A few months ago I realized that I need a heavy duty tool to keep track of my photographs. I did a lot of research and finally came up with IMatch.
I’m not going to go through all the research here. I found an informative list of tools and reviews in the forums over at DPReview and using google turned up a few other compendium pages that were helpful.
Here’s an interesting article.
PhotoByte is interesting but it didn’t solve the problem of off-line storage and seemed to be out of development.
Picasa is a photo management tool by Google. But Picasa is for a person with personal pictures, not a photo business.
I finally listed my photo management requirements as the following:
- Manage a very large number of photos. I have 9000 slides that I’ve taken since 1977. But there are over 10,000 pictures from the D70 since summer 2004. This is a serious image management problem.
- Manage off-line storage. Photos are backed up to DVD and each days photos are in folders named yyyy_mm_dd. There are sometimes 300 or more photos in a single day. Especially for a shoot with more than one model.
- Thumbnails and other information available for off-line pictures.
- Keyword assignment and searching. And a large tree of keywords built in that I can enhance as I go.
- Ability to rotate the thumbnails for offline storage to see the picture.
- Some editing capability for the images, although photoshop will be the editing platform of choice.
- Ability to process and edit EXIF data.
- Ability to handle a variety of formats, although JPEG is my format of choice. Certainly RAW may become important.
- High performance.
- Ease of backing up the database.
- Under continuing development and with a good support system with forums and folks that are listening to their clients.
- Have a long trial period so that I can kick the tires before I buy.
- Cost less than $100.
IMatch satisfies all my requirements. It costs $60. And it has a 30 day trial period, after which it preserves all your database. It handles my off-line storage requriements easily. I have some 20 DVDs of photos and while it takes about 50 minutes to scan a DVD full of photos and put then into the database, once they are there, keywords and categories can be easily added; thumbnails can be righted and I can find what I need.
A super tool. I highly recommend it.
See discussions in the photography forum.