Best Photo Management Software for Your Business
Businesses, on top of their usual marketing turnover, have had to drastically rehaul the photography they use to more accurately reflect the current world.
This requires taking a lot of pictures.
Camera technology has come so far that even an everyday mobile phone can take a better photo than a high-end camera 10 years ago.
This increase in photo quality comes with an increase in file size and complexity, which can only truly be utilised with specialised photo management software.
A simple way to think of such software is as a large, online photo album with access for multiple people.
Uploading your photographs to specialised photo management software means you can keep track of favourites, organise them into folders that suit the business best and send them to others who need or will appreciate them.
This article looks at what photo management software is, how you can use it for your business and the key features to look out for, as well as some recommended software options if you are ready to implement.
Plus, it includes some general organisational tips for handling lots of images.
Photo management software is designed to store images in the cloud.
Cloud storage software means off-site, online, remote storage that sits with a third-party hosting provider, rather than on your computer or hard drive.
This frees up space on your phone/computer, hard drive and memory cards. Plus your photos will be consolidated into one space and not scattered across multiple storage mediums.
With unlimited potential storage, businesses can save time, money and space by collating all data, documents, images and much more in one central location.
Most cloud software can be accessed via an app or website, both on computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Many photo management software programs also offer additional features, from editing facilities to labelling and tagging to help further categorise photos.
Multiple people can also access photos stored in such software too, making it useful for businesses as well as individuals.
Pretty much every business has logos, website graphics and brand photography, and many deal with lots of other types of image-based content.
Even for the smallest business, managing photography is essential to ensure your marketing runs smoothly.
Free options may suffice for small businesses with a smaller bank of photos; but a paid subscription can offer additional features that will be useful for businesses that focus on graphic design, photography, content/publishing or marketing.
You may feel there is no need to change from your current system of multiple disc drives, USB sticks and people's laptops because it has worked so far.
But here are just a few of the benefits of having a photo management software system in place; read on to see if it is time to upgrade.
With enough storage, your business's entire image collection can be kept in one place.
There will be no need for racks of external storage devices or overfull computer drives.
Photo management systems, due to being stored on the cloud, can allow anyone anywhere to access the photos, provided they have permission.
This is perfect for those companies offering flexible working as employees can work from anywhere and still have remote access to the photo bank from their laptops or phones.
Photo management software will save your business time.
Provided your team keeps the software organised, it becomes the go-to place to find any required photos.
This will be beneficial for anyone in charge of website and marketing materials who will need frequent use of the software.
A well-organised photo repository means finding particular photos will be a snap.
With photo management software, you can organise images into folders based on client, type of image, location, user, business function, keyword or date.
Some even allow tagging or labelling to allow images to be categorised in multiple folders at once or to be found with a keyword search.
Having your images so intuitively organised may also inspire upgrading and streamlining in other parts of the business.
How often on a shared hard drive are there multiple versions of the same photo?
Consider the scenario: you have an image of a childrens' play party where there were clowns and dogs. Different members of staff have shared the image and organised it according to the element most relevant to them.
The team working on an animal-themed campaign saves it under 'Dog' and 'Animals', another team saves it under 'Children' and 'Parties' and another staff member who received it puts it in the 'Do Not Open' folder because they are scared of clowns.
This has resulted in one image being saved in at least five locations, under different names and folders, to account for everybody's needs.
With photo management software, the image would only be saved in a single location, because it could be tagged with keywords for ease of finding or hiding by staff members.
Photo management software usually integrates well with other programmes.
For example, many allow easy transfer to and from graphics editing software while remaining stored on the cloud. This allows the graphic design team working on the images to only download what they need when they need it.
Many of these types of software also integrate with content management systems, adding another important level to your business's organisation.
Finally, many also allow direct posting to social media, websites and online shops, making it much easier to upload content for customers to view.
Many photo management software have editing capabilities embedded.
These range from simplistic, basic features that allow you to resize and crop.
Others are much more advanced. These are best known as editing software first and management software second.
Many people know the pain of pouring coffee on their laptops and losing so much hard work and data. The hurt is even worse when it's a business storage server that breaks.
Due to being stored on the cloud, each photo management software will offer some ability to back up and restore if you lose local copies of your files or even if your whole system goes down.
All should automatically back up regularly so you don't have to remember to sync your content manually every day.
However, best backup practice does ask for two backups plus the original file of important documents, so a local hard copy is sometimes still necessary.
If your business needs to implement photo management now, read ahead for some recommendations.
Two recommendations have solid free options or trials, with premium tiers with more options, and the other two are paid-for at different price points.
Generally speaking, the more storage and features you require, the more you will have to pay.
Best for: Small businesses and start-ups; beginners
Cost: 15 GB free; 100 GB for £15.99/year; 2 TB for £79.99/year
If you’re looking for a free option, you can’t go wrong with Google Photos.
Many businesses already use Google Drive to store files; their photo-specific offering is very similar.
You are limited with storage (you can increase for a fee) but, for most small businesses, the free 15 GB is more than enough.
