Photo Management

23:53 Fri 30 Mar 2007. Updated: 14:26 31 Mar 2007
[, , , ]

I’ve been using iPhoto since I got my Powershot G2 years back, and it’s never struck me as anything more than “okay”. Sure, it’s simple, and does the simple things well, but when you have thousands of photos, you need something else.

If I were more dedicated to the Mac platform, that “something else” might be Aperture. However, iPhoto was really just a default that I got used to because it was already on the laptop, and I often had the laptop when I was saving photos off my camera. Also, Aperture is expensive and closed-source.

So, I need an alternative. Ideally I want a cross-platform application that’s Free Software, that can import from iPhoto, that has excellent organizational capabilities, and that can export easily to a rational file/directory structure (preferably one I can define).

I haven’t had much luck finding that so far.

The alternatives I’ve come up with are:

  • Gallery—web-based organizer that would run on my server.
  • Photo Organizer—another web-based organizer that I’d put on my server.
  • Flickr—I could let someone else do the hosting/serving, and just put my photos up there.
  • Picasa—a local application for photo management, which I would run on Windows.

I’ve tried using Gallery before and wasn’t too impressed. The lack of integrated tagging support is a killer for me, and in general, it didn’t seem robust enough somehow.

Photo Organizer looks interesting, ambitious, and “serious”. The problem here is that it looks like setup would take a fair amount of time, and in addition I’m just not sure how long this project will stick around… but I should probably take the time to try it.

Flickr is great, but storing thousands of photos on it seems a little silly to me.

That leaves Picasa, which I will download and try out, I think. Although I had resolved to not become dependent on any more proprietary software, so I might see if I can make Photo Organizer work for me first.

Anyone out there know of photo management applications/services that I’m missing?

(next) »

3 Responses to “Photo Management”

  1. kevintel Says:

    As controversial as this may seem, you may have to consider whether your Free Software ideology is more important than getting the job done. If organising and managing your photos with good software is what matters, then think about Aperture or Lightroom (which requires a lower spec machine and is cross-platform). If, on the other hand, the software being ideologically sound (from your point of view) is what matters, then you’ll probably find that you’ll be dumping your photos into directories and leaving it at that. Something tells me that graphics and good professional photo management are not strong areas for the Free Software crowd. Let them make the web software, it’s what they’re good at.

    Of course, you could write your own Free Software photo management software. That way, you could be the guy to get the ball rolling on a cross-platform Free Software alternative.

    I actually don’t use any photo organisation software at the moment; with my Mac, I don’t like iPhoto either (too much crufty lock-down) so I use a perpetual demo of software which has a very Windows-based interface and was last updated about 3 years ago but is the best image/directory browsing software I’ve ever used. The downside is that I have to… Dump the images into directories! Not great. I’m still considering Aperture or Lightroom. I’ve been given a tour of Aperture and it really is extremely good and getting better all the time.

  2. Tadhg Says:

    I don’t think that you can fairly claim that the quintessentially mainstream opinion (“ignore issues of software freedom and just use whatever gets the job done”) is controversial. You could claim that posting it here is provocative, but it’s hardly controversial.

    Getting the job done is naturally important. The question is, how much of a drop in functionality/features am I willing to accept in order to stick with Free Software? I don’t know the answer yet. I still use some proprietary software (notably Windows itself, whcih I’m not yet willing to give up, certain graphical applications which have no peers that I can find, and Trillian, which I just haven’t weaned myself off of yet) that I can’t seem to give up now that I’ve gotten used to them. But in terms of adopting new software, I have a really strong preference for Free.

    Apparently a bunch of the KDE and Gnome photo-management applications are quite good, so I’m not convinced that the “free software crowd” can’t handle that area. But I don’t run KDE or Gnome at the moment, so that doesn’t help me. I don’t know how good Photo Organizer is, but I hope to find out. And since that is web-based, I might indeed be able to contribute.

  3. nichola Says:

    i’ve downloaded picasa on two of my friend’s computers and recommend it for windows users looking for a simple, functional photo organizer. unfortunatly, i own a mac. i haven’t found a mac program that works smoothly and quickly, while leaving photos in their original directories (iphoto wants to move and re-create image files). hopefully google will be creating a mac version of picasa soon.

    i’ve tried using flickr and like the way it works and connects users, but don’t want to pay yahoo to store my photos. i have my own website, but i’d like to install something like flickr to store, organize and display my photos, but keep it all within my server. i think Gallery and Photo Organizer are a start, but their interfaces’ are so clunky and require much clicking around to do things. this is where flickr surpasses all other online photo organizers… the flickr interface is so smooth! and simple. any suggestions for my own server software that does what flickr does? or is my head stuck in the clouds…

Leave a Reply