I spent the evening hours of many days in October looking for a photo management and sharing solution. I tried a lot of software, workflows, web applications, mobile apps, etc. It was tedious and a little frustrating. I was surprised at how incomplete most of the options were. I had hoped for a one-app-does-it-all solution, but after a great deal of exploring, I’m quite happy with the Aperture + Picasa combination to meet my photo storing and sharing needs.
Before I get into why I picked Aperture and Picasa, let me explain my specific needs:
- I Need to Manage Professional Grade Photos – By no measure am I a pro photographer, but I have a nice camera (Canon T2i w/ 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses). I bought it in January and I’ve really enjoyed taking high quality photos. I’m currently shopping around for nicer lenses and possibly a camera upgrade. The bottom line is I have good equipment and it’s getting better. I take between 100-1000 photos a month with each photo over 10 MB. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to my photos. Aside from the obvious terrible pictures, I tend to keep them all. I need a management application capable of handling thousands of large photos.
- I Want to Share Some Photos with Lots of People – I’d like to have a workflow where I put the photos on my computer, review them, pick the ones I want to share, and share them. The faster this process the better. Also, after I post them, I’d like to be able to make tweaks/edits, add meta data, etc., locally (i.e., without needing an Internet connection) and then at some point have them sync up with little/no effort. I don’t want the sync to override what others have done online, e.g., tagging, comments, etc., i.e., it should be a true sync rather than a re-upload.
- I Have an Existing Backup Solution – I use Crashplan to backup my computer. It’s awesome and I highly recommend it. As such, I don’t need either my management or sharing applications to worry too much about backup. What I do care about is the ability to quickly make local copies, e.g., copy everything to a separate drive. I don’t consider this backup as it wouldn’t do me any good if my house burned down, but it’s good if a library gets corrupted, deleted, etc., simply because it’s faster. Ultimately, I don’t need to have 100% of my photos backed up at full quality using the same service with which I share photos (but if it does that, then great!).