80 Responses to I am looking for a good DAM: Digital Asset Management software

  1. Melissa Kelly May 23, 2013 at 23:19 #

    Hi Per,
    This is a great breakdown of what you need in a DAM. WebDAM definitely has everything you need, but is more of an enterprise solution. I love your point about not needing editing capabilities in your DAM solution. A lot of people think they want this, but don’t realize that adding more functionality and complexity can also hurt the user experience.

    Well, good luck on your DAM search! If you know any other organizations in search of a DAM, tell them to check us out: digital asset management for the enterprise


    • Per Karlsson May 23, 2013 at 23:43 #

      Always interesting to look at new alternatives, although I specifically do not want a cloud solution.

      My digital assets (picture files), as well as the metadata, are one of the key assets in in my photography business. Handing those over to someone else (as you do in a cloud solution) is not very appealing (ask those who experienced the Digital Railroad debacle for example), not to mention the dangers of relying in having an internet connection to access the DAM.

      A quick look at WebDam gives me the impression that it also does not have some of the other things I am looking for in a DAM, e.g. custom fields.

      But it may of course be a more appropriate solution for others.

  2. Colin McKie May 28, 2013 at 10:56 #

    Hi Per,

    Have you looked seriously at ThumbsPlus? Version 9 is pretty solid, handles metadata fairly well, takes custom fields, and runs a proper database on your choice of database engine, multi-user if you need it (we do). We’ve tried most of those mentioned above and found none of them are serious contenders.

    Also, definitely agree with you about the cloud. Only suitable for things you can afford to lose.


    • Per Karlsson May 28, 2013 at 11:28 #

      Hi Colin,

      No, actually, have not done that recently. I have used it quite a lot but mainly as an image browser. I seem to remember that when I looked at it more closely it was not really a cataloguing sw but mainly an image browser.

      If it today runs a proper database/catalogue, can handle custom fields, virtual galleries/folders (important!) and some of the other things I need perhaps it could work. Apparently worth looking at again.


  3. Nic Hamilton May 29, 2013 at 12:02 #

    FWIW I’m a long time user of Lightroom and have had no problems with its cataloguing abilities, indeed I’d say it was a pretty versatile piece of software. There is a 3rd party Plug-In designed for handling Alamy’s extra fields too which I was originally sceptical of but after a trial have found that it works better than the clunky Custom Fields I’d put in for the Alamy side of things.
    Before Lightroom I was using iView Media Pro which became MS Expression Media and now Media Pro again. Like you I hope something more is done with it now it’s owned by the Capture One folk. C1 used to be my raw converter of choice but noe I rely on LR for that too so that I only need Photoshop for the more complicated photo retouching. Yes, I know you said you don’t think image editing should be in the same software. I used to agree with you but now wouldn’t go back to the old way, particularly when going through many similar images (and LR’s editing engine is the same as the Adobe Camera Raw as used with Photoshop only with a less clunky interface. As for Library sizes with LR, I know of someone who does some LR training who works with people with over 200,000 with apparently no issues in LR..


    • Per Karlsson May 29, 2013 at 12:40 #

      Thanks Nic. Sounds interesting with the LR plugin for Alamy.

      I really don’t mind if the dam sw is integrated with image editing – if both are good. It seems Phase One is going that way too with their new “catalogue” functionality in Capture One.

      What I mean is that I don’t see it as a plus (but rather as a minus) to integrate some minor editing functionalities in DAM.

  4. Nic Hamilton May 31, 2013 at 12:42 #

    You’re most welcome.
    There is still a 30 day trial for LR I think and a trial version of the Alamy plugin so it might be worth looking at. Also worth saying that I initially struggled with LR and only went back to it after the recommendations of a couple of other photographers. Now I wouldn’t be without it!

    Yes, I take your point about tagged on image editing. LR doesn’t do layers so advanced editing still requires Photoshop or another editor but for colour adjustments, cropping, spot removal etc LR does it all nicely. And for copying the same adjustments to several files it’s much easier than anything else I’ve tried.

  5. Rahul Bhargava June 12, 2013 at 20:38 #

    Hi Per,

    Your main concern is robust metadata and keywords for the purpose of sorting through photos. I can appreciate that – the last thing you want is to click through photos one by one (especially when you have 150,000+!).

    As a DAM developer for evolphin Software, I spent a lot of time working on our visual asset management features. During development of our visual asset management software, our primary goal was to reduce the amount of time spent locating and cataloguing assets.

    Our platform is called Zoom.

    Metadata control includes:
    - Embedded metadata
    - Support for custom metadata groups and templates
    - Support for standard metadata formats such as XMP, EXIF, IPTC
    - Bulk upload from spreadsheets or via an API
    - Export to XML and CSV files
    - Ability to create placeholder files using metadata records
    - Search by version metadata
    - Bulk metadata management
    Search control includes:
    - Advanced search (actions, authors, date, comment, file, metadata, etc.)
    - Visual asset search
    - Visual asset timeline
    - Versioned thumbnails/previews
    - High resolution visual previews
    - Configurable views
    - Asset collections
    - Visual asset history
    - Multiple file selection
    - Drag-n-drop file management
    - Saved searches
    - Categorized search results
    - Search by version metadata
    - Smart link search

    The advanced search allows users to navigate through their entire repository within seconds; users can search through project folders and files, view thumbnails, high resolution previews, asset versions, key asset information, metadata, and asset status. Zoom tracks iterations and all of the associated metadata, and allows searching in two dimensions – horizontally across all files and vertically through all the versions of a single asset.

    Also, since you’re using DAM as a database, you should take a look at our digital archiving features, which manage active and legacy assets.

    (On a separate note, it sounds like your managing most of your workflow with keywords, but in case you’re interested, you can find out about Zoom’s workflow offering: here.)

    Good luck, Per! Let me know if this helps.

    -Rahul Bhargava

    • Per Karlsson June 13, 2013 at 11:24 #

      Thanks for the info (or perhaps publicity?).

      A quick look leads me to think that your product is more oriented to the corporate advertising industry and not to photographers.

      But it is difficult to know since there is so little concrete information on the site, nor was there any possibility to download a demo version so that one can see for oneself what it does. A pity.

      And pricing information was also missing.

      • Rahul Bhargava June 19, 2013 at 23:09 #


        This is great feedback; we’ve been making a huge effort (and investment) to revamp our website, and your comment brings to light elements that our site is missing.

        You’re right, our system is designed for larger creative agencies, studios, and production companies. With that said, we do have freelancers, such as yourself, who are happily implementing the Zoom platform.

        We would love to show you a 15- or 30-minute demo, so that we can hear a photographer’s perspective and see if we can address your needs.


        • Per Karlsson June 21, 2013 at 11:40 #

          Also had a discussion over the phone with one of the evolphin Zoom representatives. This seemed to confirm that it’s more of a work-flow system targeting ad agencies and other similar organisations and not really a DAM system for photographers wanting to catalogue and organise photography.

          Will take a look at the documentation once I receive it.

  6. Murat Korkmazov July 2, 2013 at 23:03 #

    Hi Per,

    I am co-founder of the Daminion Software and I was surprised when you said that Daminion lacks some of the must-have functions above. Daminion covers all the must-have and nice-to-have features that you listed above and even more:

    + Must: keywording and captioning (“description”). Plus 30+ extra tags in addition to keywords and descriptions.

