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In search of program that will help me organize my photos

Aug 16, 2017 5:48PM PDT

For more than several years I have taken pictures with my iPhone and also my camera. Periodically I transfer those pictures to the hard drive on my computer. I now have many thousands of pictures from all over the world, family and friends, spanning four years or so. Unfortunately at some rare times, I did not delete the original pictures on my phone or camera upon copying them to the hard drive so there are some duplicates. Even worse, I simply imported each group of pictures into a separate file folder labeled with the date of the group import. Each specific picture then had the import date and a number as the picture name. Some pictures are fuzzy and should be thrown out. The above presents a number of challenges:...

-- Is there a software program that will detect duplicate pictures even though the label is different?

-- Is there a software program that will easily allow me to view the pictures quickly one by one so that I can label them accordingly?

-- What is the best system for labeling photographs? I would think the label might include date, person, scenario, ?? or do file folders appropriately labeled also come into the picture? And what would the label for the pictures and file folders look like?

Help would be greatly appreciated.

--Submitted by Max W.

Discussion is locked

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There are options out there!
Aug 18, 2017 5:16PM PDT

A lot depends on where and when you want to find the duplicates. A great little though a bit old (last update 2013) is Free Duplicate Photo Finder by Free Pictures Solutions. It performs a dupe check looking at the pictures themselves, not just the file name and size. It then presents you with a percentage of similarity and the pictures side by side. So you can judge if you want to keep it or dump it. This program is for windows. Google's Picassa will also perform a duplicate check but only on import. It is a great management and review tool though.

There are also duplicate detection tools for the smartphone itself. While I didn't dig into the Apple Iphone choices I did find search through the Android phone choices. There are a lot and there are just as many reviews for them out there.

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That link, why the 404?
Aug 18, 2017 7:05PM PDT
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worked for me
Aug 26, 2017 12:31AM PDT
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Avoid, do not go there folk. Why?
Aug 26, 2017 8:17AM PDT
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Great info
Aug 26, 2017 11:15PM PDT

Thanks for the link to the Duplicate Photo Finder! I'm running it right now and it looks like an awesome tool!

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Thanks for sharing this Info.
Aug 28, 2017 11:51AM PDT
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What about thousands of images?
Oct 11, 2017 11:55PM PDT

I have spent a full time week trying to organize my family archive
(100K+ photos mixed and copied on several drives).
The problem is that it takes ages to scroll through all of the photos and delete duplicates... seeing images side by side is not a perfect way if you have thousands of images. I actually liked Picasa but is no longer maintained. There is also Imageranger which can sort and show you photos by number of copies found. These days I try to put images directly to the corresponding folders as soon as I attach my camera. Better to spend ten minutes now than weeks later.

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Thousands of images - admittedly that is a problem
Oct 13, 2017 11:49PM PDT

But at least, when you are just looking at "your own body of work" you should have a clear yes-no decision for any pair of image files - either identical or not. That is, if you just copied what your digital camera produced into multiple locations. It gets a lot more complex if you start manipulating the photos afterwards - cropping, lightening/darkening them, rotating them (that should no longer be necessary when you are using the most recent technology with an orientation flag in the EXIF data.)

It gets infinitely more complex when your images come from different sources - either yourself scanning in your old analog images from prints or negatives or slides - two scans of the same source image will never be identical and so you may have the "same" picture not being bit-by-bit identical. You may even have different resolution scans from different times using different quality scanners and you probably used different naming conventions at these different times as well.

So, ideally, you would want a program that can give you a "similarity" rating between two pictures or between any pair of pictures in a set of libraries. That would be a great help, but it now still leaves you with the need to visually compare the "similar" pictures and decide which one to keep. Following that is the need to consolidate the naming into one standard or to enter the lot into some image library system that can hold all the metadata needed to stay on top of the mess (with all the caveats and issues that had been discussed in this forum earlier.)

A really great study subject would be the various "similarity" algorithms one could use for this kind of comparison. I would love to hear if someone has already published something on that. I know Google use something in their search engine when you search for images, and the author of Visipics must also have done a bit of research, especially his software offers a slider to adjust the stringency of the comparison.

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Picular might be an option
May 30, 2019 6:28AM PDT

I also loved Picasa back in the days until they removed the face recognition capabilities. Now I would recommend Picular ( which is a tool focused on getting your photos organized in an intuitive and rather fun way with much help from artificial intelligence. It's still available by invitation only but anyone can apply.

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Bulk duplicates deletion
Jul 28, 2019 1:37PM PDT

The only photo organizer I know for sure that can do bulk delete of duplicates, instead of compare side-by-side and delete one by one(usual approach of a primitive duplicate finders software) is Phototheca from Lunarship (

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Adobe Photoshop Elements can help you.
Aug 18, 2017 7:15PM PDT

Adobe PSE can recognize and group duplicates as well as similar pictures for you. The Organizer allows you to tag pictures so that they can be recalled and you can rename groups of pictures as well. I tag my travel pictures by trips and places. Tagging also helps me find specific pictures of my family, friends and pets.
Its Editor includes many of Photoshop's features. You can usually find it on sale at stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Staples or Office Depot for ~$59.

