Does anyone know of an application to store vast amounts of images/photos, along with EXIF data, relevant tags and descriptions of each image. Preferably with some good search capabilities and batch edit options.

It can be Linux based (am using Mint) or Windows based.

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  • 1
    Except for the batch-processing requirement, Picasa would probably fit. – nik Sep 14 '09 at 11:38
  • I've had a look at some of those applikations. They are really good suggestions :o) I just lack a bit an option to get a good view of at least one but preferebly more pictures and their comment/description (could also show tags but thats not as important). The ones I've seen so far you have to rightclick and select properties to view them or some other option that does not support easy printing. The projact at hand is handling a lot of old family photos and the description of the pictures are very important (who's on, where is it, whats going on, any historical comments etc.) – noesgard Sep 17 '09 at 11:07

11 Answers 11


Adobe's Lightroom is probably the premium option for what you after after there, currently Lightroom 3 beta is available as a free download, works until end April 2010,

  • I've actually gone for this solution - it's costly but I found a good offer and it provides so many other benefits. Thank you all for the great input and ideas for getting the most out of the Camera data. – noesgard Nov 18 '11 at 12:46

The easiest and cheapest way is to just use Picasa. It has a lot of options, it works with EXIF data, has the ability to tag photos and has a pretty good search functionality (it is made by Google, so no surprise there). If you want something more powerful, you could try ACDSee. It has way more functionality, but it comes at a cost.

A few more details about Picasa, from Wikipedia:

For organizing photos, Picasa has file importing and tracking features, as well as tags and collections for further sorting. It also offers several basic photo editing functions, including color enhancement, red eye reduction and cropping. Other features include slide shows, printing and image timelines. Images can also be prepared for external use, such as for e-mailing or printing, by reducing file size and setting up page layouts. There is also integration with online photo printing services.

And regarding search:

Picasa has a search bar that is always visible when viewing the library. Searches are live in that displayed items are filtered as you type.

  • Does Picasa support tags and descriptions? – noesgard Sep 14 '09 at 12:24
  • @noesgard, tags and comments are supported in Picasa. – nik Sep 14 '09 at 12:26
  • Yes, they are supported. – alex Sep 14 '09 at 12:37
  • Been playing with Picasa for a while and though a general good application for managing images, it's not that handy with tagging and batch editing does not really work – noesgard Sep 16 '09 at 11:49
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    Picasa stores too much information local to the user and not with the images. That information isn't shared with other computers that are looking at the same images. You also lose a lot of information if you move your files to a new computer. – bruceatk Oct 24 '09 at 22:06

iVew MediaPro is an industrial-strength app that is perfect for your needs. It handles large numbers of images and huge piles of metadata like nobody's business. They were recently acquired by Microsoft and their product is now known as Microsoft Expression Media. I believe they have a free trial download available, so you can "try before you buy."

  • Found Expression Studio but that seems a bit overkill for private/non-commercial use (all the other features and a rather heavy price tag) – noesgard Sep 14 '09 at 11:52
  • OK, your question did not state the use case (personal or business), so (for whatever reason) I assumed business. Sorry, my bad. – Donald Burr Sep 14 '09 at 12:49
  • It's not bad but I didn't find the exact product you descriped only the suite of products and they have a lot of features I don't need in this case. The media product might be relevant but is it uptainable as standalone product? – noesgard Sep 14 '09 at 13:18

If you want a free tool, then I would suggest Windows Live Photo Gallery over Picasa. Picasa does not handle image metadata (IPTC and Exif) particularly well, and it doesn't even know about XMP metadata. WLPG, on the other hand is much better in this respect.

If you're prepared to pay for a decent tool, then the best I've found is IDimager. Its support for, and handling of, metadata is excellent, and has both batch and scripting capabilities. Version 5, currently in beta, adds face recognition capabilities.


XnView has all this: descriptions, categories (several can be assigned to the same pictures, so it works like tags), support for EXIF and IPTC data, ... . It has a search tool to search through all this.

It's for Windows and it's free.


I used to use iMatch. It's a great program -- the only reasons I stopped was that I knew I was getting a Macintosh (it's windows only) and I had some peculiar database requirements that led me to develop my own photo database since I'm almost sure I can't use a standard program to get what I want.

p.s. iMatch's tagging support is superb. You basically set up a hierarchy of custom tags and you get this window with a tree of checkboxes that you can just click both to tag photos, and to see all the photos associated with a particular tag.


To continue the line of free software for Windows next to XnView, FastStone and Picasa I would recommend to check one more photo organizing software - Phototheca (I participated in creation of this app)

It has lot of capabilities to organize photos, supports EXIF and IPTC metadata and lets to read and write tags and description of photo, and those tags could be read by any software supports IPTC later. Search engine is able to search by tags, description, date and camera model or to create complex query with many other parameters. It has some unique features - "calendar" and "timeline" to browse or search photos through time.

What is also good that it has modern user interface instead of interface "from 90's" and doesn't require tons of mouse clicks to get things done.

Below is a screenshot: enter image description here


You can try Windows Live Photo Gallery - it supports tagging ( including people tagging & custom tags) stores all EXIF data, search on pretty much anything ( picture taken date / month / year, tags et al), and got support for plugins as well. You can also publish them Live Mesh, facebook & flickr.


you can use FastStone Image Viewer. Its far more capable of managing & editing images than what the name suggests.

See this. This is the Windows version.

  • I've taken a look but I can't seem to find out how to add comments/description to the images? – noesgard Sep 21 '09 at 6:36
  • open the image -> hover toward the right side of the screen -> you can add EXIF data and comments there. Here is a screenshot: imgur.com/VcHaA.jpg Hope that helps. – Lazer Sep 21 '09 at 10:33
  • this screenshot is while working in fullscreen mode [View->fullscreen] If you are not in fullscreenmode these menus can be accessed through Edit->Jpeg comment and View-> Image Properties – Lazer Sep 21 '09 at 10:38

I am using BonAView for the similar tasks. It doesn't touch the actual photo files, I just can store additional details for them in a database. I am assigning my photos to virtual albums, tag people on photos and writing short descriptions for the photos.

BonAView is available for Windows only. And it is free.


We use ImageRanger which has a built-in image search engine. Indexing, viewing is very fast and you can use any EXIF data to run complex search scenarios. As far as I know there is no internal database, all files remain in your original folders.

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