My latest image software recommendations are included in this post.

Choosing image software to help manage your family photos is an essential step in organizing family photos and records, and one that I cover in more detail in my e-book, Cataloging Family Photographs & Records.
Image software is used by genealogists to:

  • Create high-resolution master scans
  • Edit photos to resize, crop, and alter master digital files
  • Make changes to many photos with a batch edit
  • Add information to digital images using metadata
  • Search for images and retrieve them using keywords
  • Use special functions, such as creating albums, employing facial recognition or adding GPS linking

Windows or Mac Image Software

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 (~$70-$80) – think of it as Photoshop Lite. Has powerful image editing capabilities, including GPS and facial recognition; easier to use than the full version of Photoshop, but still has a learning curve. Supports IPTC data entry and search functions.

Many free tutorials available. Also has scanning feature. A 30-day demo is available for download by clicking here.

Tip: Adobe releases a new version of Photoshop Elements every year, usually with only small changes between versions. The current version of the software is 15. Earlier versions are available for sale online at big discounts.

Windows Only

Macintosh OS X

  • GraphicConverter ($40) – Excellent all-round image editing program for viewing, converting, and adding metadata to 80 image file formats; stable, reliable, and much simpler alternative to Photoshop with a long track record. Mac only. CNet review here.
  • Choosing Image Management Software sassy jane genealogyAcorn ($30) – “The Image Editor for Humans” has a simple and elegant interface with tools for viewing, converting, and adding metadata, text, shapes, and effects. Mac only. CNet review here.

For more alternatives, visit:

For full features, including facial recognition, album creation, and IPTC support, try Photoshop Elements. It’s worth the investment in time and money. For smaller collections, download and try demos of some of the programs listed here until you find one that makes sense to you. Step-by-step instructions are available in my e-book, Cataloging Family Photographs & Records.

Members of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society can download the handout from my talk on Saturday by logging in at and choosing Speakers’ Handouts.