Top Digital Photo Software for Family Photos

Top picks for organizing, fixing, and sharing your personal and family photos

Manage Your Family Photos

Getty Images 

Digital photo software is designed for people who want to organize and share personal and family photos, but don't want to spend a lot of time editing them. In addition to helping you browse and sort through your image collection, they also allow you to catalog your media with keywords, descriptions, and categories. These tools usually do not offer pixel-level editing capabilities, but they do provide easy, one-click corrections plus printing and photo sharing features.

Google Photos (Windows, Mac and Linux)

Google Photo

 Google Inc.

What We Like

  • Free, unlimited backups.

  • Deeply tied into Google's app ecosystem.

  • Works with HD videos, too.

What We Don't Like

  • Ties into your Google account, so it might become your default in Android.

  • Uses "face grouping" to scan your images to search for people.

Google Photos is a flashy and functional digital photo organizer and editor which has improved considerably since its first release. Google Photos is excellent for beginners and casual digital shooters who want to find all their pictures, sort them into albums, do quick edits, and share with friends and family. With Google Photos, everything is online and easily accessible from anywhere. If you're a fan of Google Drive and the other Google online applications, you'll feel right at home with Google Photos. Best of all, Google Photos is free!

Sign in to your Google Account for Google Photo.

Download Google Photo for Android.

Adobe Photoshop Elements (Windows and Mac)

Adobe Photoshop Elements

 Adobe

What We Like

  • Integrates with Adobe's entire Creative Suite portfolio.

  • Outstanding, robust toolkit for image editing.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive — $99 license for the 2019 version.

  • Album features take a back seat to image processing and editing.

Photoshop Elements includes an outstanding photo organizer along with a full-featured photo editor for the best of both worlds. The user interface is friendly to beginners, but not "dumbed-down" to the point that it frustrates experienced users. Elements utilizes a powerful, keyword-based system of tagging photos that allows you to find specific photos very quickly. In addition, you can create albums, perform quick fixes, and share your photos in a variety of photo layouts.

Purchase Adobe Photoshop Elements for Windows or Mac.

Apple iPhoto (Mac and iOS)

Apple iPhoto

 Apple Inc.

What We Like

  • Works on both Mac and iOS.

  • Free, native app for light editing.

  • Great slideshow features.

What We Don't Like

  • Movies focus on QuickTime, which is less established in the Windows world.

  • It's a stock app — good enough for light use, but not as full-featured as a tightly crafted album app.

Apple's photo cataloging solution was developed exclusively for Mac OS X. It comes pre-installed on Macintosh systems or as part of the Apple iLife suite. With iPhoto, you can organize, edit, and share your photos, create slide shows, order prints, make photo books, upload online albums, and create QuickTime movies.

iPhone users are likely already using iPhoto. That's where it's really blown up in popularity, and where it really connects to the rest of the Apple ecosystem. The integration with iCloud lets you easily upload your photos and access them from anywhere, including your Mac running iPhoto.

Download iPhoto for Mac.

ACDSee Photo Manager (Windows and Mac)

ACDSee Photo Studio

What We Like

  • Free trial, and four different paid models to select from.

  • Robust ecosystem of apps focused on video and photo editing.

  • Desktop and mobile versions available.

What We Don't Like

  • The programs are expensive, compared to competitors.

  • ACDSee's portfolio tends to favor power users, so you may find it too complex for casual use.

ACDSee Photo Manager packs a lot of punch for the price. It's rare to find a photo manager with this many features and options for browsing and organizing files. In addition, it has integrated image editing tools for some of the most common tasks such as cropping, adjusting overall image tone, removing red-eye, adding text, and so on. And after organizing and editing your images you can share them in a number of ways including slideshows (EXE, screensaver, Flash, HTML, or PDF formats), Web galleries, printed layouts, or by burning copies onto CD or DVD.

Purchase ACDSee for Windows or Mac.

Zoner Photo Studio Free (Windows)

Zoner Photo Studio

Zoner

 

What We Like

  • Actively developed program with a publicly available feature roadmap.

  • Rich toolset reminiscent of Adobe Photoshop.

  • Free 30-day trial, with modest monthly or annual pricing thereafter.

What We Don't Like

  • Stand-alone app, without video support.

  • You can make contact sheets and do basic photo organization, but otherwise it's not designed to be a robust organizing tool.

Zoner Photo Studio Free is a multi-faceted free photo editing and management tool. It offers users three working environments, namely the Manager, Viewer and Editor windows. The purpose of each aspect of Zoner Photo Studio Free is quite self explanatory and breaking down the interface into this tabbed environment is quite effective in use.

Purchase or try Zoner Photo Studio for Windows

digiKam (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

digiKam

 digiKam

What We Like

  • Open Source

  • Cross Platform

  • Wide range of file support

  • Easy metadata editing

What We Don't Like

  • Can be really dense for new users

  • Interface is pretty plain by default

digiKam is an open source photo management program that's packed with features. It's build to be a truly all-in-one solution to handle everything you'll want to do with your photos.

With digiKam you can keep your photos perfectly organized with its library management tools, and tag them efficiently by easily editing their metadata. digiKam also lets you import, export, and share your images without any hassle.

If you need to make any adjustments to your photos, digiKam comes with a full set of image editing tools that can handle the RAW file type, enabling the utmost quality in photo editing.

Download digiKam for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Linux users can also find digiKam in their distribution repositories.

Piwigo (Cloud - Linux)

Piwigo

 Piwigo

What We Like

  • Open source

  • Accessible from anywhere

  • Clean interface

What We Don't Like

  • Requires technical skill to set up

  • Monthly web hosting costs

If you like the idea of Google Photos, but you'd prefer to host your own photo server, Piwigo is the perfect solution for you. Piwigo can be best described as WordPress, but for photos. It's a cloud-hosted photo management app that you can access from anywhere and any device.

With Piwigo, you can host your own photo library and control exactly who has access. You can allow family and friends to view or even contribute their own photos, making sharing fun and really simple.

Unless you find a web host that sets up Piwigo for you, and some do, it does take some technical knowledge to get running, and that might be a big downside for some people.

Download Piwigo for Linux servers.

Suggest a Photo Organizer

If you have a favorite digital photo organizer that I neglected to include here, add a comment to let me know. Please only suggest digital photo software and not pixel-level image editors.