Photo Library
April 20, 2011 9:03 AM   Subscribe

I have several thousand images from almost 30 years of photography and filmmaking scattered throughout one of four hard drives on my Mac. I want to move all my images to their own drive, build a searchable photo library, and I need a way to organize, tag, search, and easily find images.

I'm planning to dedicate one of my drives to images, layered Photoshop files, short films I'm making, and maybe iTunes. I'd like to start tagging my photos so I can easily find images of previous jobs, portfolio pieces, etc. The end result would be my own image library so I could search for and view images with specific tags.

I DO NOT want to use Flickr or Picasa or any other web-based service. I want the images and the library/database on my local drive.

How do I build/create such a library? Do I need to create a searchable database? I have Adobe Lightroom--would this software work for sorting and tagging images? If not, what should I use?
posted by Ann Onymous to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Lightroom would be good for the photos. YOu may have to open and re-save your PSD files with compatibility on so you can do previews in LR.
posted by notsnot at 9:09 AM on April 20, 2011

Thirding Lightroom. Like any database, the more time you put into tagging, titling, etc, the more useful it will be. Lightroom can be a little non-intuitive at times, but take some time to find tutorials and info from other users and you should be very happy with the results.
posted by The Deej at 9:23 AM on April 20, 2011

I'm doing something very similar with Adobe Bridge.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:27 AM on April 20, 2011

Picasa Web Albums is a web-based service. Picasa is not web-based. It is super easy to upload from Picasa to Picasa Web Albums, but it's not mandatory.

I personally like Picasa a lot... But you really need to do a 100 image trial run with a couple different pieces of software (Picasa, Lightroom) and come back with a list of what you liked and didn't like if you want meaningful answers.
posted by anaelith at 9:34 AM on April 20, 2011

The term for the software you're looking for is "Digital Asset Management"

I'll throw out a suggestion for Expression Media ( as something to look at if lightroom doesn't fit your needs.
posted by devbrain at 9:35 AM on April 20, 2011

iPhoto and LR, which you both have, plus Aperture, are what close to everyone use. My personal preference is Aperture, for which there is a free demo. Try them all before you get entrenched.
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2011

I was going to suggest Picasa, but if you already spent the money on LR then give it a try.
posted by WizKid at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2011

I have used bridge for this, which is part of photoshop.

In the past I used the non-web version of picasa, which works great, but if you are already using photoshop, than bridge or lightroom may be a better bet.
posted by markblasco at 6:56 PM on April 20, 2011

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