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The Best Software to Organize Your Photos on a Windows PC

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.

While 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 camera memory capacity has improved, so has the complementary technology known as photo organizing software. Today, we can use a myriad of different software programs that are built specifically to catalog and organize photos. 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!

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic Our Pick
Edit and organize photos, create multiple catalogues and folders, well-functioning import/export system;
ON1 Photo RAW 2022.1
ON1 Photo RAW 2022.1 Also Great
One-time payment, advanced photo organization tool, full-fledged image editing package;
Excire Foto
Excire Foto
Great performance, extensive photo management tools and AI-search tools
ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2022
ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2022 Budget Pick
Face recognition, bulk file transformation, for amateurs (easy to use and affordable);
Magix Photo Manager
Magix Photo Manager
Great for beginners, facial recognition, cloud sync, and smartphone importing;
FastStone Image Viewer
FastStone Image Viewer
Simple interface, well-known free photo organizer, advanced batch processing;
DigiKam Photo Manager
DigiKam Photo Manager
Open Source and free, rename, upload, and delete images. Has organization and cataloging features.
Adobe Bridge CC
Adobe Bridge CC
Easily manage your images, create detailed folder hierarchies, import photos from smartphone or camera;

For 🖥️ Mac users: Please see 👉 The Best Photo Organizing Software for MAC

What to Look for in a Digital Photo Organizer

Before we look at the top eight 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 more easily
  • 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 is beneficial, we can look at our top eight choices! This list features both paid and free software and is ranked in no particular order. Without further ado, let’s get into the best software to organize your photos on a windows PC!

1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic

Our Pick
Great for professional editing and file management

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic is the best choice if you want a professional photo editor that also has extensive photo organizing tools.

Excellent keyword search capabilities
Full file management options
Can rate and color highlight your images
Does require a relatively expensive monthly subscription
It may not be suitable for beginners

Our top pick for professional work is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic. This is the best choice if you want a combined workflow. That is, advanced photo editing combined with advanced photo organization.

Lightroom requires a monthly subscription which may put some people off. However, the minimum subscription grants access to Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, and Adobe Photoshop 2022. You also get cloud storage and access to other Adobe software.

The photo management features of Lightroom are fantastic. Primarily, you can fully manage your photo folder hierarchies. This includes creating, moving, deleting, and renaming folders. You can also freely move the photos inside these folders.

Lightroom Classic offers much more, however. You can assign keywords to photos and change the META data. You can then search for photos using the advanced search options. This includes filtering by keywords, the camera used, and the date taken, for example.

We also like that you can add star ratings to your photos, and color highlights. The ability to create separate collections is also extremely useful. Collections are virtual folders that bring together images from different physical folder locations. They mean you can create specific collections without disrupting your underlying folder structure.

2. ON1 Photo RAW

Also Great
Great for high-end editing and photo organization

ON1 Photo RAW 2022.1 is another premum editing software like Lightroom that also has a brilliant photo management suite.

Extensive Browse module for file management
Advanced search options
Can fully edit your folder hierarchy
Can have performance issues on lower-spec devices

ON1 Photo RAW 2022.1 is a similar software to Lightroom Classic. It has an extensive range of photo editing tools but also has the ON1 Browse Module. The Browse Module is dedicated to file management and organization.

As one of the best photo organizing software for Windows 10, ON1 Photo RAW 2022.1 is available as a one-off license fee or a subscription. The subscription – ON1 Everything is good value. It gives cloud storage, and access to the other ON1 software including ON1 Resize.

The ON1 Browse Module is a comprehensive file management system. At its core, it allows for complete file and folder management within the software. Like Lightroom Classic, you can also give photos ratings and assign keywords. EXIF META data is also viewable and editable.

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Aside from this, the latest version of ON1 Photo RAW 2022 also introduces an advanced search option. This is a powerful tool that allows you to search for specific photos using multiple search criteria. You can also save your search preferences to streamline your file management.

3. Excire Foto

Great for organizing large photo collections

Excire Foto excels at the management of large photo collections. This is aided by it’s simple interface, fast performance, and AI-powered search tools.

Detailed AI search tools
Can create photo collections from multiple locations
Fast performance
Does not have any photo editing tools

If you want a dedicated photo organizing software, Excire Foto is one of the best options. This software does not have any photo editing tools, so you would need additional software for this task. However, its photo management and organizing tools are superior.

