We are frequently asked what we use to manage our own photos.  While that is a very good question it has many answers depending on the situation. Over the years we have changed software and tactics to achieve that perfect balance of speed and functionality. We use keywords to identify people and events in our photos.  We found Adobe Bridge and Microsoft OneDrive work best for us.  Both applications are free and allow us to maintain keywords/tags in our photo library. Bridge maintains a hierarchical list of all keywords previously used.  This permits the user to select multiple photos and add keywords to them with a simple click of an existing keyword or adding a new one. As photos are tagged with keywords Bridge is simultaneously updating the files on disk without having to run any type of sync or action from the viewing application.


We store our photo library in folders on OneDrive, by year and event. Bridge and OneDrive allow the user to access and edit the library from mac, pc desktop/laptop and mobile devices like an iPhone. Adobe Lightroom is another software that has many great features, however, the user is limited to only working from one device.  Otherwise, Adobe Lightroom would be our software choice over Bridge.  This is a huge limitation when you are working with large libraries and multiple devices. 

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Once photos are stored tagged, searching for that special memory in your files becomes much easier.  You can use the search feature in Windows File Explore and/or Apple OSX. On an iPhone use “tag:” identifier example:”Tag:(Ayva  AND (Yeti  OR Nana))” or Apple Finder for example:”Keyword:Ayva AND Yeti AND Nana”. On the mac, you can use the “+” under search to add different criteria to the search. Note: you have to add Keyword to the criteria by clicking on other, search for a keyword then checking its box so it will show up in the list.  



We have over 17,000 photos and can narrow our search to less than 100 tagged photos in seconds.

Another plus to this method of photo management is that files are left in the folders you store them in until you chose to move them.  There is no “import” you must go through where your files are all moved into an internal database and hidden folders like Google Photos and Apple Photos have adopted.  We also found when using Apple photos is while photos are searchable in Apple Finder and Apples Photos Application they are not in photos that are shared.  If you share your photo library with your spouse in Apple Photos all of the keywords are removed and not searchable. The same is true of Adobe Lightroom’s Mobile app there is no keyword search.  While sharing my Microsoft OneDrive photos directory with my spouse gives her all the perks that I have as far as searching and syncing to the newest photos we have taken.


While this may not be the perfect combination for everyone we find it works quite well for us as it is cross-platform, searchable, and auto backs up to multiple locations.  While working with many different photo management software over the years we can help guide you to something that works for your needs.   Give us a call and let talk photos!