    + Must: embedding metadata in files. Daminion can do this automatically. It can writes hierarchical info into images including even your CR2 files without sidecar files (optionally)

    + Must: possibility to create “custom fields”. You can create a lot of different custom tags.

    + Must: possibility to create “virtual galleries” or “temporary sets”. We have Collection tag for this. But you can use Categories or create a custom tag for this porpose

    + Must: virtual galleries can be hierarchical. Most of the tags can be hierarchical, including Collections. And Daminion correctly read/write this hierarchy from/to files

    + Nice to Have: “Folder watching” – the app can detect changes on monitored folders
    This option is available in our Daminion Server version that you can use for your personal needs in a single-user environment. Daminion Server also provides with much better performance than standalone photo organizers. We have a lot of customers who use Daminion to manage their image libraries with more than 500-600k images.

    + Must: possibility to apply keywords and captioning to multiple files at the same time. You can do it with easy: just drag multiple images to certain tags or edit their properties in the Properties panel. You can also create tag presets and assign them to multiple images by a single key press.

    + Must: possibility to append data (as opposed to overwrite) to captioning (“description”) field. No problem. Daminion’s focus is pure image management, without editing, publishing and other features.

    + Must: it is a cataloguing application, with a database, not just a file browser. Of course. We use open source widely adopted database formats: SQlite and PostgreSQL (for Daminion Server)

    + Custom Fields are important. For example, I use custom fields:
    What the status is of an image with an agency: not submitted, submitted, accepted, rejected…

    You can easily create the necessary custom tags according to Alamy requirements.
    You can also use Color Labels for this purpose, which allows you to visually see what images were submitted, not submitted or accepted. There is a Flag tag with Flagged, Unflaged and Rejected statuses

    Of course the major benefit of the Daminion over other standalone photo organizers is it’s multi-user capabilities, but I don’t mentioned it cause you said that you don’t need this now.

    Welcome to growing Daminion community!

    • Per Karlsson July 17, 2013 at 17:25 #


      Many thanks for taking the time with such a detailed comment. As I mentioned, I have not had the time to look in detail at Daminion, so perhaps the initial impressions are wrong. I would certainly hope so since we do need more quality vendors of DAM solutions!

      I look forward to taking a closer look at Daminion!


    • anon September 15, 2013 at 02:36 #

      No Mac offering – sadly not worth considering

    • Jon Hillenbrand November 8, 2013 at 18:35 #

      I went to the Daminion website and clicked on the download link for the software and it came up as not found. So I went to the home page and tried to play the video describing the software and the video failed to play. So I left the site.

      There’s so much bad malicious software coming out of Russia these days that having your company based in Russia is a red flag for me. On top of that, once the software wasn’t functional in the critical areas, I couldn’t tell if this was a real DAM offering or some kind of scam. Since the company is so new, it’s hard to be an early adopter given the risks.

      • Murat Korkmazov November 10, 2013 at 14:36 #

        Jon, thanks for your remarks! However I can’t confirm your complaints, regarding the download link and the problem with playing the video. The video is hosted on YouTube, and it doesn’t related to the Russia. If you can’t play video hosted on YouTube it most probably there is an issue with your PC or your IS provider.

        If this is possible could please send me any screenshots related to the issues (or steps to reproduce them) to support/at/daminion/dot/net and we’ll fix the problems ASAP

        Could you please also explain what do you mean by “…wasn’t functional in the critical areas”? We always love to hear any feedback from our customers and a lot of features were added to Daminion based on our customers requests.

        Daminion is available on the market since April, 2010. It’s predecessor – PicaJet is available on the market since 2004. And we specializing in digital photo management market since 1999.

        PS. Jon, I really appreciate your feedback and hope that you’ll change your mind regarding our Daminion soon ;) !

  7. Jim July 21, 2013 at 19:30 #

    Dear all, thanks for a wonderful discussion. I’m no pro, but i manage the family’s extensive photo collection going back 100 years. I just tried digiKam on a Windows 7 platform, as it’s open source constitution appeals to me. I believe it has all the features required, and the zero price is right. I did have a bug that caused me to uninstall it, but I am going to try it on a Linux box i will build cheaply. If Linux isn’t daunting, you might want to look at digiKam.

    • Jim December 1, 2013 at 15:07 #

      Just installed Digikam on a Linux box, just starting to play with it.. Interface seems cleaner than Lightroom, but that might just be me being daunted by Lightroom. I’m sure it has all the features, but I’m not yet sure about it’s abilities with NAS. It connected to one of my NAS boxes, but not the second.

      I realize that using a Linux box does not fit within Per’s desire for a Windows platform, but I generally find that Linux app’s behave well, are stable and less prone to security issues. I guess I’ll have to decide personally which platform and application to use for the long term. Any comments on that?

      • Per Karlsson December 1, 2013 at 19:23 #

        I have no experience at all of linux, which is why I don’t want a DAM on. If you are familiar and comfortable with Linux, yes, why not use that.

  8. slingshot July 23, 2013 at 15:06 #

    I have now been setting up digiKam with a MySQL connection for a small team of 3 working with a webshop. This is really exactly what I was looking for and for a very good price. The good thing is one of us is Windows, one is Linux and one is MAC user. No problem with digiKam.

  9. runtime August 18, 2013 at 16:58 #

    Hi per,
    Tray this http://windows.download-bg.com/asset-track-asset-management-software.html
    I think it’s may be interesting for you.

  10. Lidia August 18, 2013 at 17:02 #

    Dear Per,
    thanks for that great post! Have you looked into Bynder (www.getbynder.com). It is said to be the image bank with the highest convenience & usability. Although its cloud-based, you can give it a try. I can strongly understand the critics of cloud storage, however, it also has he advantage of minimizing the risk of loosing all your pics through a system crash or something. Also the do not have any set-up costs, which makes them attractive especially to small businesses and photographers.

  11. cosmin September 1, 2013 at 12:26 #

    Nice article. I’m trying to find something similar, but in a more general way. For music I use MediaMonkey which is the best, for photos I don’t have a solution yet, for other Documents/Projects I also don’t have yet a solution. I do have a big mess. So a great feature would be in helping “unmessing” things. Because for new ‘files’ it might be easy, but you have to incorporate the old files also, and not in a painful way. You need to have available adding metadata or group files while viewing the file, not navigating through 3 clicks to get there. And in time you might ‘organize’ the files you want, other files which are too old maybe don’t need the bother.

    • Kevin White November 17, 2013 at 19:05 #

      Hi cosmin.

      I understand your concerns. I to use MediaMonkey for Audio – Great piece of SW.

      For Photo’s I would always recommend Portfolio (until recently – see below), though if you are happy with unsupported SW for a limited range of files (not HD video!) then purchase by all means.

      As I current Portfolio user I have always structured my images into a good file structure, which is then catalogued. You can select various cataloguing options (eg to add filename, path, etc to keywords).

      You can also get Portfolio to Catalogue ALL your file types, across ALL your Hard Drives – Just give it a few days(!) to achieve this!!
      – I have various seperate catalogues for Images, Video, Audio, Graphics, etc.
      – I also have specific catalogues for ALL files in certain directories (eg ‘Customers’).