This software is available for a one-off license fee. It is relatively affordable and a great budget option. It is also available for both macOS and Windows 10 devices.

Using Excire Foto you can import entire photo collections and databases from other sources easily. You can then edit the folder hierarchy using a basic file manager screen.

Finding, organizing, and rating photos is also easy using this software. It has a host of rating options, and an extensive keyword management system. One of the best features is the AI-enhanced search tools. Tools like “Find Faces”, and “Find Similar Photos” using AI technology to analyze your photos and find similar matching results.

If you are not concerned with photo editing, Excire Foto is the best photo organizing software for Windows 10. You can read our full Excire Foto review for more information.

4. ACDSee PhotoStudio Home 2022

Great for advanced file management

ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2022 is one of the most comprehensive photo organizing software available for Windows 10 devices.

Great photo organization system
Multiple import and integration options
Plenty of batch processing tools
Some of the features at first can be difficult to learn

ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2022 is one of the best-recognized photo management software available. The current version has a great deal to offer and the price is reasonable too.

To start with, ACDSee has an epic organization system involving ratings, tags, categories, color labeling, and keywords. The organization tools arguably trump those of Adobe Lightroom Classic 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.

5. Magix Photo Manager Deluxe

Great for facial recognition searches

Magix Photo Manager Deluxe has one of the best facial recognition tools to easily find photos containing certain people.

Excellent facial recognition tools
Streamlined interface
Support for importing from various sources
The interface may look at little outdated

Magix Photo Manager Deluxe is a simple and effective organizing software. It is also one of the best budget options available. You can buy this software for a cheap one-off license fee, or upgrade from a previous version.

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.

Related Post: Best Slideshow Software

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.

6. FastStone Image Viewer

Great as a free option

FastStone Image Viewer is a basic software but arguably the best free photo organizing software for Windows available.

Low minimum spec requirements
Simple and clean interface
Does not have as many features as some other options

FastStone Image Viewer is one of the best and most well-known free photo organizers available for Windows PCs. This photo organizer has a simple interface but it runs smoothly. 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. You can also convert your images to a number of different formats including JPEG, GIF, PNG, and even PDF.

Related Post: Best HDR Software

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.

The latest version of FastStone Image Viewer released in March 2022 has some important updates too. This includes a new rating system for images, more file sorting options, and general performance improvements.

While 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

Great for comprehensive file management

DigiKam Photo Manager is another excellent free option that excels at file and folder management.

Great folder management tools
Extensive photo sorting functions
Ability to add comments to photos
Some may not like the basic interface

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.

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. Adobe Bridge CC

Great if you already have an Adobe CC subscription

Adobe Bridge CC is a solid organizing program that allows for effective file management and the import of new images.

Has an extensive import tool
Free as part of an Adobe CC subscription
Good selection of batch processing tools
Can feel redundant if you already have other Adobe software

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.

Best Photo Organizer: FAQs

Which is the best software for organizing photos?

Adobe Lightroom is the best software to organize 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.

Which is the best alternative to Adobe Lightroom to organize your photos?

ON1 Photo RAW is a good Adobe Lightroom alternative. ON1 is a professional-grade photo organizer, raw processor, layered editor, and effects software, including everything you need.

Which is the best photo management software on a budget?

ACDSee Photo Studio is a good budget pick. At a relatively low one-time fee, users get a lifetime license with one year of free updates and support. ACDSee Photo Studio Home 2020 features face detection, multiple image baskets, keyword management, and duplicate finding.

What is the best free photo organizing software?

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 and 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.

About The Author

45 thoughts on “The Best Software to Organize Your Photos on a Windows PC”

  1. I have thousands of paper photos, some very old, to scan and sort, as well as importing photos from various phone cameras over the years. None of the reviews addressed scanned photos–tagging them and labeling them to resort and find later. Any recommendations?

    1. Have you checked out Vivid-Pix software? I am checking out the free trial now and there is tagging available in the software that allows for searching later.

  2. I appreciate the reviews, quite helpful. My photos are all family photos that I want to be able to display slideshows on portable devices in our home by reading the images over wifi from a central hard drive or “personal cloud”. Are there any ideas on how to create such a system?

