As a professional photographer or hobbyist, you will undoubtedly take hundreds of photos. In today’s modern world, we are no longer constrained by camera film – we have SD memory cards that can hold vast numbers of high-quality photos.
Whilst this promotes creativity and improves redundancy, it can also be an absolute nightmare for cataloging and indexing your photos 😩.
We all know how tiresome it can be to trawl through a seemingly never-ending folder of photos to find what we are looking for or try and organize them using Windows File Explorer. There must be an easier way?
Well, there is! As DSLR memory capacity has improved, so has the complimentary technology known as photo organizers – today we can use a myriad of different software programs that are built specifically to catalog and organize our thousands of photographs. This guide looks at what to look for in a Windows photo organizer, and the best software to organize your photos on a Windows PC – enjoy!
Edit and organize photos, create multiple catalogues & folders, well-functioning import/export system;
One-time payment, advanced photo organization tool, full-fledged image editing package;
Face recognition, bulk file transformation, for amateurs (easy to use & affordable);
Functional interface & conversion tool, organizes images and other files, detects duplicates;
Easily manage your images, create detailed folder hierarchies, import photos from smartphone or camera;
Simple interface, well-known free photo organizer, advanced batch processing;
Open Source and free, rename, upload, and delete images. Has organization and cataloging features.
Great for beginners, facial recognition, cloud sync, and smartphone importing;
For 🖥️ Mac Users: Please see 👉 The Best Photo Organizing Software for MAC
8 Awesome Software Packages to Organize your Photos on a Windows PC
- Adobe Lightroom (🏆 Editor’s Pick)
- On1 Photo Raw (Also Great)
- ACDSee (Budget Pick)
- SmartPix Manager 12
- Adobe Bridge CC
- FastStone Image Viewer
- DijiKam Photo Manager
- Magix Photo Manager
What to look for in a digital photo organizer?
Before we look at the top 8 photo organizer software packages for Windows it is first important to understand what to look for and why a photo organizer is important.
The following are some of the main benefits of using a photo organizer on your PC:
- Categorize your photos into separate folders
- Batch rename photos to find/identify them easier
- Batch delete and move photos
- Add tags to photos to make specific categories/slideshows
- Rate photos to make editing easier
As you can see the benefits are numerous but aside from all the above, using a photo organizer just makes managing your photography that much easier. This is essential if you are a professional photographer and have to deal with hundreds and thousands of photos on a weekly basis. So what features should a Windows photo organizer have?
The following are some of the main things you should be able to do:
- Ability to easily move photos to new folders/locations
- Ability to create a complex folder system with subfolders
- Ability to bulk rename photos and use numbered naming schemes
- Ability to rate photos using a star rating or colors
- Ability to add tags and categories to photos to index them easier
- Search function to find photos easily
- Ability to export these photos or use in conjunction with editing software
Aside from the above, the software should ideally be fast, and able to process a large number of high-quality photos. There is no point using a piece of software if it is slow and takes forever to load thumbnail previews for example.
Now that you understand why a photo organizer for Windows can be so beneficial and what qualities the program needs, we can actually look at our top 8 selection! This list features both paid and free software and is ranked in no particular order. We advise that you check out the developer’s website for latest version information and prices. Without further ado, let’s get into the best software to organize your photos on a windows PC!
1. Adobe Lightroom (Creative Cloud)
- Cost – Part of Adobe’s creative cloud plan from $9.98 per month
- Notable feature – Advanced rating and a search function for easy cataloging
- Link: Adobe Lightroom
Whilst Adobe Lightroom is best known as being the top photo editing program in the world, it also has one of the best photo organizing programs too. For us, Lightroom is one of the best choices for professional photographers as you can pay one price for both photo editing and image organization. The editing capabilities of Lightroom are simply phenomenal, but the organization tools are magnificent too. To start with, Lightroom has a fantastic import/export system that allows you to easily import your photos and place them into folders and subfolders.
