a folder not scanned at all, scanned once, or always scanned so that any photos added later to the folder will automatically be included in Picasa as well. This method enables you to keep your originals stored in any folder structure you wish on your hard drive, but still have an easy way to group photos into virtual albums and edit them from within Picasa.
It may not have all of the manual control over your photos the pricier advanced professional programs offer, but it still manages to keep up with a strong set of basic tools that every photo collection needs to have. My scanned photo collection in Apple's iPhoto '11 v9. If you own a Mac and haven't heard of iPhoto, you are probably just walking out of the Apple store with your first one. Major updates however aren't free like they are with Picasa.
Best Free Photo Management Tools
But now thanks to Apple's new Mac App Store, the price to upgrade to the newest version is extremely affordable. It's like having a near-impenetrable haven for your photos. I do not recommend the average user set mouse in there. Advanced Preferences Tab in Apple's iPhoto '11 v9. What this means is that instead of telling iPhoto where you have stored your photos, you instead import copies of them into iPhoto and allow it to move and place them into the best storage folder arrangement.
So you can sit back and relax knowing that it's being done for you.
For those more adventurous, de-selecting this import feature leaves the work up to you and your own folder structure making creativity. For Mac users trying to decide between the Mac version of Picasa and iPhoto — and if you were forcing me to pick for you, I would nudge you towards iPhoto; if for no other reason than how Apple integrates all of their software to easily communicate with one another.
For example, if you are using another piece of Apple software and you want to use one of your photos stored in iPhoto, there is always a media tab or pulldown that gives you easy access to all of your iPhoto Events and photos. This feature works with Apple's Aperture as well. Seemingly little things like this, as well as familiar Mac-aesthetics, will make you appreciate going with iPhoto.
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Aperture by Apple Apple's Aperture. My scanned photo collection in Apple's Aperture v3. It's like they took what's great about iPhoto — how simple it is to do everything — and they used that formula to make a program that is much more powerful and feature driven. If you can operate iPhoto, there is an excellent chance you will be able to operate Aperture after just a few short tutorials or playing around in it a bit.
Aperture can do complicated things in non-complicated ways. Its little brother iPhoto chose to make organization easier by keeping it simple. If this sounds as exciting to you as it was for me, the minimal premium price tag isn't going to keep you from making the investment that will pay off very quickly. Another huge advanced feature set that sets Aperture apart from a more basic program like iPhoto is its ability to manage all of the metadata of your photographs.
In fact, there is a whole tab dedicated to it on the left hand side of the program. Much of this metadata stored inside of a photo is camera information created by your camera when the picture was taken and lists the settings used to expose the image. But, we can use this same metadata repository to hold all kinds of information for a photo we scan — such as a caption description of the photo , date the actual photo was taken, what scanner you used, who owns the photo, who should be contacted in the future about the photo if someone is inquiring name and contact info.
There are enough fields where you could store pretty much anything you wanted.
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And for those who think they will miss the fun social features of iPhoto, you will be happy to know Apple seems to be trying hard now to keep the feature set of iPhoto available to their Aperture users as well. Now, check for an email that was just sent to you and CLICK the button inside to confirm your subscription.
This was a feature I really liked in Picasa. The editing steps are saved within the Lightroom database and I also have it set to optionally save the editing steps within the image file themselves.