Use 1 of These Photo Managers If You Care About Your Photo Collection

by | Last updated Feb 23, 2022 | Organizing Digitals, Featured Post | 226 comments

Graphic of several photo manager application windows stacked

It was seriously a life-changing day when I discovered the magic of a “non-destructive” photo managing computer application.

Like many of us, for the longest time, I just had photos stored all over my computer's storage drives, in multiple folders, with only a reasonably decent approach at a useful organization.

But, when I started using an outstanding photo manager, I began to see how easy and fun it is to bring all of my photos together into one centralized location.

And then there's the ease at which we can now make fixes to our problematic photographs.

Non-Destructive Image Editing

Even if you have little desire to do a lot of complex color correction that professionals take pride in doing, you will be surprised at how many minor changes you may want to make to your photos that are technically still considered edits.

When a photo manager is at its greatest, it's tapping into all of the information invisibly stored inside your photos. This information called metadata speeds up what was once a much more laborious task — the organization and identification of photographs. Calendar dates the photos were taken and GPS locations which are embedded inside of almost current photos, now make it an almost instantaneous and automatic procedure to see your photos grouped by event and location.

Other common edits — especially ones done to scanned photos — are straightening, cropping, and manually “painting out” small amounts of dust and scratches or blemishes.

Up until we had non-destructive image editing, if you wanted to do one of these edits to one of your photographs, and you wanted to be able to keep the original un-edited version as well, it was up to you to manage both — the original and then the edited version.

You had to take the photo into a photo editing program, make the changes, and then do a “Save As” command from the “File” drop-down menu at the top. This would then create a wholly new and separate version of the file. And worse, you had to be extremely careful because if you forget to give the new version a unique filename, it would completely overwrite your original master. Yikes! That's what's technically called destructive editing. 

With non-destructive editing, all of the edits (or enhancements) to your photographs are made without ever being able to affect the original copy of your photograph. Each program handles the magic in one of several different ways, but the end result is that no matter what you do to change your photo during editing, you will always be able to click an “undo” button, and your photo will be returned to the original unedited state.

In more advanced editors, you will even be able to selectively “rollback” edits you've made. So, instead of removing the color correction, crop, dust removal, and straightening you did to a single photo, you could just undo the crop but keep the other edits. Even if you made the crop months ago, it doesn't matter! Your image manager will have the information it needs stored away to be able to put your image back the way you originally had it.

It's like having a guardian angel that protects your master images at all costs. It's brilliant and is 100% absolutely indispensable to me now.

What's Important in a Useful Photo Manager

I find with a lot of photo managing programs being developed today seem to be highly focused on handling primarily the needs of photos recently shot with digital cameras. This makes sense when you consider these companies are trying to help us from drowning in the thousands of photos we are casually taking monthly with our smartphone cameras of our children, pets, and plated food at restaurants.

But what about our scanned photos? What if we care about them too?

Scanned photos have unique needs, especially in the beginning stages when you are trying to organize them, figure out when they were actually taken so you can assign the correct date to them, and possibly even assign a very useful filename to each of them.

Criteria Covered for Each Recommended Application

In my experience working with my own digital photo collection over the last couple of decades, as well as helping people like yourself here on this website, I've developed a list of criteria that a photo manager needs to meet in order to be good at handling all types of photos collections.

Many of these points you may never realize were so important to you until you are deep into using an application and then you, unfortunately, discover its limitations.

I will be doing my best to cover how each application I recommend handles all of the following questions:

  • Organizing Photos — Is there a database that keeps track of each and every photo you bring into the application? How do you choose which photos the application manages?a7a7
  • Photo Storage — Where will your original master images be stored (saved)? Who's responsible for protecting them from being moved around or deleted?
  • Non-Destructive Editing — If it handles photo editing, will the application write over (delete) your original versions with your new changes?
  • Filenames — Can you view and edit the original filename while inside the application?
  • Metadata — Can you add and change useful information about each photo such as the date the photo was taken, written descriptions (captions), and identifying information (keywords, ratings and labels)?
  • Portability — How easily can you leave this application and move to another one and have all of your work (edits and metadata) go with you. Will it feel like you are now trapped using this application indefinitely?

How to Choose the Best Photo Manager For Your Needs

The list of photo managers below is going to be listed more or less, in the order of those that serve the needs of those with basic goals and skills first and work its way to the bottom with those handling advanced goals and skills.

