There are too many choices when it comes to photography related products and services. Over the years I have tried and used many hardware and software products to support my growing collection of digital media. Read on to find my best products to organize photos.
Note: 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.
1. Best Software to Organize Photos
ACDSee Pro. If you are looking for a simple and powerful photo management system, ACDSee Professional is a great simpler choice. You don’t need to import photos and you have great photo editing tools. Available both for Windows or Mac.
If you edit lots of photos like I do, I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent user interface and imagery editing capabilities. Yes, it forces you into a certain workflow and you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
2. Best Photo Backup Products
Reliable & Affordable External Hard Drive for everyday backup of your computer. I have been using Western Digital external hard drives for a number of years. I only purchase their simplest, one drive external drive which is affordable and reliable. Nothing fancy…just works everyday. Get more info.
Microsoft Office Personal provides the best value for your money in terms of storage space and ease of use. This is the best backup option if you need less than 1Tb storage. You get 1 Terabyte of storage space on OneDrive and all of Microsoft Office applications that you can install on 5 computers. If you have more than 1Tb to store, I recommend using Backblaze for unlimited backup.
Backblaze Unlimited Cloud Backup. This is the best backup option if you need more than 1Tb storage, like I do. I love this company and I have been using it for a number of years! Just install their small program and everything gets backed up in the cloud. It’s the simplest and most affordable unlimited backup service. Click here for more info about Backblaze.
3. Best Computers & Scanners
When shopping for a computer suitable for storing and organizing your media collection look for this characteristics: at least 16Gb of RAM memory and at least 512MB SSD hard drive storage. 512 MB storage is hardly enough for large media collections like mine (over 1.5 TB), so plan to install an extra large internal hard drive (I have an extra 4 Tb hard drive) or an external one. For photo scanning projects, you want to look for a bulk photo scanner, so you can quickly scan stacks of photos. Here are my recommendations for computers and scanners:
- Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 2 – great combination of affordability and performance. This is the computer I use to produce travel photos for my websites. You can also get the model with more memory and storage which will eliminate the need to get an external hard drive if you have a large media collection.
- Desktop: Dell OptiPlex 7090 – you can easily install an additional large internal hard drive to store your large media collection. If you use Lightroom, install your catalog on the fast SSD drive, but store all your media on the large HDD you will add. I use the same desktop for my media collection (an older model) which comes with 16GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD. I have installed an extra 4TB internal HDD which stores all my media (over 1.5 TB).
- Photo Scanner: Plustek Photo Scanner – ephoto Z300 – this is an inexpensive good bulk photo scanner that is suitable for medium size projects. For larger media scanning projects, I recommend the very fast Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner.
4. Best Free Software to Organize & Backup Photos
- XnView is a great FREE image viewer and metadata editor. If you want to manage all your metadata for free, 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
5. Best Free Software to Create 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.
6. Best Services for Making a Photo 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.
- Site Ground offers unbelievable value for your website. If you’re looking for a fast and reliable web hosting, Site Ground is awesome. Large space, unlimited domains and much more for just $4.95/month.
- 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.