photo organizer

The Best Photo Organizing Software of 2021

In Photography Tips, Post Processing by Stefano Caioni 4 Comments

You must use top-quality photo organizing software, no matter how long you have been taking photos.

You must understand the importance of keeping your pictures safe and streamlining your workflow. So you can be on the path to becoming an excellent photographer. Luckily for you, I have created this list of photo organizing software to choose from.

A photo organizer helps you keep all your digital images in one place. And it also offers many other useful features. You can put tags, rate your photos, and much more. The goal is to improve your workflow and build photo collections with ease.

My personal favorites are Lightroom for its powerful catalog and Photo Mechanic. But they can be a bit expensive, so read further for all the great apps available.

Related:

What is a Photo Organizing Software

Too many times, I see beginner photographers struggling to find their photos. It’s because they rely on their manual work to keep their photos organized.

A photo organizing software helps you manage your digital images and develop a more efficient workflow.
As a photographer, storing your pictures on your hard drive or on the cloud is not enough. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional or a beginner.

A photo organizer is essential to avoid frustrations and to avoid losing your work. You can find your photos more easily, edit faster, and streamline your post-processing workflow. A picture organizing program will help you become more productive as a photographer.

How to Use a Photo Organizing Software

Before we jump on a long list of picture organizing software, let’s talk about how to use it. Using the best photo organizer is not enough if you don’t know how to organize digital photos.

I posted an extensive guide, to help you learn the best way to organize photos. You can apply it to any photo organizing software you choose.
In short, I want to give you a few tips here on how to manage your digital files correctly.
These are a few simple steps you should follow:

  • Every time you go out and take photos, immediately download them from your memory card when you get home,
  • Get the best storage system for your needs,
  • Make sure your storage unit is only dedicated to your pictures,
  • Have a proper folder structure,
  • Stay consistent with your naming convention

You can find here my Complete Guide on How to Organize Your Digital Photos at this link
Pick your photo organizer and speed up your workflow, managing your digital photos like a pro. I recommend starting by testing one of the free options below and then move to a more professional solution with time.

1. Best Free Photo Organizing Software

You can save a lot of money and keep your images organized if you pich the right free photo organizer.

Mylio Photo Organizer

Mylio Photo Organizing Software

With this free image organizer, you can sort through all kinds of files. The program is compatible with many different devices. Launch the app, and it will organize your images automatically based on events.
Batch editing is also possible and very handy. You can also make the most out of tags to get your images organized the way you like. Mylio has raving reviews from customers all over the world.

Platforms: Mac, Win, iPhone/iPad, Surface X Pro, Android

Pros:

  • Free
  • Great User Interface
  • It adapts to any system
  • Runs on desktop, laptop and mobile seamlessly

Cons:

  • No cloud storage

Download Mylio here.

StudioLine Photo Basic 4

StudioLine Photo Basic 4 Photo Organizing Software

This free picture organizing software allows you to edit and organize your pictures. The organizing features are not as advanced as other apps, but it is straightforward to use. You can sort images, tag images, and add a description. You can also share your photos with ease.

Some of the editing available with StudioLine is cropping, resizing, and color alteration. The positive feedback from different customers earns this program a place on the best photo organizer list.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Geotag images

Cons:

  • Face tag not allowed
  • Windows only

Download StudioLine Photo Basic 4 here.

PhotoQt Photo Organizer

PhotoQt Image Viewer

If you’re a computer nerd like me, you will like PhotoQt. It’s an open-source photo organizer, completely free, that supports the main image formats.
It’s a simple image viewer, easy to use with basic photo editing and photo organizing features. It works mainly on Linux based OS and Windows.

Platforms: Linux based OS, Windows

Pros:

  • Free
  • Open-source
  • Touchscreen support
  • Faces tagging

Cons:

  • Not available for Mac
  • No cloud storage

Download PhotoQt here.

DigiKam Photo Manager

DigiKam Photo Manager

DigiKam free photo organizer allows you to upload and sort images quite quickly.
You can also organize your images by title, size, date, and more. The open-source application offers advanced editing. This means that you can do everything you need to do on just this one platform.

Thanks to its high connectivity, you can upload your digital photos to different platforms or send them via email with ease.

DigiKam free photo organizer allows you to upload and sort images quite quickly.
You can also organize your images by title, size, date, and more. The open-source application offers advanced editing. This means that you can do everything you need to do on just this one platform.
Thanks to its high connectivity, you can upload your digital photos to different platforms or send them via email with ease.

Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Free
  • More than 1000 RAW camera formats supported
  • Easily compare similar pictures
  • Geolocation info
  • Face recognition
  • Item versioning info

Cons:

  • For advanced users

Download DigiKam Photo Manager here.

