Anyone use DT to catalog photos?

I would be interested in learning how you use DT to keep track of photo collections. I know I can type in some information and the photo can be imported to DT. But I would like to use it much like a DAM (Digital Asset Manager) which is capable of reading the metadata for each photo as it is imported; then I could add my own comments about it also.

Has anyone done such a thing?

I would not really recommend DTPro for that kind of thing. My all time favorite on the Mac so far is iView Media Pro, which I use for cataloging about 5000 full size RAW photos, stored across both my local computer and removable storage.



in summer I started to set up such a database with extraction and entering of ITPC (IPTC; ICPT or what) data via AppeScript with groups and GraphicConverter. It did not get too far. Too much to think about.

iView Media Pro really seems the best solution.

Still, I hope very much that DT Pro will soon be able to read and store EXIF and IPTC or what? data in the Info panel. Should be easy, and then there is no need for an additional data base.


iViewMedia Pro is indeed the best solution. I have been working with this application (version 2.6; not the newest, 3.x, which doesn’t add anything essential for me) for many months now, and can recommend it to anybody. I just keep my photographs in maps inside Pictures, and catalogue them in iView. Works perfectly.

i would recommend iview as well, or adobe lightroom (free while public-beta).

i use dtp to collect the photos, graphics etc. belonging to the job i’m currently working on. dtp keeps that stuff together and helps perfectly to retain survey and control.
when it’s finished, all the job’s stuff will be archived on our companies server and archive-system and i delete it from dtp.

iview, lightroom, aperture or more sophistic dams like cumulus enable you to attach a lot of not unimportant (meta-)data with your pictures.


I would reccommend Aperture especially if you shoot RAW. Just be sure to check that your Mac’s video card is fully compatible and has lots of RAM.

I started using iPhoto but found that it couldn’t cope as the collection got bigger (may be better with newer versions). I then switched for a while to using DT Pro. DT is a great product and really, really good at what it does but image archival and storage is rather specialised and DT doesn’t have specific enough features to cope if it’s primary use is image storage.

I now use Aperture and find it absolutly excellent. However if you mainly (only) shoot JPEG you may be just as well off with one of the other dedicated Image archival programs.

Unlike Maria, I do not believe that DT should be improved in the area of image handling as there are already loads of specialised programs that do this job and there is no point re-inventing the wheel. I would rather see DT continue to focus on it’s core functionality rather than trying to be all things to all people.

Even if DT Pro was enhanced to read EXIF or ITPC data it will never come even close to the level of image management that more specialised applications can provide and if you have to store more than a handful of images I believe that the results will always be unsatisfactory.

At the end of the day the suitability of DT for this depends on your purpose. I do in fact use DT to store and archive images, specifically jpegs of meso-americian artifacts as part of a project I am working on. In that context I am only interested in comparative analysis and study of the artifacts themselves as well as attaching notes and documentation to them. I do not care about them photographically, i.e. I do not retouch them, or study their EXIF data. On the other hand I am also a very keen amateur photographer with about 10,000 RAW images stored in Aperture which provides all the photography relevant tools I need to manage them. I use PSE for anything other than basic retouching of my photos.

You can use DT for image storage and you can add comments in the Info window but if your interest is mainly as a photographer I believe you will find in unsuitable (which I believe is best since DT’s main purpose is somewhat different). One nice feature of DT by the way is that if you mouse over an image a tooltip appears displaying the comments for that image.

@psmyth: your absolutely right, but you shouldn’t miss to say that you really need a powerful graphic-card with a lot of ram to have fun with aperture.

it runs on my mac (it’s not the freshest), but is slow, slow, slow.

Thanks everyone for your comments. I looked at IView but just could not see the need to fork over $200. I want to archive all my photos, slides, negatives, etc. for family history purposes. Therefore, I need an application that will let me store the who, what, when and where for each photo. I already have 25-30 CD’s that are full of images and have just scratched the surface of what there is to do to meet my objective.

Anyway, I’ll go with QPict. It looks and acts a lot like IView but is only $35.

For those of you who said you did archive photos in DT, would that be something I should consider in addition to the CD’s?

If you want to use it solely for the purpose of a family history, take a look at Memory Miner. It was specifically written for this purpose. It’s more expensive than the tool you mentioned but much less than iView.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep it in mind. For now, I can’t use it because it requires OS X 10.4. I know - I need to upgrade my OS. That’s one of the things that will have to wait until my “fixed income” improves. At the rate I’m going it may be awhile.

