Some of My Favorite Software Programs

“How do you back up your pictures?” asked the lady in the second row.

“Do you use Lightroom?” asked another attendee during a presentation at a photo event at which I was presenting.

“How do you keep track of your pictures?”

I get these kinds of questions all the time. So, in case you have similar questions, here’s a list of some of my favorite computer programs (and I have no financial interest in any of them):

Photo Mechanic: Originally designed for photo journalists, Photo Mechanic is a speedy image browser that I use when I’m on the road to download my images to my laptop and a portable hard drive. I use it to caption my images before I return to the office (and before I forget the names of the subjects that I just photographed). I do not do any image processing while on the road; I prefer using my large monitor in the office for that. Once back in my office I use PM to edit, renumber and keyword all my images. Price: $150.00

2. Daminion: Daminion is what’s called a digital asset management (DAM) program. That’s fancy talk for what is basically an electronic card catalog. Daminion is where my entire image collection lives (after I made my selection in PM), and I use it to quickly look for and find images for either processing or prepare a submission to publications. Prices start at zero for up to 15,000 images (tough to beat free), $19.95 for 25,000. They have other plans for bigger collections.

3. Photoshop: This is where the magic happens. Made by Adobe, Photoshop is the biggest “playah” in the image processing world, the Chop Magic Chopper (“you can slice them and dice them!”) of editing, you get the picture. I use Photoshop to clean and crop my images, control saturation, apply contrast, adjust white balance, and engage in other digital sorcery as needed. Price: Plans start at $9.99 per month.

 Fireworks, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

4. Insightly: Insightly is what’s called a CRM (customer relationship management) program. It keeps track of customers (in my case, publishers, photo editors, art directors and other photo buyers), their contact information, the communications you’ve had with them, invoicing, status of projects, etc. It is an invaluable tool if you are serious about your photo business. Price: Free for up to 2,500 contacts (most of us will never need more than that) and 2 users. Paid plans start at $12/month.

5. Backblaze: Backblaze is a cloud storage program. I use it as my off-site back up for all my pictures (just in case). The program backs up all my new work automatically on a daily basis, and it sends me a reminder when it does so. “Buttah”. Price: Plans start at $5/month. Cheap insurance.

6. Icon Restore: This little program is a life saver. It allows you to save the placement of all your desktop icons, so when they become scrambled for whatever reason, you can get them back to where they were with one click. I especially like it on my laptop (a PC). I give a lot of presentations and if I’m scheduled after an Apple user, the scramble is on (Apple products do not play well with others). With Icon Restore I’m back in business in a flash. Price: Free.

Now get out and shoot something.