Can anyone recommend a good digital photo album software?

I’ve got a gazillion pictures- some taken with digital cameras, some scanned, some downloaded, etc.- and what I’d love in a program is this:
1- Fully searchable by tags so that if I type in Linda 1970s dog any pictures of my cousin (or anyone else) named Linda with a dog taken in the 1970s should pop up.

2- Preferably as easy a way of adding tags as possible- since it’s so time consuming I’d love to have a self populating field or point’n’click so that if I type Li it will automatically people Linda or whatever. (Adding tags to a huge number of pics is a bitch.)

3- Formats it perfectly for burning onto disks or jump drives for preservation (and preferably with IDs and tags preserved as well)

Any recs?

Have you looked at Picasa? It seems pretty powerful to me. The searching is definitely there, but I’m not 100% sure about the exporting abilities.

I second Picasa too.
I never organized my picutres before using it, and just used to dump them in a folder called “Photos”. Picasa changed all that since it is much easier to organize stuff.
Great tagging support too.

Opinions, whether factual or not, are better sought in IMHO. Moved.

samclem Moderator, General Questions

I have also been recently been going through the pain of reviewing technology available for organizing and tagging a large image library.

I would suggest that you look into the types of tags that are stored within the JPEG files themselves, namely the EXIF and IPTC tags. While there is some standardization, different programs have their own ways of dealing with this information.

Picasa is a great application, but as far as I can tell tags are not always interoperable between applications. For example, going from Picasa to program X the “Description” tag might work but the keywords might not, or vice-versa.

This is not necessarily a failing of Picasa or program X. But if you use another program for editing, or use another photo gallery or file conversion software, you should verify ahead of time that the tags you intend to search are compatible, or at least that they are not overwritten/destroyed when editing/cropping/saving “as” (which evidently happens quite a lot).

It is also a good idea to design a system of organizing your tags ahead of time for consistency. There is some good information available on Controlled Vocabulary. What you want to avoid is having to go back through your images to fix something, like starting off with “Linda” and “Grandma”, then realizing halfway through you need “Linda K.” or “Grandma Bippo”. This website has a lot of general information about digital image archives as well.

The best freeware tools I have found for quickly adding consistent IPTC keyword tag info to groups of images are Irfanview Thumbnails and Microsoft Pro Photo Tools.

What are the differences between picassa and flickr?

thirding Picasa. Good exporting abilities too.

I like digiKam - currently only available on Linux, but KDE4 on Windows is coming along, so a port will be available soon. What I do on XP is run andLinux - a Linux kernel that executes as a Windows application - with digiKam installed.

digiKam is a great picture manager, and all the tags get written into the jpegs as EXIF/IPTC metadata. It works like an absolute charm, and more standard than Picasa.


I’m not a photog, but the most obvious answer is Picasa is a disk-resident piece of software whereas flickr is web-based; that is, I don’t believe there is a flickr application one can download and install.

The most obvious benefit of something like Picasa is it lets you organize your collection on your own PC, and upload only what you want on the web; with flickr, you can’t do anything with your photos until you upload them to the site. I have no experience with either, so can’t comment on the ease of the respective web interfaces (Picasa has a web interface which integrates with the program).

If you are not going to use something like Adobe or another $$$ program Picasa is the best IMHO. It’s a Google product and I like the intuitive nature of the organization. Exporting between it and other products has not been a problem, I use InDesign for work and I have no problem exporting to it.

This. I use both. Picasa is what I use to retouch my photos and keep them in some semblance of order. It all happens in the privacy of my computer.

flickr is what I use for sharing. I show my best to the world and learn from the comments. They do have some editing functions (through a 3rd party) but it is not fun to use and certainly not suited for high volume use.

flickr’s tagging is just great (I haven’t used Picasa’s much) and the community aspect is a ton of fun, but if what you want is to keep your personal collection looking pretty and orderly, Picasa is what you want.