At the end of each review, I will do my best to explain who each application is best suited for. This will hopefully make it easier for you to make a decision if you're having problems choosing.

All of the applications that aren't free still offer a free trial period where you can download and use them for a set period of time at no cost. I would highly recommend you read through all of my suggestions below and narrow it down to at least a couple, and then try them out for a little while. I think you will love how much easier it makes your life once you learn how to use them.

Adobe Bridge CC

Wall of image thumbnails - Adobe Bridge CC - Photo Manager
Adobe Bridge CC

Adobe Bridge is a fantastic and now totally free application. After you create and sign in to your Adobe ID account (also free), you are then able to download the latest version that never expires and now doesn’t require one of their paid subscriptions to their Creative Cloud (CC). 

Adobe Bridge CC, as it’s formally called, is a desktop digital asset manager. This is a fancy way of describing what its purpose is, and that is as a visual hub for all of the files you use for your creative projects. 

Other than being able to rotate images, it doesn’t have any other editing capabilities. You read that right. It's not a photo editor. So you won’t be able to do color corrections, crops, or remove dust, scratches or blemish removals from any of your photographs. This also means this isn't a non-destructive photo editor.

I like to think of the analogy that Bridge is like a beautiful massive dining room table top where you can spread out all of your photos and easily get to work, moving them around, sorting, renaming, and captioning them. 

Especially when you are working with newly scanned photos, much of your early work revolves around these organizational processes and detective work learning when your photos were taken and who's in them. This application is perfect for this period of time because the program isn't cluttered by the controls in a user interface also expected to handle visual editing. 

Organizing Photos in Bridge

Bridge doesn’t use a centralized database to keep track of each photo you want to manage. So, there is no import process at all to gain access to your photos and videos. Instead, you will be working with them where they are currently being stored on your storage drive(s). 

Up in the top left “folders” and “favorites” panels, you simply choose which folder of photographs you would like to work with. And with seven different displaying modes — Essentials, Filmstrip, Metadata, Keywords, Preview, Light Table, and Folders — you are very likely to find a view of all of your photographs you will find to be perfect for the task at hand. 

From within Bridge, while organizing your photos, you can easily create folders and then move your photos around from one folder to another. Since there is no centralized database, you won’t be just moving them around inside the application. It mimics the folder and file structure in Explorer (if you’re using Windows) or Finder(if you’re on a Mac). And if you were to update the content of your folders and file order outside of Bridge, the next time you launch Bridge, since it’s accessing your files live, all of your external updates will then be reflected inside the application as well. 

Bridge also allows you to rate your photos with stars, add keywords, assign text/color labels, create stacks, and generate slide shows. 

Photo Metadata and Filenames in Bridge

Metadata is definitely a strong suit for Bridge. Between the built-in Metadata Panel or the floating “File Info” Window, you will have complete control over all of the metadata fields you could possibly imagine. (Such as Camera EXIF, IPTC, Video and Audio Data, GPS, etc.)

For most people, the majority of all of these available metadata fields will be unused. However, it’s nice to know you have access to them if you ever want to use them. And to make things easier and less cluttered from all of these options, you can create your own metadata template that will then hide all of the unused options and only show you the fields you will be using regularly — such as the date the photo was taken and the caption (description), etc. 

In most cases, Bridge stores this metadata inside your master image files (using the XMP standard). If it isn’t possible to store the information (invisibly) inside the file, metadata is then stored in a separate file called a sidecar file. 

Bridge’s Batch Renaming process is far beyond what we normally get in photo managers. If you’re ever seeking out a stand-alone batch-renaming application because you need access to advanced features, you may find you no longer need to after seeing what’s already built into this application. 

You can literally build out a “formula” for your perfect filenames by adding and removing bits of information such as additional text, sequence numbers, dates, camera information, metadata, and then apply your custom formula to all of the photos you have selected. A nice touch is the option boxes for Windows, Mac OS, and Unix to ensure operating system compatibility with your newly renamed filenames. 

Since there is no central database with this application, Bridge will instantly save any filename and metadata changes you make right to your master images files. So, this means your revised photos will be available to other photo managing or editing programs immediately, and you will have access to all of this new information. 

Who Is Bridge For?

