August 06, 2006 | Elijah Taylor
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If you decide to go on the hunt for an app to help organize your digital photos you could easily be overwhelmed with all the freeware and junkware floating around the web. While many claim to be the the "Ultimate Photo Manager", there are really only a couple of choices for those who want to do more with their photos than just browse and print them.
PicaJet is a programme that I found (while googling) for what people consider to be the best Photo Management tool around. It came down to PicaJet, Picasa (by google), and ACDSee. Having previously used Picasa I knew exactly what I did and did not want in a Photo Manager. I consider myself to have completed the search for a tool that fits the bill in finding PicaJet.
At $39.99 for the full version, you might be tempted to stick with a lesser programme such as Picasa, however there are two or three main things that make PicaJet stand out among other programmes of this sort. If you combine those along with all the standard features that you might expect you have a winning package.
- Categories: A way to organize photos using categories (or tags).
- Ease of use: They nailed the mix of features and ease of use (not always easy)
- EXIF data: The ability to view, sort by, and update the existing meta data ("headers") of a given photo.
- Grouping: Group based on date taken, date imported, local folder, and much more.
- Importing: A simple way to import photos from your camera with a couple of steps.
- Editing: The ability to do basic photo manipulation on one or multiple photos.
- Printing: Bringing your photos into the real world so that you can enjoy them all the time.
- Sharing: The ability to distribute your photos easily via email, cd's, the web and more.
As with many pieces of great software around today, PicaJet has a thriving forum community with responsive and present developers who will personally respond to questions and features requests, even for users of the free version.
PicaJet has a wonderful system for categorizing your photos. Some programmes have the ability to use Keywords (such as Picasa) or tags, however the hierarchical (or tree) method that PicaJet uses to categorize your photos, opens up a whole new world of organization.
As you can see in the screenshots below I have selected the category for my daughter Eden. This causes only photos in this category to appear in the reults on the right. By holding ctrl and clicking on another category, I could select as many categories as I would like to further trim down the results on the right. For example I could again select Eden and Florida, and I would be shown only photos that matched both of those categories. You can also select any given parent category, in this example Kids to show photos that have either Eden or James in them. At any point you may also exclude any category by right-clicking on it and choosing to exclude it from the results.
To assign a photo to a given category simply select the photo (or photos) and then click on the little paper clip symbol next to the desired category, then click again on your selected photos. To top all of this off PicaJet will save all the category info including the categories structure into the photos own meta data (headers) so that it is readable by other programmes and websites (i.e. Flickr).
Now make no mistake there is definitely a time investment in categorizing your photos (more time the more complex you make your categories), however taking this time now will save you tons of time in looking for what you want in the future.
One of the key features lacking in Picasa is the ability to group your photos other than by date. With PicaJet you are given the choice to group photos based on the following criteria:
Created Date (month, day, hour)
Modified Date (month, day, hour)
EXIF Date (month, day, hour)
Folder on disk
In the screenshot below I have the same images as in the previous screenshot (Eden only) however this time they are grouped based on the hour they were taken.