      For your ‘big mess’ this moy be best. You can then search on images & drag/move files to a new/better file path :-)

      Once up & running, you can just add files to a ‘Watched’ folder for it to be automatically catalogued.

      Of course – all the above applies to Portfolio – Which is being discontinued :(
      – I am in the process of looking for an ideal replacement
      – Watch this blog, as I mag comment on my chosen solution…

  12. Matt September 18, 2013 at 17:35 #

    found this topic searching if there are something nicer to use for organising my photos. i’m using at the moment portfolio standalone too. and a couple of weeks ago received from extensis an offering to update from the standalone to portfolio server “studio” at very nice conditions. i guess you receive it aswell. so i would like to ask you: what do you mean? if you can choice updating, what would you do? update portfolio to the studio version or going to media pro?

    • Per Karlsson September 18, 2013 at 22:05 #


      I don’t know much about Portfolio Server Studio. Have never used it and don’t know in what ways it differs from the stand-alone version. If you consider upgrading I hope there is a demo version that you can first test. It seems terribly expensive at $1189.78 for an upgrade license or $2379.56 if you are not upgrading. I assume that you have a much better offer from them than that!


  13. Murat Korkmazov September 18, 2013 at 22:42 #

    Hi Per,

    We have a special Daminion Home Server version ($99 or $149) for home users and Pro Server version for individual professional for just $199: http://daminion.net/order

    And we plan to release Daminion Server 2014 version on October 2013 and I can offer 15% discount for you and all your readers for any orders placed before the 15 October 2013.

    Please let me know!

  14. Nick Vowles September 20, 2013 at 10:23 #

    Hi Per,

    I hope we are not to late to the party? I work for Asset Bank. Our clients tell us that we are great value, easy to use, and that we are great problem solvers – so hopefully we could deliver a Digital Asset Management solution that would work for you. With Asset Bank you can definitely customise fields and catalogue files. You can find out more about our system here: http://www.assetbank.co.uk/

  15. Per Karlsson September 20, 2013 at 11:55 #


    Late for the party? It hasn’t even started.

    My impression though is that you are not really in the market for independent photographers with your DAM system. €3700 for a license of €220 per month!?

  16. Nick Vowles September 25, 2013 at 10:34 #

    Hi Per,

    Yes you’re right, Asset Bank is currently mainly used by companies and organisations, but our prices are very competitive so it has been known for individual users to use us too. Fyi our prices start from €3700 one off license or €220 per month (it wasn’t 100% clear in your post).

    We are working on new products however, so if it’s alright I’ll get back in touch when we have something for your budget…hopefully soon…



  17. Peter Murphy October 12, 2013 at 13:13 #

    Hi Per

    I read on another forum discussing DAM programs a possibility
    Have a look at Photo Mechanic 5
    and let us know what you think as it might be what some of us are looking for.
    At US$150.00 it is a bit cheaper than the others.


  18. slingshot October 14, 2013 at 10:58 #

    Free, Open Source, Awesome, widely used

    Try Razuna!


  19. Kevin White November 17, 2013 at 18:44 #

    Hi Per,

    Just caught up with your DAM blog – Very interesting reading.

    Many (many) years ago, before I got a digital camera & was scanning slides into my Workstation, I did a full analysis of the available DAM solutions.

    Like you I decided that the BEST solution for my 100,000+++ images was Portfolio.

    This has been an excellent product for me to use & I agree with all your comments regarding use, keywords etc :-)

    I now understand that Extensis is to discontinue Portfolio :(
    – I do not like having dead software, So I am looking to update to a new DAM solution.

    I am now going to re-analyse the market, to find what solutions are available.
    – I agree with your full breakdown of your requirements
    – I also agree that editing is NOT a requirement (I use Photoshop)

    MediaPro looks quite good – I will have to check out the free demmo version.

    My workflow also now includes HD video, but I found that Portfolio was rubbish with this format :(
    – I currently use Picasa(!) to locate & find video’s. Though this is only a File Browser :(

    I will keep you posted on my findings.

    Once again – Many thanks for your excellent DAM analysis…

  20. Murat Korkmazov November 17, 2013 at 21:52 #

    Hi Kevin,

    Please check out our Daminion, that has the server version like Portfolio has.

    Recenlty we released Daminion 2.0 version with a lot of improvements:

    And a new 2.1 version with Batch Renaming, Contact Sheet, Export PDF and other improvements will be available very soon.

    I’d be happy to answer to all your questions related to the Daminion.

  21. Dylan Goubin-Dahan November 19, 2013 at 13:56 #


    You can check OpenDAM at https://wikipixel.com/products/openDAM

    It’s an Open source software so you can use it for free.



    • Per Karlsson November 21, 2013 at 18:34 #

      From what I can tell OpenDAM is a web application. It seems there are two options:

      1. I can install it on my own (local, if I wish) web server running apache, php, mysql etc. I don’t want to have to set up a web server just for my DAM. And I don’t have the skills to do it. I simply want to run my DAM on my Windows pc.

      2. I can use their cloud hosted version. This has two problems: a) it would be very slow (I have 3-4 TB of data to deal with). b) it would be expensive, 500GB costs $1000+/month.

      A pity.

      • Dylan Goubin-Dahan November 21, 2013 at 21:30 #


        Installing a Web Server may require 1 to 2 hours of work (20 mn to a person who does have good IT skills) but it would cost nothing to use OpenDAM as it’s Open source.

        The “Ready-To-Go” cloud hosted version we provide is secure and efficient.

        But again, you may install OpenDAM on any cloud servers you own or rent.


        • Per Karlsson November 21, 2013 at 23:36 #

          In an idealised world it will take little or no effort to install a web server and run Apache, php, mysql etc. But in reality it will be a substantial efferot if you don’t already do it including that you will have to maintain it in the future.

          I don’t see cloud services for DAM as a realistic option for small scale professional use. The volumes are just to big. The second reason that I am not keen on cloud services for DAM is that the images and the embedded metadata is the real core values in a photography business. Leaving that in the care to a third party is not a wise choice. What happens if the cloud service one uses disappears? Perhaps I don’t lose my images (I would be stupid not to have a local backup.) But I may loose the metadata. (It happened to the users of Digialt Railroad.) And without the metadata the images are basically worthless.

          It is a pity there is not a Windows version of it.

          • Dylan Goubin November 21, 2013 at 23:49 #

            With OpenDAM you can set up backup that include embedded metadata.

            And if end users are afraid that their Cloud provider just disappears, they may just use their own server that runs 24/7 worldwide.

            A few years ago, I was working in the backup software industry and I can tell you that there is more chance that your computer crashes, burns and was stolen, that a Cloud Service provider suddenly vanishes with all your data.

            But I do understand your concern and we’re working to bring OpenDAM easier to install, upgrade and maintain.


          • Murat Korkmazov November 22, 2013 at 09:38 #

            Hi Per,

            I agree with you with “for DAM – the images and the embedded metadata is the real core values in a photography business”.

            Part of your photo archive library (your portfolio) can be shared, but the original digital assets should stay on your local network. Plus you need to create a web version of your RAW images before put them into a cloud.

