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Old Jan 1, 2008, 3:58 PM   #1
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I am brand new to digital photograhy. Looking for an uncomplicated program that has some basicediting, project elements to it. I may want to create something artistic once I learn the basics, but am mostly interested in an easy program for storing and organizingmy photos on my computer. Any reviews, suggestions would be greatly appreciated :-)
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Old Jan 1, 2008, 4:47 PM   #2
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There's probably free options if you really want something basic, but if you're willing to spend money then you should look no further than Adobe Photoshop Elements. It does all of the basic stuff that you want now, but has a whole heap of extra features should you want them in the future and is reasonably priced at around 90USD/60UKP. It's available for PC (version 6) and Mac (version 4). If you have a Mac you may want to hang on for an update as one is long overdue.
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Old Jan 1, 2008, 8:52 PM   #3
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...but am mostly interested in an easy program for storing and organizingmy photos on my computer.


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Old Jan 2, 2008, 12:54 AM   #4
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I have found that organizing photos is best done when you upload them from your camera to your computer. I store my photos by year/month/day, with a folder for each date. To catalog for searching, there are a number of options. I started with Ulead Photoexplorer, and continue with it, but Microsoft has a Windows add-on called MS Photo Info, which is quite capable, and works directly from the OS.

Basic editing can be done with Picasa, as JimC mentions, or with Irfanview, which is also a free program, and doesn't eat a lot of your computer's resources.

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Old Jan 2, 2008, 7:53 AM   #5
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You might also want to try Corel Paint Shop Pro. I have both Adobe and Corel and while Adobe can't be beat, the Corel has many of the same features and is easier to use. I believe there is a demo version on their website.
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Old Jan 2, 2008, 9:35 AM   #6
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I strongly agree with brian: filing your images by date (e.g. in a directory named 20080101 -yyyymmdd) will make anything else you do to organize them much simpler.

I have found a simple ASCII shooter's diary that can be easily searched for key words is good enough. The diary could have entries like:

1 Jan 08 Family outing to the zoo. Sally liked the aardvark. ...

Using "find" you could look for Sally, zoo, aardvark, ... Once you have the date, it is easy to find the original. I tend to save my edited files in a directory just below the main dated one. I also keep date in the finished/edited photo, e.g., Sally080101.jpg

I am not arguing against any of the several software organizers, but the date/diary system has worked well enough for me to find things on five spindles of CDs.
Editing software: start with what you already have, then move on to freeware as you discover that you need more. Likely you will buy something someday, but there is no reason to put out money real quick. Almost for sure something came with your camera. Start there. It is almost always pretty lame software, but it will do the basic stuff while you figure out what you want.
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Old Jan 5, 2008, 5:47 PM   #7
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Other posts have mentioned Photoshop Album - you can download the free starter edition.. It will probably meet your immediate needs of a catalogue and easy photo fixing, and there is an upgrade path to Photoshop Elements using the same catalogue. Photoshop Elements has a lot of editing power but also a lot more learning!

As Vtphotog and BillDrew state, it really helps to file your photos in date related folders and sub-folders - you know where they are, and don't have to keep backing up old pictures.
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Old Jan 5, 2008, 6:20 PM   #8
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I sort by date as weell but I also break down by photo assignment within each date. I always use 01 -05-08 followed by the title of the assignment/location or subject of the photos.

I also keep an MS Word document that lists each folder on each CD/DVD I have in my photo archive.

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Old Jan 6, 2008, 5:30 AM   #9
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Depending on your price range you could go for Adobe Lightroom at the higher end.
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Old Jan 6, 2008, 12:39 PM   #10
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Or, if you're not locked into Windows, consider digiKam under Linux for basic image management, browsing and editing.

It's free, open source software (but, digiKam is not avalable for Windows).

It's simple to shrink your Windows NTFS partition to make room for Linux partitions, and a number of free Linux distributions have digiKam available (either preinstalled or available from their software repositories).

With a dual boot installation (Windows + Linux), you can boot into either operating system as desired.

