Organize, Tag and Share Your Images
Getting the right photography equipment is essential to taking good photos. But what happens when the trip is over and you've still got 500 photos in your camera from the last three adventures? Don't feel bad, you have a lot of company. Computers are able to store more and more information and new software packages offer lots of ways to collect, store, manipulate, print or record your photos. So, it's getting easier to download, view, store and share your images.
Here are a few to consider for organizing your photo library:
Software that comes with your camera:
Almost all cameras today come with software programs you can download onto your home computer. Many will be suitable for the average recreational photographer. The problem is that many programs are not compatible with business applications and your "touched-up" home photos may not be in a format that's usable anywhere except on your computer and with your photo printer.
Windows Photo Gallery offers basics, such as red-eye removal, cropping, flipping, rotating and other features that let you control brightness and contrast. You'll also be able to organize your photos by tags and even rate them as you save them for reference later.
iPhoto, on the other hand offers more specialized tools for retouching and removing unwanted blemishes or shadows from photos in addition to special effects like adding sepia tones, antique finishes, making images black and white and more. The basic adjusting tools have a little more control and leeway that the Windows program. With this program you can also make calendars, share photos and create web pages.
Free software online:
If you want, you can find free stuff to download to help with photo organization. A few are:
Picasafrom Google, it offers good basic editing tools
Irfanview offers good tools for organizing, sorting, naming
Snapfire 1.0 good for creating slideshows and photo albums
For Serious Photographers:
For those with a major interest in professional-quality photographs and money to spend, professional software programs like Adobe Photoshop CS3 are the gold standard and are used widely in business applications. Other less-expensive programs offer many of the most important features without the unnecessary extras the professional programs offer.
Adobe Photoshop CS3
This is what the pros use and offers a lot of features for the money, but be prepared to sit down with the manual as the learning curve is a steep one. If you live in a metropolitan area, colleges and tech schools often offer classes in programs like this. CS3 has some new features that let you view changes without damaging your original image, a faster image organizing tool called "Bridge," and a better "curves" function that lets you brighten images easily.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
For a lot less money you can use this program to do most of what you'll need for recreational photography purposes. It's well-liked by many and offers the ability to draw photos from anywhere on your hard drive an important feature some software lacks. It also allows global naming and storage a big help when you have a large amount of images.
Very similar to Lightroom, Elements is a slightly less intimidating program aimed at photography manipulation and storage rather than graphics. So, it's perfect for most non-professionals. Simple organizational options with tags, and smart albums with the ability to recall and view photos according to 10 easy search criteria.
PhotoMechanic by Camerabits
This program is often the first program professionals use to catalog, view and organize their shots before doing more detailed image manipulation in CS3. PhotoMechanic shows the images in a contact-sheet type of window, making viewing really manageable and easy. In PhotoMechanic you can batch photos, tag, rename and e-mail them in addition to creating a web gallery.