Adobe Bridge is easy enough to use once you get the hang of it. I think even if you have basic goals and skills, you will enjoy using them. 

Since it accesses your photos on your storage drives live and writes all changes immediately, you aren’t locked into using only this application with your photos. 

Bridge makes an incredibly powerful organizer and labeling application that will handle a large portion of your duties. And then, you could use another application at any time to handle any visual edits you want to make, such as color corrections, crops, dust, and scratch removals. 

For those possibly interested in using Adobe’s Lightroom at some point, Bridge could be a great starting point to see how you like working with a product in the Adobe Creative Cloud family. If you enjoy Bridge, you could then easily transition into Lightroom (now with less of a learning curve) or even the powerful editing capabilities of Adobe Photoshop. 

Additionally, I think if you are already happy using a program like Microsoft Photos or Photos for macOS to handle all of your digital camera photos, Bridge would be a great additional application to use for your scanned photos. You could have two different collections of photos. And then, at some point later, when you are done organizing and labeling your scanned photos, you could merge your two collections into one — if you so choose.

 Photos for macOS

Wall of image thumbnails - Photos for macOS - Photo Manager
Photos for macOS

Photos for macOS is a photo managing and editing application that comes free and pre-installed with every Mac operating system since OS X Yosemite in version 10.10.3 (April 8, 2015). It replaced iPhotos, which was then discontinued. 

It's very clean and extremely minimal. So minimal, I find it’s at the risk of (still) not having features many have learned to rely on with previous photo managers. 

After discontinuing their professional application, Aperture, Photos is now the only photo managing application Apple is currently supporting. And since the 1. release, they arguably haven’t been quick to update the application with very many advanced features previous iPhotos users are likely still clamoring for. 

But, what you do have with Photos is a very solid photo managing application that makes photo managing easier to learn and use than probably almost any photo manager out there. 

Organizing Photos in Photos for macOS

Photos uses a centralized database, so it's aware of and keeping track of every one of your photos managed inside. This means every one of your photos will first need to come into the application in one of two ways:

The first is through Apple’s internet “cloud-syncing” platform called iCloud. Most often, its photos are taken from iOS mobile devices such as an iPhone or iPad, and they are set to automatically sync with your desktop version of Photos. 

The second method is through a standard import process where you specifically tell Photos which photos you would like to bring in from an attached camera or memory card or simply from a folder of photos on your Mac. 

The default and generally recommended import setting (Preferences > General > “Copy items to the Photos library”) will tell Photos to make a copy of each, and every photo you import and store it inside your single “bundled” file (folder) called a Photos library file. This library file, by default, is stored inside of your “Pictures” folder, which is inside of your home user folder. 

Your library file is like having a nearly-impenetrable haven for your photos. It’s like a protective egg, and all of your master image files are safely kept and organized inside for you. The only way you can access it manually is by control-clicking on the library file and choosing “Show Package Contents.” (However, I do not recommend the average user even set mouse in there, or risk doing damage that might cause your library file to never load correctly again) 

What Apple has done with this “managed” style of organization is they have completely removed the need for you to understand how it all works. You just launch the application, import some photos, view them, edit them, share them with friends and family, and just plain enjoy them. You don’t need to know how and even where your original master images are being stored. You just know that when you load the application each time, your photos are going to be there — safe and sound. 

It’s truly magnificent for many users — especially ones with basic goals and skills — who want the benefit of a photo manager, without having to learn all about file management, and fear each day they may accidentally push the wrong button and their life displayed in photos is suddenly now lost forever. I mean, you could use Photos for years and never even know what the Finder application is for on your Mac! 

For those who want to do some manual photo organizing, you can still create folders (and put folders inside of folders) and organize photos how you want in them. But generally, Photos wants to do all of the organizing for you by sorting your photos by the date and location they were taken. And this is information already stored inside of your metadata for each photo. 

If you take a lot of photos with digital cameras, where this metadata was created for you in abundance, you might love not having to worry at all about having to organize a good portion of your photos because all the work will be done for you! 

But, for those trying to manage a scanned photo collection in Photos, it’s possible you are going to be very frustrated that in many of the views, such as “Collections,” “Memories,” and “Moments,” Photos will also be trying and organize and sort your scanned photos, but this time it will often be doing so using the only available date which is when your photos were actually scanned. This will be the case until you have taken the time to manually replace the scanned date with the date you know the photo was originally taken. 