I'd suggest SimplyMEPIS 7.0 (it's a free operating sytem and has digiKam, Gimp and more preinstalled. The latest 7.0 version was just released on December 23rd, and it's been stable as a rock (and I was also running the betas and release candidates during the 7.0 development cycle, and had zero problems with stability). It's now a final release:


I'm running under SimplyMEPIS 7.0 right now on a PC with XP and Linux installed. My wife is also running SimplyMEPIS 7.0 on a Dell Inspiron 1720 Laptop in a dual boot config with Vista (although I don't think she's used Vista much yet, since she has everything she needs in Mepis).

See preinstallation and installation steps of this userguide for more information on installation:


Basically, you just download a .iso file (around 700MB), burn it to CD and boot into it. If it runs OK, you can install it (and it's got built in partitioning utilities to help you resize your Windows partitions and create Linux partitions).

Here is what digiKam gives you (already installed in SimplyMEPIS):


Features [align=right] [/align]
  • Tags, Rating, Date and Time, Comments, Photographers ID, and Copyrights are stored in EXIF and/or IPTC metadata tags embedded in pictures. Comments are also stored in JPEG files to JFIF section.

    Especially, for a better interoperability with other photo management programs, digiKam tags are stored in IPTC Keywords tags and digiKam rating in IPTC Urgency tag.

    It means pictures files include your comments and all others informations you set to it ! [/*]
  • DateTime/PhotographerId/Copyright Exif metadata and/or IPTC tags can be set on the fly [/*]
  • Metadata from new pictures imported to digiKam album collection are scanned automatically. digiKam Tags/Rating/Comments/Date are created automatically in database accordingly with EXIF/IPTC contents. [/*]
  • A SQLite database is used to store all Albums and items meta-information [/*]
  • Comments can be added to photos which are shown in the thumbnail display (along with filesize and file modification date) [/*]
  • Albums can be classified by user-specified categories and tags [/*]
  • Automatic sorting of Photo Albums in chronological order:
    • By folder[/*]
    • By collection name[/*]
    • By creation date[/*]
  • Automatic sorting of Album items in chronological order:
    • By name[/*]
    • By path[/*]
    • By date[/*]
    • By files size[/*]
  • Drag and drop support between digiKam and other KDE applications [/*]
  • Better support for RAW pictures using dcraw 8.77 included in libKdcraw [/*]
  • Support of more than 240 proprietary RAW camera file formats. Complete camera list is given here [/*]
  • Using Kipi plugin architecture so that new plugins can be written for added functionalities. Currently implemented plugins are described on the Kipi page. Please visit the KipiPlugins project website for more informations.

    Here is some features added with lastest kipi plugins version:
    • Lossless transformations in JPEG pictures[/*]
    • Albums archives on CD/DVD[/*]
    • HTML export to remote Gallery[/*]
    • Send pictures by email[/*]
    • Add GPS coordinates to images by synchronizing them with a GPX files (created by GPS receivers and/or GPS tools), or by manually editing the longitude/latitude/altitude or also by using Google Map capabilities.[/*]
    • Export to remote FlickR[/*]
    • Calendar creation wizard[/*]
    • MPEG encoder[/*]
    • Acquire image (eg. with a flat scanner)[/*]
    • Raw image converter[/*]
    • Remote gallery export[/*]
    • Adjust time and date[/*]
    • Find images[/*]
    • Print wizard[/*]
    • Set wallpaper[/*]
    • Edit Pictures EXIF/IPTC Metadata[/*]
    • Create slideshow[/*]
    • Images batch processing[/*]
[/align][align=right] [/align]
  • digiKam core, image editor and image filters support 16 bits color depth pictures (RAW, TIFF, PNG, JPEG2000). [/*]
  • Image Editor has a full Color Management support using ICC color profiles. [/*]
  • Thumbnail sizes can be adapted to your screen size on the fly [/*]
  • Sidebar used everywhere to display
    • metadata
      • EXIF informations[/*]
      • Makernote informations[/*]
      • IPTC informations[/*]
      • GPS coordinates with worldmap viewer[/*]
    • image file properties
      • comments/tags/rating/date[/*]
      • tag filter informations[/*]
      • colors informations: histogram and ICC profile[/*]
  • Fast preview pictures mode embedded into albums interface with zoom and paning features [/*]

