Simple mass-tagging interface for photos
October 27, 2012 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for a photo management software that will allow me to quickly scroll through photos and tag them with keywords.

I have thousands of unnamed, unorganized photos on a hard drive. I want to be able to tag each person in the photo, like Facebook. When I search the drive for, say, "Joe Dirt," I get all the photos of Joe Dirt from the past 10 years.

Which photo management software is for me? I realize what I want to do is time-consuming (and I'm OK with this), but I'd like to have the most efficient mass tool to do this. I'd like to be presented with a long line of photos that I can quickly tag and scroll through (once again, how Facebook allows you to move through photos to tag and add captions).

I don't want to use facial recognition software. I've found this processor-heavy and unreliable. And I'm not looking to quickly identify faces, anyway. I'm OK manually tagging each photo. I just don't want to click in and out of several screens to do this. I want to quickly fly through each photo.

I have a MacBook Pro.

I have iPhoto, though not the latest version. I've briefly dipped into Picasa, but I found the interface clunky. I may be missing something obvious with both of these, so please enlighten me if so. I'm open to all suggestions.

posted by Zosia Blue to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I have a MBP with Mountain Lion, I should add. (If that makes a difference.) And I'm willing to entertain all suggestions from free to cash-money.
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:08 PM on October 27, 2012

Lightroom is pretty awesome
posted by shothotbot at 2:10 PM on October 27, 2012
posted by anon4now at 2:26 PM on October 27, 2012

iPhoto has included keywords and tagging for several versions now, I believe. More recent versions even have facial recognition. It can start to get a bit sluggish once your library gets to about 50,000 pictures or so, but it sounds like just what you need. I'd recommend giving it another try, and maybe look up some "how to" articles for the more advanced features. (maybe update your version if it's more than 3 or 4 years old)
posted by ShutterBun at 2:36 PM on October 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far! Just want to clarify - several of these items have keyword/tagging capability, but I'm looking for a very specific interface. I want a long list of thumbnails with a text box next to each so I can go from photo to photo very quickly to tag. As far as I can tell, Picasa, iPhoto, Lightroom and Extensis don't offer this barebones tagging option. They require a click through screens to tag each individual photo (and often the screens are bloated). I want to personally tag each photo (and am not looking for mass tagging options), but I want to do so quickly through a similar interface like Facebook has, where each thumbnail is in a row, with a text box next to each photo for tagging. Let me know if I'm missing this type of interface in any of the software listed so far - I would be happy to have a "duh" moment!

Flickr does this, too.
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:43 PM on October 27, 2012

A lot of professionals I know who have a very high volume of images (wedding photographers and journalists) use PhotoMechanic for this purpose. I haven't used it much so I'm not sure what the tagging features are like, but it is significantly faster than things like iPhoto/Lightroom - mostly because it renders previews almost instantly.
posted by bradbane at 3:21 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lightroom makes tagging easy. On a screen of thumbnails you can choose however many photos you want and tag them simultaneously. Once a tag is created it's just a matter of choosing the photos (in thumbnail view, or whatever view you want), and adding the tag. Lightroom is the dogs bollocks!
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 3:24 PM on October 27, 2012

FWIW, Lightroom 4 just came out... so I was able to buy Lightroom 3 for $80 ($30 with the $50 I got for signing up for an Amazon credit card). Score. Most of the "upgrades" between the two were social-media stuff, which I don't use anyway.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:34 PM on October 27, 2012

You can tag lots of stuff at once with Lightroom. For example, it would be easy to tag all photos from a given day with the same tag, just a few keystrokes.
posted by shothotbot at 5:05 PM on October 27, 2012

I'll second what Bradbane said above, almost exactly. I use Lightroom, but I'm thinking about adding PhotoMechanic to my workflow. I've read/heard PhotoMechanic is much faster for the task you are wanting to do. For me, I'd want to be able to cull, tag and rate raw images quickly without having to import them in my Lightroom Catalog first.
posted by fueling depth at 6:41 PM on October 27, 2012

Have you tried Picasa?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, all! I downloaded a trial of Lightroom and while it isn't my holy grail, I think it'll do what I need. I'll keep you posted.
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:38 AM on October 30, 2012

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