  3. Hi Tim,

    Glad you found the reviews helpful! To create a system like this, you would need to purchase a portable device that supports WiFi and can connect to a cloud storage system such as Dropbox or Google Photos.

    I’m assuming you mean something like a digital photo frame that scrolls through your pics? There are a myriad of devices that can do this, and that have WiFi connections. The NixPlay 10.1 for example uses WiFi connection and can connect to various programs and storage systems. Hope this helps!

  4. Paul, thanks for your reply! I’ll check out that device. Also looking for systems to look to my own hard drives (via WiFi) for such display of my photos. Hoping to keep my images local and not on a public cloud (albeit private account). I’ve learned Roku has apps that will pull data from Web services, but again, from web services, not my own NAS drives.

    Appreciate the help and input!

  5. Thank you for this info Paul.
    Perhaps I am being a bit daft, but my problem is that I have thousands of photos in my dropbox folder just copied from backups and photos taken over the years with little to no organisation (I have 2 “sort” folders that I have been meaning to get to lol).

    I would like to be able to organise it, but was looking for software to “organise with one click” to folders or such, like those based on dates or moments. And then it should be easier for me to sift through to organise further, delete duplicates etc.

    Which of the above programs would you say has this feature please?
    It is a daunting task but has to be done!


    1. No problem Rob,

      I can appreciate your conundrum haha – sorting through old photos can be a nightmare. For the future, I would advise organizing your photos as soon as you transfer them from your camera haha.

      In relation to your question – there is no such “wonder button” unfortunately. Most of the programs listed, such as Lightroom, ON1 and DijiKam Photo Manager do however have advanced search functionality. This means that you can search and sort your photos using different criteria such as date or keywords. You could use this feature to search for all photos on a specific date, for example. Once the program finds them, you could then simply create a new folder and move the corresponding photos into it. I know this still isn’t exactly quick, but it works. Also, you could just use the search function to find specific photos, without actually creating new folders. I would suggest looking at the search and sorting features of a program you are considering. I personally use Lightroom – I have 10,000+ photos and I find the photo organization tools this program has really helps!

  6. Hello Paul,
    Thank you for assembling such a spectacular tool. One possible issue: you seem to have enjoyed so many features from the different programs that I almost want to try all of them!

    Actually, tor me,,too many choices have been a bit of a curse.

    What I’ve been searching for is a program that would automatically rename all my photos ( including raw) using each one’s metadata.
    tI would even consider using a set, unified shared code ( similar to the
    VIN naming protocol used for cars, 17 digits).
    It could probably handle the copyright requirements as a bonus…

    Am I dreaming, are there complexities that are beyond my aging gray cells?

    thank you again for the research, any chance you are working on an update?


    1. Hi Burt,

      Thanks for the reply – glad you found the article interesting. My aim with these articles is to give viewers a wealth of options to choose from – I tend to stay away from choosing one specific program above the rest as personal preference and opinion also factor into the argument.

      Regarding your question – this type of renaming may be a little more advanced than what’s offered in these programs. I would suggest looking at a separate file-renaming tool – a program that is specifically built for that purpose. That being said, Lightroom does have a renaming tool that allows Metadata to be inserted. Users can create detailed renaming templates and apply them to multiple files – examples of the metadata you can include; title, creator name, date taken, photo size, photo settings – basically anything you enter manually in the metadata info section of the RAW files. Moreover, most photo editing software provides functionality for adding watermarks and copyright notices on your photos.

      Hope this helps,


  7. Thank you for your research in all things photo! My problem: Soo many pictures! I have always used picasa. love the features so have held onto it. Over the last few years it has imported so many pics into the wrong dated folder on my computer hard drive and everything is a mess! Its time to clean things up! I also have many many duplicate pics all over! I’m looking for a basic organizational software that’s Very user friendly and will help me sort out the mess I have going without having to delete each duplicate and rename each pic into the correct file. Something that will read the actual date taken and re-place it into the correct folder. I have tried different things but the task is just too daunting so I put it off. And more pics get taken 🙂 I don’t do alot of editing so just need something basic to help clean house on the hard drive on my computer. Also I guess I have google photos. Have messed with this a bit. My concern is that the quality of the pic stored in cloud is less so if I want to print or make an enlarged print it would be poor quality. Thanks for any help you can give me!

