Computer Update – Photo managers for the computer

alternative title: Death of a Photo Manager

I would say about 60 to 70% of my clients are very interested in taking photos at the personal level, saving them onto the computer, organizing photos, manipulating them to varying degrees and making sure they are backed up. I severe zero professional photographers as clients. The types of of tasks I described are things that "Average Joe Picture Taker" does in an attempt to enjoy precious digital memories.

A photo manager / organizer is self-explanatory, but these types of applications also let you do some light editing.

For years the standard bearers have been iPhoto on the Mac and Windows Live Photo Gallery (yes, you guessed it — on Windows). This road has gotten a little rocky over the past year. Going back to last March, Apple started pushing everyone over to its new photo app — Photos (to match the name of the photo app on iOS). While the photo alteration features are about the same. I got several complaints from clients asking me — where did XYZ albums / folders of photos go? After turning the "sidebar" back on and clicking on some >>> arrows to show hidden objects — I think I was able to uncover this peek-a-boo scheme. No photos were actually deleted. However, all of the steps involved coupled with the new look made my clients uncomfortable.

On the Windows side — Windows Photo Gallery has been a staple since Windows 7 came out in 2009. It is part of a free suite of applications that Microsoft rolled out 6 years ago to better compete with Apple’s built in applications. That suite is called Windows Essentials and is available for download here . Windows Essentials 2012 http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/download-windows-essentials#wetabs=we2012

Although Windows Photo Gallery still works great in Windows 10, you can see that they haven’t updated it since 2012. A report from a leading Windows journalist Paul Thurrott suggests that Microsoft may be letting this photo manager and associated programs fall by the wayside and reach their EOL (end of life).

Going back about 5 years, I have consistently recommended a 3rd option that works fine on Windows and Mac — Google Picasa. Although one added feature of Picasa was to allow backup to Google’s Picasa Web service, I never used it like that. I saw it is a simple desktop photo manager that displays photos as folders and files (hardly revolutionary) and allows for modest edits. In recent years, it has been my go to photo buddy. I even used it to make a beautiful slideshow video for my daughter college graduation 18 months ago and our Christmas Eve 2014 "Memories of Christmas Past" video slideshow.

Guess what? Google says it is pulling the plug on Picasa very soon. It is still available for download now. It is free and it will keep working on your Windows or Mac system even after Google pulls the plug. If you manage photos on your computer, I highly recommend you download it and install it now, even as your secondary photo manager. http://www.google.com/picasa/

I hope some outfit is smart enough to buy this from Google or the turn it into a community based project where a community of developers can keep it going. Short of that, I think all of us amateur photographers need to find a better solution for the future. Perhaps you can do some looking online and I will will too. Let’s not rush to find our next photo manager.
Must haves:
1. Cost: 0 – $30.
2. It needs to work on Windows and Mac or we need to find a good one that runs on each platform.
3. It needs to continue to get updates and its backers must make a commitment to the future.

Let me know what alternatives you come up with.

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