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Photo Mechanic Review | Best Photo Sorting Software 2019

A screenshot from the photo mechanic website highlighting the benefits of using this software

In case you are working in images fields the place modifying velocity is a precedence, then Photo Mechanic is for you. Sports activities images and photojournalism are simply two of those fields.

In terms of group, culling, tagging and making use of metadata is essential, this software program excels. Learn right here on the way to enhance your images workflow with Photo Mechanic.

A screenshot from the photo mechanic website highlighting the benefits of using this software

What Is Photo Mechanic?

Historical past

Dennis Walker, founding father of Photo Mechanic, has a whole lot of expertise coping with accelerating uncooked processing after which, picture high quality. He did this alongside digital pioneers similar to Kodak and Minolta.

The thought for a quicker ingestion program happened from his expertise. From taking a look at how photojournalism and sports activities images photographers labored with their pictures.

He noticed the issues with the prevailing software program, which was sluggish and ‘clunky’.

He gained an award from the Nationwide Press Photographers Affiliation (NPPA). It was for his work on uncooked processing and Photoshop plug-ins that improved digital picture high quality.

All of this he did earlier than Kodak realized that uncooked publicity compensation was necessary. Since 1996, Digital camera Bits has been the entrance runner for photographers.

The primary model of Photo Mechanic targeted on Metadata (IPTC). It was (and nonetheless is essential) to these working in sports activities and photojournalism.

Photo Mechanic

Don’t be confused, Photo Mechanic 5 just isn’t a picture editor. This front-end software program lets you add, browse, arrange, handle, tag and export your digital pictures.

There are a number of instruments, akin to crop, which you need to use. However you gained’t be capable of edit the publicity, shade or sharpness in your pictures.

Which means you actually need to work with a picture editor after Photo Mechanic. Cull with PM and edit with Lightroom, Seize One or On1 Photo RAW.

On this Photo Mechanic evaluation, we’ll take a look at what Photo Mechanic 5 does, what its key options are and the way it works with Lightroom.

Proper now, we have now Photo Mechanic 5. This photograph sorting software program prices $150 and you will get a free trial from their web site.

A screenshot of sorting photos with Photo Mechanic

Why Use Photo Mechanic


Ingesting is the act of importing or bringing pictures right into a program. With Photo Mechanic, you are able to do this by making a Contact Sheet or Stay, via the act of tethering.

Nearly all of the workflow in Photo Mechanic 5 is completed via contact sheets. From there, you’ll be able to ‘ingest’ your pictures. This opens your photographs in an analogous method to Lightroom’s ‘Import’, besides there isn’t a catalog the place the pictures are going.

Ingested pictures are proven in a contact sheet. I like this because it repeats previous processes of images going. It went very quick, and when you’re ready in your photographs to repeat over, you’ll be able to edit them.

For Stay Ingesting you ‘tether’ your digital camera to your pc by way of a USB cable. Right here, the pictures pop up in your pc display quite than your digital camera’s LCD display. That is good for taking a look at pictures in a bigger measurement.

In case you are working in fields the place shoppers might be overwatching your images session, that is one thing that they might respect.

A screenshot of ingesting photos with Photo Mechanic


This program is, at its most elementary, metadata (IPTC) software program for photographers. There are different options which are useful, however none are as in depth as this space.

There are over 100+ fields within the IPTC Stationary Pad (metadata) in Photo Mechanic. And most of them make sense. A number of the phrases would wish some additional analysis.

All the things I would wish is already right here, simply ready for me to fill within the info. One factor that I actually favored was the ‘Models, Property and Artwork’ subject.

You’ll be able to add all the particulars for use for mannequin or property releases. Different packages have comparable features however are both not mixed collectively or not utterly apparent.

It can save you and add IPT metadata for use on different pictures. The opposite great point is the variables part. With these, you possibly can add any type of info to any subject.

You get to select from an entire slew of choice prospects and even stack them any method you need. That is nice for looking and organizing your photographs.

A screenshot of adding metadata to photos with Photo Mechanic


The primary drawback with different front-end picture group and browser packages is the velocity. They are often sluggish and sluggish. Not right here. Photo Mechanic 5 is constructed round velocity.