    1. Hi Jane,

      Thanks very much for your comment – let me try and help in your conundrum! First and foremost, I would suggest going forward, you should ensure that you are importing photos from your camera into one single location – make an organized folder hierarchy and stick with it. I, for example, have a top-level folder with the year, i.e. 2018, 2019, and 2020. After that, the next level is specific groups of photos i.e. a particular holiday. Having a structured folder system like this really helps with the organization – you can do this with the editing programs listed in the above article.

      Regarding renaming files and cleaning up your photo organization – I can understand your frustration! I have thousands of photos on my computer saved from the last decade. This is why using a photo management program really helps. I personally use Lightroom – this program has a myriad of features for bulk renaming. In fact, most of the programs listed have bulk renaming tools – you can set the name format for the first image i.e. SpainHoliday-2018-1.jpg and then all other files selected would be subsequently named 2,3, 4 etc.

      Now – deleting duplicate files. Again, many of the programs listed have this feature but it usually happens during the importing process or the folder synchronization. In Lightroom, for example, when you synchronize folders, it will automatically detect duplicate files and give you the option to delete them.

      If you want to have a full blast through your folders, I would suggest using one of the programs listed above, and basically creating a new folder structure from scratch, and then importing all the photos through the program into these new folders – during the process you should be able to remove any duplicates. Failing that, there is specialist software such as Duplicate Cleaner (available on the Microsoft store for free) that can scan your folders and look for any type of duplicate file – this is not photo editing software though.

      Maybe try one of the free management programs like Dijikam or Magix Photo Manager and see how you get on with them?

    2. Editorial Team

      You should try ACD Photo Studio Standard it has face recognition and is relatively low priced (no monthly subscription).

  8. Your review has been helpful but I am still torn. I just bought a fairly inexpensive computer on which to deal with all our photos. We have photos from all kinds of crazy sources… on external drives, on disks, on phones, in emails, on SD cards, etc., etc., etc. I need a way to get all those photos onto the new computer, organize them, and then edit them to get books printed for ourselves and family members. I am not tech savvy so ease of use is paramount. I am thinking that Lightroom sees to be the best option but I’m not excited about having a monthly charge until I die in order to keep my hard work available. I would love to hear your thoughts…

  9. The fact that you didn’t identify or differentiate which version of Lightroom you are talking about makes the whole article dubious.

    1. Paul is talking about the Lightroom which is “Part of Adobe’s creative cloud plan” or what you would call the current Lightroom for Desktop.

    1. Picasa has been discontinued. Maybe you refer to Google Photos. Cloud solutions do work and are also a good way to organize and store your photos. We will be covering the best photo cloud storage solutions soon (and the pros & cons vs keeping you photos on your local hard drive).

      1. Picasa may have been discontinued but it is still available from those OLD software download sites.
        I still use it, the one great feature it has is the “watch defined folders” on my PC. If and when any photo get loaded into the PC to any of those locations Picasa will automatically see it and load it into Picasa.

        NOW…my question to you all: Which of these other products has that feature?
        AND…What would you advise is the best replacement for Picasa?

  10. Hello Paul
    Thank you for the review.
    I also was a fan of Picasa as I found it simple to use and I liked the basic edits it offered.When it was phased out I researched new options and decided on Zoner which I am sure is an excellent product but it does not work for me ( I do not find it user friendly )
    Before I have to pay my yearly subs I would like to find another program. I dont like the fact that you cant import from Google photos into Zoner . If I get a new program how do I transfer all my photos from Zoner to the new programme? As I am already paying monthly for my Google account I would prefer a once off payment or a free one is it works well.

    Thank you for any advice

    1. Hi Anne,

      Depending on the program you choose, there may be some method of easily transferring images from one to the other. But worst-case scenario, you’ll need to track the images back to their original locations (e.g., on your desktop), then import them into the new program.

      I was a fan of Picasa a number of years back. If you’re looking for good organization capabilities along with optional editing power, both ON1 Photo RAW and Lightroom CC are worth a look. Despite a lot of searching, I’ve never managed to find anything better, myself.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Anyone familiar with doing this on a very large scale for a manufacturer with a huge number of product photography shots?

