My favorite products and services for organizing digital photos
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies and services, and I recommend them wholeheartedly because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
My favorite free software for organizing your digital media
- Picasa. This is my favorite free software package for managing my digital pictures. I used to hate it, but as of version 3.8, Picasa has made great steps towards complying with most image metadata standards.
- FastStone Image Viewer. This a very fast image viewer with a lot of other great features as well. If I want to quickly import my photos and rename them and quickly browse them, I turn to FastStone almost always. Recently FastStone has added great image editing features. Its weak point remains its lack of support for managing IPTC metadata fields.Click here to download FastStone Image Viewer
- XnView. This is another great FREE image viewer. If you want to manage all your metadata, then XnView is the way to go. It provides access to all the IPTC fields for JPEG images and can also translate all those fields in XMP format. Click here to download XnView.
- IrFan View. The strong point of IrFan is its support for pretty much any image format you can think of. It is a fast image viewer as well, even though it lacks a bit in the ease of use of its user interface. Click here to download IrFan.
My favorite paid-for software for managing your digital photos
- Adobe Lightroom. If you’re looking for professional software to manage your photo collection including managing metadata, Lightroom is the only program I recommend. Since I started shooting more and more in RAW format, Adobe Lightroom is your only true choice for editing RAW files. Thankfully, Adobe has dropped the price by half. While it is a bit slower and more complex to use, Lightroom has the best image editing capabilities on the market…period. Get Adobe Lightroom for a great price
My favorite free software for creating date folders automatically
You may ask, what do you mean? Well, it’s simple! Many times when you start sorting out your pictures you have a mess of folders and digital photos all over the place. You start by putting them all together in one folder, but then it becomes very tedious to figure out the date of each event and find all pictures from that event.
This is where these two programs shine. You give them the source, the one folder with all your unorganized digital photos and you pick a target folder and then they will create a nicely organized structure with date folders from your messy mess. Very useful!
- AmoK Exif Sorter. This program works great both on Windows and the Mac and it does file renaming as well. Very easy to use and can produce all kinds of automated folder structures. Highly recommended. Click here to download AmoK Exif Sorter for free.
- Digital Image Mover (DIM). Very nice and simple user interface but I had trouble getting it to work on the Mac. The Windows version works well, and it has support for adding geotags from a local file. Click here to download DIM Sorter for free.
My favorite products for storing and backing up your digital media
- Backblaze online backup. I love this company! Just install their small program and everything gets backed up in the cloud. It’s simple and with their 2 year plan you pay less than $5 per month for unlimited backup. Click here for more info about Backblaze (affiliate). For more information about backing up your photos in the cloud read these articles: Should you backup in the cloud? and Interview with Backblaze backup company
- SyncBack Freeware for local backup. If you are running Windows, SyncBack is the best program for doing local backups of your computer. I have used it for many years and it has worked flawlessly. Download SyncBack for FREE.
- HGST internal and external drives. I use HGST (formerly Hitachi now Western Digial) drives both internally inside my desktop computer and externally for my local backup. You can get a great price on HGST external hard drives here.
My favorite products for your digital camera
- Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries. These are the best rechargeable batteries out there! You can buy them in bulk from Costco or you can buy a few at great price from B&H Photo Video. They recharge fast and last very very very long time. Ok, ok…enough said! Check out the Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries
My favorite services for setting up a website
If you’re planning to setup a website or you want to move your existing one please consider the services below. I have been using all of them for years and I love them.
- Blue Host offers unbelievable value for your website. If you’re looking for a cheap but reliable web hosting, Blue Host is awesome. Unlimited space, unlimited domains and much more for just $4.95/month. I have been using them for more than two years.
You can check out Blue Host here or you can also read about why I recommend Blue Host here (affiliate).
- Clicky web analytics. With Clicky you can learn everything about your website visitors. You can greatly improve your users’ experience by knowing every action your website visitors take. I have been using Clicky for more than two years. Check out Clicky Web Analytics (affiliate).
- Extreme Thumbnail Generator. I have tested many photo gallery generators but this one is by far the most flexible program. What do I mean by flexible? Well, not only that you have quite a few themes already provided out of the box, but you can also change any theme and create a new theme. The greatest thing however is the ability to insert image meta data anywhere in the gallery: on thumbnail pages, on image pages, in the header, in the footer, in the “alt” tag….pretty much anywhere. Checkout Extreme Thumbnail Generator (affiliate).
If you want to see an example take a look at the my photo gallery of Santa Barbara Zoo.
- My travel website. If you’re thinking about setting up a photo blog, take a look at my travel blog for examples on how to setup a successful photo blog. I think you’ll get lots of good ideas. Check out my travel blog.
My favorite services and products for printing and sharing your digital photos
Digital photography makes sharing pictures very easy in some ways and challenging in other ways. Here are some some services and products that will make sharing your pictures a great experience.
- SmugMug. SmugMug has a friendly user interface and amazing features for downloading different image sizes. It also works great as an image source for your blog. Take a look at SmugMug by clicking here.
- Costco for regular photo printing. Costco has become my number one photo printer. I can upload my pictures at home and pick them up in store as well. While Costco doesn’t have the best quality printing, their value/cost ratio is awesome. Click here to go to Costco Photo Center
- Shutterfly for photo books and high end photo printing. I have printed numerous photo books over the years and Shutterfly has always been consistent in quality and ease of use. While their price is not the best, if you can wait for a coupon or sale, then you will get a great deal. They also offer plugins for Picasa and Lightroom integration which is another great feature of the service. Click here to visit Shutterfly.
My favorite place to buy my cameras and accessories
- I buy most gear from B&H Photo Video (affiliate). They have excellent prices and a great return policy. I have been using them for years.