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Labeling iPhone pictures Poor ability to later search
Aug 25, 2017 8:24PM PDT

The post did not indicate what iOS version Photoshop elements works with the best

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Adobe Photoshop Elements
Aug 25, 2017 9:59PM PDT

I have been using Adobe Elements 7 for years and just upgraded to the latest version this week. I use for business and personal use and love it. It is a hefty program and I love the ability to tag photos by family, name, place. Multiple tags are possible and it seems the new version has face recognition, but I haven't gone there yet.

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Depends on Your Computer Maybe
Aug 18, 2017 7:28PM PDT
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Photo organizer help
Aug 18, 2017 7:34PM PDT

IrfanView is a free viewer that will let you look at photos to decide which ones you want to delete.

ACDSee Pro has a good organizer and editor features.

Duplicate File Finder has free and paid versions to find your duplicates.
If you want more power, try UltraCompare, which can be filtered to find dups or files that exist in only one folder and then used to copy, move or delete files

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Thumbs Plus from Cerious Software is a great premium choice
Aug 18, 2017 11:23PM PDT

It's not free, but it sure is good - Thumbs Plus from Meets all your requirements, including finding duplicate or just similar images, and tagging and labeling. For instance, you can label a bunch of photos over time as "Grand Canyon", and then find them all easily. Its features generally eliminate the temptation to make duplicate copies, reducing the issues of finding duplicates. Best feature is it does not suck your pictures into a proprietary database, but leaves them in your Windows directory structure, however you want to structure that. So if it goes belly up, you still have your pictures. I've used Thumbs Plus for a while as just a user, and I remain a big fan of it. Dentists actually use it for organizing patient x-rays. If you have a licensed copy of MS Access or MySQL on your computer, it can use that for its database, improving performance and removing size limits. Thumbs Plus is a premium program used by pros, which is why it's not free. But it sure is worth the reasonable license fee. (Disclaimer: I'm just a happy paid user.)

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Get help to organize your photos!
Aug 25, 2017 6:30PM PDT

Call us for help!

The Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) are professional photo organizers based all over the world that have been in the business for years and will be able to understand where you are, and where you want to be. Please reach out for help!


And, September is Save Your Photos Month ( and we all are hosting free events to educate users on how to organize, preserve and share your photos and memorabilia. My event in Seattle is Sept. 30th but not on the calendar yet so feel free to call with questions,

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pix molly
Aug 25, 2017 11:48PM PDT

question molly, I have pix that are from the new era iphone camera and pix that are scanned, I would like to get them all on my hard drive, can you help me?

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Dropbox One Drive or another cloud file storeage
Aug 26, 2017 12:46AM PDT

Do you have a Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive or Google Drive account?

With one of those 3 accounts you can upload your photos from the phone to the Cloud and get them on your computer. Drop box needs you to install software on you computer as well as phone. I love my Dropbox account. You can use this link to sign up for Dropbox.
I am not sure exactly , but you will get at least 5 GB of free storage with Dropbox.
.Once the files are in the cloud, you can open the folder, grab the pics and save them to a folder on your computer. Piece of cake Happy

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Molly's soapbox! iPhone + scanned, other tips
Aug 26, 2017 12:37PM PDT

Yes I can help to organize iPhone pictures and scanned! Email me for help or try this,

If using PC,
- iCloud for PC is a program by Apple that is suppose to sync your iPhone camera roll to your PC so you can organize easily with your scanned images/existing set. EXCEPT iCloud for PC has never worked. For over four years I have periodically tested it and it just doesn't keep up with the sync. I recommend plugging your phone in copying those pictures to Folders with descriptive text. Or, have your iPhone Camera Roll sync to Dropbox or OneDrive on your computer and copy your phone pictures from that Source into the desired folder.

If using Mac,
- iPhone pictures should be syncing to your computer via Photo Stream or iCloud Photo Library
- you can import your scanned images into Apple Photos and change the embedded year/date using the Adjust Date/time under the Image tab. I would recommend taking it slow. Scan 1978 pictures into a folder, for example, then drag all those pictures into Apple Photos. After import, it will be in your "Last Import" category (from your sidebar) and you can create an Album to match the original "1978" and batch change the date at this time. One folder at a time will ensure that each are imported as you want. I would also test 5ish images to import/change date/export, for example, and make sure that when you Export those pictures, the files DO Export. About five years ago I imported images from a photo cd and now my Photos catalog can't resolve/find those images. I have to do them again...

Organizing for PC users,
I too am so disappointed that Picasa is no longer supported and Windows Photo Gallery. Both programs allowed for easy organization, facial recognition, editing of images, and adding tags/keywords. Google Photos doesn't do any of these tasks, I don't recommend. For Windows users, I recommend using Folders. Simple Folders. That way you are not going to get caught with all your images in a catalog of a program that goes out of business. And, you can share that Folder set with all Mac, PC, Dropbox, Google Drive members, etc and maintain the integrity of your original organization. To edit images, use Photoshop Elements or the MS editing program. To change the embedded file date, I use File Date Changer.