In the meantime, you can also create folders and albums to manually sort them how you wish. But, you will have to develop the ability to ignore seeing the “scanned on” dates that Photos will constantly display at the top of each folder of thumbnail images for you, believing those are truly the dates the photos were taken. 

Advanced Tip:  For those more adventurous, if you don’t want copies of your original master image files to be stored inside of your Photos library file, just make sure the import setting I mentioned above is unchecked before each and every photo is imported into Photos, and your master images will be stored and accessed by Photos in the exact place they were when you imported them — which means your photos will be “referenced” not “managed.” This, however, puts the burden on you to protect your master files and don’t move them at the risk of the application not being able to find them anymore.

Editing Photos in Photos for macOS

Photos for macOS makes it extremely easy to do basic editing. They have done a wonderful job of making this desktop version of Photos match the interface of their iOS version of the same name. You will feel right at home doing the same processes on your iOS devices as you will here. 

They’ve made what used to be fairly multi-step corrective operations by making unthreatening-looking sliders with names such as “Light” and “color” that each does complex calculations “under the hood.” And if you're seeking more manual control, you can click on the downward-facing triangle icon, and individual slide controls for more granular manipulation will be at your disposal. 

Pretty much any basic correction tool is already in the feature set, including a really nice implementation of “dust and scratch removal” by what they call Retouch (a bandaid icon). Anyone who scans photos and has a desire to remove as many pieces of dust remaining from the scanning process will learn to love this tool. 

Photos for macOS is non-destructive. If at any point you are unhappy with one or more of your edits, you can click the “Revert to Original” button at the top of the application, and all of your edits will be rolled back, and you will return to the original “untouched” version of your master image. So it will now look the same as it did the moment you imported it into Photos — possibly years before. 

Photos also gives you access to extensions, allowing you to use other applications inside Photos. This gives you the ability to expand the editing capabilities of Photos. 

The cost of all of this “magic” and “lack of required knowledge about file management” that I spoke of earlier comes at the expense of portability. All of your edits are stored as alternate version files or merely as data in its databases that Photos recalculates live anytime you click on a photo you’ve made changes to. Apple has chosen not to write edits and changes directly to your master image files. 

This means you can’t easily access your Photos for macOS collection by another application. Even if your photos aren’t stored in the default “managed” method inside of the library file and are being “referenced” instead of in Finder folders, you still won’t be able to access your edited versions in another application. 

Really, the only way to access your collection with most other “non-Apple” applications — especially your edited ones — is to share your photos (email, social share, message, etc.) or manually export your photos out of Photos (File > Export). This causes all of the edits you have made to be consolidated down into a new file version you can save anywhere you would like. From there, you could then load them into any other application. But, you've lost the ability to undo previous edits at this point. 

Photo Metadata and Filenames in Photos for macOS

For a photo manager aspiring to cater to those with basic goals, Photos for macOS is actually fairly decent with the basic needs of photo metadata. You can give your photos keywords, a caption (description), and even change the GPS coordinate where the photo was taken. And you can also change the date when the photo was taken — which is a must when dealing with scanned photos. That’s pretty much it, though. 

And the interfaces you change this data in are kinda clunky — a tiny floating file info panel and a separate “Adjust date and time” window that slides down from the top. 

There is currently limited support for batch processing in Photos with much of this metadata. However, it’s not obvious how to do it. But, at least you can do the basics to get by. 

Once a photo is imported into Photos, you no longer have any control over the original filename. Even though you can see the original filename in the File Info panel, you don’t have the option to edit it or even display it anywhere else (such as below the image thumbnails, where many might find it to be very useful). 

However, you can give each photo something Apple calls a “title,” which you then basically treat as the new working substitute for the original filename. But, the title field always starts out empty, so, unfortunately, you will have to copy and paste your original filename into the title for every single photo. 

There is a silver lining here. When you export out a photo, you will have the choice to either use the original filename (which it had at the time of the import, and you haven't been able to change all this time) or the current title you may have added and been working with. Whichever you choose now becomes the new exported version’s filename. 

Who is Photos for macOS for?