The most important issue right here is you possibly can flick through your pictures with out having to import them. This protects a lot time general, some other options are moot.

Including key phrases, IPTC knowledge, culling and organizing are lightning quick. This lets you choose and ‘cull’ pictures as quick as you possibly can. This system waits for you, not the opposite means round.

I did come throughout one drawback, which appears to solely exist pre-caching  photographs. Should you open a folder to view the pictures for the primary time, you will notice lagging whenever you press and maintain the suitable arrow button in your keyboard.

Lightroom didn’t give me the identical drawback. Nevertheless, after you have handed over each picture, the lag disappears. Even with this drawback, I might have the ability to do that whereas different software program nonetheless uploads its pictures.

Copying Information From A number of Sources Concurrently

This can be a function I’m actually enthusiastic about. It is sensible for modifying to have the ability to copy all your photographs in a single go. All photographic software program ought to have the identical software.

This device enables you to rename information and folders dynamically whereas including IPTC credit score and key phrase info. All of this occurs whereas this system makes a mirrored backup folder.

It’s quick, which suggests there’s much less probability of your pictures not being uploaded and subsequently deleted. This is usually a large drawback in case you are importing photographs with out previewing them first.

For sports activities, occasion, and wedding ceremony photographers, this small element means having to add solely as soon as, chopping down on time and confusion.

A screenshot of copying files from several sources with Photo Mechanic

Evaluating Photo Mechanic 5 to Different Entrance-Finish Software

Lightroom Basic CC

Let’s face it, Lightroom could be sluggish, frustratingly so. Constructing one-to-one previews takes eternally since you are creating giant information that will let you zoom and edit appropriately.

For those who go for sensible previews, it takes even longer. They do will let you work on pictures with out the arduous drive being hooked up. That is nice for journey photographers, but not so good for many who seize sports activities.

Photo Mechanic works differently. It uploads your uncooked information, however by default, works on the jpeg variations. In contrast to this photograph sorting software program, Lightroom pulls the info from the uncooked picture to create quick and workable pictures.

Lightroom is a superb device to work with, because it provides you uncooked processing, group, and modifying. You’ll be able to choose a number of photographs for a better look by combining the choice with Shift+N.

With PM you possibly can solely take a look at two at a time. Additionally, evaluating photographs in LR is a bit more intuitive. Whenever you view two photographs aspect by aspect and zoomed in, you’ll be able to transfer each pictures on the similar time.

Each packages supply key phrases and including Metadata. But, relating to Photo Mechanic, they’re very in depth. they could be just a little extra complicated in comparison with what I want.

I discover including Metadata on Lightroom straightforward by means of using automated inclusion after which presets. Photo Mechanic didn’t add the info routinely, however I may need missed one thing.

A screenshot of Adobe Lightroom homepage

Adobe Bridge CC

Adobe Bridge CC is a digital asset administration app by the identical staff that introduced you Photoshop and Lightroom. Principally, it’s a media supervisor, designed to be a bridge between your captured pictures and a last, polished photograph.

If there was one program that may be a Photo Mechanic various, it’s Adobe Bridge CC.

In contrast to Lightroom or Photoshop, you possibly can’t edit your photographs right here. However you need to use it to seek out, retailer and key phrase your photographs. It enables you to see what you will have so you’ll be able to open them in different Adobe packages.

It cuts the muddle, makes your workflow quicker and is straightforward to make use of.

Some photographers discover this program slightly redundant. Lightroom already has an superior organizational system via its Library module. However for those who don’t personal Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop can work properly collectively.

In comparison with Photo Mechanic 5, Adobe Bridge falls behind fairly far. The most important drawback is velocity. Photo Mechanic will render thumbnails many occasions quicker than Bridge can.

Then there’s ‘ingesting’. In contrast to Bridge, Photo Mechanic 5 can (and can) obtain your photographs, rename them, caption them and make a backup – multi functional step. This not solely makes it quicker however ensures your pictures are protected it doesn’t matter what.

In the event you work rather a lot with web sites or have an internet site of your personal that you simply wish to add on to, PM has a useful FTP Add. It might add your pictures on to an FTP server, shortly, quietly and with none drama.