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone is a user-friendly photo organizer with some basic editing capabilities. Excellent for the home user, FastStone is also a picture organizing software. It comes with sorting options and tagging features.
While it might not be advanced as similar apps for photographers, it is free. And if you don’t need anything too fancy, I recommend giving it a try. The caveat is it’s for Windows only.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Free
  • Very easy to use
  • Supports main image file formats
  • Support camera RAW files

Cons:

  • Windows only

Download FastStone Image Viewer here.

Nomacs Image Lounge Photo Organizer

Nomacs Photo Organizing Software

Nomacs is a free and open-source picture organizing software that allows you to organize your photos with ease. The UI is simple, and it suggests that this image organizer does a few things, but it does it well. Adding filters to images allows you to search them up. Like similar programs on the market, you can organize based on different criteria.
Some basic editing features, including color settings, are also available.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux

Pros:

  • Free
  • Open-source
  • Easy to use
  • Multi-platform

Cons:

  • Not easy to install

Download Nomacs here.

Apple Photos

Apple Photos

As you can imagine, Apple Photos is a software available for Mac users only. Its clean user interface makes it straightforward to use. It’s useful for organizing photos, and it’s a pleasure to use as an image viewer.
This program is entirely free, and it’s already available by default on your Apple device. With Apple Photos, you can do some edit as well as store and organize your images. It’s also possible to make slideshows and process videos. As a Mac user, I can tell you that the most powerful feature is that you can sync your images with your other Apple devices.

Platforms: Mac

Pros:

  • Free
  • Sync images through iCloud
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Mac only

Download Apple Photos here.

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JetPhoto Studio

JetPhoto Studio is a free photo organizer for Windows and Mac. It’s a small software that was primarily created as an alternative to Picasa and iPhoto. I’m keeping it in this list even though the software developer Jetphotosoft doesn’t have a website anymore. JetPhoto Studio is only available through Softonic. For this reason, I’m not including the download link. I discourage people from downloading software from Softonic since it’s not always secure.

2. Dedicated Picture Organizing Software

Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge Photo Organizing Software

As a photographer or anybody who uses technology, you have definitely heard of Adobe Bridge. This particular picture organizing software takes it to the next level when managing photos.
You can sort out multiple images at a time with Adobe Bridge, which saves massive amounts of time and speeds up your workflow. Add tags and metadata to your images in seconds. The real power of Adobe Bridge is that it showcases your entire photo assets. It works seamlessly with the other apps from the Adobe Creative Suite: in particular Photoshop and Lightroom.

Platforms: Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Free,
  • Dedicated photo organizer,
  • Fast digital photos preview and browsing,
  • Bulk managing digital photos
  • Works seamlessly with Lightroom and Photoshop

Cons:

  • Requires other Adobe software to unleash its true power

Download Adobe Bridge here.

Photo Mechanic

Photo Mechanic photo organizing software

Probably one of the best photo organizer software for professionals. I’ve tested it, and Photo Mechanic is the fastest image browser you can find today.
It lets you go through your RAW files really quickly and without lags. You can save hours when culling and organizing your photos with Photo Mechanics.
Add labels, rating, batch photo renaming. It works seamlessly with Adobe Lightroom, which will recognize the tags you’ve added with Photo Mechanic.

Platforms: Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Dedicated photo organizer,
  • Fast digital photos preview and browsing,
  • Most powerful metadata editing system available
  • Works seamlessly with Lightroom and Photoshop

Cons:

  • Price

You can check this video by my friend adventure photographer Chris Eyre-Walker. Chris gives you a great intro to how this photo organizer works and its powerful features.

Download Photo Mechanic here.

XnViewMP Photo Organizer

XnViewMP picture viewer

XnViewMP is a great photo organizer and image viewers for its price. This picture organizing software has all you need if you are looking for something simple. It offers handy batch processing and adding tags to multiple images at the same time.
It supports more than 500 image formats, and many features make it worth trying out for yourself. Super useful to edit files metadata and simple light adjustments and crop options.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux

Pros:

  • Powerful batch-processing
  • Multi-platform
  • Free for private or educational use
  • Good performance
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Tagging is confusing

Download XnViewMP here.

Smart Pix Manager

Smart Pix Manager

Smart Pix Manager is an old software for Windows. It comes with the typical organizing features and some limited editing tools. It’s not the most straightforward organizing app to use, but it has a walk-through wizard to help you know its features better.
When it comes to organizing photos, it does what it needs to do. You can import your files from any device without any issues. Some of the extra features include editing photos in bulk and incorporating wide print templates. You can also use slideshows to showcase your work.
There are better options in the free photo organizing section. I wouldn’t spend money on Smart Pix Manager.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Supports over 60 file formats,
  • Price

Cons:

  • Windows only
  • Difficult to use
  • The interface looks very old

Download Smart Pix Manager here.

