Basic Photo Organization software for MAC

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by sailgal, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. sailgal macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2017
    King of Prussia
    I want to find a basic photo organizer for my 1,000+ photos. I'd like it to have a folder structure that I can drag and drop photos into it. It needs to allow multiple types of images to reside in it as I have a couple cameras and an iPhone, as well as images I made on a scanner. I do not want to do my photo editing with this software. I don't like Photos at all as it is tricky and keeps messing me up. Does anyone have a recommendation? What other info would you need? Appreciate any thoughts.
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Lightroom through the Photography CC plan. It would do that.

    But it sounds like you could also get by with a photo browser, just some software optimized for searching and looking at images you yourself just store in folders. For doing that for free, try Adobe Bridge or XnviewMP. Both do hierarchical keywording, which can really help with organizing. Bridge lets you set up collections, so you aren't stuck with just using folders for organization (they're horrible for that, since a photo can only go into one folder, forcing you to make some stupid choices).
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Photo Mechanic will import the images off the cards, rename them as needed, put them into folders you specify, fill out the IPTC info you specify, and generate contact sheets of the images in the folders. It will also let you invoke an app to do photo editing. You can use PM directly or have Image Capture on a Mac invoke PM for ingesting the images.
  4. Spacetime Anomaly macrumors member

    Spacetime Anomaly

    Mar 9, 2017
    Way out in space
    I was an Aperture/Photoshop user until the former became defunct and the latter subscription. I have a few thousand photos (mostly wildlife and nature), but as it’s just a hobby for me, and after playing around with a tonne of software, I found that I can get along pretty well with just the Finder. Here’s my current setup:

    I keep all of my photos on an external drive in folders arranged by PhotoLibrary>CameraModel>Year>Event.

    To import new photos, I simply drag them off my Camera and drop them in the relevant place in my library (CameraModel>Year>…), using a folder naming convention like ‘20170815TripToMars’ which keeps everything neatly organised.

    For browsing, I’ve created some Smart Folders, and I keep them alongside my photo library for convenience. For example, I’ll click on my RAW Smart Folder and it’ll show all my RAW files, or my Canon Smart Folder to see images from that particular camera, etc. Mostly I use an ‘All Images’ Smart Folder (for my photo library only, not system wide) and scroll through my photo’s in large icon view, organised by date, previewing by hitting Spacebar.

    For developing/editing, I use Affinity Photo. I’ve taken to saving the final images alongside their original RAW files using the same/similar filename which makes locating them easy. I save edits as TIFF, because it’s non-app-specific, can preserve layers if necessary, and is isolated easily in a search (another Smart Folder).

    On the plus side, I’m no longer beholden to any particular brand of software. I can share my library between Macs and it’s easy enough to browse, preview, and check meta data. The things that I miss, however, are the advanced tagging, starring, and other collection options you get with a proper DAM. If Affinity develops a DAM, I will definitely check it out, but I still plan to keep my own folder structure and reference it with whatever app I eventually decide on.

    Apple Photos has a reference option in its import preferences (you have to uncheck ‘copy to library’, or something), and I have tried that, as a browsing tool. But I keep finding its quicker to just use Finder.
  5. killawat macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2014
    Lightroom if you want to live in the Adobe ecosystem, GraphicConverter 10 if you don't.
  6. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030


    Oct 29, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Just did a quick search on the App Store and found Silent Sifter. It's very similar to PhotoMechanic, but much cheaper and hopefully, simpler to use.
  7. oblomow macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2005
    I use Lyn. It does what I want. It has some quirks. But it will do until I find a good editor with integrated DAM (that is not subscription based)
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I use a method similar to the one described by Spacetime in reply 4 above.

    That is, all my "cataloguing" is done manually via the finder, in a realm of folder organization that I create myself.

    I organize by:
    - camera used
    - date of shoot, followed by a snippet of relevant info if applicable.

    This way, NO digital photo application is "in control" of my masters.
    I'm the one who's "in control".

    I'm not sure if this would work for a pro who is taking hundreds or thousands of pics per week.
    But it works for me.
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Your point is well taken. The more you need beyond a simple copy into folders you create, the more you need a tool. For example I shoot with two of the same camera bodies. So to prevent any issue of duplicate names, i have Photo Mechanic rename the files by using the camera serial number followed by a sequence number. Doing that manually with be a pain, especially if you are import hundreds or thousands of images at once from a long shooting session or trip.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A lot of people here simply use finder folders. This has the big advantage of being easy to understand and it costs zero. It works well if you only have a few thousand photos.

    The problem with using folders is later after to collect maybe 50,000 photos and then you want to find one. Let's say you mostly shoot wildlife and finally you've decided to make a book that contains the best few shots of each species. So you ask yourself a few questions

    1) How many different kinds of animals are in my library?
    2) Let's get all the photos of Elk in one place so I can short and rank them

    Your images are in folders, one folder per month and you have maybe 150 folders. There is only one way to answer #1. You have to look at every image in every folder and keep a tally sheet. You can do that with a few thousand images but at some point this becomes full time job. Then after you have determined you have 47 decent shots of an Elk you will have to copy each one manually to an "Elk" folder. same for the 1,234 images squirrels ad your 341 bluebirds and so on an and so on. It would take weeks to do this

    But on the other hand if the images were in a real database and they were tagged it would take a program like Lightroom about 1 second to answer each of the above two questions.

    In short, of course it is easy to simply dump images in folders by date. But then you need to remember for the rest of your life when you took each photo so you could to the correct folder. So then you have the idea to make a folder for each type of animal. This works until one day there are two animals in one image. So you copy the image? that's ugly because now you need crop and apply edits twice. And then after sorting to animal name folders one day you want to find the "animals of Florida" and you are forced to manually look at every image.

    Libraries and databases work well for retrieval. About the only reason not to use something like that is that you don't understand how it works and don't want to learn. But if yu don't put the images into some kind of manager you will never find them. OK, with only a couple thousand image you can memorize the catalog but if you have 30,000 images shot over a 10 year period, you can't.

    For those who don't understand catalogs, think of a public library in the old days before computers they had drawers of paper cards. Each book had three cards one for tile, subject and author. A better system would allow any number of cards for each book. That is pretty much what we do today. Each book might have a half dozen cards. In this case our books are photos.

    Of course Lightroom lets you place image files in folders any way you like. But you tend to never access them that way.
  11. Spacetime Anomaly macrumors member

    Spacetime Anomaly

    Mar 9, 2017
    Way out in space
    A good point well explained, ChrisA.

    Catalogue now, save headaches later. You’ve convinced me.

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10 September 19, 2017