No matter if you’re a professional or a novice photographer, Photo Mechanic is an important piece in your toolbox. Having the right software to make beautiful images can set you apart from the rest in your industry.
After any photo session, the next step is to use a photo organizer for your images. Just the thought can be daunting since one session of photos can take hours to upload and edit. Introducing Photo Mechanic. This software created by Camera Bits is the pinnacle of image browsers. It’s a workflow accelerator that allows its users to manage and view their images faster.
In this blog, we will discuss Photo Mechanic features and why it is the best organizational tool for photographers.
Get Organized With Photo Mechanic
As a photographer myself, I like to be very organized and efficient when I start the editing process. I’m a landscape photographer, and travel is part of the job. So, I don’t want to spend a significant amount of time during my travels waiting for images to load to manage and edit them. I want to have the best shots at my fingertips. I want to be able to share and then move on to the next destination to capture those incredible views.
Let’s Begin by Organizing Photos
I want to point out that Photo Mechanic is not an editing software. This is a front-end software that allows you to upload, browse, manage, tag, and export your images. Editing software like Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and ON1 can integrate with Photo Mechanic.
Go to preferences, select the launching option and point to external editing software. At this point, you click the assigned option and select choose. Once this is complete, you can easily locate your editing software and click it. From here, you just choose the photos you want to move over and upload.
You need speed! Whether you are shooting a family photo session, or you’re a photojournalist, the number of captured images will differ. Just to put it into perspective, in a 30-minute session, a photographer can shoot up to 20-30 photos. In a 1 hour session, 40-50 photos can be captured. There’s no rule here, you can shoot even more photos.
These are a ton of images to sift through and pick the best ones! How can you upload all images and determine the best without spending hours? Photo Mechanic 6 is the newest version of this software, and it goes from 0 to 60 in a flash (no pun intended).
During pre-caching images, I encountered one thing: when opening a file for the time, there is a lag. I can live with this just due to the sheer speed of the upload.
Starting the Process With Photo Mechanic
Start by attaching your USB cable from your camera to your computer. This allows you to see the images in a larger view than on the camera’s LCD screen. Another term for this first step is called “ingesting.”
Ingesting is importing or bringing the photos into a program. Essentially, just like uploading a document to your OneDrive, you have to create a file or, in this case, a “Contact Sheet” for the images to live. Before we get too deep in the weeds on mechanics, here are some practical terms that can help you start working with this software.
Ingest Disks – Here, you can choose the files that you want to import. Select the ingest option and make sure only to choose the memory card where your files live.
Destination Folder – To locate the folder of your images, select the primary destination option. If you want to create a backup, then you can select the second option to import another copy of the images.
Filter Files – If you have both RAW and JPEG image files, you can use this filter to copy the RAW photos. This eliminates doubling.
Rename Ingested Photos – You can use this feature to rename all the imported images. It is the best way to keep everything organized and separated.
IPTC Stationery Pad – This feature allows you to input all the essential information. For example- your name, contact details, or any critical information that will help keep your images organized.
Once your images are in the contact sheet, you can start organizing the file. This process is fundamental: if you take many pictures for multiple clients or businesses, this keeps all your images separate. An important term used with Photo Mechanic is “Metadata.”
When you take photos, the camera uses information or data that attaches to any given shot. Using this data allows you to add sections to your images if you like. The image below shows the screen that will populate. Here you can add in all the necessary information to divide the image out, and categorize it any way you need for a more efficient way to organize.
Best Images Win!
I love Photo Mechanic because it allows you to work on multiple images at once rather than one. This is also called “batch editing.”
You can create galleries, and add keywords for a more defined search of your photos. Including ratings on your images and find them with ease. These are just a few of the options that PM allows you to do.
All these options combined will enable you to review and choose the best images. You can also upload your pictures to your website or other platforms through the FTP (File Transfer Protocol).
Photo Mechanic: The Good and The Not So Good
As I stated before, be sure to do your research before purchasing a new photography software. I can talk all day about my experience and why I love to use a specific product or software, but a great experience depends on the user. Let’s talk pros and cons now.
- I like Photo Mechanic for the organization and categorization ability it provides me.
- Interfaces with several different editing software.
- The cost is reasonable for what the software provides
- Fast upload and quick viewing
- The program is not intuitive, so it takes some time to learn and understand the functionality.
- It doesn’t have editing capabilities, so you must have an editor as well.
- Uses unconventional terminology
- The cropping option doesn’t only show the cropped area
Summary of The Best Features
- Ingesting photos from multiple memory cards
- Adding metadata
- Renaming your files
- Saving files to your hard drive
- Photo Mechanic preview window
- Comparing photos side-by-side
- Rating photos
- Customizing your workflow
Let’s Talk Affordability
Camera Bits offers a free trial to download and use for 90 days for new users with Windows or macOS. Qualified existing customers can upgrade for $89 USD. If you are not already a customer, you can buy a new software license for $139 USD.
Some may think that this seems a little expensive, especially if there is a learning curve that you have to get through. It’s understandable but think of this as an investment first. If you have your own photography business, this is a business expense, so you can write this off. If you want to play around with this program, it’s still an investment because of all it offers. Photo Mechanic will quickly pay for itself for the long term use you will get.
Last but not least, What do others say?
You have the internet at your fingertips, literally because you are currently scrolling through this blog! Consider looking at reviews. I recently did some research myself as I was curious about what others thought of Photo Mechanic. I landed on G2.com, a peer-to-peer website launched in 2012 by former BigMachines employees. This review website focuses on aggregating user reviews for business software.
When I typed in Photo Mechanic in the search bar, it popped up with 20 user reviews with a high rating of five stars. I have included a few of the reviews:
These reviews are from small business owners alike. Photo Mechanic is a leading photography software of its kind. I find that my time dividing thousands of photos and editing is cut in half. I want my time spent out in the field to capture beautiful moments in nature. Photo Mechanic has helped make that happen.
As innovators and creative artists, photographers look for the next best program. We look for a great computer, camera, web application to make our lives efficient but also help make our images remarkable. You want to capture that one image that just takes someone’s breath away. Photo Mechanic can help with this not only on one photo but several
Quick Reference Tutorial
Here you will find this video tutorial by my friend and professional photographer Chris Eyre-Walker. Chris explains the in’s and out’s of this software and talks about the speed. He discusses how PM has changed how he views his images after shooting in the field. One of the key points is the time it has saved him maneuvering through all his images, viewing the photos he wants to keep and edit.
Ready, Set, Go…
First thing’s first, go out and snap those photos! The sky’s the limit on what you can capture. Shooting magnificent photos truly is a talent. Making them come to life with Photo Mechanic is just the icing on the cake.
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.