Magix Photo Manager Deluxe

Magix Photo Manager

You can get a free trial of this photo organizer before you go for a paid version and unlock more advanced features.
Magix Photo Manager works with photos and videos, and it includes facial recognition. Other organization features are: theme categories, importing from cloud storage, ratings, and more.
The program instantly finds duplicate images. This allows you to organize your work into different collections. There are also several editing tools available including light correction. Very useful to you as a photographer.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Duplicate image recognition
  • Easy to filter collections

Cons:

  • The free version is limited
  • Offers little performance for a paid photo organizer
  • Some reviews report a lack of support
  • Windows only

Download Magix Photo Manager here.

PicaJet Photo Organizer

PicaJet is a simple picture organizing software with a free version available. It is not as advanced as others on this list. Still, it definitely serves its purpose in terms of organizing photos. You can import your images quickly, and you can also do basic editing in bulk.
This can save you a lot of time. Advanced search options are available in the paid version. You’ll be able to find the type of photos you want with ease based on tags.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Advanced search
  • Drag and drop tagging
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • UI looks old
  • Windows only
  • Not worth the price

Download PicaJet here.

IMatch 5 Photo Organizer

IMatch is developed by a company called Photools. It’s a Digital Asset Management system (DAM) that lets you organize your photos, search, and view them. It also works with PDFs and videos.

As described on the website is a beginner-friendly photo organizer that also meets the needs of professionals. It allows you to create photo collections as well as editing and processing metadata.

The integrated AI performs face detection to tag your photos. IMatch makes it easy to create apps and plugins in HTML and Javascript thanks to a proprietary integration technology.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Integrated AutoTagger
  • Print Features
  • Geolocation
  • Free trial available
  • Batch processing
  • Works with all digital files

Cons:

  • Price is too high
  • Windows only

Download IMatch here.

MacPaw Gemini 2

MacPaw Gemini 2

As a photographer, chances are you will end up having duplicated photos in your hard drive.
Gemini 2 from MacPaw is designed to track and remove duplicate files, allowing you to have more space on your devices. As the name suggests, it’s for Mac only, and it has a beautiful minimalistic interface.
MacPaw is quite easy to use, you just click a button, and the app starts scanning your disk to find duplicates. Instead of removing duplicate files, you can decide to move them to a specific folder.

Platforms: Mac

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Great user interface
  • It does one thing but well

Cons:

  • Limited functionalities

Download MacPaw here.

ThumbsPlus 10

ThumbPlus 10 is yet another photo organizer with an old interface. It is straightforward to organize your photos with it. But it’s not as complete and performant as other programs in this list.
You can categorize photos with basic flags and add metadata keywords.
ThumbsPlus offers the ability to write scripts to expand and customize the process. But this is not going to be useful for the majority of photographers out there.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Customizable

Cons:

  • Slow
  • Old user interface
  • Last software update 2018
  • Price is too high

Download ThumbPlus here.

PixFiler Digital Image Organizer

PixFiler is a photo organizing software developed by BR-Software. The program is old and outdated, but it offers a free 30 days trial, unlike other old software out there.

PixFiler will let you know if you have duplicate files, which is very handy and can help save space on your disk. You can organize your photos by different keywords, categories, dates, and more.

There are some basic editing options but nothing too advanced. You can share your photos by email and other platforms directly through PixFiler.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Free trial available
  • EXIF extractor

Cons:

  • Windows only
  • Old
  • If you want to purchase the full version of this software, you have to contact the company.

Download PixFiler here.

Apowersoft Photo Viewer

Apowersoft Photo Viewer

Apowersoft is a free image viewer. Light and fast, it won’t take much space on your disk. This is why it earns its place on this list.

It supports several file formats, including RAW and PDF files. File format conversion, renaming, and resizing is easy, and you can do it in batch.
Apowersoft photo organizer lets you share your best images on social media in seconds.

Among the other features, Apowersoft allows you to write quick annotations on your files. You can then create screenshots to send to your clients.

Platforms: Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Free
  • Simple UI
  • Light and fast
  • Batch image processing
  • Provides free cloud service

Cons:

  • Lacks many photo organizing features

Download Photo Viewer here.

