Photo organising software

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One of my projects for self-isolation is to organise my photo collection, so I’m looking for advice from the UKC experts.

I’ve got about 40,000 photos, almost all jpegs, stored in folders for each trip (e.g the folder 20190615_Dolomites will have all my photos from 2 weeks in the Dolomites last year). I only do a minimal amount of post processing – adjusting brightness and contrast, straightening and cropping.

I make up albums with the best photos to share on Google photos, and get a photobook printed each year.

At the moment I’m using Picasa, but that is no longer supported and some features no longer work.

I’m thinking of changing to Lightroom, though it l may be a bit of overkill for my needs.  Is there a better alternative?  Or can anyone recommend good tutorial videos to help me get started on Lightroom?

All suggestions gratefully received.

In reply to Bob M:

I would recommend Lightroom. It can seem daunting and almost overkill at first but it is probably the best way to organise your photos and obviously it has the advantage of you being able to edit the photos as well. Although its a long video I would suggest this one: as a method. Lots of people will have different ways of doing it but if you get it right from the outset then you will have built good foundations on which to build/add photos. I have folders for every year and then sub folders for every trip and then I put my best photos for each trip into Collections. There is also the ability to create Photobooks from LR as well.

It is worth the effort for sure.

Good Luck


In reply to Bob M:


I use LR which is great for organising (& editing) photos; it is though only available on subscription for approx £10/month. You can also share albums with family and friends or export and then share via Google photos.

As the previous poster said; you really need to think about how you want to organise your photos when setting up a new system so that it works for you now and in the future.

I can't say I've used any other software; so can't comment on better options.........

 John2 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Bob M:

I currently use Lightroom, which is excellent, but as said above it is only available for new users on subscription. A very good alternative is Capture One, which also includes tools for both editing and organising your photos.

 HeMa 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Bob M:

Lightroom is indeed the asset management standard... that being said, competetion is getting better.

Luminar is supposed to offer DAM (digital asset management) module. CaptureOne migth have one as well.

How ever, the usability of LR is getting lower and lower due to Adobe Cloud... So I'm actually in the process of migrating all my LR Catalogs to Darktable (free opensource LR alternative). From the fiddling around I've done, it seems to offer pretty much what I need and also pretty much what my old Lightroom 5 offers.

Sure, some things take more effort, but mostly doesn't seem too bad.

 Tringa 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Bob M:

I use Photoshop Elements. I has an organiser section and an editor section. 

The organiser section is good and easy to use. It allows multiple tags for photos so it possible to find photos in a number of ways. For example a photo I took of my daughter on Beinn Eighe has tags of Scotland, Torridon, and Family all of which can be searched for.

The current version is about £50 but you might find an earlier version for less.


 SouthernSteve 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Bob M:

I would pick Lightroom. The only other one I have tried that is available now is Capture one and I did not get on with that at all. 

If you choose Lightroom and have a good folder structure already (it looks like it), ensure that you choose 'organise by original folders' otherwise you will lose you nice structure for a purely date orientated one, which is quite difficult to use unless you are going to tag all the photos. It took me a couple of goes to get this right when I moved from Aperture to Lightroom a few years ago. 

The functionality of Apple's Aperture was still more intuitive, but that is sadly deceased now. I think you can download a demo - it is usually offered when you download Acrobat reader. 

In reply to Bob M:

Another vote for Lightroom, but I rate the cloud based one over Lightroom Classic. Much better to get files off of physical drives and stored somewhere safe, plus theres less functionality over Lightroom Classic which makes it quicker and easier for basic editing. With lightroom you can really easily share photos/albums straight from the cloud without needing to put them on google photos

 ChrisJD 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Bob M:

If you want a path of low resistance, then LR is a tried and tested way to go.

(note my use of 'a' rather than the definite 'the', to avoid any clashes with other viewpoints!)

I use it to export to Flickr using this plugin (much better than the stock LR plugin for Flickr):

You can also do Blurb Photo books from directly within LR (works quite well, have done quite a few from within LR).

In reply to Bob M:

Thanks for all the advice. I'm psyching myself up to do battle with Lightroom.

First lesson learnt (the hard way) - make sure you understand the difference between the two versions of Lightroom before you install it.

 Paulhesketh 03 Apr 2020
In reply to Bob M:

Good luck!

Seriously think about your photo organisation structure very early on. Learn the difference between catalogues, folders and collections.... and have fun!

In reply to Bob M:

Hey Bob, 

I use Adobe LR for the majority of my edits and Photoshop for client images.

I keep the photo curation separate and use a piece of software called Photomechanic to view, sort and add metadata to my images. This was originally developed for photojournalists to easily upload, add metadata, and send files to the newsroom during a live event.

It's incredibly quick. I'm sure you've felt the frustration of the Lightroom lag :P

Drop me a message if you want any further advice on this. 

 The Lemming 22 Apr 2020
In reply to Bob M:

I use Lightroom for titillating my images however I mostly use it for adding tags to my images. I know that Lightroom is a powerful tool but I mainly use it for the task of Tags.

About 4-5 years ago I was off work with an injury and had a shed load of time on my hands. I also had 40,000 images on my hard drive. The images were and still are kept in folders for each year. Inside each annual folder is a folder for that day with a subject title and date. An example would be "Bouldering at bla-bla 22-4-20"

This is a great idea as long as you remember where you were and what year you did the activity.

I decided to go through all 40,000 images and delete those that I no longer needed. Of the images that I kept, I assigned multiple tags to each and every image that would describe it. This ranged from a couple of descriptive words to quite possibly twenty or thirty words.

It was a long and laborious task, and one which was worth the effort. Now if I want to find a group of files, all I have to do is ask Lightroom to look for images with the descriptive words that I want such as my name, an activity and a location. After a few moments, I am presented with images that I had forgotten about and all relating to what I wanted to see.

The best bit is that the Tags are baked into the JPEG, DGN or RAW files and if I move away from Lightroom, for what ever reason then I only need an app that can sort and read Tags for all my images.

I have happily pared down my collection to 30,000 images that never see the light of day and are hidden away on my hard drive.

 Morland.O 23 Apr 2020
In reply to Bob M:

LR is great.

Since you said you print a photobook every year, I recommend Adobe InDesign which I use to make photobooks for my projects. 10 Minutes getting started to handle well.


 SouthernSteve 23 Apr 2020
In reply to Morland.O:

> Since you said you print a photobook every year, I recommend Adobe InDesign which I use to make photobooks for my projects. 10 Minutes getting started to handle well. 

Rather expensive for non-frequent use at about £600 / annum in the uk for creative cloud (including LR)

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