With affordable storage devices and cameras in every phone, it’s easier than ever to capture every important moment in your life. But if you take a lot of photos and save them to your computer, you might run into a problem: organization.
While it’s easy to fill your hard drive with photos, it’s much harder to make sense of this massive collection. Descriptive names certainly help, but after a certain volume repetition kicks in. And if you leave your photos with their default numbered names, it’s even harder.
That’s why good photo organizing software is a must for any Windows computer. Here is a collection of the best.
While Adobe’s Lightroom Classic is a great tool for professional photographers to organize and edit their images, it’s too complex for beginners. If all you’re looking for is a way to easily organize your photo collection, Adobe Bridge is a better option.
Adobe Bridge is dedicated digital asset management software that ditches the photo-editing features of Lightroom Classic in favor of a more streamlined interface focused on image management. You can perform basic edits to images, like adjusting colors or adding watermarks, which is usually enough for most users.
The app is not limited to photos, but all visual file formats, including 3D textures and Photoshop PSD files. It can also read EXIF data, making it a great tool for making sense of raw and processed photos.
Lightroom Classic’s filmstrip view returns, giving you a convenient way to view images on disk and organize them. The essential mode is great for browsing through folders, while the output tab is great for creating printable contact sheets.
Although there is no shortage of photo organizing software on the market, most options give you tools to organize your files manually. Wouldn’t it be great if an app could understand the content of images and categorize them automatically?
This is where Google Photos comes in. It is one of the few photo management apps equipped with AI-powered facial recognition technology. Thanks to this, it allows you to search for specific topics, even if the photos themselves have not been tagged correctly.
As you’d expect, uploading photos to the cloud is relatively easy in Google Photos, along with some basic image editing options to fix color levels in photos. On the organization side, you only get folders, but an AI-assisted timeline feature helps you categorize them further.
Folders and categories are great, but when you have a lot of photos, you need even more ways to organize them. ACDSee Photo Studio is probably the most comprehensive photo management software available on Windows.
In addition to organizing your photo library based on image parameters like date, location, or EXIF data, ACDSee Photo Studio offers custom organizing properties like keywords or location tags. color. You can add metadata to images, such as tags or star ratings, to further classify them, making it easier to understand a large collection of images.
The best part is that the software does not require you to import images. All image file types, from PNG, JPEG to TIFF, are supported by default. ACDSee Photo Studio can even display photos in zip files without extracting them first.
Anyone who has ever worked with image editing software knows how slow some of these applications can be. Photo-organizing software can be even worse, because juggling hundreds of images puts a strain on your computer’s capabilities.
FastStone Image Viewer, as the name suggests, is a speed-focused photo management application. Not only does the app start and run faster, but it also has tools that help you organize your digital images faster. You can rename photos as you go, sorting them into different subfolders. Resizing images is also easy, as the dimensions of each image are displayed alongside.
As a result, normally complex things like editing images or changing metadata have been simplified. You can view your photo library in a filmstrip or folder structure, along with a handy Compare Selected Images view that displays multiple image thumbnails at once for quick comparison.
If you like ACDSee Photo Studio’s different categorization options and want it to have a more user-friendly interface, Zoner Photo Studio is the app for you. It has a wide range of settings that you can use to organize your photos, such as color tags, keywords, ratings, etc.
What sets Zoner Photo Studio apart is the functionality clearly subdivided between Admin, Develop, Editor and Create tabs. The interface is also simplified, allowing you to import photos from your iPhone or digital camera and organize them directly. You can also work with RAW files.
The software creates a catalog of your digital photos, which is basically a database of all image information in an easy-to-search format. Zoner Photo Studio also has basic image editing tools, allowing you to easily touch up your photos.
So far, we’ve seen premium photo management apps from major software developers. But what about open source options? These apps are usually free and updated much more frequently over time.
Digikam is a free and open source digital photo organizer for PC. It works on all operating systems including Linux, macOS, and Windows. The usual features you would expect from such an application are available with Digikam: tagging, metadata editing, etc.
You can organize your collection into albums, share photos with cloud storage options like Flickr or Google Drive, and store metadata information like location or description in an SQLite database. The only problem is a not so intuitive user interface. Like most open source applications, development efforts are focused on fixing bugs rather than making them look better.
That said, Digikam is the best free photo manager app that can match the performance of a paid app.
Most online guides would recommend Adobe Lightroom at number one. The reason is simple: it is a professional photo editing software used by photo studios around the world to manage and edit batches of photos.
But it’s not just a digital asset management tool. To be fair, it can do everything a photo organizer can and more, but it would be much easier to work with a dedicated app for the job.
So even though Adobe Lightroom lets you add keywords and create photo collections, it can’t even directly display all the photos on a disc. You need to import the images first (you will be prompted for duplicate images). Add to that a complicated interface with a set of features that a home user doesn’t want or need, and you’ll see why we refrained from recommending this app to the top.
You should only opt for Adobe Lightroom if you can take advantage of its advanced photo editing features. For professionals, Lightroom seamlessly integrates into the workflow alongside Photoshop and other Adobe tools. But if you are just looking for a no-frills image management app, then Adobe Bridge would be a better option for you.
Magix Photo Manager is an excellent image organizing application for Windows. The free version might be a little limited, but if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks, the app can’t be beat.
This works particularly well with properly named images; its smart filter can automatically classify images based on their names and creation dates. Of course, you can continue to add your own tags, categorizing them further.
The photo editor is basic, but the neat interface is worth it. You can display the current image with a strip of other photos in your album while applying different presets to adjust its appearance. Simple things like fixing red eye in a photo are just a click away.
You can also do batch processing such as batch editing or batch renaming for entire photo albums without much hassle. Since the app creates automatic backups, you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong.
What is the best photo organizing software for Windows?
The perfect photo manager app can automatically import all image formats on a disk, categorize them using face recognition, and then give you plenty of ways to organize them further. Some photo editing capabilities are also appreciated, as well as direct editing of metadata.
The apps that best fit this definition are Adobe Bridge, Google Photos, and ACDSee Photo Studio. Each of these apps is packed with features and has a neat interface that makes it easy to use.
If you are looking for a free alternative, Digikam is the solution. It’s open source, which means constant updates but a relatively complicated interface. For those who focus on photo editing, Adobe Lightroom might be the best option. It comes with all the organizing tools of a dedicated photo manager plus a robust set of image manipulation tools to adjust them to your liking.