For those who use PhotoShelter – there’s an add for that too. Truly, Flickr and Twitter are simply two out of many locations Photo Mechanic can connect itself to.

Aside from this, PM is superb at batch renaming. It gives superb (if not albeit over-the-top) IPTC batch captioning. This consists of captioning most RAW file codecs.

Keywording is simpler could be a bit of simpler for some in Bridge, because it makes use of key phrase groupings which I discover very sensible. Nevertheless, Bridge turns into a bit sluggish when working with many information.

A screenshot of opening Adobe Bridge

Key Options of Photo Mechanic

  • Contact Sheet – A quite simple format of displaying your photographs.
  • Transfer and Rename – Nice approach to arrange your folders from inside the software program.
  • Full-Measurement Viewing – This lets you see your picture in its full glory, for checking focus and another issues.
  • Variables – These permit you to take full management over your IPTC knowledge administration.
  • Keywording – Including key phrases allows you to search, separate and join pictures throughout folders.
  • Code Replacements – Codes can act as replacements for troublesome phrases, making keywording and captioning quicker.
  • GPS Coordinates – Understanding the place you took a picture may be actually useful for return journeys. Nice for creating galleries.
  • Batch Modifying – As an alternative of engaged on one picture at a time, work on many to save lots of time.
  • Modify Time and Dates – You might have complete management over your picture’s metadata.
  • Create Galleries – Add galleries to separate pictures with the identical variables.
  • Add to the Net – By way of FTP, you possibly can add to your web site or quite a lot of platforms.

Likes and Dislikes


  • Captioning is an enormous bonus
  • Mannequin launch areas in IPTC stationary pad
  • No frills, however not plain
  • Inclusion of Lightroom
  • Code replacements
  • Type pictures by many various attributes


  • New software program, new studying curve
  • No modifying – so that you want a picture editor
  • Just a little costly
  • Doesn’t decide up IPTC knowledge from Uncooked pictures

A screenshot of uploading files with Photo Mechanic


My regular workflow is including my photographs to Lightroom Basic CC, letting them Import and create 1:1 sensible previews. Relying on the variety of pictures, this might take anyplace between one to 3 hours.

After that, I’m free to arrange and edit the pictures as I see match. Understanding the period of time it’s going to take means I needed to work this into my course of.

I might add my photographs, and go do one thing else; use one other pc, eat or sleep. Slightly little bit of a problem, however workable. From there, I might use stars and colours to pick and cull the pictures.

I might create collections and sensible collections by way of these ‘flags’ and punctiliously chosen key phrases. Every thing would keep in Lightroom.

For the group aspect of issues, I attempted Adobe Bridge nevertheless it didn’t make sense for me. It was nice to see my Uncooked information shortly, however then I couldn’t edit them with out opening one other program.

This was the primary cause why I had reservations about Photo Mechanic . I didn’t need to use a number of packages to do the identical factor I already did in Lightroom.

However then I drained Photo Mechanic 5. I noticed that my workflow wasn’t as quick because it could possibly be. Culling pictures in Lightroom is quick, don’t get me mistaken, however I all the time began one – three hours later.

I must be utilizing Photo Mechanic with their browser technique to cull the pictures. There isn’t a wait time as they don’t pull the pictures into the catalog as Lightroom does.

Utilizing the identical colour and star flag, I might reduce the pictures right down to solely import the pictures I needed to work on into Lightroom. This meant Lightroom Basic CC solely housed the pictures I appreciated.

This, in flip, made this system quicker and stopped me from losing time. The price is excessive, but when it saves you minutes per photographs, you will get extra work finished. Plus, it’s a one-off value and never a subscription.

Photo Mechanic is a superb product. Though it was for sports activities photographers and photojournalists initially, there isn’t a cause you possibly can’t use it for any subject. It really works higher for many who take tons of, if not hundreds of photographs in a session.

A word from Josh, ExpertPhotography’s Photographer-In-Chief:

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Craig Hull

Craig is a photographer presently based mostly in Budapest. His favorite photographic areas are road and documentary images. Present him a darkroom and he’ll be joyful there for days. So long as there are music and snacks. Discover him at and Instagram/craighullphoto