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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gadget Bag: Keeping Track

Use the right software to get a handle on your ever-growing image library

Labels: GearMore GearGadget Bag

This Article Features Photo Zoom

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Adobe Photoshop
Lightroom 2
Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 2 is one of the most popular programs for organization and image processing. Lightroom 2 takes the best of Bridge and combines it with many of the commonly used features from Photoshop. Many nature photographers will find that Lightroom keeps them out of Photoshop for most images. You can keep your images organized in any number of ways, including Quick Collection selections, by folder and by Smart Collections, which can include star ratings, time frame, recent edits, keywords, notation by colors and many other definable terms that you can add yourself. You also can search through images by text and metadata information, like camera or lens types. List Price: $299.

Apple iPhoto ’09 has added some neat new intuitive features to a program that already was known for its easy-to-understand interface and its comprehensive abilities. Places is a new function that uses GPS data to categorize your images by location. Places also converts GPS location tags to more commonly used names, and you can add information yourself if you aren’t using GPS-capable cameras. iPhoto ’09 keeps images organized by project, folder, album and Smart Albums. By using criteria that you add—like rating, date, keywords, metadata, file status and, now, Faces and Places—iPhoto automatically groups together images that meet these conditions. Available with the iLife ’09 Media Suite, iPhoto ’09 also makes it seamless to migrate image collections to an online Apple MobileMe gallery. List Price: $79 (Single User); $99 (Family Pack).

Apple’s Aperture 2 program is the much bigger brother of iPhoto. Aimed at advanced amateurs and pros, Aperture allows you to browse through images fast, and the stacks approach to organization keeps the screen uncluttered as you work. Stacks is like a deck of cards—you can move around images and group them together in the interface. If you have images that are similar, you can place them together as a “stack” that keeps your favorite on top, and the rest neatly tucked away. Adding searchable terms and metadata is simple. Newly added functionality for using plug-ins makes Aperture an even more powerful tool for nature photographers. List Price: $199.

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