3. Photo Organizing Software with Editing Capabilities

In this section, I’m listing photo organizing programs with full editing capabilities. If you are looking for a simple photo organizer solution, you can skip this section. But if you are a professional or serious enthusiast looking for post-processing capabilities, go ahead.

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2020

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2020

The tagline of ACDSee is “built for professionals,” which is quite reassuring by itself. You can organize, sort, and move your photos by lots of different criteria. Take advantage of powerful categories, geolocation, labels, ratings, hierarchical keywords, and more.
There is a smart built-in feature that finds and deletes duplicate photos as required. If you need to edit your images in addition to storing them, you can do this easily too. The editing features available with the ACDSee make it a powerful tool for photographers. Even though I don’t think it’s the best Photoshop or Lightroom alternative, it’s still a widely used and supported program.

Platforms: Windows. ACDSee also offers an Asset Management for Mac

Pros:

  • Competitive price,
  • Offers Free Trial with no registration needed
  • Extensive organizational features,
  • Facial recognition
  • Geolocation
  • Mobile Sync (iPhone Android),
  • Fast batch operations
  • Offers multiple plans

Cons:

  • Not very user-friendly user interface

Download ACDSee Studio here.

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CyberLink PhotoDirector 10 Ultra

Organize photos using categories, ratings, color labels, and flags. You can also filter the gallery by pictures you’ve edited.
By a simple mouse hover, the gallery will show you flagging and star rating controls. The advanced editing tools make CyberLink a fully-fledged post-processing program. But it’s basic and can’t compete with Lightroom and Photoshop.

Platforms: Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Works on Mac and Windows,
  • Great AI for correcting blurred images
  • User-friendly interface

Cons:

  • Limited file format supported,
  • Lacks geolocation

Download Photo Director here.

Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro is famous for its excellent post-processing features. I haven’t used it in a long time, but according to my research and reading user’s reviews, it is still a great program. On top of the editing features, it is also one of the best photo organizing software. You can declutter your digital mess and organize your images by dates, categories, ratings, and more.

A built-in backup manager ensures that you do not lose any photos or edits you are making. On the whole, Corel PaintShop Pro is easy to use, even if you are a beginner. Corel PaintShop Pro is popular amongst photographers and graphic designers of all levels. The price is competitive and it is definitely worth trying for yourself.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Price
  • Free trial version available
  • Extensive file format support,
  • Powerful batch processing features,
  • Supports most popular plugins,
  • Handles vector files

Cons:

  • Windows only

Download PaintShop Pro here.

Zoner Photo Studio

Zoner Photo Studio

Zone photo editor claims to be a Photoshop and Lightroom alternative. It’s part of this list, thanks to its image catalog and photo organizing features.
Add keywords to your images to separate them based on different categories. Use dates, titles, descriptions, and color labels. If you are a travel photographer, the handy GPS tracker allows you to add location tags to your photos and view them all on a map.
The catalog search is fast and reliable thanks to the powerful keyword and description tools. Batch renaming and batch processing make Zoner Photo Studio a valid all-round photo organizer.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Price,
  • Offers a free trial
  • Fast catalog

Cons:

  • Windows only

Download Zone Photo Studio here.

Picktorial

Picktorial

Picktorial is an intuitive program for Mac that has been defined as a great alternative to big names. Digital asset management allows you to easily organize your photos. You can create collections, add keywords, rate your images, and edit metadata. It has am excellent auto-save features that work with Mac Time Machine. It can be used as an extension of macOS photos and a standalone program.
If you are not interested in the post-processing part and are looking for a user-friendly yet powerful photo organizer, I have good news. It’s free. The paid version gives you full photo editing capabilities, and it can be installed on up to 5 devices.

Platforms: Mac

Pros:

  • Offers a free version
  • The premium version is cheap
  • NAS support
  • Well integrated with native Mac features
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Mac only
  • The search feature can be fiddly
  • The free version requires registration

Download Pixktorial here.

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Everyone knows Lightroom. It’s arguably one of the most popular post-processing programs. Lightroom allows you to edit your images and organize them at the same time.
Lightroom has a vast array of features. Collections, collection sets, and smart collections make Lightroom my favorite photo organizer. You won’t choose Lightroom if you are just looking for a picture organizing software. But if you also want to post-process your images and enjoy the infinite number of free tutorials available online. Lightroom is the photo organizer you are looking for.

You can read my full guide on how to organize your photos using the Lightroom catalog.

Platforms: Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Offers free trial
  • Lightroom catalog
  • Available for mobile
  • Easy to learn thanks to free resources online
  • The best for post-processing
  • The most complete
  • Built for professional photographers

Cons:

  • Price
  • It might not be the fastest with big RAW files

Download Adobe Lightroom here.