            In Daminion your 5-star rated RAW images can be published on Dropbox cloud by a single click. And RAW images will be automatically converted to web-friendly JPEG images with 2000px resolution. Please take a look at this brief video:


  22. Per Karlsson November 21, 2013 at 18:14 #

    Happened to land on this article on the DPReview forum:

    It is on a similar subject and perhaps interesting to people here.

    It also mentions a few tools (with short comments just by looking at the sites):
    - http://free.zoner.com/ – seems more to be a simple editor than a dam
    - http://www.digikam.org/ – open source (mentioned above) but the way the text is written on the front page makes me nervous. Do you have to be a sw developer to understand it? (it also seems to be an all-in-one tool, including editing, which I don’t like)
    - http://www.xnview.com/en/index.php – a viewer rather than a cataloguer it seems
    - http://lunarship.com/ – Phototheca, to “manage” photos. A very simplified DAM?

  23. Geoff Coupe November 22, 2013 at 11:44 #

    The successor to IDimager – Photo Supreme – started off small, but is gradually expanding into wider functional areas. See http://www.idimager.com/WP/?page_id=20
    For example, there’s now a version of Photo Supreme for SQL Server, to give a multi-user DAM solution.

    As a former IDimager user, PSU has met my DAM needs (admittedly they are straightforward), but I think you should take a look at what it can do. The developers are currently working on version 2, and are taking in feature requests.

  24. Ellis Vener November 22, 2013 at 16:46 #

    “Have not looked at the functionality of that either, but I believe it is an option. But far too expensive ($600-700?). Curious to note that it comes from Norway!”

    A couple of years ago the Fotoware rep and I spent an afternoon together going over their software. It is very powerful, too powerful for my limited needs in fact a sa individual photographer (roughly 225,000 photos.) It is a standard tool with news agencies and publishers in Europe. It has image processing capabilities including raw processing and licensing.

  25. Sherwood November 22, 2013 at 17:45 #

    Another one to look at is IMatch.

    On required features:

    I think having the hierarchy define as tags is important, or alternately, the search engine has to have a good thesaurus build in. If I tag a photo chickadee, it should also be tagged bird and animal. A directed graph of keyword synonyms could also do this, so that it understands that white spruce is the same as picea glauca; that a search for Pinacaea should return all firs, pines and larches, a search for Italy catches images keyworded Tuscany.

    Database: belt and suspenders. Tags in the database, and either in the images or sidecar files.

    Sidecar files have an advantage for coping with round trip to an external editor. Many editors do not honour all tags. Sidecar files also means you aren’t backing up a 5 mb file for a 3 keyword change.

  26. Hugh Gilbert November 25, 2013 at 13:09 #

    Interesting discussion here.

    I have an archive of just under 200k images. I photograph for fine artists and architecture. I’ve been using Media Pro since its first iteration as iVew Media. I also use Lightroom.

    Media Pro is excellent but tends to hog memory when ingesting and is susceptible to the occasional crash. I ran into a couple of Capture One reps at a conference two weeks ago, and they really didn’t seem to want to know about any issues I had with Media Pro. Shame because I really like it, but it has been standing still in the water for an age.

    Lightroom is also really useful, though it may be the way I use it, but it discards the smart previews after a month (it has to otherwise the SW would be huge) and it means that when I’m searching for anything I have to wait an age whilst it rebuilds the thumbs. A huge nuisance when you are searching for a photographic needle in a haystack, which I do sometimes.



    • Per Karlsson November 25, 2013 at 23:30 #


      Many thanks for your comments! Interesting.

      I have had some difficulties with ex-iView Media, now Media Pro. I have it and have started to use it on a test basis, but I have found it exceptionally slow. Perhaps it is an issue with the way I have set it up (or my config). I will have to work a bit more on it since it does have many of the functionalities I am looking for. In reality, I see it as very close to Portfolio in functionality although a little bit more modern and using a different terminology. A pity Capture One isn’t putting more effort into it. (Perhaps they do but I have not seen any evidence of it.)

      I have not much touched Lightroom (yet) since I have understood that it is (was?) more of a browser than a cataloguer (DAM) which your comments also seem to indicate.


  27. Ellis Vener November 26, 2013 at 02:47 #

    “I have not much touched Lightroom (yet) since I have understood that it is (was?) more of a browser than a cataloguer (DAM) which your comments also seem to indicate.”

    Lightroom is a database based archiving program (with a raw processing module, a print engine, metadata generator, a web gallery creator, and slideshow sub-program built in. One thing it is not? A browser. Perhaps you are confusing it with Adobe Bridge?

    • Per Karlsson November 26, 2013 at 09:36 #

      Ellis, No I’m not. ;-)

      I looked at Lightroom as a DAM solution a few years back and there were some very fundamental things that made me conclude that it was not appropriate.

      I may remember wrong about the browser vs cataloguer thing. (On the other hand Hugh Gilbert seem to be saying it cleans out the preview database after some time making it slow for big searches.)

      If so, it was some other important thing. Perhaps it had to do with custom fields (that it did not allow for it?). Not sure. Would need to take a new look.

      • Murat Korkmazov November 26, 2013 at 10:06 #

        LR is an excellent batch RAW editor but it’s cataloging capabilities have some drawbacks:
        - You can’t work with the same catalog from multiple computer without bulding a compicated syncing scheme, without duplicate copies and without risk to damage your catalog
        - You can’t create hierarchical People, Categories, etc… (except hierarchical Keywords)
        - You are limited with supported media formats (Images and videos as I know). And can’t import other formats like Vector images, Office or Audio files.
        - LR can’t write metadata into the RAW images, only to sidecars (except the DNG format)

        A huge benefit of the LR – there are a lot of export plugins created by third-party developers.

    • B Zevin March 6, 2014 at 18:31 #

      Lightroom is a lousy excuse for a database; it affords the user no straightforward way to define custom metadata fields. Portfolio allows the user to define such fields and display them elegantly. Custom fields offer a much more disciplined method for organizing structured data than do “keywords.” As a former teacher, I would also point out that Lightroom’s slide show capabilities are fatally limited by its inability to display more than one image at a time–an effective technique beloved by art and architecture historians. I’m very sad that Portfolio and Canto Cumulus both intend to discontinue their single-user products. Aside from lack of support and some problems with data integrity (a major flaw, to be sure), Portfolio was an excellent product.

  28. Per Karlsson November 26, 2013 at 16:08 #

    Had a comment on this on a forum that I think is worth repeating here. (I am using this post as something of a repository for info on DAM so I hope the commenter does not mind.)

    And you should definitely take a look at that forum if you are interested in this kind of questions: The Controlled Vocabulary Yahoo Group (run by David Riecks):


    “Your rather terse statement regarding IDImager suggests that you have written off Photo Supreme (its successor) without testing it:

    ‘[IDImager} Used to look like an interesting option but it has been axed by the developer. (And replaced with something that is a much scaled-down version I believe.)’

    I’ve been using IDImager (IDI) for a number of years, simply to try to catalogue my digital images. I was pretty happy with it but, when Photo Supreme (PS) arrived, I got myself a licence and have been trying it out. (I still have IDI running in parallel for the time being.) Some things in PS are different, but so far it has everything I need in an improved interface. Some of the things I didn’t use much (like image editing) have been trimmed out. My DAM requirements are similar to yours. Judging by the PS forum, there are many ex-IDImager users who have happily migrated to Photo Supreme.