To save space, Google Photos offers automatic compression for uploaded photos and videos. Photos are compressed to 16 MP and videos to 1080p.
However, if you need your original quality and size, you can keep them at that size and just be aware they will take up more space.
It syncs images across any device that you log in to with your Google account. Therefore, a business can have a single Google account that all employees can log in to for access to the images.
The interface is simple to understand and organise, with a search bar function and folders to help you organise your images.
You can add tags to images, making it easier to search for them, as well as add in location, events and people featured in the photos. Google sometimes adds these automatically.
It offers simple editing tools, suitable for novices, that allow you to perform actions like cropping, resizing, perspective fixing and applying filters.
It’s easy to share images between people too either using their email address or sharing a link with them.
If your business is unsure if they need a photo management system in place, try Google Photos first.
Best for: Beginners
Cost: Free 30-day trial, then £34.99
Magix offers multiple photo-focused software. Magix Photo Manager is perfect for beginners and those who have not used photo management software before.
It costs £34.99 and offers a 30-day free trial to see if it's the one for you.
Using cloud storage, Photo Manager allows users to organise and edit images quickly with a simple interface.
It is simple to import images from other cloud storage software.
Photo Manager can automatically remove out-of-focus or blurry shots, so they don't need to take up storage space.
The editing features include sharpening, filters and effects, perspective correction and horizon levelling. It also has facial recognition abilities that work with its editing features.
You can also make slideshows that include videos and music.
You can use categories and collections to organise your images. Images can be assigned to multiple collections without being uploaded more than once.
The sharing tool allows users to share images and videos straight to social media channels too, such as Youtube.
Best for: Photographers; those with lots of images
Cost: Annual plans, paid for monthly – Lightroom (1 TB) and Photography Plan (20 GB), £9.98/month; Photography Plan (1 TB), £19.97
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is aimed towards people who take and process a lot of images and is generally regarded as one of the best photo-editing software out there.
If you are a self-employed photographer, this is likely the best offering for you.
Adobe offers Lightroom as part of three packages – Photography Plan (20 GB), Photography Plan (1 TB), Lightroom (1 TB) – depending on how much storage you need and if you want it bundled with Photoshop in the Photography Plans.
For larger businesses, more storage can be purchased at any time.
If you want to expand your skills or need help, there are plenty of tutorials on offer.
It saves a separate copy of each photo every time you make changes, which is great for maintaining backups as you cannot accidentally save over your original.
Labels and tags allow for easy and maintainable organisation.
You can work on the same image over multiple devices, including Windows, Mac/iOS and Android. Images can also be shared with others through email, where you can choose to let them just view or also edit.
4. Adobe Bridge
Best for: Businesses; those who use a lot of Adobe products
Cost: Only available through Adobe's Creative Cloud packaging, starting at £49.94/month for individuals and £59/month for businesses
If you’re looking for something a bit more technical than Lightroom, Adobe Bridge is their more advanced photo management software for those businesses that rely heavily on images.
Bridge can edit, preview and publish multiple images quickly. Images can also be exported and renamed in bulk.
The use of tags and labels allows for quick searches and effective organisation.
As suggested in the name, it aims to be a 'bridge' between multiple Adobe applications.
It allows you to open up photos directly into other Adobe apps without having to move items across. It particularly integrates with InDesign, Portfolio and Illustrator.
This, plus Bridge only being available through Adobe's Creative Cloud package, makes it best for those who already use Adobe's products, such as Acrobat DC or After Effects.
Apps on iPhone and Android make accessing the software and your images possible wherever you are.
Gather all the photos together – You may have them stored on multiple computers, external hard drives, memory sticks, mobile phones and memory cards.
Sift through the photos before collating them – Get rid of irrelevant pictures, duplicates and low-quality images you no longer need. Certain software can automate this, such as Magix Photo Manager, by removing out-of-focus or blurry photos.
Organise all images in one place – Upload them all onto one photo management software system; use an external hard drive as a backup for the most important ones.
Use labels, tags and folders – Choose a system that will work for your business. Organise photos by date, client or type of image, and add labels with keywords for easy searching later. Make sure all staff members who use the software follow the same keyword system.
Put a naming convention in place – This is foundational to maintaining future organisation. Go through when adding labels and change all file names to display the same information in a compact format. This will likely be the date, location, subject and perhaps photographer, resulting in something like '20200321-Fort William-Ben Nevis-James Smith.png'.
Declutter by folder – After organising, you might find even more duplicates as well as copies of high-resolution images in a lower resolution or multiple sizes. It is best to only keep the highest-quality copy, which can be resized without loss later, and not lower quality files.
Keep it organised – There is no point in implementing such a system if it will not be kept organised. Do a thorough declutter once a month. Use this time to back up the entire library again as any new uploads will now be included, even if you have automatic backups turned on.
Photo management software is a useful tool to have if your business handles images regularly.
You will be able to collate the images from every computer and hard drive into one place with all staff able to access it at one central point.
Employers can limit access to certain folders if need be but it is crucial for staff to be able to share images and videos across departments to save time in this rapidly changing world.