Furthermore, you can also create catalogs and virtual folders that contain similar tagged or rated photos. This brings us to the next point – Lightroom has an awesome image cataloging and rating system. You can assign keywords and tags to your photos, and you can also add Metadata such as a caption and title. Additionally, you can give your photos a star rating, and also choose different colors to group them together. Finally, you can export your photos and use a bulk rename tool or even add sequential numbering to your pics.
These features create a streamlined and detailed photo organization tool that really does help organize your work in a logical manner.
2. On1 Photo Raw 2020
- Cost – $79.99 (Remember this is a full photo editing program too)
- Notable feature – Superb cataloging system
- Link: On1 Photo RAW
Last but certainly not least we have On1 Photo Raw 2019 – this program is actually a fully-fledged image editing package that rivals Lightroom. As you would imagine, On1 also has a well-developed photo organization function that you can use to catalog your photos with ease. This program has all the features you would expect from an advanced photo organization tool including batch rename, tags, ratings and more.
It is also possible to add keywords and Metadata to your photos together with author information. Furthermore, you can search through your catalogs and folders easily with the advanced search feature to quickly find what you are looking for. If you want an advanced photo organizer that also has amazing image editing tools, On1 is a brilliant choice.
As you can see, Windows PCs really do have a fantastic choice when it comes to photo organization software. If you purchase or download any one of these programs you will be able to catalog and organize your professional shots with ease. If you happen to have any experience with the best software to organize your photos on a windows PC, feel free to let us know your thoughts and share any tips!
3. ACDSee PhotoStudio Home 2020
- Lifetime License for $59.99 – Standard version
- Notable feature – Mobile sync available to edit and catalog photos from your smartphone
- Link: ACD Photo Studio Standard
ACDSee (a Nice pun on the name!) is one of the best-recognized photo management programs available. The current 2020 version certainly has a great deal to offer and the price isn’t too hefty either. To start with, ACDSee has an epic organization system involving ratings, tags, categories, color labeling and also keywords. The organization tools arguably trump those of Adobe Lightroom and the layout and panes are easy to use and uncluttered too.
Apart from the organization, this program also has fantastic integration and import features. Firstly you can sync your mobile device with ACDSee and transfer your smartphone pics to the program easily. Secondly, it has a built-in Facebook upload feature and advanced import functionality. Finally, this program also has some awesome batch editing functions including rotation, resizing, exposure adjustment and file renaming. In short, ACDSee basically has everything that a professional photographer would need to catalog and organize their work.
You can also read our in-depth ACDSee Review for more details about the Photo Studio Standard Edition.
4. SmartPix Manager 12
- Cost – $49.50
- Notable feature – an Extensive batch tool
- Link: Smartpix by Xequte
Smart Pix Manager is a long-standing program that offers a fantastic standalone file organization system. This program can actually be used to organize images, documents, sound, and even video files too. If you just want a photo organizer that is quick and easy to use then this is a standout choice. The interface may look simple, but Smart Pix Manager doesn’t have to be flashy – it is just purely functional. You can catalog your photos quickly and there is a neat favorites function that allows you to mark your top photos and group them together. The viewing pane is highly customizable and you can view your images in a variety of different ways.
Aside from the basic image management and cataloging, there is also a fantastic batch conversion tool. Using this tool you can do several cool things to your images including rotating, resizing and renaming. If you have a ton of pics that are all the wrong way or need reducing in size then you can simply use this tool to convert them all in an instant. This feature alone makes the SmartPix Manager worth the investment!
5. Adobe Bridge CC
- Cost: Free, and part of Adobe’s creative cloud plan from $9.98 per month
- Notable feature: Fantastic publishing tools
- Link: Adobe Creative Cloud for Photographers
Many people forget about Adobe Bridge and fail to remember that it is actually a fully-fledged program with a great deal to offer. How many times have you been using Photoshop or Lightroom and opened Bridge by accident only to close it seconds later in frustration? Well, Bridge shouldn’t be overlooked anymore! If people actually took the time to review this program, they would see that it has fantastic image organization tools and is really easy to use too.