    PS also seems to meet all of your requirements. Why not give it a go and judge for yourself? http://www.idimager.com/WP/?page_id=20


    You are entirely correct. That is perhaps an overly unjust statement. And it was based on hearsay (or rather what I had read of others’ opinions).

    Correct, I have not tried it. (I did try IDimager a long time ago)

    I should. And I will. If they have a trial version.

    Still looking for a good solution.

    I am glad that you raised your voice for it! :-)

    -Per Karlsson

    • Geoff Coupe November 26, 2013 at 16:33 #

      I assume that you overlooked my comment saying much the same thing here a few days ago…

      • Per Karlsson November 26, 2013 at 16:54 #


        No, I did not But you had already put it here yourself. ;-)

        And the (forum) commenter made some fair points about me dismissing it too easily that I thought also worth sharing, since it was correct.

  29. Abi Balasoglou November 27, 2013 at 22:40 #

    Hi Per, thank you so much for your discussion. I am a small interior design business with image cataloguing requirements, and what a difficult procedure it is to sift through the mountains of confusing products, opinions, reviews, advertising and information. Our technology dependent world is convoluted, complex, fractious, and so very fast moving. Following your forum in this process has been a beacon of light for me, and after much hunting, I’m looking seriously into Photo Supreme as a good option for my business.

    Thanks again, and best of luck.

    Abi Balasoglou

    • Murat Korkmazov November 28, 2013 at 11:54 #

      Hi Abi,

      Are you Windows or Mac based company?

  30. Per Karlsson December 3, 2013 at 15:30 #

    Just noticed this on the Extensis Portfolio web site:

    “As of December 31, 2013 Extensis will discontinue Portfolio Standalone 8.5 and will no longer offer it for purchase.”


  31. bill December 13, 2013 at 00:01 #


    its an open source server based system that runs on the tomcat java platform. they also have server supported services for very good prices.

  32. Michael December 16, 2013 at 23:39 #

    I have a very similar requirement to Per. Being money poor and time rich, I’m not inclined to spend hundreds of dollars on DAM software so I’ve started writing my own Mac App.

    Thus far, my App’s key features are:

    - catalogue is an SQL database
    - selected metadata (e.g. keywords, star-rating, orientation) are extracted from images for database columns
    - images are not imported to the database (space saving – I use mainly raw format)
    - directory and sub-directory names are indexed as category or keyword
    - search form includes keywords etc, plus option for an SQL query statement
    - saved SQL query feature allows for “virtual collections”
    - image thumbnail or larger displayed when retrieved rows viewed
    - Edit button on retrieved rows invokes user-specified (via Preferences) editor (e.g. NX2)
    - App monitors folders for new and changed images, reindexing as required

    I’ve implemented the cataloguing/indexing and am now working on the search and display features.

    If anyone is interested in contributing suggestions or collaborating I’d be most grateful for your input.



    • Tim January 5, 2014 at 15:35 #

      Hi Michael

      Your App sounds interesting. If you ever put anything online, I’d be happy to download it and test it out. I’m not a applications programmer myself, although I work in IT and have an understanding of databases and Oracle’s PL/SQL, which is more database programming. However I don’t enough understanding of database maintenance to want to maintain my own apache server and mySQL database, which some of the software listed here requires.

      I am on the look out for a Mac based app that not only allows me to catalogue my files but also allows me to keep my original file creation and modification dates untouched. ExifTool does but it’s not a DAM. Aperture didn’t do this. Whenever I saved my metadata back to the main file, it caused the date to revert to 1 January 1970! I don’t think Apple would care about fixing such a thing so I ditched it.

      The reason I want my creation dates untouched is that at some point in the past, I accidentally retimed some photos incorrectly using ExifTool. I can resolve it for photos as and when I need to use them but not if the software has trashed all the file creation dates.

      I’m less keen on sidecar files myself, preferring everyone to be in the one place. So at the moment I’ve got all my photos on a Synology Diskstation NAS and I’m using a combination of file management systems and exiftool. Not very helpful when trying to find photos. Incidentally ExifTool can be run on a Diskstation NAS so helpful if you are away from home and want to do some metadata tasks, as all the processing is done server side. You do need to have some understanding of unix command line.

      Incidentally, I am finding that files stored on my NAS, formatted as ext4, are sometimes displaying the wrong creation dates on my Mac. This seems to occur more with large videos but anything is susceptible to it. When they are however copied back to my Mac, the dates are fine again. I noticed this when upgrading one or my macs to OS Mavericks from Mountain Lion. I found that if I copied off the files and put them back on using SMB2 and OS Mavericks, it the creation dates were then more likely to display correctly in OS Mavericks. But less so when using AFP connection in Mountain Lion. However even then some files still had the wrong date displayed.

      I don’t know if software renaming files based on creation dates, would read the dates correctly. Not sure who is at fault. I suspect Apple rather than Synology but it’s a close call as Synology aren’t great for writing documentation for their systems, so can’t be relied upon to not have understood Apples API correctly. If anyone doesn’t understand some of the terms I use then I apologise but I don’t think this is the right places to explain it all.

  33. ViV January 3, 2014 at 11:48 #

    Hello, I’m in the same search as you are, although I don’t come yet from another tool (I’m in search for my first DAM and can’t find the correct one). I’m using Dxo Optics Pro (DOP) for RAW image editing/processing. I’m lacking a nice tool for tagging/cataloging all imported RAW files before further processing (‘developing’) into JPG files.

    I did try LR and was please with most features (although lacking some hierarchical tagging – not a big mess for me) but didn’t want to pay 150$ extra, knowing that LR’s editing functions are useless for me because I prefer to use DOP.

    I’m now trying Daminion for a while. Although I still don’t master all features yet, I believe this is the best FREE option available around (FREE only until 15000 pics in your catalog… you may need several catalogs or pay for the upgrade when needed). I’m still missing a correct export function (plug-in?) to allow for sending several RAW files from Daminion into DOP for processing (there are both ‘Open with…’ and ‘Edit with…’ functions but they don’t seem to work with DOP).

    Keep us posted with your findings.

  34. Tim January 5, 2014 at 15:38 #

    I forgot to add I will look at some of the software mentioned previously. I did do research in the past but as ever, it’s good to update that research from time to time. I’m less keen on Windows solution, even though I have a Virtual copy of Windows 7 installed.

  35. Tim January 5, 2014 at 17:59 #

    I just tested Photo Superma but as soon as I updated some metadata the photo creation and modification dates were changed to, today. Not something I want to happen with my photos.

    Unless someone can tell me of a setting which doesn’t do it, it will be consigned to the pile of do not use. This pile seems to be larger than the use pile, which from my testing so far only includes ExifTool and that isn’t a DAM.

    • Geoff Coupe January 6, 2014 at 09:23 #

      Tim, when you update metadata in a photo file, then the modification date of the file is expected to be updated with the timestamp of when you did the operation. I don’t understand why you think that should not happen.

      As for the photo creation date being changed, that’s wrong. It doesn’t happen when I use Photo Supreme on my photos. I’ve found Photo Supreme to be the best DAM for my needs.