Photos for macOS is a great application that's only going to get better in each release. And there's no doubt in my mind how powerful Photos is because of the synergy Apple has given it with corresponding Apple applications for each of their devices. If you are deep into the Apple Mac/iOS ecosystem of products, there is a lot to gain by taking advantage of the leverage they have by controlling the operating systems and the photo managing application at the same time.

If you have basic goals for your collection, and you don’t believe you will be in a hurry to “jump ship” and move to another photo managing application once you’ve put in editing work to a lot of photos managed inside of it, Photos could be the amazing photo managing solution for you.

And if you love Photos but hate how little control you have file renaming and additional metadata fields, you could easily have two collections — your iPhone photos in Photos and your scanned photos in a more advanced piece of software.

Picktorial

Wall of image thumbnails - Picktorial - Photo Manager
Picktorial

Within minutes of using Picktorial for the first time, I knew this photo manager was something special. And by the second day of my trial, I already had my credit card out and found myself purchasing a license for it. 

Picktorial sports a dark-colored interface, which in the past has usually been reserved for applications only advanced users were able to use. It's modern, minimal, and, unfortunately for Windows users, is only for the Mac. 

My first impression was that Picktorial feels like what previous devotees of Aperture have been hoping Photos for macOS would have already become by now. And this seems to be proven when you take a look at their aggressive update timeline, with version 1.0 coming out in just March of 2016. 

I'm normally not so easily drawn to applications that have so little time out in the market, but I admit, I was dazzled by how polished and complete it already feels. 

It's incredibly easy to use, so those with basic goals and skills will probably take to it easily. Yet, Picktorial is also adding advanced features so deceptively that it's easy to forget they are also trying to satisfy the professional users. 

Not only is Picktorial a standalone application, Photos for macOS users can also use Picktorial as an extension. This gives you access to the full range of editing tools from Picktorial while inside of Photos for macOS. 

And those still looking for the right time and place to abandon their Apple Aperture libraries, you will be happy to know Picktorial allows you to natively read your current Aperture libraries — even multiple libraries at the same time. 

Picktorial can’t modify Aperture edits but you can choose between viewing the original file or the preview, and make new edits to the original file or additional edits on top of the preview file. 

Organizing Photos in Picktorial

Unlike photo managers that use a centralized library database, such as Photos for Mac OS or Photoshop Lightroom, Picktorial instead is “catalog-free” and uses your Finder hierarchy to organize your photos. But, instead of possibly overwhelming you with access to every single one of your folders, throughout all of your attached devices, the interface stays nearly “stress-free” by only showing you just the folders you have chosen for it to monitor. 

And, similar to how Google's Picasa worked, the folders you tell it to monitor are constantly being watched. So, even if Picktorial isn't running, if you add or remove photos from your Finder folders, the next time you launch Picktorial, it will instantly show your revised folder contents of photos. Likewise, If you move a photo from one folder to another in Picktorial, it's actually moving your master file in Finder from one folder to the other. This means total organization freedom. 

This freedom, of course, comes at the cost of accountability. Without a centralized database, Pictorial will be relying on you not to accidentally tamper with your desired folder organization. For example, Picktorial is not going to take any responsibility for remembering where you had certain photos stored two nights before you moved them around using another seemingly harmless application. 

Something I'm still not very happy with though is the lack of a full-height view of all of your photo thumbnails. It appears the creators of Picktorial are trying so hard to keep a minimal and easy to use interface — with what they call their “Single-Space Workflow” — that the center area of the application has to share the space not only with your thumbnails but also with a preview window of the image you've selected. Even though there is a slider to change the height of the separator between the two, there doesn't seem to be a way to fill the entire area with just your thumbnails, which I seem to sorely miss. 

Editing Photos in Picktorial

If you're familiar with the editing tools in Photos for macOS, you will feel right at home with the adjustment panel in Picktorial. Not only is it in the same location, with a similar look and feel, but it also has an abundance of easy-to-use tools above and beyond what Photos offers. 

The controls are so clean and minimal you almost forget how powerful Picktorial is. It has a RAW processing engine built in to work with your raw image files and currently supports 500+ cameras. 

Picktorial doesn't use layers and instead has gone with a method where your edits are applied in areas, such as “patches,” which gives you more precise control with each tool instead of affecting the entire image. 

Because it's non-destructive, it never makes changes to your original master images. And any edits you make can be undone anytime you wish. 

