DigiKam, an image organizer
DigiKam, an image organizer

An image organizer or image management application is application software focused on organising digital images.[1][2] Image organizers represent one kind of desktop organizer software applications.

Image organizer software is primarily focused on improving the user's workflow by facilitating the handling of large numbers of images. In contrast to an image viewer, an image organizer has at least the additional ability to edit the image tags and often also an easy way to upload files to on-line hosting pages. Enterprises may use Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions to manage larger and broader amounts of digital media.

Some programs that come with desktop environments such as gThumb (GNOME) and digiKam (KDE) were originally programmed to be simple image viewers, and have since gained features to be used as image organizer as well.

Common image organizers features

Not so common, or differentiating features

Two categories of image organizers

Many commercial image organizers offer both automatic and manual image organization features. A comparison of image viewers reveals that many free software packages are available that offer most of the organization features available in commercial software.

Future of image organization

There are several imminent advances anticipated in the image organization domain which may soon allow widespread automatic assignment of keywords or image clustering based on image content:[4]

In general, these methods either:

Notable image organizers

Name OS Type License Metadata Geotagging Facial
Map display Synchronizes
with online
ACDSee Windows Proprietary Yes IPTC Exif XMP Yes Yes Yes ≤ 25 GB to ACDSee online, flickr, SmugMug,

and Zenfolio

Supports: >100 file formats, Unicode, batch processing, viewing contents of archives formats, non-destructive editing, DB export, R/W to CD, VCD, DVD. Contains: SMTP email client, FTP transport, duplicate file finder.
Adobe Photoshop Album Windows and macOS Proprietary Yes No No This product has been discontinued.
Adobe Photoshop Elements Organizer Windows and macOS Proprietary Yes Exif IPTC XMP Yes Yes Yes Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Email Component of Adobe Photoshop Elements. Also supports management and sharing of video clips.
Aperture (Apple) macOS local database Proprietary Yes Exif IPTC XMP Yes Yes Yes iCloud, Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug Discontinued, but still working on current OS
CodedColor PhotoStudio Pro Windows Proprietary Yes IPTC No No
DBGallery Windows Cloud and On-premise Proprietary Yes IPTC Exif XMP Yes No No Team features such as version control and activity logging. Support for very large collections (millions). Accessed using web browsers.
digiKam KDE (Linux, macOS, Windows) GPL Yes IPTC Exif XMP Yes Yes Yes Yes

23hq, Facebook, Flickr, Gallery2, Piwigo, SmugMug.

Image management application database, deals with collections of 100,000's of photos
FastStone Image Viewer Windows Freeware Yes Exif
Fotostation Windows, macOS Proprietary Yes No
F-Spot Unix GPL Yes discontinued in 2017
Geeqie Unix GPL Yes Yes No Yes No
Google Photos iOS, Android and Web Freeware Yes IPTC Yes Yes No Yes Integrated with Google online tool suite.
gThumb Unix GPL Yes No Yes
iPhoto macOS local database Proprietary Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes As of April 2015, this product has been discontinued. Superseded by Photos (Apple).
KPhotoAlbum Unix GPL Yes Yes No * Yes No * Has an option to tag faces on photo manually
PhotoQT Unix GPL Yes Yes No * Yes No * Has an option to tag faces on photo manually
Lightroom CC Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Web cloud-based database Proprietary Yes No No Yes not compatible with Lightroom Classic CC[10]
Lightroom Classic CC (LR 7) Windows and macOS catalogue-managed local folders Proprietary Yes IPTC Exif XMP Yes Yes Yes PicasaWeb, Flickr, Piwigo, SmugMug with


Professional image management application database, asynchronously catalog DVD collections of 10,000's of photos. Has built-in RAW Editor that allows to edit RAW images in batch
Phase One Media Pro Windows and macOS Proprietary Yes IPTC Exif XMP No No No Phase One Media Pro (discontinued) was a professional photo manager that makes it easy to manage both photo and video assets. Supports over 100 file formats. Asynchronously manage, add keywords and ratings to catalog with up to 500.000 photos.
Photos (Apple) macOS, iOS and Web cloud-based database Proprietary Yes No Yes Yes Yes Default photo manager for macOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS. Supports editing, iCloud, printing, sharing, searching.
Microsoft Photos Windows 8 and later Freeware No Yes No No Default photo manager for Windows 8 and later.
Picasa/PicasaWeb Windows, macOS and Linux Freeware Yes IPTC Yes Yes Yes (per folder) Yes (PicasaWeb only) 1 GB free online storage, integrated with Google online tool suite. Discontinued March 2016.
PicaJet Windows Proprietary Yes Exif IPTC XMP Yes Flickr, Fotki.com Multi-user database access, unlimited category-nesting levels, hiding private images, supports for more than 60 image file formats
Shotwell Linux LGPL Yes Exif IPTC XMP No No No Yes Facebook, Flickr, PicasaWeb, Piwigo non-destructive editing, one-click autoenhance
Shutterfly Studio Windows Freeware Yes
ViewMinder Windows XP and 2000 Proprietary Discontinued in 2007
Windows Photo Gallery Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Proprietary Yes IPTC Exif XMP Yes Yes Yes OneDrive, Facebook, Flickr, Inkubook plus more with plugins OneDrive offers 15 GB of free online storage (and extra 15 GB if automatic photo upload from smartphone is enabled). The latest version of the suite drops the Windows Live portion of the name and is no longer compatible with Windows XP or Windows Vista. Discontinued in 2017.
XnView Windows and Unix-like Freeware Yes IPTC Exif
Zoner Photo Studio Windows Proprietary Yes Exif IPTC XMP Yes No Using HTML templates
Digital Photo Professional Windows Proprietary
Aves Android local database BSD Yes Exif Yes No Yes
Gallery (Samsung Photos) Android local database Proprietary Yes Yes Yes Yes

See also


  1. ^ Cynthia Baron and Daniel Peck, The Little Digital Camera Book, July 1, 2002 pp:93
  2. ^ Julie Adair King, Shoot Like a Pro! Digital Photography July 28, 2003 pp:21-23
  3. ^ "Who’s got the tag? Database truth versus file truth" by Jon Udell 2007
  4. ^ http://www.oreillynet.com/digitalmedia/blog/2007/03/lightroom_and_the_future_of_or.html Lightroom and the future of organizing photos
  5. ^ http://www.ctr.columbia.edu/~jrsmith/html/pubs/PAMI/pami_final_1.html Archived 2008-03-13 at the Wayback Machine Automated Image Retrieval Using Color and Texture (1995)
  6. ^ http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1232330.1232374&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE Content-based object organization for efficient image retrieval in image databases (2006)
  7. ^ http://hcil.cs.umd.edu/trs/2004-15/2004-15.pdf Semi-Automatic Image Annotation Using Event and Torso Identification
  8. ^ http://www.ercim.org/publication/Ercim_News/enw62/wilcox.html Managing Digital Photo Collections
  9. ^ http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=957093 Temporal event clustering for digital photo collections
  10. ^ "Migrate photos and videos from Lightroom Classic CC to Lightroom CC". helpx.adobe.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30.

Further reading