  36. Michael January 5, 2014 at 23:36 #

    Thanks Tim for your post.

    I now have a working prototype of the app. It is much faster on search and display with my 35,000 images than Photo Supreme (trial). However, both are unacceptably slow with images (NEFs from a D700 and D800E) stored on my Synology NAS, so I’ve moved them all to a USB 3 external HDD on my Mac. I’ll acquire, or develop, a utility for synchronising the HDD to the NAS. The NAS is slow partly because all packets go through a hardware firewall.

    The app uses SQLite, which is native to OS X, so there’s no setting up and maintaining an SQL Server and databases.

    The app displays a matrix of zoomable thumbnails (akin to View NX2) of search results. Double clicking an image loads the default editor (defined in OS X) for that image type. I use Capture NX2. There is no editing of metadata in the app, only in whichever editor is invoked. This means that the app cannot do batch edits, but that doesn’t bother me.

    I’m now working on the monitoring for and reindexing of changes, so your discussion of file creation/modification dates is pertinent. I’m deciding whether to use the file (OS X) creation/modification dates or those held in the image metadata.

    My Nikon cameras store the focus distance of the image in the metadata, and I do a lot of macro photos, so I’m finding it very useful to search on this (e.g. < .4 metres) seeing as I haven't tagged the many older ones as "Macro".

    Obviously, there's still a lot of work to do on the app and it's unlikely ever to be as slick as Photo Supreme. However, it's already proving very useful.



  37. Peter Russell February 21, 2014 at 11:12 #

    Dear Per,

    I stumbled across this increasingly interesting debate by accident, mainly because I have just discovered that Extensis Portfolio Standalone is not being supported after June 2014.

    I started a stock image library (the Military Picture Library) way back in 1971 when the ‘shoe box filing syndrome’ was well established. This worked, as I’m sure you know, on the “I know where everything that I’ve ever shot is filed” approach! In the days of physical media – transparencies and prints – this worked well enough, but with the arrival of digital the impossibility of finding filed assets meant that a DAM system had to be used.

    As a library owner I never had enough money for the really expensive programs, nor did I, in common with most small businesses in the same field, really need anything that was web-based. The program was, and by and large still is, required merely to enable me to find files to send to clients. We eventually settled on Extensis Portfolio after a great deal of time spend searching for the best solution. Indeed I became deeply involved with writing about the virtues of DAM, particularly from the standpoint of the small user.

    A few years ago many companies had modestly priced standalone, desktop DAM programs that worked perfectly for the single user, often allowing a database to be sent to a client with free Mac and Windows browsers. Currently Portfolio Standalone still does this – just.

    The really worrying conclusion I have come to after sifting through the treasure trove on this forum is that there seems to be an inexorable slide towards cloud-based, web-hosted server programs that are completely outside the league of single users. I know that I speak for many photographers when I say that what we desire is a Mac/Windows program, with similar functionality to Portfolio Standalone, offering free browsers (hopefully), for around £150 for a single user licence. It doesn’t need to offer web functionality, although a ‘server bolt-on’ would be a useful addition if the need arose.

    Currently almost all the suggestions offered here seem to be aimed at big corporate users, which is great, but misses the point that there are probably millions of individual photographers out there just like us who only need a Portfolio ‘lookalike’. And let’s not forget that Digital Asset Management is not only about managing photographs – any file is a digital asset worth managing!

    For my sins I have billed myself as a DAM consultant, but I am finding it increasingly difficult to offer sensible solutions to people when all that seems to be on offer are vastly expensive programs for corporations. I know from extensive contacts that there are many users just like you Per, and me, who require a simple, relatively cheap standalone solution. Why are the manufacturers not listening I wonder?

    I’ve written about the virtues of Portfolio Standalone in the British Journal of Photography and elsewhere (http://www.peterrussellphotography.com/wkf/dam.html), but will have to revise my views and recommendations after looking at the true cost of upgrading to Portfolio Studio. I am being expected to pay in excess of £1600, whilst getting nothing more for my needs that Standalone currently does! This is not affordable for the majority of single users.

    Whilst I use Adobe Bridge and Adobe Lightroom as part of my workflow, I would never look upon either as a DAM program, even though both have the ability to add the very metadata that is essential to the subsequent functionality of a DAM program.

    It’s a very worrying time and I should hate to see all of us single users cast out into the storm-tossed waters once again. I hope that people like Extensis review their decision to bin the Standalone version. I am still awaiting a response to my email to them.

    Best wishes,

    Peter Russell

  38. Peter Russell March 6, 2014 at 19:50 #

    Dear Per and others,

    I have spent the last couple of weeks intensively testing various forms of DAM software or looking at the web sites of those purporting to offer DAM solutions – and become quite worried.

    It seems that many of the sites offering DAM solutions are no longer aiming their products at individual photographers or small picture libraries, but at large corporations with lots of money to spend. As soon as I find that there is vague talk of using the ‘cloud’ or that there is no price displayed on the web site, but merely an offer to get in touch, I ignore that avenue and look elsewhere.

    From casual conversations I feel that there must be thousands, if not millions, of potential customers for the equivalent of Portfolio Standalone, yet I can find very few companies who actually offer the equivalent. Despite being a bit clunky Portfolio is very hard to beat as it is so customisable. It has also been around for a long time and has many expert users who are willing to share their knowledge. I still haven’t had a response from Extensis to confirm that the loss of Standalone is only a temporary glitch whilst they ready something new and even more exciting.

    However, being a realist, I have found that CaptureOne’s Media Pro is probably the closest to Portfolio Standalone and is actually cheaper at around €139. Whilst not so customisable, as you have noted Per, it is far far faster. I imported 100Gb of high resolution files, all with full IPTC metadata entered in Bridge/Photoshop, and it catalogued them in under ten minutes – a task that Portfolio would have spent at least a day on!

    So far there I have not found a way to have searchable sub-categories, although that doesn’t mean that it can’t – only that I haven’t found a way to do it yet! Like Portfolio Standalone you can put the resulting catalogue on a DVD with the free Mac and Windows Readers and send that to clients, which is all that the majority of users will probably ever want to do.

    I’ve still got most of the 60 day free trial left so that should allow me to discover all it’s important attributes.

    Of course, I acknowledge that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so one solution will never be ideal for everyone, but anecdotal evidence suggests that there are a huge number of potential users who are happy to spend around €120-€180 to get something that works. All we need now is to find a company that fulfils that obligation!

    Best wishes,

    Peter Russell

    • vixster March 7, 2014 at 04:57 #

      This has been a very worth while discussion. I have been a long time user of Portfolio (years back) and then got out of it for several years. Now I’m back in the market for a DAM, and just learned that Portfolio stand alone is no longer. Does anyone know if their Portfolio Studio Product ( 3 license for 2k) is the same product as the standalone 8.5 but with sharing attributes? I’m worried they may drop that as well.
      I want a system that 3-5 people can have access to either intranet or internet via port forward/web access. Can MediaPro do this?

      Thanks again for this great dialogue. This is somewhat surreal that there really is nothing for a small environment.

      Thanks, Vix

  39. Doug marke March 25, 2014 at 10:36 #

    Hi all…

    A very good conversation, and Pers needs match our almost to the letter.

