I just want a shoebox.
March 17, 2011 11:33 AM   Subscribe

iPhoto replacement for Windows 7...NOT PICASA!

switching from a mac (iPhoto 6) to a pc and having the damnedest time finding a good photo archiving app. Tried out Picasa, then immediately uninstalled it. Hate it. Here's why:
1) I just want a place to put photos, I don't need a sidebar full of categories of other kinds of media files. that's what my hard drive is for.
2) autoscanning. i don't need a photo archiver to scan my hard drive and pollute my photo database with folders full of pix that came with the computer...i want to see the shots i took with my camera, not instructional images for how to use 'web to fax', or stock desktop wallpapers
3)'People' ...i don't want or need auto-recognising anything.
4)'synching', 'upload to web', 'online storage', 'connectivity' anything.

Here's what I want:
1) the eqivalent of a giant hole in the ground i can throw all my photos into, divided into 'rolls' or 'albums' or whatever that I control, that I can choose where things go, and that I can rename or reorganize as I choose...and without simultaneous multiple organization schemes...I don't need 'rolls' AND 'albums'
2) the ability to move and delete pix

and that's IT.

other than possible bonus features:
1) rotate
2) ability to change background color to dark, neutral grey (seriously, Picasa? White? Srsly?)
3) made by a company that isn't some fly-by-night that's going to go belly-up and strand me with their file system and i have to do this all over again.

maybe it'll help to explain my workflow. an example:
1) i went to the beach and took a bunch of pix, while coming home i stopped and took some pix of some pretty flowers.
2) i come home and hook the camera to the computer and import the pix into iPhoto
3) they pop up at the top under the heading 'roll #xxx'
4) i select the pix of the flowers and move them to the 'pretty flowers' roll (already there, created by ME)
5) i rename 'roll #xxx' to 'beach pix'
6) the roll stays at the top...reverse chonological order, not alphabetical.
7) done.

as such, it basically acts as contact sheets, and i can then choose which shots i want to work on in photoshop or whatever, and then (and only then) choose to publish.
does software this simple even exist anymore? or is everyone now Insisting on becoming 'your one-stop all-media browser-player-editor web-publishing-empire integration-solution-suite'?
posted by sexyrobot to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You do know the Windows camera wizard will let you series name any new photos as they are imported from the camera and...............................as for the rest, use the mouse to maybe rename them and then sort by date modified inside the folder you named?
posted by Freedomboy at 11:38 AM on March 17, 2011

Photoshop Elements does some of this, but it's not the exact workflow you describe. But it just does photos and doesn't try to be everything.
posted by GuyZero at 11:38 AM on March 17, 2011

Unfortunately, the best program for what you want to do probably is Picasa. It can easily do everything you want, and you can easily turn off/not use the things you listed as reasons you hate it.

Frankly, I'm kinda of surprised anyone would want anything to act like iPhoto, which is perhaps the worst photo organizing program I've ever had the misfortune of using.
posted by Grither at 11:40 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I use Picasa pretty much the way you do, you don't have to scan your whole computer (you can select the folders you want to be scanned, as well as file extensions you want Picasa to manage). Importing is just like you want it to and you definitely don't have to use any fancy options such as People or Places. Right now all I have on the left are Albums (which I've made myself--could be Flowers), People (I don't use) and all my folders in chronological order (not alphabetical). Contrary to iPhoto, Picasa leaves your photos wherever they are on your computer (or wherever you decide to import them) so you can always find them through your Finder (I mean Explorer).

Sorry for the 'try again Picasa' but really, give it a try (it's so faster than iPhoto on my iMac that the choice was easy for me).
posted by ddaavviidd at 11:48 AM on March 17, 2011

Hey sexyrobot, in addition to being a confirmed robosexual, I have quite a bit of experience with both Picasa and iPhoto. I think you may be giving up on Picasa too easily. Like Grither says, you can turn off the features (like facial recognition) that you don't use. It's easy to move photos between "rolls," and of course you can create albums (like Pretty Flowers) that collect photos from a bunch of different rolls.
posted by Alaska Jack at 11:50 AM on March 17, 2011

I hope this doesn't sound snarky or anything, that's not my intention. The criteria you've presented can be done entirely within Windows Explorer. It's usually only when you want to do things like have albums and rolls (eg. the things you stated you did not want) that you'd need a real-deal picture manager. But otherwise just toss everything in your pictures folder and organize to your liking, change the view to "Large Thumbnail" or whatever you'd like.
posted by samsara at 11:52 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Since you seem to have Photoshop already, have you explored Bridge? It may or may not have been included in your version of Creative Suite. It might be the exact balance between raw file managing and photo organizing that you're looking for.

