Mentioned in Managing Your Photos, I’ve long been a fan of ACDSee. Picasa, while free, isn’t nearly as powerful or fast, and is comparably limited. Among other weaknesses, it doesn’t easily allow and/or searches, sub-categories (labels), and produces duplicate labels when performing imports. Additionally, I’ve yet to see it burn a CD/DVD with pictures on it. Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop Album starter edition (free) would be solid competitors if only they didn’t run about 300x slower.
With over 11,000 photos in ACDSee 7 I feel confident that I’ve used it enough to offer a valuable opinion. I’ve modified the main program exe to make the category listbox longer, written tools to import ACDSee’s exported information into Picasa, and now, written a tool to marry two best-in-breed photo solutions, ACDSee and Fotki.
For $30/year, Fotki will allow you unlimited storage for your photos, 10 methods for uploading, including FTP, and the ability to sell your photos to site visitors. They also allow you to have both public and private albums, journals (blogs), forums, links (bookmarks), and a guestbook. However, the most impressive of their offerings in my opinion is the ability for you to download your full resolution photos. While many photo sites will allow you to upload photos of any resolution, they only allow you to download scaled down versions. This may not seem like a terrible thing, but in the event of a harddrive crash, it’s nice to know you can login to Fotki and download all of your photos (via FTP even). To me, that’s the perfect off-site picture backup! For those questioning their claim of “unlimited storage”, all I can tell you is that I have over 11,000 photos there and have seen posts from people with twice that many.
My ACDSee2Fotki application is a standalone .exe requiring just 3 things, a Fotki account, an exported ACDSee .xml file, and an internet accessible FTP server. It’s simple to get setup and running. If you’d like to give it a try (I need beta testers), just leave a comment below and I’ll get you going.