Any users of Photo Mechanic???
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Computers and Software

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-23-2011   #1
F1 Camel
 
Tony's Avatar
 
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4,628
CamelKarma: 349856
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Any users of Photo Mechanic???

Hi All

I recently read an article that said if you want a powerful piece of software to help in keeping tabs on all your photos I should try "Photo Mechanic".

Does anyone use this software and can you give me some idea on how it works and if it easy to use and some of your experiences and suggestions.
Thank You for your consideration
Tony

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
__________________
When in nature, take nothing but photos and leave nothing but foot prints
Tony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2011   #2
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Camel Breath
 
cyclohexane's Avatar
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
Posts: 10,883
CamelKarma: 1099193
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Any users of Photo Mechanic???

Photo Mechanic is one of the best pieces of software I've ever used.

I still run it every day as my primary DAM solution and browser even though I own the latest versions of Aperture and Lightroom. I would start by going to the Camera Bits website. They give a good overview, and highlight the key features. You can download a demo and try it for yourself.

Photo Mechanic is still the fastest browser for going through previews of your RAW files. Adobe can't touch the kind of speed Photo Mechanic offers.

Photo Mechanic was one of the original programs capable of being a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution. Of course, Photo Mechanic does so much more; it is the editorial photography world's industry standard for captioning, keywording, and crediting images.

Photo Mechanic also offers the ability to do code replacement for quick captioning, which is a cool little feature if you want to use it. In previous versions, you could upload your files directly out of Photo Mechanic to certain hosts, though the supported webhosts have now folded, so that feature is gone. You can still transmit directly to Associated Press through Photo Mechanic if you are working for the AP.

Photo Mechanic uses the IPTC standard, which writes the information directly into the file, sort of like EXIF, and can be read by numerous programs. Lightroom, Aperture, and perhaps ACDSee are just some of the programs that support IPTC. Bridge and even Photoshop itself have limited IPTC support as well.

You can quickly sort your files by Capture Time, camera used, ISO, lens used, and any other host of variables that you define.

Photo Mechanic can ingest your images from your card out of your card reader (or camera) and automatically apply captions, keywords, credits, copyright information, contact information, license terms (and more) that you've prepared in advance, and also automatically store the original file name, time and date of the image, and a host of other variables (look at "variable list" in the program's demo) to make your organization easier.

The difference between something like Photo Mechanic and other software like Lightroom or Aperture is that Lightroom or Aperture rely on catalogs constructed by the program itself, and must generate previews using their own conversion engine for your files, which takes a longer time than Photo Mechanic ripping the original embedded previews from the RAW files. If you move the files on your computer outside of the program, you often need to manually redirect LR or Aperture to the new location; Photo Mechanic doesn't have any of those problems, because the organization structure is dependent on the operating system, and if something gets all funky Photo Mechanic still works like a dream.

You can tag your photos in Photo Mechanic, rate them 1-5 stars, and color code them (and rename the colors to whatever you want them to represent). You can even send the photos straight to your favorite editing software, e.g. Photoshop, with a quick press of the "E" key on your keyboard. If you're on a Mac, Photo Mechanic can use Apple's RAW converter to convert your RAW files on the spot to JPEGs, TIFFs, or DNG.

Editing using the "E" key is not as seamless as being able to edit the photo on the spot in Lightroom by switching over to the Develop Module, or in Aperture, but I prefer to manage my images in Photo Mechanic, and then move the selected images into my RAW converter of choice (Aperture, Lightroom, or ACR in Photoshop if it's just one picture). Saves a lot of time if Aperture and Lightroom aren't generating previews for pictures I'm not going to use at all.

One cool thing about Photo Mechanic is that it can read actuations from RAW files, e.g. Nikon NEFs, and perhaps even the newest Canon 1D Mk IV. Most EXIF readers only work with JPEGs.

If you're still interested, here's a quick look at one of my workflows:

When I pull cards out of my cameras, I will ingest them into the computer. With Photo Mechanic, I can automate the folder creation process on a target drive or location if I so choose; I can point it at "2011" folder on my external drive, and then using the ingest dialog, Photo Mechanic will automatically add a folder with the day's date ("20110323" for today) and inside will add a folder with a name of my choosing.

I can automatically rename the ingested photos and apply the IPTC information I've prepared in advance, but I'm not going to do that today since I have shot with more than one camera. I can also only ingest "locked" photos that I tagged in-camera using the lock button while reviewing images on the LCD, which is great for getting your top photos onto the computer when on deadline, but again I don't need to do that right now.