Organizing for Mac Users,
Oh my Apple Photos is tough to use. For my own images and clients, I organize as if we were using a PC folder structure. I create Folders by Year and then Albums of my life events I want to find. For example, Thanksgiving, Prom, Softball Tournament in Spokane and so on.

And share my catalog with my family, I export the entire collection 1x/year using the program Photos to Disk. I upload this Folder structure to Dropbox and share the link with family. It is not a pure match to my collection but that is okay because I don't include the recipes and receipts that I so often take pictures of as well. My Albums are all searchable, and intuitive to my family so they can easily find the picture of being a pirate or all of Halloween. Without descriptive text on Albums, they won't every look, I just know it. And yes smart search is getting smarter but it still misses the details.

I agree, Adobe Lightroom is amazing. So much functionality and the #1 for many but it is a we have to get the files out at some point and it is also so robust that is hard to learn all.

My last soapbox message! I deal so much with clients material that have passed away or want to share their legacy before they pass away. Your effort to get all memorabilia in one place, sort out the best, scan, and bring into one digital collection to share, is the best gift you can give them.

Keep up the good work everyone!


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Picasa is my #1 Program for photos
Aug 25, 2017 6:40PM PDT

I have been using Picasa for years on many different Windows computers. It is my standby. The photos are in there by folder and year, so it is much easier to find things. If you give your photos and folders good identifying names, you can find almost any folder in a short time. There are frequently new programs supplied by new versions of Windows, but I stick with Picasa for keeping my photos organized. They haven't updated Picasa in a few years, but it is still usable and it has many desirable features. Finding photos I want quickly is one of them.

I also keep Irfanview around for my simple photo editing. It is very easy in Irfanview to resize your photos to make the size smaller without losing significant resolution. Both of these programs are free.

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Picasa is great
Aug 25, 2017 9:16PM PDT

Unfortunately Google has discontinued Picasa and it can no longer be downloaded. Such a shame as it was a great program - I still use it. Google Photos has "replaced" it but is a nowhere near as good a program with many shortcomings. If you can find someone who has Picasa on their computer, get a copy of their exe file and set it up.

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(NT) Get it here:
Aug 26, 2017 3:37AM PDT
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Aug 26, 2017 9:02AM PDT

I still use Picasa for all of my photo downloads, managing, editing and text application. I see Google's discontinuing it as a major mistake. Google photos is extremely limited and cumbersome. It does not have the necessary flexibility required. It is unfortunate that we users have been abandoned.

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(NT) Same for me, been using it for years.
Aug 26, 2017 3:35AM PDT
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Picasa good but Google photos better.
Aug 26, 2017 4:23AM PDT

I use to use Picasso but Google quit updating it so switched to the Google Photos that replaced it. If you have a gmail acct it will automatically back up your photos to your Google account. It also has an assistant program included that finds duplicates and will help organise your collection and make animations and other stuff. Best of all it is free.

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Re Picasa
Aug 26, 2017 7:01AM PDT

I used Picasa for years and loved it. Then one day, I found all my photographs shuffled and in all sorts of strange places on the computer, as if the evil little genie had picked them up as a pack of card and threw them into the air, fall where they may.... It took me weeks to retrieve, redate, rename them and put them into viable folders. Obviously I deleted Picasa, an d I now use FinePix for editing and store my pix on the computer and on a separate external disk.

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I agree about Picasa
Aug 27, 2017 1:48AM PDT

I hated Picasa. The very first day I installed it and it decided that my pics needed to be shuffled all around. I have them all in folders by date and if I need something I can usually find it fast enough. I do need to do some more organizing, but it is such a daunting task with around 50,000 photos.

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Picasa is still a champ
Aug 29, 2017 2:09PM PDT

Firm supporter of Picasa as well. It face detection (since it is all local, no AI supported from far away) is just amazing.
Sadly discontinued, but still works, and no intention to stop using it.

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find duplicates and label your photographs
Aug 25, 2017 6:45PM PDT

It's me again,

For Max, I would recommend this strategy:

- if using a PC, I would purchase Duplicate File Finder to find the duplicates that you can review and delete the lower quality version

- if using a Mac and Apple Photos and want to find duplicates, I use The developer is accessible via email and will answer questions during your process to find and delete your duplicates.

- to add (searchable!!) file data if using either a PC or Mac, I would create an Adobe ID and download Adobe Bridge, its free. It is a fantastic viewer (not catalog) that allows you to zoom in to the thumbnails, add metadata/keywords and it mirrors your existing folder structure so easy to understand where your photos are stored on an external hard drive, Dropbox, or within Pictures on your home computer.

MY PLEA: please attempt to have all your photos in one Master archive, organized into Folders with descriptive text and saved on at least two different systems. For example, your main computer is your Master, backup is external hard drive and another backup is cloud or another external hard drive housed offsite with a friend or in a safe deposit box. Add descriptive text to filenames so you can search whether you are using a cloud server (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive) or on your computer.

(Google Photos and AI is not mentioned because I deal with so many scanned images so the file dates are wrong and causes confusing with my clients.)