Living with photo addiction

When it comes to photography, I’m hopelessly addicted. Like any shutter junkie, I’ve accumulated a wide array of cameras — little point-and-shoots, Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and I’m not too proud to snap away with my smartphone.

This little habit of mine means that at any one time I have about a million photos to download from my cameras, retouch, and upload to Facebook. It’s a daunting task, given my work schedule. Enter PhotoDirector, an inexpensive new Cyberlink photo editing program that does an excellent job of wrangling huge loads of images.

I looked at a beta version. (Sign up here to join me as a beta tester, but hurry! The public beta ends June 20.) PhotoDirector is for prosumers; that is, consumers who like their software affordable but full of features that pros pay top dollar for. It’s full of bells and whistles that streamline the process of transferring, sorting, editing and sharing hundreds or even thousands of pictures.

What’s more, it’s optimized for second-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. When you install PhotoDirector on a PC equipped with one of these processors, importing and working on your photos is especially quick and easy.

In the next few posts I’ll be stepping through how to use PhotoDirector and touch on a few of its best features. In many ways, it’s similar to other photo management programs, so a lot of it is familiar if you’ve ever worked with, say, Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture.

To start at the beginning, you load pictures into PhotoDirector in the usual way. Just plug in your camera’s memory card and click the Import button to copy single photos or whole folders. The program automatically saves imports in date-stamped folders.

PhotoDirector automatically saves imported photos in date-stamped folders. Assigning star rankings (bottom) is just one of many ways to sort your images.

From there, you can further sort your photos in a variety of ways to make tracking them easier. Flag the ones you like (or don’t like), score on a scale of one to five stars, and more. One of PhotoDirector’s really handy sorting tools is Smart Collections, automatic categorizations the program performs based on your star ranking, last import, and other criteria. You don’t have to lift a finger!

The list view combines thumbnails with details about each picture.

PhotoDirector also provides lots of ways to view all your photos. They range from a browser mode — like laying slides out on a light table — to a list view that displays details including date taken, f-stop, and any labels you’ve added. One of the program’s best high-end perks is support for RAW formats output by 21 camera brands. RAW photos are untouched by the camera so you can edit them yourself.

Next time we’ll look at the creative benefits of working with RAW photos as well as PhotoDirector’s powerful but intuitive editing tools.

[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of TechHive. ]

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