Here are my notes that I took while I was looking for a photo organizer program. What I have here is a bunch of links for programs I tried out and a couple sentences of what I thought about them. There were some very specific features I was looking for, so my dislike for a particular program is in the context of my needs, not necessarily a criticism of the program overall.
Since I’ve been accumulating gigabytes of photos, I do have method for sorting them. It usually consists of just creating a folder in the format: “YYYY-MM-DD Description.” Some photos get further categorized by subject (like one of my two daughters, family photos, etc.) But, it’s getting overwhelming and difficult to go back and find what I’m looking for. So, I decided it was time to investigate photo tagging.
I had a few criteria in mind while looking for an application to do this.
- Supports IPTC / EXIF data
- Recognizes Orientation Sensor Data
- Quick performance
- Easy, Easy tagging
- Easy to search find and sort photos based on tags
- Needs to be very standards based. All my tags must be stored in the IPTC or EXIF data in the file. I don’t want to be locked into a specific app in the future.
So here’s a list of apps I found, by no means comprehensive, and the one or two line review is far from comprehensive, but you may find it helpful when narrowing your search.
Picasa – Seemed like a logical first choice, but it doesn’t completely support the standard properly and it only stores captions in the file, not any of the tags (or keywords.) It’s not really possible to display/search/sort photos based on IPTC data.
IDimager – This seemed to really run slow and did not include an uninstaller.
iTag – Using this it was too difficult to navigate photos and it didn’t use a standard directory tree for browsing.
IrfanView – Too much of a pain to use for anything
XnView – The workflow is just not there for tagging photos. You can do it, but it’s not designed to do it easily at all. You need drag and drop the photos to tag, then you loose the file view, forcing a lot of extra clicks to get back where you were.
Mapivi v0.9.1 – GUI is horrible, yes, it’s cross platform but Perl/Tk? Yuck.
Exifer v2.1.5 – Again work flow is not there for tagging. To many steps to edit, not intuitive. Hasn’t been updated in almost 5 years.
Image Tagger – Java swing based app. This seemed to come pretty close as far as making it easy to tag, but as the author claims, it’s not designed to be a library program. So it only gets me half-way to my goal.
Now, I started to looking into commercial applications…
StudioLine PhotoBasic 3 – Kind of a resource pig, requires activation within 30 days, tries to get out to the internet right away. It’s possible add “descriptors” fairly easily, but can’t easily search or view by descriptor.
PicaJet – This by far looks like it does what I want. You need to bring up the “Group By” Pane (Window -> Group By), then you can show by location. It also does drag and drop. It Does basic cropping, brightness, contrast. In order for it to actually write the data out to the files, you need to register and pay for it. The trial version just stores the data in a database.
I haven’t bought it yet, I’m still looking around. If anyone has suggestions PLEASE leave me a comment. THANKS!