Best Free Photo Management Tools

About the author
John Corpuz

John Corpuz flip-flopped between computer science and creative writing courses in school. As a contributor to Tom's Guide he's found a happy middle ground writing about apps, mobile gaming and other geekery.

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    Your comment
    I have found that My Own File Manager does the best job :-)
  • Onus
    The best photo browsing software I think I ever used was something called "Firehand Ember." Editing was limited, but it could do format conversions, and add text, arrows, and other drawing elements onto an image. This made it great for preparing documentation from screen shots.
  • kelemvor33
    No mention of Windows Live Photo Gallery? Or is that just because it's made by Microsoft? Support editing, tagging, syncing, uploading, etc.
  • Also no mention of "Gallery" ( How many people take pictures solely for themselves? Don't most do so with the intention to share them with others... so why not manage, organize, tag, describe, and share all in one step? I was hoping to see what othere people were using instead of Gallery.
  • I use Picasa to import images from my camera card into c:\DCIM\Date\*.*

    Then I use Picasa to expand the directory name to C:\DCIM\MyName Date Count Camera Location Description\*.*

    Then I use free (one for all) Rename for basic group renaming, taking a series of picture files like "PICT1234.Raw PICT1235.Raw ..." and so on to "myname-date-1234.Raw myname-date-1235.Raw ..." for a whole directory.

    Then I have an all-purpose, well-identified library for all time that any program, especially Windows Explorer, can access and browse, and backups are easy, smartly adding only new files to external USB drive archive similarly organized for all time -- hey, it's all library science, right?

    Unlike free Google Picasa, free Windows Live Photo Gallery makes copies of any image touched and moves and renames the original out of the user's access. Picasa makes modifications as a script, leaving the original image file unscathed, and when exporting a copy, leaves the "master" in the same folder tree where it always was, making drag and drop backups and restoring easy and reliable.

    Along with Picasa -- great for printing -- I also use free IrfanView for many tasks, like resizing, cropping, cutting and pasting into combination pictures, lossless JPG rotation and cropping, and batch tasks, including renaming, and filtering to black-and-white copies.
  • How about IrfanView... its free, and do a lot more than some presented here.
  • miomir
    Strange that you don't mention Windows Photo Gallery 2012 which does a great job and Picasa comes first in your review...
  • miomir
    Strange that you don't mention Windows Photo Gallery 2012 which does a great job and Picasa comes first in your review...
  • adlerrot
    Another free and useful viewer is "irfanview" It has been around a long time. Very good at batch processing file names and sizes. Very fast and easy to use. Can re-size and change types. Does some editing but very rudimentary. Takes up very little overhead.
  • John, thanks for your review, but you didn't mention Daminion - a new, powerful and free photo manager with multi-user support. The benefits of Daminion are:
    - Daminion can automatic sync tags with XMP metadata
    - Relative paths in catalogs that allows you to easily port your photo archive library to another computer
    - Server version with True Multi-user access
    - 100+ formats supports including Photo, Camera RAW images, video, audio, Office, Vector, and CAD formats
    - Version Control
    - Hierarchical Tags
    - Multiple catalogs
    - Advanced, Quick and Saved Searches

    And at least but not last Daminion is free, unlike ACDSee, Lightroom, Apperture...
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  • Treegreenrock
    I've downloaded the just-produced CoolUtils Photo Viewer and I'm finding it handy and versatile. Besides, it won't take up too much disk space and it won't affect the functioning of your PC. It won't infect your PC with adware or spyware either
  • abfabf
    Those new windows file folders are terrible, on the side, opened in a fan position. It would be nice to have a flat, front,folder view with the thumbnail that I choose to see. I think most artist and photographers would agree.
  • abfabf
    Photo gallery is a waste if time if you need to manage photos or mange art work for yourself.
  • JohnMur
    I use Photo Manager Deluxe, but it does a lot more than just catalogue photos. Editing, batch processing, slideshows, etc.
  • Alan Light
    DIM: Digital Image Mover can help you organize your photo inventory and most importantly keep it organized.