App Directory: The Best Photo Management App For Mac

When we originally chose the best photo management app for Mac OS X, a few were overlooked. After further consideration, we feel that Lyn easily beats iPhoto. While it costs a tiny bit more, it is far more versatile than Apple's offering.

Lyn

Platform: Mac

Price: $20

Download Page

  • Progressive display on single or multiple monitor configurations
  • Load images of virtually any size
  • Multi-threading to take advantage of multicore CPUs
  • Compatible with High Dynamic-Range (HDR) images like TIFF float as well as Radiance and OpenEXR
  • Common metadata parser: EXIF, Camera's maker note, GPS, GeoTIFF, IPTC
  • Image navigation with Apple Remote Control or Magic Trackpad
  • Fullscreen and slideshow
  • Full IPTC editing with user-defined presets
  • Batch convert and rename
  • User-defined places
  • Non-destructive editing for image transformations
  • Easily browse your iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom libraries (Mac OS X 10.5 or later required)
  • Facebook, Flickr, 500px, and Picasa Web Albums sharing (Mac OS X 10.5 or later required)

Lyn is a very versatile photo manager that works the way you want to work. If you're coming from iPhoto, it can read your iPhoto library as-is. If you just want an app for viewing a folder structure currently on your drive, Lyn can handle that as well. However you want to manage your photos, it can adapt. Additionally, it can handle pretty much any type of image you through at it. The app, overall, is very versatile. When you want to put your images elsewhere, it also integrates very well with online services like Facebook, Flickr and Picasa so you can easily share your images. On top of all of that, Lyn is very fast at loading image previews. That is exceptionally helpful for people with large collections.

There isn't much to complain about with Lyn. It manages your photos, works quickly, and integrates with likely every online service you'd want to use. What you don't get, however, is some of the special features you'll find in applications like iPhoto. Lyn doesn't provide facial recognition or organise using Apple's "event" structure. You also can't order books, cards and other products directly from the app. If you really care about those things, you're probably already happy with iPhoto. If not, you should be using Lyn.

iPhoto ($15.99), our former reigning champ, is a really great, simple, feature-rich app that mostly just suffers from being a bit bloated and slow. It's also not fantastic at organising an enormous collection of photos. Nonetheless, it's cheap and manages to do a lot. If your photo library isn't enormous and you have plenty of disk space, iPhoto is a good choice.

Picasa is an obvious choice if you use Picasa on the web. If that's your photo sharing service of choice, you'll probably want to use the desktop app as well.

Flickery is essentially a desktop interface for Flickr. It'll cost you $US10 (although you can try it for free for 15 days), but that price may be worthwhile if you're primarily a Flickr user and want an iPhoto-like interface that's dedicated to the service.

If you're really serious about your photos, you may prefer managing them with the pricey, more professional Aperture or Lightroom. Aperture is like iPhoto for pros, and Lightroom is a similar take on the same concept.

Then there's what I do: I put photos in folders in Dropbox. I can Quicklook everything in the Finder, the thumbnails can be made large in icon view, everything automatically syncs online, it's easy to share the files, it syncs with my iPhone the same as iPhoto, and I can access every photo from my phone with the Dropbox app. I chose to do this because all the photo management software I used was too slow and bloated. I wanted something quick. It's not a solution for everyone (and you'll probably need to pay to upgrade your storage), but if you just want to organise your images without hassle it works very well.

Lifehacker's App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools.

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Comments

    Whats wrong with Lightroom? Sure its a bit more expensive, but surely it should at least get a mention.

    Another vote for Lightroom. Nothing comes close to its interface or features. If you regularly take photos (as opposed to the occasional snapshot on your smartphone) then it's well worth investing in.

    Dropbox sounds good to me. What do you use to view photos on your iPad? Also, it seems files only sync via Dropbox to iPad when u open them - don't use Dropbox much on iPad, just for Docs to Go.

    OK, tried it, Dropbox viewer is fairly good. A combination of Lyn & Dropbox will be pretty powerful, and you have full control of your directory structure

    How does Lightroom differ from Photoshop Elements? I've got Elements and have found its Organiser to be very good at managing my enormous photo collection. One thing I hate about some photo managers is that they rely on the OS directory system for sorting photos into folders. With Elements, I've just got all my thousands of photos dumped into a single folder and then I do all the work in Elements for tagging, sorting into albums, etc.

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