Hi psmyth,

thanks for sharing your experiences. I followed the other contributions with equal interest.

I tried iView MP and appreciate its features, but I do not need most of them, but I need other features. In addition, I do not want to pay so much money for an application that is loaded with features I do not need and that requires additional learning. So for me it would be sufficient to have DT Pro reading IPTC, EXIF and possibly XMP. Should not be too difficult. The rest, organising in folders etc. can be done in DT and pictures can be linked to stories etc. That is what I am interested in.

As you say, it depends on the purpose, and DT serves 99% of the purpose, so I just ask for the little rest…


Just started using Memory Miner. I think it requires a bit more work to get it up and running, but once it is, it’s really kind of amazing in what it can do with photos. I guess it depends on what you want to do–just store them or actually work with them and create albums that can be easily posted, etc. They are also extremely responsive and are coming out with a new version so that will make it even more intuitive and usable.


I just tried Memory Miner yesterday. It works nicely, has great ideas but is after all useless.

The data the user applies with so much effort are not stored as IPTC in the photo itself, so they are just valid in the application or as ready stories exported. EXIF data that could be helpful (data of creation e.g.) were not used during import.

So, I am still waiting for DT to offer these meta data for easy access, sorting, linking etc.


Mmmm, don’t think I’d consider MM useless. I’m finding it quite useful. But it fits my needs just fine and wouldn’t fit yours, so it seems. So, you might say useless for you or folks who need what you need. For users like myself, it’s pretty handy. I’m fine with leaving it all within the program itself. I’ve already used it to create some nifty online albums for my friends and family. :slight_smile:

You are quite right about different needs for different people. I do not say it is useless because of what needs it serves but because it does something that I thought we have almost overcome in the recent time: store data in proprietary formats where it is not necessary.

Picture metadata are stored in open IPTC or XMD formats all over the world. I would not put hours of work into data that are bound to one specific software, and which I cannot use otherwise.

Saying useless was a bit much perhaps :confused:


And I’m about to buy Aperture 1.5 because I sometimes shoot in RAW and like the fact that I can try various image manipulations without affecting the original photo and without using much additional storage space.


Aperture looks elegant, I am always intrigued to buy it when I see it. As for the RAW format, you have to convert it before manipulating anyway, so your originals will always be untouched. I do this in GraphicConverter, it works with almost any RAW format, has an amazing range of useful functions and is scriptable.

I am not a pro-amateur, so maybe my needs are too limited…


My interest in using DT for keeping track of my family history photos - which is actually everyone of the photos I have - started when I discovered that captions could be included in a particular photo using Photoshop Elements. Later I discovered 2 things about that caption: 1) It only showed when you printed the image. If you merely displayed it on the screen or as a slide show it was not visible. 2) I discovered quite by accident and very late in my testing that Photoshop Elements could not remove the caption once it was embedded. Now I have a number of images that if I were to print them would have a bunch of garbage included. So not only am I storing data in a program that only does half the job I need, I now cannot remove that data.

I read your other posts about trying to script DT to do the job. That might be a way to add that functuality. Unfortunately, I have no scripting ability whatsoever.

Another thought. I have read several posts describing the use of DT to catalog music collections and book collections, etc. I don’t recall any replies suggesting that DT was not an appropriate application for such use.

I understand there may be other programs to catalog photo collections as suggested by some of the replies. But isn’t that also true of music collections, etc.


the scripting is mostly done with Graphic Converter, which can read all standard meta data (EXIF, IPTC, XMP). If you do not own the application, you may download a trial version and use it as long as you like (only the nag screen when launching GC takes increasingly long after the 30 days trial period; a nice way of supporting poor students…).

Open some of the photos you worked on in Photoshop Elements. You have access to the meta data via File>document information (IPTC) [cmd-I] and Picture>Picture information [ctrl-cmd-I]. I use the German version, so I added the shortcuts if you use another language.

There you can verify whether and which information is added to the picture. GC also allows you to delete all meta data if you exchange pictures, which might be a good idea in certain cases.

You exactly came across one of those cases that I want to avoid: You stored data, but you are not in command of the data. If they are in the IPTC fields in GC, they can be read and modified by reasonable apps like iView.

As for Scripts: I am not a good scripter myself. This is why my scripts involving GC and DTPro are still half baked. When running them I alway have to check whether they work as I anticipated. This is why I did not post them yet here.

All the best,