    Ideally we would love to have a single software platform where we can search by color, texture, product…etc and quickly obtain all of the images relating to that search term.

    Currently everything is scattered in Dropbox folders. Loosely sorted by product name.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks very much for the comment – an interesting question for sure. For a large-scale operation that you mention, Adobe Lightroom Classic would be a great choice. I would recommend doing the following:

      1. Creating a solid folder structure where everything is organized (You can do this in Lightroom)
      2. Adding keywords to the photos so that they can be searched for easily

      You can basically do everything in Lightroom – having a logical folder structure is always a great idea and its something I personally do before even considering keywords etc. – I would advise sorting your Dropbox folders out first.

      Once the basic structure is sorted, you can then use the keyword and search tools present in Lightroom. For example, you mentioned wanting to search for photos by different features like texture, and color – to do this, you would simply add relative keywords to the product photos. You could then search your entire folder structure, for photos that have the keyword, “blue”, for example.

      Hope this helps!

  12. Hi
    I have a collection of about 12,000 photos and videos on my iPhone X; these have been carried forward from several earlier phones and are all still on my current phone. Over the years I have imported & synced to Dropbox, to Windows Photos, I have extracted photos individually using Explorer; I probably have multiple copies of many of the photos scattered around my disks. Recently all the methods available for syncing photos with a PC have been locking up and refused to copy so I went for brute force and connected the phone to my NAS and just duplicated the DCIM folder off the phone. The images are in various formats corresponding to the evolution of the iPhone – the earliest are JPG and the latest are HEIC. The DCIM directory has about 10 folders in it and occupies about 25GB.
    What I want to find is some tool, preferably free but I don’t mind paying a little if I need to, which will allow me to take all these images and make them accessible, searchable, viewable, and comprehensible. If it can handle ongoing sync with my phone so much the better.
    What would you recommend?

    1. Hi Trevor,

      In reality, anyone of these programs could do what you requested – allow you to store and organize photos, whilst making them searchable too. Concerning the file format HEIC is a relatively new format – I would check that any software you wish to use first supports this file container.

      There is no magical program that will make your photos comprehensible – we always have to put in some initial work too i.e. creating proper folder structures, adding keywords, and having some form of organization.

      My PERSONAL choice is Adobe Lightroom Classic – I also use Lightroom CC when I am traveling to sync photos quickly from my EOS M50 camera.

      If you want to sync images from your phone regularly, I’m sorry but I don’t know of any software that can do this. iTunes can be used to sync data from your phone directly to a PC or MAC. Alternatively, you could use a service like One Drive.

      This is kind of a separate issue from actually organising and storing photos on your computer, however. To bring it together, using a cloud service like Lightroom CC is what I would do – you could sync photos from external devices, catalogue them properly using the keywords and metadata tools, and it also supports HEIC.

      Again, to reiterate – this is what I would do personally because I have used Lightroom for many years, and it is also my main post-processing software.



  13. Burt et al — thanks for the article. Still need some more help sorting this out. Since you don’t like to recommend a single product, how about the top two or three. Organizing is the issue for me plus simple editing (nothing Photoshop fancy).

    I have about 15-20,000 pics that either are digital or are slowly being digitized. They range from TIFFs to JPGs. I need to be able to categorize and/or search using multiple Boolean tags or key words from a relatively large data dictionary (1,000+ tags/keywords), and I need to be able to access/search portions of the metadata for some, but not all. I need to batch tag as many as 100 at a time sometimes, but do one-offs other times. Facial recognition would be helpful, but not mandatory. I prefer to do all of this on my desktop, including storage. You might suggest Lightroom, but paying a monthly sizable subscription fee to Adobe forever is too painful, and it leaves me at the mercy of Adobe if they ever raise the prices even more than they already have. I am OK on the tech-savvy scale, but I am 74 years old. Microsoft 10.

  14. Enjoyed the article. I am scanning family photos and slides taken by my in-laws between 1958-2000. I have organized the slides by roll and placed them in folders based on the month and year the rolls were developed for lack of a better way to organize them. I want to be able tag the photos with the names of individuals in the photos [some have 10-20 people] and the locations as I get feedback from family members. It would appear any of the above would work. My main concern is getting everything loaded into a database and then having support for the application dropped like what happened with Picasa. Is there a standard database exchange format, that would allow the sharing of metadata and photos between the applications reviewed. For example if my niece uses Lightroom and I use FastStone Image Viewer, would we be able to exchange metadata and photos?

