Best Digital Photo Organizer?

Editor: In an attempt to answer the most frequently-asked question we get—"Which solution is the best?"—today we're launching a new feature series called the Hive Five. Once a week we'll put out a call for contenders looking for the best solution to a certain problem, where YOU tell us your favourite tools to get a job done. A day later, we'll report back with the top five recommendations and give you a chance to vote on which is best.

The transition from film to the digital world means we can take pictures until our shutter finger blisters over without worries about cost. The upside is that while you were once limited to 24 pictures per roll of film, now you can now fit hundreds of images onto one reusable memory card; the downside is figuring out how to manage all those pixels once they're on your computer. Today, the debut of the Hive Five Call for Contenders puts out the question: What's the best way to organize your digital photos? Post your favourite solution in the comments.


    I find that Picasa by google ( is a really good way of organising your photos, and it's free!

    Picasa is my favourite. It's very fast, and displays photos quite effeciently. My major gripes are that there is no easy way to export all the photo data out of the software (I don't believe), and seems to have very limited plugin capabilities. Still, it's cross platform, and did I mention fast?

    I personally use Stamp to put my pictures into folders under the format /year/month/day and then ruthlessly cull any that I don't need. It's freeware, windows only.

    I've just recently switched to Mac having used a PC with Picasa for years. While I probably haven't given it enough time, I've found that iPhoto doesn't stack up to Picasa in terms of its features and ease of use... maybe i'm doing something wrong.

    Photoshop Express FTW!

    i'll be the first and say Adobe Lightroom. I know it's not free like Picasa, but it is such a wonderful piece of software all around. Definitely look into it. Currently cataloguing 10000+ photos and we can find every single shot with great ease.

    Another vote for Lightroom. It's turned my import/organise/process/export workflow into something that isn't tedious and painful.

    I'm interested in something similar to Photo Elements / Picasa, but designed for the network. We have several computers in the house and I haven't found a simple option for sharing the tags.

    Our photo collection currently consists of photos we have taken, photos our parents have taken, photos our siblings have taken, photos friends have taken, etc.

    I want to enable other people to upload their photos to our collection and tag them appropriately. Based on the tag, then other people will be able to view the photos and download them. For example:
    * if you upload a set of photos for a birthday party, then anyone else who attended the party should be able to have access to the photos
    * my parents can have access to any photos of ours, but by default only photos of my wife's parents when we were visiting them
    * my sister could have access to our photos and my parents photos, but not my wife's family
    The idea is that photos could be shared while maintaining privacy.

    xnview, picasa (both free), Lightroom (Adobe and rather expensive).
    Funny that the quirky scroller in picasa hasn't caught on more widely - only other place I've seen something similar is in the wonderful evernote.

    I use a combination of Photoshop Elements and Picasa (mainly for it's Google Earth integration). Both would be useless however if not for a couple of important things that need to be done by the user. Keywords and tags are extremely important in getting a handle on your digital photos. They really can make or break your collection once it starts to grow. Geotagging in Google Earth is another excellent way of tagging your photos with vital information (where the shot was taken). Don't forget to rate your shots too. A smart filter in PS Elements searching for your 5 star shots will bring up the best ones in your collection quickly. Batch renaming your shots (I use Adobe Bridge for this) to something meaningful like: 20080301_Corey_f_5.6_100_1_100 s0080.jpg (date,title,f/stop,ISO,shutter speed,number) is another quick reference before actually having to open the file. Finally, when tagging your shots, IPTC is a much more consistent and time-honoured solution than EXIF. If you tag your shots with IPTC, windows (not sure about Macs) and most other programs will extract the IPTC metadata and add anything needed to the EXIF data.

    Flickr. The best photo management site in the world.

    Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Live Photo Gallery. And Picasa will look like gooing back to DOS. Can you do fullscreen slideshows with transition effects with Picasa? Can you fix, tag and publish online all in one place with the same familiar Windows interface? No duplication of storage systems, tag taxonomies, etc. Why complicating your life with something usually poorly integrated? And it's all free under Windows Live.
    Lightroom is obviously nice for profy, but don't forget that behind Windows computers there are 1.1 billion people, and most would not find themselves at ease with such advanced tools.

    I have recently purchased Photoshop Elements to contain the images I am scanning from many years of slides. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I'd really like to be able to export a text file (or Excel or some such) that would contain the full catalog data for each image. But I haven't been able to find any way to do this. Any suggestions?

    Thumbsplus 7 is very good. Picasa is very good. Adobe Lightroom is very good.

    And, the Organizer in Photoshop Elements 6 is, or was, even better until I learned, the hard way, that for some unfathomable reason, the multi-billion dollar Adobe programming braintrust decided to make the Organizer INCOMPATIBLE WITH DUAL CORE PROCESSORS!

    I couldn't figure out how, in PE6, my catalogs and thumbnails were always getting screwed up. I thought I was doing something wrong. Until I read on the Adobe site that, yes, indeed, ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 6 - the latest and greatest - does NOT SUPPORT Intel Core2Dual CPUs... ya know... the kind that most people are buying these days! You actually have to run a routine that's posted on the Adobe site to TURN OFF ONE HALF OF YOUR CPU (back to one core) if you don't want to scramble your catalogs. Have you ever heard of anything so stupid and incompetent?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now