What almost seems like magic is how Picktorial actually handles all of your edits. Since it doesn't rely on a library database to store all of the incremental changes, it instead cleverly saves all of this data invisibly right inside your master image files (as XMP formatted metadata) for formats such as JPEG, TIFF, and DNG files. If your masters are in the RAW format, the data is stored in an accompanying .xmp sidecar file. 

Because there aren't any preview or alternate version files generated and accessed by a database, each time you click on a photo with edits previously made to it, there is likely to be a slight delay while the edit information is read and re-processed to generate a live version for you. You'll instantly see the original version, and then it's replaced by the fully edited live version about a split second later — the delay time depending on how fast your computer is and how many edits you've made. It's maybe slightly off-putting as you first get used to this phenomenon, but it seems to be a good tradeoff for those seeking the perks of a database-less photo manager that doesn't leave a lot of extra (redundant) version files in folders all over your storage drives. 

What this means, again, is freedom. For example, you can copy and move any photo edited in Picktorial to another Mac running Picktorial, open it and see all of your edits! You could even use a cloud platform like Dropbox or Google Drive to always keep them in sync between the two. And theoretically, you could also open them in any other application — now or in the future — that is capable of reading photos with edits saved with this same embedded XMP metadata process. 

Photo Metadata in Picktorial

The amount of metadata you can currently add and edit is fairly limited. Some of the key EXIF camera metadata is viewable. And thankfully, there is already support to add and edit the important ones for scanned photos, such as a title, keywords, and a caption. Again, because there is no database, the data you add is saved immediately and automatically into your master images. 

Additionally, in response to a question on their Facebook page I found, I know they “are working on adding support for editing IPTC metadata fields as well.” 

Batch processing, I believe, is also on their list. So, the future looks promising here for those who rely on adding a lot of additional data. 

Who Is Picktorial For?

Picktorial feels as easy to use as Photos for macOS, yet has a development team proving to add features to it at a pace Apple seems uninterested in even attempting. 

If you are a Mac user, who loves the aesthetics and workflow of Photos for macOS, but would love to have some more advanced features, then Picktorial is something you might really want to take a look at, especially if you are at all intimidated by the looks of the alternatives such as Photoshop Lightroom or even ACDSee Mac Studio. 

And because it doesn't use a database, you won't at all be locked into this application. You can even use this alongside others photo managers you like as well — such as Adobe Bridge to take advantage of all of its metadata capabilities. 

If Picktorial Innovations continues to improve this application with features professionals rely on, at some point, I won't be surprised if it becomes a serious contender in the professional field with those seeking a “lightweight” and less cluttered interface that's also a lot of fun to use.

Lightroom (Classic)

Lightroom Thumbnail Grid View in Library Module
Lightroom Classic

For Windows users who feel held back by the simplicity of the Photos application in Microsoft Windows, Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom is currently the best choice out there.

Sure, there is Adobe's lighter-weight Photoshop Elements, but it lacks the necessary feature of “non-destructive” editing that I suggest.

Additionally, this will be great to use if you are loyal to their flagship standalone professional photo editor Photoshop. Both programs work extremely well together.

Try not to be intimated by the sales literature suggesting this is only meant for professional photographers. Yes, many of the features are intended to aid the needs of professional photographers and their hectic post-process. But this doesn't mean you can't take advantage of its feature set to organize and edit your entire collection of scanned photos “destruction-free.”

But I won't lie; this is quite a learning step-up from Photos in Windows. Its dark gray default palette is very slick-looking, but with all of its information jammed into every square inch of application real estate, it does a great job of making a “newbie” feel like you have no idea what you should be doing next.

On the bright side, if you are familiar with how to use Photoshop Elements, you will find the learning curve will not be as steep. Otherwise, you will definitely want to spend some time getting to know the application before you commit to any kind of workflow, importing your photos, and beginning to edit them.

Lightroom manages photos from ordinary folders on your hard drive. You select which folders you want to be included, and Lightroom goes to work to import the file information for its database. This gives you the freedom to organize your masters the way you see fit.

But of course, like other programs working in the same manner, this will also put more pressure on you to make sure you don't accidentally delete or modify your master images while working with other software on your computer.

For this added level of file protection, you should look into using either iPhoto or Aperture (both only available for the Mac).