(PS— I hate Picasa, too.)
posted by tapesonthefloor at 11:58 AM on March 17, 2011

Windows camera wizard does this easily enough. When I plug in my camera it brings up the photos all selected for import by default. I can deselect if I want to. Then it prompts me to put them in folder 2010-03-17 [something] - where [something] is whatever I type for a name (say, beach pics). Or, I can rename the folder without the date. It then imports the pics. I can browse through them with Windows Picture and Fax viewer which allows me to rotate or delete pics. I can have a contact sheet by viewing the folder in thumbnail view.
posted by mikepop at 12:00 PM on March 17, 2011

ahhh...guess there's one feature i should have mentioned. what i do like about iPhoto is the ability to zoom in so that one pic fills the whole window (without devoting more screen real estate to other thumbnails)...unfortunately, just using the explorer window doesn't do this (i did look into that possibility)...mostly what i'm trying to avoid is 'clutterware'...i know i can probably turn off everything i dont need in picasa, but i'm still looking at a screen full of icons, windows, and 'options'...i need to be able to concentrate on the PHOTO in as neutral a setting as possible (and the more i think about it, the more a dark neutral grey background moves into the 'must have' pile) before i bring it into the complicated surgical theater that is photoshop...
actually, windows live photo gallery is looking promising...
...and yes, i fully realize i am looking for 'grandma' software ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:07 PM on March 17, 2011

I think you should try Windows Live Photo Gallery. It's surprisingly nice and simple.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2011

Yeah, the new version of Windows Live Photo Gallery is actually pretty decent. I am a former Mac guy who transitioned over and absolutely hated (and hate) Picasa, but I think Live Photo Gallery is pretty slick. The new 2011 version just came out.
posted by kbanas at 12:24 PM on March 17, 2011

actually, looks like i found WLPGallery on my hard drive already, but cant seem to get it to show less than 4 thumbnails when fully zoomed in (ie, no fullscreen preview outside of edit mode...and i dont want to edit outside of photoshop)...also, stark white background.

playing around with adobe PS Bridge now...looks like maybe i can use that...most of the info panels can be eradicated and ahhhhhhh, adjustable grey background...however, the file system seems awkward...i'll explain: (also, thanks guys, this has been really helpful...)

the great thing (for me) about iPhoto is the SAFETY of it...all of the actual files live in the iPhoto library...that i have only once or twice had to actually go into...while the organization lives in one database file. When i want to use an image i just drag an image into PS (or wherever), which auto-generates an exact COPY... and there's no chance i can hit 'save' instead of 'save as' and ruin an original 'negative'...this 'bridge' program seems like it is just working from the hard drive folder tree...which maybe means i'm working on the original file...eep.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:48 PM on March 17, 2011

I think the program you're looking for is Thumbs Plus. There's a free trial version, so you can find out for yourself.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:53 PM on March 17, 2011

Picasa does save backups, so you can revert to a previous version, or save as and then revert if you accidentally saved changes to the original file that you didn't intend.
posted by Grither at 1:11 PM on March 17, 2011

You might still be close with Windows Explorer. Here are some things to try:

Picture details:
- Right-click on any of your photos and select "Properties"
- Under the Details tab you can add a Title, Subject, Rating etc. You can also add a "tag" which is useful under the "Arrange By:" dropdown in Windows 7.

Viewing full screen:
- You can right-click and preview any picture to launch the Windows Photo Viewer, which is very smooth full screen.
- You can also make Windows Photo Viewer your default picture app by right-clicking, open with...

Working off copies:
- After uploading your photos, you can right-click on their containing folders and enable the "Read-only" attribute. This will force any application to save what's opened in a different location.

(There's definitely more ways through explorer, this is just what I could think of off the top of my head)
posted by samsara at 1:52 PM on March 17, 2011

Have you tried out Adobe Lightroom?

It's certainly more involved than what you were initially asking for, but the interface is clean enough that that might not matter. Depending on what you do in PS, Lightroom might even be a worthy substitute (there's a 30-day free trial to try it out).

I mention it in particular because of the 'working on copies rather than the original' thing in your last comment. LR not only does this, but lets you easily flip to see the original and your current version side-by-side, which is really great. AND it's easy to view fullscreen, AND the background is gray.

(Also, you should get in the habit of non-destructive editing in Photoshop!)
posted by ella wren at 4:41 PM on March 17, 2011

Take a look at FastStone Image Viewer. When I'm working on a pc, it's the only photo app I can stand.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:52 PM on March 17, 2011

Lightroom is designed to do exactly what you want. It is very good at maintaining a catalog of photos and letting you sort through them in a humane, friendly interface. The only drawback is it's $300 and does more than you've asked for: in particular, it replaces Photoshop for many (but not all) photo editing tasks.

Definitely worth a look on the 30 day trial. There are also occasional sales: I got it for $200, it seems to be $250 on Amazon right now.
posted by Nelson at 5:17 PM on March 17, 2011

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