IPTC: Photo Mechanic & ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

by JL Beeken on 3-02-2008

I had a touch of insomnia last night so I decided I’d zip through the weeks’ collection of things to look at. I downloaded and installed trials of two more IPTC programs. Both winners.

Photo Mechanic

First, Photo Mechanic. Delicious … If you have or take a lot of photographs and you want to add IPTC info as you go, or want to search what you already have, this is very smooth software. A real class act.

Photo Mechanic

Photo Mechanic

The software has a few other tricks like slideshows and tagging but it’s focused on high speed IPTC-processing of virtually any image file format. A professional photographer’s dream.

IPTC Info, Photo Mechanic

As you see above, you can cycle through your photos with the Save & > button. Of course, it also works in batch mode and on import. It also has a screen for viewing EXIF info, a film-strip, and two photos at a time. The IPTC Info window can be stretched to full screen to minimize the scrolling there. It has a Search & Replace function for global editing. Really nice. Originally for Mac, also has a Windows version. 20-day free trial.

ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

Here’s the software of a thousand tricks. ACDSee Pro Photo Manager.

ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

It also has a separate but integrated editing window and a quick viewer that can take the place of Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. In the above window, the left side is for navigation in a variety of views including by calendar and advanced search options.

The middle panel has dozens of sorting and viewing options.

The right panel is for various kinds of photo information: EXIF, IPTC, File and Custom. It imported all my IPTC keywords, captions and copyright notices from Adobe and MediaDex and put them into an alphabetical index, easily edited in that right-side panel. It makes beautiful web albums and burns direct to CD and prints and all the rest you would expect from an organizer/editor. And a lot more than I’ve seen in Adobe Elements and for almost the same price. For one thing, the IPTC info is more accessible.

For instance, if you’re working with IPTC info you might want to re-arrange your panels like this:

ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

One failing I note is that although it will read IPTC on PSDs imported from elsewhere it will not allow me to edit it. Hence, the grayed out IPTC panel on the right. If I edit a PSD here, it will wipe out any IPTC info previously embedded. Being a long time Adobe Elements user with thousands of photos in PSD format this would be quite a problem. That’ll teach me. Do not use proprietary formats because it will come back to bite you. However, there’s a fix. Batch convert all PSDs to TIFFs. That works without changing any other factors.

The windows can be interchanged with others such as the Task Window, the Image Basket and Burn Basket. You can also un-dock windows and drag them around.

The icons are small in the editing area but can be enlarged.  All options also exist as text in the Main menu and on another screen called Edit Mode.

ACDSee Pro Photo Manager

It has reams of batch options, including batch IPTC and tool bars and menus anywhere you’d like to find them. It’s very fast and smooth, no troubles at all. This is extremely versatile software. I’ve set all my file associations to it for the duration so I will see more of it. 30-day free trial.

Although I don’t find this software at all difficult, some might prefer the simpler version called ACDSee Photo Manager.  The same 30-day free trial applies.

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