Author Topic: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?  (Read 7142 times)

Offline JenniferRT66

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Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« on: March 12, 2009, 05:22:02 pm »
Good evening!

I am interested in possible getting PhotoMechanic, but I have a few questions first. I'll briefly explain my workflow, in hopes someone can help.  I have tried many products, but can't seem to find something that works and fits all my needs.

I have a Nikon D50 and primarily shoot RAW (Nikon .NEF). The process I do for my photos is as follows:

-Use RoboGeo to batch geotag photos (NEF)
-Use Adobe Bridge to:
     - batch add IPTC information that I have stored in Bridge (Copyright, website, my name, etc.);
     - add keywords
     - Decide which photos will make the "cut" for further processing and uploading to flickr (I rate them 5 stars)
- Use Camera Raw to edit  RAW files, then open in PhotoShop for further editing, save as JPG when finished. GPS info, keywords, and IPTC info always make it to final JPG for me.
-After /during uploading final JPGs to Flickr, color code them green to indicate that they are in Flickr

All of this has worked well for me up to now. Here is the only thing I am having trouble with, and so far have found nothing I can do to solve this problem. My ONLY problem is I cannot quickly and easily search for photos based on keywords / tags. I rely on the tags heavily and would like to find all photos with certain attributes, wherever they are located. Bridge is horrible for this. It is not indexing my files. I can search and it takes a while and I end up with a few images when there should be hundreds or more.

I tried Picasa and that worked great for searching for photos. I would update a photo with keywords in one window in Bridge, and Picasa would instantly update. I could search and find something in seconds. The only problem there is that when I geotag with RoboGeo, RoboGeo won't write the files correctly with Picasa running. It barks an error, creates a file with a TMP extension added; but the file otherwise seems fine...I can rename them all and I believe move on with the remaining steps...but it seems like a hassle to keep getting the error and removing the "TMP" from the files. RoboGeo says it's Picasa's issue, because it constantly monitors the folders and somehow has this issue when RoboGeo writes the files. I even tried putting the original NEF files in a directory NOT indexed by Picasa, geotagging them and then moving them, but with Picasa running, Robogeo has the problem. The two programs don't want to play nicely with each other, so I gave up on Picasa.

I would like a photo gallery/management program that can do what Bridge does (i.e., keyword tagging - not geotagging), batch IPTC, etc. Hopefully, I would be able to first geotag my photos with Robogeo, then use PhotoMechanic to do the IPTC info and keyword tagging. I would also like to be able to search all my files, JPG and NEF files, by keywords and find them quickly.

I apologize for the length of this e-mail, but I have searched Google and tried several other products (wasted money on one too), and wanted to give as much info as possible in hopes of finding the right product.

Thanks,

Jennifer

Offline Kirk Baker

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 06:17:55 pm »
Jennifer,

I am interested in possible getting PhotoMechanic, but I have a few questions first. I'll briefly explain my workflow, in hopes someone can help.  I have tried many products, but can't seem to find something that works and fits all my needs.

I have a Nikon D50 and primarily shoot RAW (Nikon .NEF). The process I do for my photos is as follows:

-Use RoboGeo to batch geotag photos (NEF)
-Use Adobe Bridge to:
     - batch add IPTC information that I have stored in Bridge (Copyright, website, my name, etc.);
     - add keywords
     - Decide which photos will make the "cut" for further processing and uploading to flickr (I rate them 5 stars)
- Use Camera Raw to edit  RAW files, then open in PhotoShop for further editing, save as JPG when finished. GPS info, keywords, and IPTC info always make it to final JPG for me.
-After /during uploading final JPGs to Flickr, color code them green to indicate that they are in Flickr

All of this has worked well for me up to now. Here is the only thing I am having trouble with, and so far have found nothing I can do to solve this problem. My ONLY problem is I cannot quickly and easily search for photos based on keywords / tags. I rely on the tags heavily and would like to find all photos with certain attributes, wherever they are located. Bridge is horrible for this. It is not indexing my files. I can search and it takes a while and I end up with a few images when there should be hundreds or more.

I tried Picasa and that worked great for searching for photos. I would update a photo with keywords in one window in Bridge, and Picasa would instantly update. I could search and find something in seconds. The only problem there is that when I geotag with RoboGeo, RoboGeo won't write the files correctly with Picasa running. It barks an error, creates a file with a TMP extension added; but the file otherwise seems fine...I can rename them all and I believe move on with the remaining steps...but it seems like a hassle to keep getting the error and removing the "TMP" from the files. RoboGeo says it's Picasa's issue, because it constantly monitors the folders and somehow has this issue when RoboGeo writes the files. I even tried putting the original NEF files in a directory NOT indexed by Picasa, geotagging them and then moving them, but with Picasa running, Robogeo has the problem. The two programs don't want to play nicely with each other, so I gave up on Picasa.

