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First Look: Photo Mechanic 4.6.1

Digital image organizer and management tool By John Virata

Photo Mechanic is an image management and organization tool that helps you to speed up the process of viewing and culling your digital images. The application is not an image editor, but rather, it helps you to better view your digital images and then organize and apply keyword and other text information to them to help keep your image collections manageable. The application is super fast, and enables you to quickly scroll through many images. Because I've never used the application before (and never heard of it up until a few weeks ago), bare with as I go through some of the features I've discovered in the short time I've used it.

Contact Sheet
The Contact Sheet is the first thing you create when launching Photo Mechanic. Basically you select a folder on your hard drive, or drag a folder to the space in Photo Mechanic that the software prompts you to. The images in the folder appear in the Contact Sheet. To open a second or third folder, simply create a new Contact Sheet and double click on a folder. A new Contact Sheet will appear with any images showing, and non image files showcased with their file type.

 

The Contact Sheet

When you click an image from the Photo Mechanic Library, Photo Mechanic launches a preview window that showcases the image and provides the camera's metadata information if available. The top of the preview window has next picture and previous picture icons; rotate photo, edit IPTC information, remove photo from selected set, copy photo, delete photo, and edit photo, You can also set your photo viewing preferences; you can choose to view one photo, view photos side by side, and view photos top and bottom. When a photo is up in the preview window, you can give the image a star rating from 1 to 5 stars. To the right of the image preview you'll find the camera's metadata information window, which can be expanded and contracted.

Preview window

Below the Info pane is the crop and zoom window and below these you'll find the Histogram window. The bottom of the preview pane is where you'll find all of the images in the current selected folder.  There are two ways that you can scroll through the images. You can single click through the images that appear at the bottom of the preview window, or you can select one of the two images in the main preview window and use the mouse to scroll through the images in that folder. This is a faster way to cull your images, as you can delete with a simple right click of the mouse.  Right clicking an image that is in the main preview window also brings up a host of other options, including metadata information, rename photo, copy photo, rating, color class and so on.

Right Click in Preview brings up all the metadata information provided by the camera. Right click also gives you other options as shown in the image above.

Photo Mechanic also has a built in image uploader that enables you to upload your photos to one of the many photo sharing sites on the Internet, including Amazon S3, DF Studio Link, ExposureManager, Flickr, and SmugMug, PhotoShelter, and the like. The File Uploader gives you the capability to upload original images, as well as other image formats, depending on the photo sharing site. You can also perform cropping and scaling, as well as adjust resolution settings.

Side by Side with histogram. Crop and Zoom functions are also located to the right of the image.

First Impressions
As a first time user, I can see where Photo Mechanic ($150) can enhance your photographic workflow, from importing images from a camera or folder, to tagging and applying keywords and other information, to batch processing and sending them to a photo sharing site or burning to disc.  The application is fast, and fills a purpose better than some of the other tools on the market that are dedicated to image management. More information can be obtained at http://www.camerabits.com


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
Related Keywords:digital imaging, digital photography, image management, image metadata, image organizer

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