On1 Photo RAW

On1 Photo RAW

While advertised as editing software, ON1 is also one of the best photo organizing software on the market. You can organize your images in batch, and you can do this via tags, ratings, and more. Keywords can be added to images automatically, which saves you some time and hassle.
Quick import and cull a massive amount of pictures with ease. Add flags, rating, and mark to delete later for a fast and smooth workflow.
If you deal with many photos daily, this is an excellent option for you to try. In addition to the organization aspect, you can edit your photos as required with advanced editing features.

Platforms: Mac, Windows

Pros:

  • Offers free trial for 14 Days
  • Sync photos across computer and mobile devices
  • Powerful AI
  • Excellent photo organizer
  • Easier to import photos compared to Lightroom
  • Built for professional photographers

Cons:

  • Price
  • Registration required for the free trial

Download On1 Photo RAW here.

Phototheca Photo Organizer

Phototheca is a picture organizing program that allows you to manage and edit your photos and videos. When importing your photos, Phototeca organizes them automatically by date and create events.
Adding and editing keywords to your photos allows you to organize everything the way you want. It was launched in 2012 as an alternative to FastStone and ACDSee but never really got to that level.
The pro version gives you even more features, including the ability to edit photos.

Platforms: Windows

Pros:

  • Offers free version
  • Keeps being updated
  • Facial recognition
  • Imports images from mobile devices

Cons:

  • Free version limited to 5000 images
  • Windows only
  • Claims to be better than Photos for Mac, but it’s for Windows only

Download Phototheca here.

4. Cloud-Based Digital Photo Organizer Services

Google Photos + Backup and Sync

Google Photos + Backup and Sync

Google Photos is used by over 500 million users at the time of writing this article. If you need a simple way to store and organize your photos wherever you are, this is a great option. If you have a Gmail account, you can access the free plan, which gives you 15GB of storage.

Google Photos replaced Picasa. Through the Backup and Sync app, you can instantly upload your images into folders at the click of a button. You can use it to keep your files in sync with Google drive too.
It is free to use, but you will need to pay for a plan if you need more storage.

The backup and sync app, will backup your photos from your computer or external devices and upload the backup to Google Drive and Photos.
The user interface is simple and similar to other Google products. You can create folders, organize your images by dates or names, and share with other people by inviting them with a simple click.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Unlimited storage on the free plan
  • Automatically backup phone photos
  • Easy to share photos
  • Great to keep photos in sync across all devices
  • Powerful photo search engine

Cons:

  • Start rating too basic
  • Lack of metadata edit
  • Photo compression at 16MP on the free version
  • The web version has limited functionalities

Download Google Photo here.

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Dropbox Desktop

Dropbox Desktop photo organizer

Dropbox desktop’s photo management efficiency makes for a compelling photo organizer system. Especially when combined with Dropbox’s file storage simplicity. If you already use Dropbox as file storage, you just need to download the free Dropbox desktop app.

Then you can automatically sync photos from your computer or hard drive to the cloud.
Dropbox Desktop lets you star files and folders, searching for images, and it recognizes tags added from Windows or Mac.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android, Linux

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Many add-ons available
  • Version control available
  • Free storage space available
  • Great to keep photos in sync across all devices

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • The free plan is limited
  • Received many complaints about performance
  • Not the most secure

Download Dropbox Desktop here.

Here’s What to do Next

photo organizer

I hope this article helped you pick the best photo organizer.
Let me know if you need help managing your digital photos or using one of the programs described above.

I want to ask you a question now.
Which one is your favorite photo managing software?
Reply by leaving a quick comment down below right now.

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Comments

  1. Stefano, thank you for the excellent article. You have clearly done your research! I am a hobbyist photographer, mainly travel and family. We have five children and therefore literally thousands of photos we have amassed over the course of their lives. I need an organizer which includes facial recognition so that I can sort photos by kid. Your article indicates that Magix includes facial recognition, but the website does not mention it. What software would you recommend for facial recognition?
    Thank you for your help,
    Shannon

    1. Author

      I’m glad you find it useful Shannon. Lightroom has face recognition built-in. It can detect and recognize faces so you can add tags. I might write a tutorial about it, but you can easily Google “Lightroom Face Recognition” and you’ll get plenty of info. If you don’t use Lightroom, I would suggest Movavi Photo Manager. It’s a bit more advanced than Magix, very user-friendly and not expensive at all. Let me know what you choose!

  2. Some of the great applications! I never knew about most of them, however, as a passionate photographer I usually click a lot of them. So, these tools are going to be helpful. Thanks a lot.

    1. Author

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked this list of organizers.

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