    We have a lot of experience with DAM systems for photographers, and we actually launched what we think was the first “cloud” based system back in 1999 or so using some slightly hacked photoweb software at a great cost…

    Since then we have been fotostation monkeys…. And undoubtedly fotostation as a standalone does the job admirably… But.. And there is always one.. Or several in this case..

    A) it has not been a terribly stable application in our experience.. We have several standalone pros in use in the company and NONE of them are now able to properly index our largest archives… Circa 70k images.

    B) you need to be hooked into a service contract with them to get upgrades… Or spend the whole whack…. The problem is.. You don’t need or want regular updates when you are a small business and can keep the existing setup for several years between changes.. So it becomes very expensive.

    C) did I mention the costs? It expensive either way… And these assetts that we need archiving and searchable quickly and correctly are not generating vast sums of dosh… So the value for money factor is way down.

    We stopped our own Online DAM system in about 2005 or so and went to a thrid party supplier, porting our existing customers into them as well… The excellent Third light… And I do think that for a cloud system they really are the bees knees… And if you are looking at a solution from the fotostation folks, this makes more sense as the costs in reality are comparable over the medium term…

    But it does leqve us in a quandary in house… Like Per there is simply no good clean indexing/ search software out their… The addition of editing functions in the software is in our case verboten… I need to be able to restrict users functionality to protect the images for unwanted tampering… I can do tht with permissions in fotostation… But in reality of course, fotostation is too expensive now for the industry.

    So I will have a closer look at picajet… With the multiuser licence I can hopefully manage permissions via the sharing function on windows..

    Any other suggestions and reviews are very helpfull!

    Great thread,


    • ForceTrainer March 25, 2014 at 12:04 #

      I think Doug hits the nail on the head – just like everyone here. There are plenty of options at the enterprise level, whether it’s an in-house client/server or cloud environment. That’s great if you can afford the $5,000 startup.

      I’m a hobbyist, but I enjoy photography, video, and graphic design, so I spend a decent chunk of change on this stuff for someone that doesn’t make a living doing it. While what I create isn’t needed to generate income, it’s no less important. I’ve spent thousands of hours and quite a bit of money cataloging family photos that are priceless to me, and my ever increasing amount of photo and video assets are just as important. Personally I only manage about 20k photos, and they’re all well organized and tagged in Lightroom. However, now that I’m adding more video to the mix (and an increase in other digital assets like vector art) a DAM package is becoming a requirement – even for a hobbyist like me.

      Unfortunately this thread has confirmed my worst fears – they’re really are no good DAM applications out there for photos let alone all forms of digital assets in the sub-$2000 price range which to me is so bizarre. There are a lot of professionals out there that run their photography business on nothing but Lightroom, and they’re successful and professional. This is a sub-$100 program capable of a whole lot. Why can’t we get a real DAM in that price range?

      My major guess is that while the principles of DAM have been around for a while, it’s still a relatively new idea for people outside of the large agencies managing hundreds of thousands of assets. I think most of the people that would be in the marketplace for a DAM package in the $100-500 range fall into two categories:

      1) Hobbyists that have a lot of photos/videos – Most of them probably wouldn’t care about a real DAM package because they have iPhoto, Lightroom, etc. Plus, using a DAM properly requires discipline, and if you don’t care enough to keep things organized you’re not going to bother with a DAM.

      2) Professionals that have never used a DAM but have their own methods – These folks could definitely benefit from a DAM, but they’ve been working with their own workflow for so long they can’t fathom doing anything different. Or, nothing has come along sufficient enough to warrant a change. I know plenty of professionals that have very thorough and thought out workflows. The right package could make the workflow easier, but they’re not going to bother changing unless 1) the software is rock steady and 2) it’s going to be supported for a long time. Why would you spend the time to make the change only to have your foundation ripped out from underneath you.

      Personally I agree with Peter. There’s a HUGE market for a DAM in the $100-300 price range that is capable of managing all forms of digital assets. The real key is getting a good developer to have a go at it.

  40. Glenn Rogers March 30, 2014 at 18:33 #

    Overall a decent list of requirements for a photo management system. DBGallery (http://dbgallery.com) was completely missed, even though it has all Must’s except custom fields (coming in March ’14), and misses only one Nice.

    1 — Must: keywording and captioning (“description”) – this is the key to the whole application!
    DBG: Yes.

    2 — Must: embedding metadata in files
    DBG: Yes. Uses Adobe’s XMP Toolkit to write data to files.

    3 — Must: possibility to create “custom fields”.
    DBG: Custom Fields is coming to release 6.5 in March 2014. Each custom field becomes ‘first class citizens’ in that it has the same capabilities and features as does pre-defined fields such as keywords and caption.

    4 — Must: possibility to create “virtual galleries” or “temporary sets” (what is called “categories” in Portfolio)
    DBG: Yes. Called Virtual Sets.

    5 — Must: virtual galleries can be hierarchical
    DBG: Just 2 levels.

    6 — Nice to Have: “Folder watching” – the app can detect changes on monitored folders
    DBG: No. Manual press of the re-sync button required, which re-syncs all sub-folders.

    7 — Must: possibility to apply keywords and captioning to multiple files at the same time
    DBG: Yes. Also has a data presets / data template area for applying collections of data such as copyright and contact information.

    8 — Must: possibility to append data (as opposed to overwrite) to captioning (“description”) field
    DBG: Yes. For all fields, when editing multiple images, shows the differences in data for each image, and appends new any data.
    And of course:

    9 – Must: it is a cataloguing application, with a database, not just a file browser (not even a pimped-up and glorified file browser). This is both for speed and security reasons.
    DBG: Uses MySQL as its database.

    DBGallery has been on the market since 2005 and is exceptionally easy to setup and use.

    (Disclaimer: I am the product manager for DBGallery)


    • Per Karlsson March 31, 2014 at 18:10 #


      Thanks. Certainly looks interesting. Will have a look and try it. Once I get back to working on my catalogues. Been rather too busy travelling lately. (and accumulating even more contents to catalogue)


  41. Peter Russell March 31, 2014 at 19:45 #

    Glenn, DBGallery looks to tick many of the boxes that only Extensis Portfolio appeared to have answers for, except for a couple, which for me at least represent a major reason to discount it, namely:

    1. It does not appear to run natively under Mac OS X which is a problem. However, perhaps this is something that is in the pipeline? I note that it runs on either Parallels or VMWare Fusion, but personally I would rather not use a virtual environment at present, although I can understand that others may be happy with this.

    2. Whilst the Life-Time Desktop Full User Licence of C$299.00/GBP £162.00 is very reasonable, a fee for a Read-Only license seems unreasonable, unless I am missing something. I feel that one needs to be able to send a catalogue to clients with a free, cross platform browser/reader in order to make best use of a DAM program. The impression that I get is that the majority of single-user DAM programs, rather than the ones designed for corporations, are cross-platform with free readers/browsers available.

    However, it is great to discover another DAM application in this minefield and I’m sure that this will appeal to many.

    I’m still delving into Media Pro and find that I like it more and more, although it does appear to have limitations compared to Portfolio, namely adding Categories. However, it knocks spots off Portfolio it terms of the speed that it catalogues.

