What is the Best Photo Cataloging Software? How to Organize & Catalogue Your Photos Better
What is the best photo cataloging software? This is what everyone wants to know. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just getting started, organizing and cataloging your pictures is crucial for countless reasons.
First of all, having your photographs scattered across different folders and disorganized throughout your phone, camera, and computer is an absolute nightmare. Then there are photos that get lost in your cloud storage. Mislabeled pictures fall through the cracks. Dates get mixed up. The best photo cataloging software is the most effective way to stay on top of your pictures.
Another thing is that organizing your photographs properly is going to save you time. Even though investing a bit of money in the best photo cataloging software might seem a bit extreme, especially if you’re not looking at a big return on your pictures, it’s still going to save you time and be less stressful in the long run.
The best photo cataloging software is going to allow you to display and track your images based on a huge variety of criteria, such as location, date, category, and other data. Plus, the more sophisticated the software, the cleverer the AI and the faster and easier it is to find a specific photograph.
Now, let’s look at the best photo cataloging software available right now!
CyberLink PhotoDirector is arguably the best photo cataloging software for beginner photographers. It has a friendly interface, all major operating systems are compatible, and it’s easy to pay for with a variety of simple payment options. More than that, it’s simple to get started.
You’re dealing with an approachable interface that won’t scare away amateur photographers. It’s easy to import photos and folders from your camera into the software, then organize them by tags and keywords, and categories. The software even comes equipped with a face recognition tool so that you can search pictures based on who’s in them.
There are also some great editing features. Preset filters, basic editing tools, guided edits, creative art edits, and so much more to help navigate the basics of photo editing.
The only downside is that CyberLink PhotoDirector is a bit less expensive than some other software, so it does have limited capabilities. But this is absolutely fine for those who are just starting out, since you don’t really need more than six file formats. Too many options would be overwhelming. Plus, you get at least 25 gigabytes of cloud storage.
Zoner Photo Studio X
Zoner Photo Studio X is one of the most affordable photo cataloging software available right now. It offers image editing and photo organization with a low monthly fee. It also boasts some pretty impressive tools. The interface is clean with tabs that are similar to a web browser, making it easy to navigate for first-time users.
Importing is easy from your phone, SD card, or social media accounts. Images can be sorted and discovered based on ratings, titles, locations, and of course EXIF information. This is one of the easier and less crowded photo cataloging software, ideal for people who are constantly on the move.
The only downside is that because of the pretty affordable price, some things are lacking. You don’t have face recognition and keyword tagging is basic. That being said, it’s still a great editor and organizer for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money and who just need something quick and easy.
Corel Aftershot 3
Corel Aftershot 3 is right in the middle between expensive and too affordable. But it’s also in the middle in terms of quality. The program automatically sorts your images by name, date, and other basic tags such as location. But you can manually organize your photographs based on camera data, meaning things like shutter speed and ISO. You can group images according to favorites or themes. You can use a large selection of ratings and flags and colors. There are also quite a few prepared keywords that can make it easier and faster to locate your images.
But with all the good stuff out of the way, you should be aware of the limitations before considering this software. There is no geotagging or face recognition, which can be a huge deal-breaker to some people. That being said, if you’re interested in the low price tag and the basic options, it’s a pretty solid software for beginners and photography enthusiasts.
ACDSee Photo Studio Professional
ACDSee Photo Studio Professional is available with a single purchase that gives you a license to use the program for life. With a single payment, you also get a year of free updates. But if you don’t want to pay all at once, you can choose a subscription and get 50GB of cloud storage.
With ACDSee, you can manage and organize images based on keywords, dates, and categories, such as people and places. You can also organize your images based on location, which camera was used, and given ratings.
Importing can be done directly from your camera or any other device. You can also access your full library of images on your computer even if you haven’t imported them, something Lightroom is not capable of. Some of the greater features include face detection and face recognition, renaming images in full batches, and importing a keyword list that is already established. You can even customize keyboard shortcuts.
Amazingly, ACDSee supports 86 file formats. You will never come across a format that can’t be cataloged. The only downside is that the program is only available for Windows. It’s also not the best tool for image editing. Editing with ACDSee is fairly basic.
Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom is hands down the industry standard when it comes to photo organization. This is the best photo cataloging software. Amateurs love it, pros love it – everyone loves Adobe Lightroom.
Being the best, Lightroom does cost a significant amount of money. But you can do anything you want with it. It works with your phone, your laptop, or your tablet. Anywhere you find yourself, your images can be cataloged. It’s also great for professional photographers who need to organize photographs while at a shoot.
The big bonus is all the ways for organizing photographs. You can organize them in albums or stacks, and even organize them using keywords, flags, ratings, or anything else. Adobe also uses smart AI technology that is being updated and improved constantly. Face recognition works extremely well and image editing is on point.
That being said, Lightroom is not as great of a photo editor as Photoshop. It’s still capable, it’s just not as advanced. But you can still do non-destructive photo edits, letting you look back at previous versions of your edited photos. If you’re savvy enough, you won’t even need to bother with Photoshop.
One of the only downsides with Adobe Lightroom is that you must import your images into the program before organizing and editing them. This is not the case with some of the other editors. It’s also not available for a one-time fee. You must subscribe. But you can subscribe to Adobe’s Photography Plan, giving you access to both Lightroom and Photoshop.
And for those with a lot of photographs, the 1TB of cloud storage is amazing.
Adobe Bridge is very similar to Lightroom but with its own unique perks. Bridge allows you to organize, edit, and publish all your creative assets at the touch of your finger. At its core, it is a creative asset manager. It’s also available with the Creative Cloud, Lightroom, and the Creative Cloud Photography Plan. If you subscribe to Lightroom, you get access to Bridge. You can also access Bridge for free if you have an Adobe ID.
How is Adobe Bridge different from Adobe Lightroom? Whereas Lightroom is specifically for organizing and editing photos, Bridge works as more of an organizational tool that spans all of the Adobe apps and different types of files. Lightroom works on smartphones and tablets. Bridge works only on Windows and Mac.
Bridge still allows you to easily organize your photos in collections and find them based on keywords and labels. Finding specific images is very easy using the advanced metadata search. But it’s not great for editing. There’s no facial recognition. Bridge is more for those who want to organize photos and documents, illustrator files, design files, and even HTMLs and PDFs.
What is the best photo cataloging software? To be completely blunt, Adobe Lightroom is the best. It’s the industry standard for a reason. Adobe Bridge is a close second. Unfortunately, the more you pay for your photo cataloging software, the better and easier the organization is going to be.
Some of the cheaper options are still usable. There are ways to organize your photos without spending a lot of money. It’s just that when you use Adobe, you get more options, more storage, and a more user-friendly interface.