    1. Hi Michael B – that sounds like a really interesting project for sure!

      The transferal of Metadata depends on how you save the file and the file format you use. In most instances, image file formats like JPEG and CR2 allow for the transferal of Metadata. However, to transfer that Metadata, you must state so when exporting the file using the editing/organizational software.

      In your example – both FastStone Image Viewer and Lightroom have support for Metadata and storing it in the exported files you save. Therefore, yes you could successfully transfer images and retain the metadata.

      If you right-click on an image file and click on the “details” tab – you can see a list of Metadata and what has currently been added to the photo.

      To add this Metadata in the first instance, you can add the information using the organizational software. For example, in Lightroom Classic, if you select an image thumbnail in the library view, the metadata is displayed on the right-hand side – you can enter details like a title, caption, rating, and even locational data.

      Hope this helps,


  15. Hi Paul, thank you for both the reviews and the replies to comments – all very useful. I to have been looking for a photo organizing s/w package (not cloud based). My first requirement is speed and face recognition. I have 40,000+ photos and require multiple tagging with automatic face recognition, I experimented with ACD which I found non-intuitive and actually quite slow. What would you recommend for my requirement?
    Cheers Nigel

  16. Hi

    I’m looking for a photo storage/organiser solution that allows both (i) a folder/subfolder hierarchy with sync to desktop (standard in Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive etc); but also (ii) automated tagging of objects/faces (e.g. Google Photos or iOS functions). I’m not fussed about sophisticated editing tools ‘in-app’ (can do this on laptop if the folders/subfolders contain the ‘truth file’.

    This was pretty straightforward with Google until they broke the syncing between Photos & Drive. OneDrive appeared to have something similar (currently disabled, citing integration with Bing) but the ‘People’ function seems restricted to the Windows 10 desktop Photos app.

    Anybody have any ways they do this?

    1. Hi Ian,

      ACDSee has cloud storage access and synchronization features – this includes OneDrive and Dropbox and customizable options. This could potentially provide a solution for desktop/cloud synchronization.

      This software also has facial recognition and face detection features, and you can actually import face data from other sources like Lightroom.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the comment! In most instances yes. If you are buying a completely new computer and HDD you would need to re-install the photo organizing software and start again.

      I would advise backing up your photos to a cloud storage service before buying a new computer so you can re-download them onto your new device.

  17. Hi Paul,
    I am looking for an application that will allow me to look at both my local files and online files (Google Photos/OneDrive) in a single interface so that I can pick and choose the best photos.
    Ideally, I’d then like to be able to export the selected photos to either a local folder or an online service like OneDrive or Google Photos.

    Could you please suggest a tool for this?

    1. Hi Vinay,

      Thanks for the question. The cheapest option for this is ACDSee Photo Studio Home. This photo organizing software gives cloud access and allows you to access photos from OneDrive and Dropbox. You can also synchronize with these cloud storage solutions.

      Combine this with local HDD folder management and you should have everything you need.

  18. I too like others on here loved Picasa. It was very user friendly. Now that I have a new computer, Windows 10, it only allows up to 5gb for photo storage. My older computer did not have a limit on photo storage. What program out there is similar to Picasa without costing an arm and a leg and monthly fees?

    1. Hi Kay!

      A great free alternative is FastStone Image Viewer. Alternatively, ACDSee is one of the cheapest paid photo organizers available if you don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription.

      Not sure why your new computer would limit your photo storage though? The only limitation on storage would be if your HDD is full!

  19. Hi, can it be possible that MAGIX Photo Manager DeLuxe does not let you name a picture? I cannot see any option on the screen facilities or in the tutorials to do this. The only option appears to be to rename the file but then how do we have several pictures with the same name? What am I missing? Thanks.

    1. Hi Ian,

      You do indeed name a photo using the rename function. Simply right-click on an image thumbnail and choose the rename option.

      Alternatively, you can select multiple files (using shift or ctrl select), and also use the rename option. This will rename the files and add a numbered sequence to them.

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