Photo Mechanic

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So I have bought and been a heavy user of PM since 2000 something, I would never had even considered buying a image browser if it weren't for that it is so blindingly fast when you want to cull a lot of images. But there are other features that merits it fee as well:
  • When I ingest my images I send it to two different hard drives and therefore I get a backup at once (I know bridge and Lightroom) can do that as well now.
  • You can very easily rate and sort images based on either color or * rating system, makes it so easy to cull
  • As Jonathan mentioned: IPTC metadata updating
  • One small favorite feature is to extract the full JPGs out of the rawfile and put in a separate folder (if you want). Now why is that interesting? When I shoot weddings, I set the IQ to RAW. Then I set the image Picture control settings to what I want a little more contrast, color etc, I set colorspace to SRGB, Active D-Lighting to high, High ISO to normal or high, Vignette control to ON, Auto distribution to ON. Then I take the RAW images and extract them with Photo Mechanic into a different sub folder. The purpose of it all is to get a somewhat processed image that one can give to Customers as a contact sheet for them to make a decision on which ones they want me to process fully for them.
  • Live ingest (Lightrom can also now do tethered shooting)
  • Live slideshow
  • You can select images that are for instance with audio only, and many other tings
  • You can upload images to FTP servers.
That all said, if you don't know why you would want PM, you probably should save yourself the money
I am not a sports or wedding pro, but I do shoot lots of high school sports.

Ironically, for my paid work (portraits), PM is useful, but not really necessary. But when I ingest hundreds or even thousands of images at a time, it is indispensable to have such a powerful tool as PM.

For me, there is usually no deadline, but I consider my time quite valuable. The opportunity cost of an hour in front of the computer make PM worth every penny to me. Why not try a 30-day free trial to see if the benefits outweigh the cost?

A few things that I do for every batch of images in PM:
  • Custom filename (x_YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.MS) where x is a pronounceable word or phrase, and the rest is a timestamp
  • Geotagging
  • Single-click to display 1:1 previews to evaluate critical focus
  • Single-keystroke to rate images as keepers
  • Filter keepers
  • Drag and drop all rated images to LR for further work
To do all of the above in LR takes longer.
Thanks for the detailed discussion, Andreas and Andy. I would characterize you guys as "power users", and that is not me. While I can see that the capabilities that you describe could be quite useful to you, they would be of no or marginal use to me.

But it's good to know this.
 
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Jim, it is indispensable to me. I have had PM since 07 and only one update to 5.1. I do not use it to its full potential, but it is super fast for culling and emailing images from PM editing. It opens with Jpeg and Raw thumbnails very quickly, delete, rate with color. Send off to other files. Best software other than PS that I have ever bought.
 
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A few months ago I did a software survey as I think I will be giving up my Photoshop/Lightroom subscription when it comes up early next year. My notes at the time indicate that I was favoring RawTherapee as the LR replacement. It's free and has 64-bit versions for Windows and Mac.

From Wikipedia: RawTherapee is computer software for processing photographs. It comprises a subset of image editing operations specifically aimed at non-destructive post-production of raw photos and is primarily focused on improving a photographer's workflow by facilitating the handling of large numbers of images.
 
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I shoot a lot of sports, so of course I'm going to use PhotoMechanic, not just for it culling speed but the code replacement and keyword abilities. I love being able to just type \d1\ in a caption and have PM replace that with Dobyns-Bennett quarterback Zane Wittson (1). If I had to type that kind of stuff for each picture it would take me forever and be full of typos.

I never used keywords before PM, because the idea of having to type them out for each picture was a turn off. But you can use the same code replacement for any kind of image you shoot. I really think it could be added to any type of photographer workflow and end up saving you time, and adding things to your image you might have never down before.
 

Butlerkid

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I shoot a lot of sports, so of course I'm going to use PhotoMechanic, not just for it culling speed but the code replacement and keyword abilities. I love being able to just type \d1\ in a caption and have PM replace that with Dobyns-Bennett quarterback Zane Wittson (1). If I had to type that kind of stuff for each picture it would take me forever and be full of typos.

I never used keywords before PM, because the idea of having to type them out for each picture was a turn off. But you can use the same code replacement for any kind of image you shoot. I really think it could be added to any type of photographer workflow and end up saving you time, and adding things to your image you might have never down before.
That's what I love about ACR.....LOL! I can select any number of images and apply a key work with one click. Same with LR actually but I don't like LR as well as ACR since with ACR I also have a hierarchial keyword structure. With one click I can apply several key words.

Isn't it great that we have different software to choose from so each of us can get close to what they need/want?
 
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Lots of programs allow you to add all kinds of metadata to images in a batch process requiring that you type the information only once. Indeed, the cataloging program I use allows me to add keywords without even having to type them.

I really think it could be added to any type of photographer workflow and end up saving you time, and adding things to your image you might have never down before.
Though I'm an avid cataloger that attends very heavily to the metadata embedded in my image files and sidecar files and stored in my catalog database, I disagree that programs such as Photo Mechanic or the program I use could end up saving every photographer time. That's especially true when taking into account the time required to evaluate the program the first time, the time required to learn how to use the program, the time required to determine which capabilities of the program to use on a regular basis, the time required whether to alter your workflow once you have decided to use the program, and the time required to do all of that every time an update and upgrade to the program are offered.

Ironically, though I agree that once a photographer begins using such a program metadata might be added to images that were never added before, that in itself takes more time. If that new metadata is used on a regular basis or even just every once in awhile but in important situations, that's fine. But one heck of a lot of people will add metadata to their images that never gets used. When that happens, it becomes a waste of time unless the photographer enjoys the process of adding the metadata (as do I).
 