Adobe Bridge allows you to easily manage your images and create detailed folder hierarchies in a few clicks. Furthermore, Bridge has a superb importing facility that allows you to import photos from your camera or smartphone. You can select advanced importing functions such as file rename and adding keywords, and you can quickly import your pics into new or existing folders. Bridge also has a great variety of batch processing tools and you can, of course, use the program in conjunction with any of the other Adobe Creative Cloud programs.
6. FastStone Image Viewer
- Cost – Free
- Notable feature – Native support for different camera models
- Link: FastStone Image Viewer
FastStone Image Viewer is one of the best and well-known free photo organizers available for Windows PCs. This photo organizer has a simple interface but it runs smoothly and oh so fast – you can look at thumbnails and previews in an instant without any noticeable delay. As with most organization tools, FastStone has an advanced batch processing feature that allows you to easily rename multiple photos at once. Furthermore, you can convert your images to a number of different formats including JPEG, GIF, PNG, and even PDF.
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This program also features an extensive tagging system where you can add tags to your photos to categorize them easily – you can then use these tags to help search for your pics. Finally, FastStone also has some preset resizing tools that allow you to resize your images to common resolutions – this makes it easy if you need a specific image format for a particular job etc. Whilst FastStone may not have as many features as ACDSee or Lightroom, for example, it is certainly a fantastic free image organization tool for those on a tight budget.
7. DigiKam Photo Manager
- Cost – Free
- Notable feature – Capable of handling over 100,000 images
- Link: DigiKam Photo Manager
Digikam Photo Manager is one of the Best software to organize your photos on a Windows PC for free. As Digikam is Open Source this means that the source code is readily available and anyone can develop it – this gives it fantastic support and means that you can also tailor the program to your needs. DigiKam offers all the basic organization functionality you need – you can upload, delete and move images in a few clicks. Furthermore, you can rename and rotate photos during the importing process.
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In terms of actual organization and cataloging features, Dijikam allows you to create a comprehensive folder system with parent and subfolders. Furthermore, you can add comments to your photos which is useful if you need reminders such as editing a certain aspect or marking a photo for further processing. There is also an extensive sorting function – it is possible to sort your photos by name, file size, date or title etc. As far as free photo organization tools go, Dijikam is right up there with the best.
8. Magix Photo Manager
- Cost – Free (There is a deluxe version too for $34.99)
- Notable feature – Facial recognition technology to easily find people
- Link – Magix Photo Manager
Although there is a deluxe version of Magix Photo Manager, the standard version is more than adequate if you don’t want to spend any cash on a photo organizer for your Windows PC. We should first mention the facial recognition feature which allows you to find photos containing certain people – this technology is advanced and really helps to find photos of your friends and family quickly.
Magix Photo Manager is not just about facial recognition, however – it also has brilliant organization tools including a star rating system and you can even categorize photos by certain themes such as “night scenes” or “sunsets” for example. This program also has support for cloud importing, and also importing from your smartphone or tablet.
Best Photo Organizer: FAQs
Adobe Lightroom is the best software to organizer your photos on a PC or Mac. Lightroom is a cloud-based service that gives you everything you need to edit, organize, store, and share your photos across any device.
ON1 Photo RAW is a good Adobe Lightroom alternative. ON1 is a professional-grade photo organizer, raw processor, layered editor, and effects software, includes everything you need.
ACDSee Photo Studio is a good budget pick. At a relatively low one-time-fee, users get a lifetime license with one year free updates and support. ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2020 features face detection, multiple image baskets, keyword management, and duplicate finding.
Adobe Bridge is the best free photo organizer. Bridge is a powerful creative asset manager that lets you preview, organize, edit and publish your photos. Adobe Bridge is part of Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop subscription (Creative Cloud subscription). Not many people know that Bridge can be downloaded as a single application and that it can be used 100% for free.
Paul loves traveling and photography. He is also a Lightroom and Photoshop expert and likes to test new photo software, apps, and gear. Paul frequently shares his travel photography tips on his travel blog and writes for known photography publications.