  • Fast image editor with keyboard shortcuts and basic photo editing/management features (all without losing EXIF/IPTC information). The image editor core options available are:
    • 16 bits image color depth support.[/*]
    • RAW camera image support.[/*]
    • Color Management support.[/*]
    • Red eyes correction[/*]
    • Brightness / Contrast / Gamma correction[/*]
    • Hue / Saturation / Luminosity correction[/*]
    • Color balance[/*]
    • Invert colors[/*]
    • Color auto-correction tools: Normalize / Equalize / Auto levels / Stretch Contrast[/*]
    • Blur / Sharpen[/*]
    • EXIF/MakerNote/IPTC/GPS viewer[/*]
    • Histogram viewer[/*]
    • ICC profile viewer[/*]
    • Ratio-cropping with proportion aids and composing tools based on Fibonacci rules[/*]
    • Free cropping[/*]
    • Exporting to another image format[/*]
    • Printing images[/*]
    • Removing images from current Album[/*]
    • Image comments editing[/*]
    • Image file properties[/*]
    • Black and White and tonality converter using curves adjustments[/*]
    • Rotation[/*]
    • Flipping[/*]
    • Zooming[/*]
    • ICC profiles tool to perform advanced color corrections into images[/*]

  • The digiKam image editor provides a plugins architecture to add new options. Here is a list of extra features added with current plugins:
    • Adjust levels : a tool to adjust the photograph histogram levels manually[/*]
    • Adjust curves : a tool to adjust the photograph colors using curves[/*]
    • Noise Reduction : noise filter based on dcamnoise2 algorithm[/*]
    • Unsharp Mask : a photograph unsharp mask filter to unblur picture without increase noise[/*]
    • Lens Distortion : a tool for correct lens spherical aberration on photograph[/*]
    • Anti Vignetting : a tool for correct vignetting on photograph[/*]
    • Channel Mixer : a tool to mix the photograph color channels[/*]
    • White Balance : a tool to adjust white color temperature balance of photograph[/*]
    • Photograph Inpainting : a tool to remove unwanted photograph area using CImg library[/*]
    • Photograph Refocus : a sharpness editor to refocus a photograph[/*]
    • Hot Pixels Correction : a tool to remove photograph hot pixels generated by a deficient camera[/*]
    • Photograph Restoration : a tool to reduce photograph artefacts using CImg library[/*]
    • Free Rotation : a plugin to rotate a photograph with a free angle in degrees[/*]
    • Shear Tool : a plugin to shear a photograph horizontally and vertically[/*]
    • Perspective Tool : a plugin to adjust the photograph perspective[/*]
    • Blowup Photograph : a plugin to blowup a photograph without less image quality using CImg library[/*]
    • Template Superimpose : a tool to superimpose a template on photograph[/*]
    • Add Border : a tool to add decorative frame around a photograph[/*]
    • Insert Text : a tool to insert text under a photograph[/*]
    • Apply Texture : a tool to apply a decorative texture to a photograph[/*]
    • Solarize : a tool to solarize a photograph[/*]
    • Oil Paint : simulate oil painting on photograph[/*]
    • Emboss : an effect filter to emboss photograph[/*]
    • Rain Drops : adding the visual effect of raindrops on photograph[/*]
    • Charcoal : simulate charcoal drawing on photograph[/*]
    • Film Grain : simulate film grain on photograph[/*]
    • Infrared : simulate infrared film effect on photograph[/*]
    • Blur FX : apply blurring special effects on photograph[/*]
    • Distortion FX : apply distortion special effects on photograph[/*]

  • Driving all digital camera types supported by Gphoto2 project:
    • Over 900 digital camera devices supported[/*]
    • Serial connection[/*]
    • USB connection[/*]
    • USB/IEEE Mass storage connection[/*]
    • Connecting autodetection of camera using HAL/KDE service[/*]
  • Importing pictures from digital still cameras. Operations currently supported are:
    • Deleting images[/*]
    • Uploading images[/*]
    • Lock images[/*]
    • Auto-rename pictures during import[/*]
    • Auto-rotate pictures during import[/*]
    • Auto-creation of albums during import[/*]
    • LossLess conversion during import[/*]
    • Advanced camera information[/*]

  • Easy comparing similar pictures using Light Table:
    • Raw files support[/*]
    • Advanced paning and zomming[/*]
    • Navigation by pair[/*]

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