I would like a photo gallery/management program that can do what Bridge does (i.e., keyword tagging - not geotagging), batch IPTC, etc. Hopefully, I would be able to first geotag my photos with Robogeo, then use PhotoMechanic to do the IPTC info and keyword tagging. I would also like to be able to search all my files, JPG and NEF files, by keywords and find them quickly.

Photo Mechanic 4.6 can do your GPS tagging.  It can batch add IPTC information more powerfully than Bridge.  It can keyword with both hierarchical and flat keyword lists.  It is far faster than Bridge and will allow you to more quickly determine which files are keepers.  It also has a 5-star rating system and color labels that can be made compatible with Bridge.  It can directly upload to Flickr with its Flickr Uploader template.

But Photo Mechanic cannot currently index your files to enable fast searching for color labels.  It's something we're working on but it won't be available in the near term.  So if you decide to go with Photo Mechanic you'll still need a cataloging solution to go along with it.

HTH,

-Kirk

Offline JenniferRT66

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 07:54:13 pm »
Hi Kirk,

Thanks for the reply. Will it geotag from a GPX file? I am manually geotagging my old photos as I have time; however, on new photos, when I travel, I am tracking with my GPS and using the resulting GPX file to geotag my photos.

As far as indexing and searching by color coding, that's not a deal-breaker at all...I usually browse a folder and view the color code "at a glance" only. In fact, I typically also tag my photos with a "Flickr" tag as well. So, if I really want to search for all of my photos on Flickr, I could search on that tag.

I can quickly search on keyword terms?  That's what I really want to do...I'd like to be able to quickly find, for example, all photos tagged "Route 66" or route 66 + motel, etc...


Offline Kirk Baker

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 08:54:20 pm »
Jennifer,

Thanks for the reply. Will it geotag from a GPX file? I am manually geotagging my old photos as I have time; however, on new photos, when I travel, I am tracking with my GPS and using the resulting GPX file to geotag my photos.

Yes, GPX is one of the formats supported by the Import GPS Coordinates dialog.

Quote from: JenniferRT66
As far as indexing and searching by color coding, that's not a deal-breaker at all...I usually browse a folder and view the color code "at a glance" only. In fact, I typically also tag my photos with a "Flickr" tag as well. So, if I really want to search for all of my photos on Flickr, I could search on that tag.

I can quickly search on keyword terms?  That's what I really want to do...I'd like to be able to quickly find, for example, all photos tagged "Route 66" or route 66 + motel, etc...

If you have Photo Mechanic running Mac OS X, you can search your system for specific keywords.  On Windows we don't have that feature.  If you can open the folder (or several folders) into a single contact sheet tab, you can use the Find panel to search quickly on both Mac OS X and Windows.  So it depends on your OS and whether or not you can open the folders first to perform your search.

-Kirk

Offline JenniferRT66

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2009, 07:58:15 am »
If you have Photo Mechanic running Mac OS X, you can search your system for specific keywords.  On Windows we don't have that feature.  If you can open the folder (or several folders) into a single contact sheet tab, you can use the Find panel to search quickly on both Mac OS X and Windows.  So it depends on your OS and whether or not you can open the folders first to perform your search.

-Kirk


I don't have a Mac, my computer has Windows Vista. I guess I would have to try what you are talking about to open several photos into a single contact sheet tab and search.

The way my photos are organized is as follows:

MAIN FOLDER:
-Digital Photographs

Next level of subfolders by year:
- 2002
- 2003, etc. through
- 2009

Next level:
 - 20090312_Route_66_Oklahoma
and so on.

Every photo shoot, road trip, etc. has a subfolder underneath the year. So, I would like to be able to search from the op level "DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH ARCHIVES" and find all photos meeting certain criteria of my choosing. Right now, I have to always remember what trip, when it was, and browse to the folder.

I'll try the program, and if I have any questions or need advice to help me accomplish the search, I'll post back.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 06:11:22 am by JenniferRT66 »

Offline Kirk Baker

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 08:03:18 am »
Jennifer,

If you have Photo Mechanic running Mac OS X, you can search your system for specific keywords.  On Windows we don't have that feature.  If you can open the folder (or several folders) into a single contact sheet tab, you can use the Find panel to search quickly on both Mac OS X and Windows.  So it depends on your OS and whether or not you can open the folders first to perform your search.

I don't have a Mac, my computer has Windows Vista. I guess I would have to try what you are talking about to open several photos into a single contact sheet tab and search.

The way my photos are organized is as follows:

MAIN FOLDER:
-Digital Photographs

Next level of subfolders by year:
- 2002
- 2003, etc. through
- 2009

Next level:
 - 20090312_Route_66_Oklahoma
and so on.

Every photo shoot, road trip, etc. has a subfolder underneath the year. So, I would like to be able to search from the op level "DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH ARCHIVES" and find all photos meeting certain criteria of my choosing. Right now, I have to always remember what trip, when it was, and browse to the folder.

CanI'll try the program, and if I have any questions or need advice to help me accomplish the search, I'll post back.