    • Per Karlsson March 31, 2014 at 20:37 #


      Curious what you say about Media Pro. I see it as very close to Portfolio (although with a slightly different way of presenting things).

      But I have had major problems with speed and stability. MAJOR. So much so that it has been virtually unusable: I try and make small things, perhaps even simply choosing a menu item, and it hangs for half a minute. This has made it practically unusable.

      Perhaps it works better on Mac than Windows (I’m on Windows). Perhaps it does not work with files on a file server (albeit over a Gb network). I don’t know. But I have almost given up on it.

      Will have to try again.

      On DBG:

      Not sure I’d say C$300 (or ~200 euro) is “very reasonable”. Acceptable, yes, if it is a good solution.

      Totally agree with you on the read-only license. That seems silly and against all normal practices. Just give it away!


    • Glenn Rogers March 31, 2014 at 23:06 #

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for having a look at DBGallery!

      It’s read-only license is used in enterprise multi-user environments where its full rich-interface is installed to access the image database as a consumer of images, where it would be used for advanced search and exporting (to various sizes, PDFs, Google Earth, or email). It isn’t for distributing a catalog or reader, and would never be required in a single-user environment (one of the requirements above).

      Indeed it is a Windows only client, needing Parallels or VMWare Fusion to run on a Mac. Currently the development pipepline doesn’t include a Mac version, unfortunately.


  42. Hert April 3, 2014 at 15:00 #

    Hi Per,

    This is a great topic with a good overview of what’s in store today when it comes to DAM software. I’ll add my contribution for Photo Supreme. A note up front: Photo Supreme is available as a 32 bits and 64 bits version for Windows and is also available for MacOSX 10.6.8 or higher. There are no feature differences between the platforms.

    >> My requirements of a Digital Asset Management software solution:
    >> Single user = I’m an independent photographer. (Aren’t there many of us out there)

    Photo Supreme comes in a single user and a multi user server edition. The single user edition uses SQLite as the database system, which is completely self contained. The server edition uses either PostgreSQL or SQLServer as the database system.

    >> Stand-alone desktop application on Windows (I don’t want to rely on a sometimes not perfect internet connection)
    Photo Supreme doesn’t require an active internet connection; only during the trial period it does.

    >> Archiving of raw files (Canon cr2 mainly) and tiffs. Don’t currently use DNG. Jpeg too of course. Capability for video files would be a plus but not absolutely necessary. No other file types. (So, this is pretty standard stuff)

    RAW files are supported, from Canon to Nikon, to Pentax, and Hasselblad. Video files are supported as well.
    When it comes to TIFF then Photo Supreme offers an extensive support for TIF files. As you probably know, there are many possible TIF combinations, from 8bits to 16 bits, and 32 bits, several compression formats, color spaces like RGB, CMYK, Lab, multiple alpha channels. Photo Supreme supports about every possible combination.

    >> Currently 150 000+ files. (Currently split on two RAW/originals catalogues and one Develops catalogue in Portfolio)
    There are no volume restrictions in Photo Supreme and you don’t have to pay extra to be able to manage above certain volumes.

    >> Files stored on a network (NAS) file server, so the sw needs to be able to work over a network.

    Files that are stored on a network share (e.g. NAS) are fully supported. The files are stored in the database in the UNC file format so that you don’t depend on the existence of certain share to drive mappings.

    >> Must: keywording and captioning (“description”) – this is the key to the whole application!
    Of course :)

    >> Must: embedding metadata in files
    Photo Supreme writes metadata embedded to files that can embed metadata. These include JPG, DNG, PSD, and PSB files. The standards recommend that for RAW files (except DNG) the metadata is stored in XMP sidecar files. There is an option in Photo Supreme that allows embedded metadata writing for RAW files as well which is switched OFF by default.

    Metadata is stored in XMP, mapped to IPTC (with unicode support), mapped to Exif where applicable.

    >> Must: possibility to create “custom fields”.
    This is possible. You can define any number of custom fields. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlAVxxg363Q

    >> Must: possibility to create “virtual galleries” or “temporary sets” (what is called “categories” in Portfolio)
    This is possible in Photo Supreme. Such “galleries” are called “Portfolios”

    >> Must: virtual galleries can be hierarchical
    You can created nested collections inside your portfolios. There’s no restriction to the number of hierarchical levels.

    >> Nice to Have: “Folder watching” – the app can detect changes on monitored folders
    With Photo Supreme you can scan your folders for changes. This will check for all files changed, new files, deleted files, new folders, deleted folders. And you can specify the action to take. This feature uses file signatures which Photo Supreme keeps in its database.

    >> Must: possibility to apply keywords and captioning to multiple files at the same time
    That is possible.

    >> Must: possibility to append data (as opposed to overwrite) to captioning (“description”) field
    Not sure what you mean here, but you can create batches that append text to text.

    >> Must: it is a cataloguing application, with a database, not just a file browser (not even a pimped-up and glorified file browser). This is both for speed and security reasons.
    Photo Supreme uses standard database formats. The single user edition uses SQLite. Apart from the benefits that you mention for a database you’re missing an important one…you can also use the database when the files are not available. For example when you’re traveling or simply when you manage files on an externals rive which is not attached.

    • Per Karlsson April 3, 2014 at 16:11 #


      Thanks for your comments. I’ll explain what I mean with “append data to captions”:

      Let’s say I am working on three images from Paris. I have captioned one with “Eiffel Tower”, another with “The Louvre” and the third with “Tour d’Argent restaurant”.

      What I then do is select all these three images and *append* the text ” Paris” to all three in one go.

      The result is these three captions/descriptions:

      - Eiffel Tower Paris
      - The Louvre Paris
      - Tour d’Argent restaurant Paris

      In contrast, if I do NOT have the possibility to “append” to description then I will have to write the full description for every image, i.e. write “Paris” three times instead of one.

      This may not sound like a big deal, and it is not for three images.

      But if you have 3000 images to work on then it is a HUGE thing. Writing Paris 3000 times instead of one makes a big difference but in terms of how much time it takes and the risk for errors.

      I typically append to descriptions in three of four stages.

      Another example, where I use “+” as a delimiter of appended items:

      Chateau Margaux + vineyard + Medoc + Bordeaux + France

      I could in this case have, say 30 images from the Ch Margaux vineyard, 200 from other vineyards etc etc.

      The more I think of this the more I realise that this function is VERY important. It works perfectly in Extensis Portfolio (which is not what one can say of all its functions).

      Does that make it clearer what I mean and why it is important?

      • Hert April 3, 2014 at 17:54 #

        Per, thank you for the additional info. In Photo Supreme you can do that. When selecting multiple images you get 3 options for metadata fields: replace, delete, and append. The Append mode is what you need. It allows you to add a string to existing strings. In your sample you would enter “Paris” and in append mode, the string “Paris” will be added to the existing content.

  43. Chelle April 10, 2014 at 17:05 #

    Hello Per. Were you able to find software which you were happy with? I am also in search for the best DAM software to use which is not cloud based.

    • Per Karlsson April 10, 2014 at 22:34 #


      I have been held up with a lot of other things to deal with so I have not really had the time to investigate things.

      There are a lot of interesting suggestions in the comment thread with some potentially good DAMs.

      I hope soon to get the time to dig into it again. In the mean time, any feedback from others is much appreciated!


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