So, once I've gotten all my cards ingested on the computer, I open up the "Contact Sheet" where all the files are. By default, the photos are sorted by Filename, which is the fastest sorting Photo Mechanic is capable of. My first camera's pictures are named "1MC_3745.NEF, 1MC3746.NEF...", second camera "2MC_8952.NEF, 2MC_8953.NEF...", and the third camera is similar, etc. I want the pictures to be sorted by Capture Time all the time, but "Sort by Capture Time" takes time out of my workflow if I have to do it each time I return to this shoot, so I want to rename all the photos, but only after I order them by Capture Time, so I select "Sort By Capture Time", and the computer and program do its thing for a few seconds.

Now that everything's in order, I hit Cmd + A to select all the files (Ctrl + A on Windows) and then Cmd + M to rename the files. A dialog comes up where I can define the starting number for the file (usually "1") and how many leading zeroes I want in front of the number ("0001"... etc.). I have the program set up to automatically add the date to the front of each file name, and I just need to set the starting number and my naming convention before I'm ready to go.

The window will read something like "{yr2}{month0}{day0}_MBKC_{seqn}", "yr2" will be "11" for a two-digit abbreviation of 2011, "month0" will be "03" for March, and "day0" will be "23" for today, with a leading 0 for the first nine days of each month. "MBKC" is the only thing I have to type in by hand, which is "Men's Basketball, College", and "seqn" is the file number, starting with "0001" which I defined earlier.

After the files are renamed, I hit Cmd + I to open up the "IPTC Stationary Pad", which is where my prepared boilerpate caption, credits, copyright info, and keywords live. I have it set to record the original file name as well, so when a client receives a file, renames it, and later wants a higher resolution copy or something, I can just open their renamed file in Photo Mechanic and immediately know which file I need to provide them from my archive.

After this is done, I tag the pictures I want to use, copy only the tagged pictures into a new folder, and bring that folder into my RAW converter of choice, say Lightroom or Aperture, and edit the files.

Once I have converted the files to the file format of choice for delivery, I can go back into Photo Mechanic and add in rights usage information and anything else, e.g. "Web only; no prints" or whatever the client and I have agreed to.

If I ever need to go back and find something, because of my caption and keywording, I can use Photo Mechanic's powerful search function to find what I need. Let's say I want a picture of "Tyler Howard", fictional basketball power forward. All I need to do is type in "Tyler Howard", and any pictures I have of him on my built-in drive, any connected externals, and any USB sticks, CDs inserted into the drive, etc. will be scoured for anything captioned or keyworded or named "Tyler Howard", and all the pictures I have of him will appear on my screen. If I want all my pictures of a particular school's teams, say the fictional boarding school in Timbuktu mentioned in some family comedies in the 90's, I could type in the name of the school and have all the pictures of said Timbuktu Preparatory Academy show up on my screen.

Hopefully, this helps a little. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, and Kirk over at Camera Bits is very helpful as well.

I'm not sure I recommend switching to Photo Mechanic if you're already using something like Aperture or Lightroom; they get the job done for most shooters. For the high volume of editiorial shooting I do, Lightroom or Aperture would be bogged down beyond belief with massive catalogs considering I've shot about 315,000 frames in the last six or seven years.
__________________
-Michael
cyclohexane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2011   #3
F1 Camel
 
Tony's Avatar
 
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 4,628
CamelKarma: 349856
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Any users of Photo Mechanic???

Hi Michael

I want to thank you for your very detailed response I appreciate it very much. I will check the website and see the reviews.
__________________
When in nature, take nothing but photos and leave nothing but foot prints
Tony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2011   #4
Vicuna
 
Posts: 79
CamelKarma: 114127
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Any users of Photo Mechanic???

Hello,

I used Photo Mechanic for two years now, but have gone to Lightroom because of the develope module that allows me to make edit the images. That is one feature that I found missing in PM. Sometimes I would like to lighten all the images just a bit or add a little contrast. With PM I could not do this. It is blazingly fast for viewing your pictures and the many features Michael listed are great for photographers who take thousands of pictures a week. I was taking 900 - 2000 a day and then uploading them for sale. I'm changed my business model and no longer post online as in my area, the internet is slow and many potential customers wouldn't go to my site because they still have dialup!. That was a powerful feature that PM had. I could ingest the images, crop them quickly and then output the reduced sized images for upload. I have Exposuremanager and it didn't play well with PM. It would have been great to output and upload them to EM automatically, by EM had issues. In the future I may try uploading to a different photohosting website with PM if I further refine my business model.


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
countryfarmboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Computers and Software »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
old school mechanic.. bill_w Transportation 2 07-05-2009 04:28 PM
A fellow aircraft mechanic devinezx9rr Portraits 4 03-23-2009 12:51 PM