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F15Todd.
I have been a heavy keywords user but I never used PM for that. All the drives are passed down to the kids and I worry about their access if I were to use a proprietary system.
 
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That's what I love about ACR.....LOL! I can select any number of images and apply a key work with one click.
This is the second time recently you've mentioned that you use ACR for that. Do you really mean ACR or do you instead mean Adobe Bridge? Or something else?

I don't like LR as well as ACR since with ACR I also have a hierarchial keyword structure.
Lightroom used to provide the option of using a hierarchical keyword structure as recently as 2017, so I would be shocked to learn that it no longer provides it.
 
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Workflow varies I see. Among the pros, keywording must require various different needs/methods? I need only keyword a few images within a dated keyword folder, colors or selected items within the image, people's names. If I bulk keyworded, the total number of images, a search might bring up would in itself be a nuisance. It is simpler for me to open the file location of the tagged pic.
 
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And I try not to over keyword. I'm not going to put football or soccer down as a keyword, simple because that would return to large a selection. Plus with my folder naming method I already have those broken out by main subject SPORT/FOOTBALL/YR-MTH-DD. But when the paper calls and says coach Rutherford just quit and we need a picture of him for the article, if I didn't have that keyword in it could take me a lot of time to find a shot of him.
 
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Hey Jim,

Obviously, only you know your needs. But since you're curious, you can download the free trial and play with it.

When I got my first digital camera in 2006 (a D2Hs), the first two things I got to go with it were Capture NX2 (because I knew I was going to shoot RAW) and Photo Mechanic (because I knew I was going to have to organize).

I use it for all my photos, not just the sports photos. If I see a wildflower on a hike, and some kind soul identifies it for me, I can easily (that might be the key word) add the name of the flower to the metadata. And metadata is a very important component of digital photography. At least it is to me.

If you shoot RAW+JPG (I don't right now, but I might start), Photo Mechanic displays one image representing both files. You can set an option as to which you want to edit. And I can select an image, type one letter (E) and the image opens in my image editor of choice.

I put my card into the card reader and Photo Mechanic automatically opens, ready to ingest the card.

I don't use Bridge, so I can't compare the two. But Photo Mechanic works for me.

Andy
 
A lot of programs automatically open to ingest the contents of a card reader, but personally, I prefer NOT to do that. I always copy the images from the memory card reader/memory card to the desktop and from there I can choose to do whatever I need to do with the files, including culling them in one program, then processing/editing them in another or perhaps even a third.....
 
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So, I was reading this thread and thinking about how Photo Mechanic might help me cull through images faster. I remembered that I purchased the software back in 2008. At some point, I stopped using it and eventually I lost track of it...never loaded it on the laptop that I purchased in 2011.

I found an old email that contained the license number. But, I had no way of loading the software since the version goes back to version 4 and that download option no longer exists on the Photo Mechanic site.

I contacted Photo Mechanic. They worked with me to get the software back on my computer. It's an old version, but it still works great with my newest files. I thought the customer support was outstanding in helping me reactivate software than I purchased more than a decade ago!

Glenn
 
I'd like to get clarity about programs that "open" automatically to ingest the contents of a memory card once it is inserted into the card reader. I'm taking that to mean that if the program is on the computer system but is not running, it automatically loads rather than requiring the user to click anything to load it. Is my understanding correct?

I've never heard of a program doing that. Certainly none of the programs I've ever used do that. What programs do it?
 
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So, I was reading this thread and thinking about how Photo Mechanic might help me cull through images faster. I remembered that I purchased the software back in 2008. At some point, I stopped using it and eventually I lost track of it...never loaded it on the laptop that I purchased in 2011.

I found an old email that contained the license number. But, I had no way of loading the software since the version goes back to version 4 and that download option no longer exists on the Photo Mechanic site.

I contacted Photo Mechanic. They worked with me to get the software back on my computer. It's an old version, but it still works great with my newest files. I thought the customer support was outstanding in helping me reactivate software than I purchased more than a decade ago!

Glenn
That's a good story. Are you finding the program useful again? Do you think you'll continue to use it?
 
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That's a good story. Are you finding the program useful again? Do you think you'll continue to use it?
Time will tell. I will need to consider modifying my workflow to incorporate it.

I like how it renders the files so quickly for culling. I can zoom in at 100% and check the files for sharpness far more quickly than what I experience with Lightroom.

My workflow issue is that I usually import the images each night into Lightroom...with captions added. I don’t usually cull them for several days.

With Photo Mechanic, I need to think about how to use it in a manner that works seamlessly with my LR workflow.

Glenn
 
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So, I was reading this thread and thinking about how Photo Mechanic might help me cull through images faster. I remembered that I purchased the software back in 2008. At some point, I stopped using it and eventually I lost track of it...never loaded it on the laptop that I purchased in 2011.

I found an old email that contained the license number. But, I had no way of loading the software since the version goes back to version 4 and that download option no longer exists on the Photo Mechanic site.

I contacted Photo Mechanic. They worked with me to get the software back on my computer. It's an old version, but it still works great with my newest files. I thought the customer support was outstanding in helping me reactivate software than I purchased more than a decade ago!

Glenn
The times I have called since 07, customer service has been the best I have experienced. Calls are answered by nice folks.
 
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I like how it renders the files so quickly for culling. I can zoom in at 100% and check the files for sharpness far more quickly than what I experience with Lightroom.
This alone makes PM worthwhile to me. Another point that hasn't yet been made is this:

The stop that my SOOC images make in PM is for culling, after which I shift gears to the task of retouching in the Adobe suite. Compartmentalizing those two tasks feels both efficient and effective.
 
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