You can right-click on the "DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH ARCHIVES" folder and open it and its sub-folders into a single Contact Sheet tab and then perform your Find.  Please note that if you have more than 30,000 photos in that set of folders that PM may become unresponsive and even might crash.  Photo Mechanic was not designed to handle more than about 30,000 files at a time.  In that case you could open your yearly folders and their sub-folders into a single Contact Sheet.  Then you wouldn't need to remember the month or the day, just the year.

HTH,

-Kirk

Offline JAS Photo

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2009, 06:08:53 pm »
Kirk -
I have a worked around for "Photo Mechanic cannot currently index your files to enable fast searching for color labels."

I use one of the the IPTC stationary pad fields (supp cat 3) to set & store a color code ID (CC{colorclassval}) - Say CC3 for orange - then apply my captions.

I use picassa3 to find CC3 and all images that are orange show up. It works great.

Joe
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http://www.JASPhoto.com

Offline JenniferRT66

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2009, 06:13:40 am »
Kirk -
I have a worked around for "Photo Mechanic cannot currently index your files to enable fast searching for color labels."

I use one of the the IPTC stationary pad fields (supp cat 3) to set & store a color code ID (CC{colorclassval}) - Say CC3 for orange - then apply my captions.

I use picassa3 to find CC3 and all images that are orange show up. It works great.

Joe


Joe,

This sounds like it could be a good plan - you use Picasa and PhotoMechanic and there's no conflict? It seems I had many conflicts, but if I can use Photomechanic to geotag, and Picasa to search, that would be great. I think I'll try it!

Offline JenniferRT66

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2009, 04:57:20 pm »
Quick question: Can I geotag photos (both .NEF and .JPG) manually with PM? I have alot of older photos with no GPX files, and would like to geotag them manually, if possible.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 05:04:00 pm by JenniferRT66 »

Offline Kirk Baker

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2009, 05:05:39 pm »
Quick question: Can I geotag photos (both .NEF and .JPG) manually with PM? I have alot of older photos with no GPX files, and would like to geotag them manually, if possible.

Yes.  Use the "Set GPS Coordinates..." command on the Image menu.

-Kirk

Offline JAS Photo

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 07:59:59 pm »
Jennifer - All I use Picassa3 for is search - Actually that all I know how to use in it. but I have no conflict - I guess becauss it never touches the files.
Joe Sorrentino
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Offline Woodie

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2009, 08:53:40 am »
Jennifer,

I was using Geosetter for adding geotags from  GPX files.  I can now use Photo Mechanic for that.  Tags can also be set easily when the location is known by locating on a map and adding to the image.  I use PM for all the "upfront" work: ingest, cull, rank, IPTC, keywords, geotag, etc.  I then read into IDimager for cataloging.  This works well for me.

FYI, I shoot Nikon (NEF) and do most tweaking, what I call developing, with Nikon Capture NX2.  "Editing" if needed is done in GIMP (on Linux), Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop.  To get JPGs from my NEF files, often I'm now using PM to extract the embedded JPGs.  This is much quicker than using NX2 and provides a JPG more than suitable for Web use and even moderate sized prints.

One of the reasons I settled on PM and IDimager was their ability to work with NEF images.  I'm not a fan of having separate files (i.e., sidecar files) that can get separated or out of sync with my images. I know I'm in the minority on this topic, and it's not really something to debate on a Camera Bits forum so I'll leave it there.  Also, NX2 does not recognize sidecar files. For those who use sidecar files, PM handles those too so it provides "the best of both worlds."

I originally thought the cost of PM was a little high for "just a viewer."  But after trying PM, it's more than "just a viewer" and I decided it's worth the price even for a hobbyist such as me.

I encourage you to use the trial period for any app.  For me, it's important how an app works not just what it will do.  Does it fit my work style/pattern is important.

Good luck.

Woodie




Offline Junebug

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2009, 12:19:34 pm »
I've used PhotoMechanic since 2001 and have never hesitated to send in my ugrade fee when a new version was announced.

PhotoMechanic is better and faster than Bridge for Keywording.

Since you already have a good Keyword set you can export your keywords from Bridge and with a few tweeks import them into PhotoMechanic. I keep both program keywords in sync because they both have their benifits. I use Microsoft Word to edit and save the keyword files for importing. I can't recall which program uses which format. one is a plain text file and the other uses something like a UT-8 format. I keep a separate file for each and just copy/paste changes, resave and imoport. Read the documentation and get started using PhotoMechanic and Bridge. Also I use Portolio to catalog, search and retrieve images. It's another good program to add to your Windows and Mac workflow.
Junebug Clark
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Offline JAS Photo

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2009, 11:08:10 am »
For all those MAC users out there Picassa 3 is available for you finally - you may not need it as much but just in case - http://googlephotos.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-picasa-for-mac.html
Joe Sorrentino
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Offline munchmeister

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Re: Is PhotoMechanic right for me?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2009, 01:06:30 pm »
Interesting topic and very helpful replies. As I keep learning more about Photo Mechanic, I am more interested in it, as other programs are leaving me short. And, it seems that everyone that uses CaptureNX2 likes Photo Mechanic.