Lightroom's strength isn't so much its ease at organizing your photo masters. Aperture seems to have that duty won hands down, in my opinion. But instead, it's a workhorse image editor with so many sliders, hidden panes, and buttons that you will probably hear yourself say you may never have a need for the likes of Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CS again!

Final Thoughts

Something important I'd love for you to keep in mind is like I hinted at in several of the reviews above, it's possible the best solution for you and your entire diverse photo collection might be to use more than one photo manager at the same time. It's likely one application may not currently do everything you want it to do to handle every type of photo you have. 

You might decide what's best is to use one application to organize and sync to your mobile devices all of your recent digital camera photos. And then, you could use a second application with more robust features that will better help you while you work through the stages of scanning, organizing, and labeling all of your scanned photos. At the end of your project, you could then combine the two photo collections into one if you wanted to, and then use your favorite photo manager with it. 

Please tell me what you think of this article. Which photo managing program do you use and why? 

And if you aren't using one already, what about this article might be making you think you ought to start using one? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

Cheers!

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Epson V800 vs V850 — The 5 Differences and Which You Should Buy
Epson V800 vs V850 — The 5 Differences and Which You Should Buy

So you’re ready to buy a very high-quality flatbed scanner to digitize your analog prints and film, but now you’re having a hard time deciding between the Epson Perfection V800 Photo and the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanners.

Whether you or an avid hobby photographer, a true professional, or just want to get all the quality you can out of your prints and film, either one of these models is going to give you exceptional results. But, I want to help you feel confident you’re going to make the right choice.

Below, in plain English that will make it very easy to understand, I’ve written out and explained in detail, the 5 differences between the two models.

Are 99.9% of Your Photographs Just Not Important Enough To Save?
Are 99.9% of Your Photographs Just Not Important Enough To Save?

If this was your entire photo collection sitting in this trash can in the photo above, would this make you actually feel relief … or utter panic?

What if I added to this scenario. What if to the best of your knowledge, all of your photos sitting in the trash were already scanned and safely backed up on a couple of your hard drives.

Do you now feel relieved … or still utterly panicked?

From everyone I have talked to about this scenario, it seems safe for me to say that I believe the world is in somewhat of a divide whether it’s actually okay to throw away your prints and slides once they have been scanned and digitally preserved.

And for some, hopefully not too many, I am sure they would say it’s okay to throw away many if not most photos before they were scanned and preserved.

Yes. You heard me.

If You Don’t Add This to the Filename of Your Scanned Photos, You’ll Probably Hate Yourself Later
If You Don’t Add This to the Filename of Your Scanned Photos, You’ll Probably Hate Yourself Later

Whether you keep all of your scanned master (original) image files in folders on a hard drive, or you allow an image manager like Picasa, iPhoto or Aperture to manage them inside a library file, you will still be required to give each photo a filename.

It could be as simple and non-descriptive as “photo-1.jpg” or maybe even simple yet somewhat descriptive like “mom at the beach 1984.tif”.

But, it’s actually a very important part of the process of scanning photos, that if done with a little bit of forethought, can save you a lot of time and headache later.

My Inspiring Photo Scanning Progress Report for April 2012
My Inspiring Photo Scanning Progress Report for April 2012

Welcome to my third monthly progress report!

Last month I covered two complete months of scanning, but I learned that was just too much to talk about!

So this time is only one month and it’ll be a lot shorter.

What This Progress Report Is Really About:

Every month, I am posting a detailed report — just like this one — sharing with you how far I have come with my goal to scan and restore my entire 10,000+ family photo collection.

By doing so, I hope to inspire you to do the same!

In my first progress report, I set a goal for myself to do a little bit of work on my collection every single day. I shoot for about an hour a day which turns out to be about 30 scans a day. And I am going to record and detail each one of them so that you can learn from my transparency.

I don’t want to be “that guy” — a guy that tells you how you should scan your own photos but then sends all of my own to a scanning service to do the work for me.

How Quickly You Could Scan Your Entire Photo Collection — What I Discovered From My First Week of Scanning
How Quickly You Could Scan Your Entire Photo Collection — What I Discovered From My First Week of Scanning

So you have a closet with boxes full of old prints and slides that you are dying to have scanned and neatly organized on your computer.

The problem is, you’re worried about it either costing you way too much money to send it to a scanning service, or taking too much of your precious free time to scan them yourself on a flatbed scanner.

