Photo Organization

by JL Beeken on 3-22-2008

Email from a reader:

I have studied all your postings on digital photo organization. I am at a brick wall and I need some help.

I have been using Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0. I like the way it functions. However, for some reason, it keeps crashing on my computer. I believe this is because the program was written such a long time ago that XP is having difficulty with it.

I can download a free version of Photoshop that will work on my computer BUT it does not have the functions that my old Photoshop has. Once I migrate my images to the new FREE program, I will lose lots of features that I’ve come to depend on.

The newest basic Adobe organizer is $99!!!! Yikes.

I’ve been checking out Mediadex, based on your recommendation, but I’m afraid the learning curve is too steep for me. I’m really just after organization. I don’t want to use Picasa. I don’t like the “price” you pay for the free program, if you know what I mean.

You mentioned a Microsoft program. Does it function as an organizer?

I need to make a decision, since I have some great cemetery pictures in my camera, just waiting to be added to my sources! Any direction you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

DH

photo-filing-3

Your request puts me in an awkward position. As I read it, you’re asking for two things. One, to repeat nearly my entire past year of writing. Two, to scrap everything I’ve said and start over with a different plan.

I can see why you’re at a brick wall. You’ve emptied the room and there’s nothing left but walls. Adobe Photoshop Elements is too expensive for you, MediaDex is too hard for you and you don’t want Picasa. You don’t want a free program but you don’t want to pay for one either.

You don’t mention what your complaints are with Picasa except that it’s free.

Some of the best software around is free and in all kinds of categories and there’s lots of it, but sometimes it can’t be done. I buy software when I’ve got the screemie-meemies fiddling around with free stuff that just won’t do it.

I went to MediaDex because it can organize all kinds of files, not just photographs, and that’s where my wants are. I was reticent to mention it, though, because I knew it would be beyond some people’s capacity to handle.

Regardless of which, I can’t function without IPTC. By the time you get a few thousand photos in a complex multi-purpose folder structure it’s virtually impossible to have any flexibility without embedded keywords. And it’s also nice to be able to embed captions instead of using something proprietary that can’t be read in other software.

The Microsoft program I mentioned, probably Photo Info, is not an organizer, as I said in the post. It’s for adding IPTC information to your photos. You don’t even need Photo Info because you can do it all in XnView. A viewer is not the same thing as an organizer unless you can search by keywords and other things. XnView can. FastStone, for instance, cannot.

Adding cemetery pictures to my sources involves annotating (IPTC) the photos first and then putting them into my digital Source Library, and then linking them into Legacy.

Photoshop Album 2.0 (no longer available) is a ‘teaser’ but if it’s enough for some people it’s enough. Sorry it’s crashing your computer. It’s beyond me to know why. Apparently, the new version doesn’t suit you. Another dud.

The $99 Adobe program, Adobe Elements, is an editor as well as an organizer and you get a lot for your money. It has depth without being difficult. Many people, myself included, use it because we can’t afford Photoshop, which costs in the hundreds and would be functional-overkill anyway. I also like ACDSee Pro Photo Manager, which is on sale (coupon code: 2PRO20) until June 30th, bringing the price in the same range as Adobe Elements.

(A simpler organizer and editor ACDSee Photo Manager, coupon code: 10PM20, also on sale until June 30th.)

I don’t know everything that’s out there so I can’t fully advise you. And I don’t have any alternate secret plan that I’ve been holding back on. If I haven’t been able to help you, you need to be reading some other ideas. The Internet is your oyster.

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