One of my many projects over the last few months has been cataloging and uploading my Grandfather’s very large digital photo collection. It took a bit of time to decide on the right tools for this job, and in all honestly I’ll probably switch again sometime in the future but so far I found the combination of Windows Live Photo Gallery and Flickr to be the best combination.
Windows Live Photo Gallery beat out it’s competitors for me because of did a better job of managing tags than all the others. It supports two types of tags, People tags and descriptive tags. People tags are cool because you can highlight individuals in a photo, but I haven’t yet figured out how this is stored. Descriptive tags are you’re basic tag but are stored in a form Vista recognizes directly making them very portable and useful for searching even without Windows Live Photo Gallery. Inside Windows Live Photo Gallery the interface for using the tags is very good too. I won’t say anymore on that topic other than suggest you try it.
You might be tempted to think the use of Windows Live Photo Gallery would make it easier to upload to the Windows Live Photos service, but there is an excellent uploader for Flickr built in. It’s way better than anything Flickr offers on their own, and in some ways better than the built in upload to Windows Live Photos as well. Once again, a key factor for me was the support for tags. The uploader in Windows Live Photo Gallery automatically transferred all of the descriptive tags. The standalone flickr uploader tool requires you type all of this in again.. ugh.. no thanks.
Flickr got my support for a couple reasons. For one, I had a lot of photos, 50GB or so, that I wanted to upload, and for a number of competitors that would have cost quite a bit. Actually, until AT&T discontinued their Yahoo services it was free for me. Now it’s $24.95/year. Picasa, is kind of expensive past the initial 1GB. Windows Live Photos was kind of attractive with 25GB of free space, but the online experience isn’t anywhere near the depth of Flickr. For example, while tags are transferred, they aren’t all that useful due to lack of good search/exploration interfaces. I think my feelings on that would change a lot of there was a online/offline sync between Gallery and Spaces like Picasa uses, but today it’s just a standard upload/download like Flickr.
So… now that I have all these photos and a inherent sentimentality toward them I’ll probably be posting links to some of the best in the ol’ blog from time to time. Hope you enjoy them.