Does this sound EXACTLY like your dilemma?

I’d like to share with you my experience back scanning photos for the first week. If you want to make scanning your own photos fit into your busy and hectic life, I think my experience here might give you an idea how much time will be involved and how many photos you can easily get through.

The Best Way to Add a Description (Caption) to Your Scanned Photos
The Best Way to Add a Description (Caption) to Your Scanned Photos

Ah, there’s nothing quite like reading a great caption to go along with a special photograph. Sometimes they’re so effective, they just seal the emotional experience of being there—as if you were right there when that photograph was taken—even if you weren’t!

I think it’s so important that you record these “priceless” descriptions as soon as you can. Some of us might think we can remember all of the details. But face it, you probably won’t be able to. They’re fleeting. And even if you could, you and your memory aren’t going to be on this earth forever.

With prints, it was easy to record this information by writing the stories by hand on the back. But, now that we are wishing to move our prints, slides and negatives to a digital form in our computer, how do we easily add this information so that it can live with each master image file?

What Everybody Ought to Know When Naming Your Scanned Photos – Part 1
What Everybody Ought to Know When Naming Your Scanned Photos – Part 1

As my own scanned photo collection grows, it has really become obvious to me how thankful I am for the added attention I have been putting into the filenames I give to all of my scanned images.

When you’re scanning, it’s really easy to get into a “robotic” mindset where you are just trying to scan as many photos as possible in a sitting. So when you get to that blank field each time that asks you to type in a name for the file, it’s tempting to just quickly bang out a few descriptive words with little thought to how useful they will be to anyone later.

The DPI You Should Be Scanning Your Paper Photographs
The DPI You Should Be Scanning Your Paper Photographs

One of the most important decisions you face when scanning anything with your scanner is choosing what dpi (“dots per inch”) to scan with. And specifically for this post, what is the best dpi to use when scanning and archiving your 8×10″ and smaller paper photographic prints – which for most people, make up the majority of our pre-digital collection.

Making this decision was very challenging for me and certainly a huge part of my 8 year delay. The reason for this is that dpi is the critical variable in a fairly simple mathematical equation that will determine several important outcomes for your digital images.

The Top 13 Reasons Why You Should Already Be Scanning Your Photo Collection
The Top 13 Reasons Why You Should Already Be Scanning Your Photo Collection

“I’ll get to it someday.” “Maybe when I get around to buying a decent scanner.” “It’s just too much work.” “I’ll make one of my kids do it. They know that ‘tech’ stuff – I don’t.”

Those are just a few reasons why your irreplaceable paper and film photograph collections are probably in jeopardy of being no more – just a distant memory. You see, there are forces greater than your lack of will power hurting your chances of having an everlasting collection to pass on to future generations.

Related Posts

Epson Scan 2 — Will It Work With My Scanner?

Epson Scan 2 — Will It Work With My Scanner?

Epson quietly released a new version of their popular scanning software “Epson Scan” that comes bundled with their document and flatbed photo scanners. But, there’s already been confusion as to which scanners and operating systems it supports. Could it be possible that “Epson Scan 2” won’t even run in the latest versions of Microsoft Windows?

Epson V800 vs V850 — The 5 Differences and Which You Should Buy

Epson V800 vs V850 — The 5 Differences and Which You Should Buy

So you’re ready to buy a very high-quality flatbed scanner to digitize your analog prints and film, but now you’re having a hard time deciding between the Epson Perfection V800 Photo and the Epson Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanners.

Whether you or an avid hobby photographer, a true professional, or just want to get all the quality you can out of your prints and film, either one of these models is going to give you exceptional results. But, I want to help you feel confident you’re going to make the right choice.

Below, in plain English that will make it very easy to understand, I’ve written out and explained in detail, the 5 differences between the two models.

How to Batch Change Titles and Descriptions in Photos for macOS

How to Batch Change Titles and Descriptions in Photos for macOS

Have you ever wondered how to batch change the name and even the caption of multiple photos at a time in Photos for macOS, to the same information for all of them?

For example, you would want to do this if you had a group of photos all taken on the same day, during the same event, and you want to label them in a very similar way — if not the exact same way.

This is a very common need, and knowing how to do this in Photos is not as easy as it was in its predecessor, iPhoto.

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