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What I want in photo management software - Phil's Rambling Rants
April 15th, 2008
10:04 pm


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What I want in photo management software

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Date:April 16th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC)

Re: photo management software

some of that stuff is very easy to find in just about every image management software, some i am not so sure about; i'll have to do a little research, especially among the free offerings. AFAIK there is no free program that can do all of what you want, but i shall look once again, it's been a while since i last did, and it's possible that a workflow solution with more than one program can be built -- though i am much more familiar with unix solutions than windows ones.

my own current favourite is adobe lightroom ($299 street price) which i have not yet bought, but will definitely buy because it is everything i need in one well-working package. i am using it on the mac, but it is also available for windows XP. it doesn't care where you keep your images, it can keep track of them there (that includes offline storage like CDs, and you can still work on managing images even when they're offline). it can also move them into directories of your own choosing. it doesn't delete anything if you don't want it to. it can batch rename to whatever you want. it can streamline both print and web publishing pipelines. you can create collections of images (frex only your very best tiger photos, no matter when you shot them and on which disk they reside). you can rank images, and colour-code them (depending on how you think about organization).

it handles edits to images non-destructively; you don't have to have N duplicates of the actual file, you can keep all your versions within lightroom while you're experimenting. it is amazingly intuitive and powerful for doing operations on images photographers do frequently (exposure adjustment, colour correction, contrast, noise reduction, sharpening, etc) -- i have photoshop, which is THE graphics powerhouse, and i actually prefer lightroom for my photos.

it allows you to crank out basic websites via a variety of templates in no time at all, and it even uploads them ready to view onto your web server, no need for a separate ftp program. i haven't checked out whether (and if, how easily) one can modify those templates or create one's own.

it can do hierarchical keywords exactly the way you want, and even better, it can import keyword lists (such as from controlled vocabulary projects, or from a text file -- i create my keyword lists in a spreadsheet and then export as tab-delimited text file). it auto-completes keywords while you're typing, and you can also assign them by dropping images on keywords, or by dropping keywords on images. or sets of images. you can also assign metadata and keywords already during import.

adobe has a 30-day free trial on their website: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/

i've used iphoto, and it's no comparison; don't bother. i haven't looked at aperture yet, but from reviews i expected to like lightroom better, so we'll see after i try aperture how i feel. adobe's new web service is ok for casual users, but as a semi-pro i wouldn't use it.
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