4 DAMs Every Photographer Should Use

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It’s important for photographers to keep assets organized and stored in a digital asset management application before your workspace becomes too cluttered. Digital images should be stored and organized by what type of photo they are, the subject matter, the date, and other relevant metadata. This allows for sorting of digital files based on content.

Digital asset management encompasses everything a photographer does with their files, from capturing a picture to the final edits. Some applications, known as digital asset managers, make it easier to handle file-related activities, especially sharing and printing. But what digital asset management software is the best?

Here are 4 digital asset management applications every photographer should use:

  1. Adobe Bridge
  2. Adobe Lightroom Classic
  3. ACDSee
  4. Photo Mechanic
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This post will cover the finest asset management software for the most straightforward organization of your portfolio. Additionally, I’ll discuss the advantages of each and how they may benefit your career.

1. Adobe Bridge 

Adobe Bridge is a digital asset management application that includes convenient preview, organization, and publishing capabilities. It’s compatible with all Adobe Creative Cloud apps, including Photoshop and InDesign.

Adobe Bridge is an excellent tool for sorting thumbnails, reading metadata, and searching by keywords among photographs.

During your projects, you may be combining files from several applications, such as Lightroom and DreamWeaver. Adobe Bridge is advantageous in this instance since it allows you to browse through information without launching the applications.

It lets you edit metadata, assign keywords, labels, and ranks, apply filters, and create libraries.

Other features of the app include:

  • Batch processing. 
  • Quick search filters. 
  • Thumbnail previews.

You can build a portfolio for your work and then submit the images to Adobe Portfolio using this powerful digital asset manager.

The primary drawback of Adobe Bridge is that it doesn’t support picture editing. To make modifications to raw files, you must install Adobe CR as a Bridge plugin.

Bridge’s newest version is compatible with Windows and Mac as long as your computer meets the minimum requirements.

Mac systems should have at least:

  • 4GB RAM.
  • Intel 5thGen or newer CPU or AMD equivalent.
  • MacOS v10.14 or later.

If you have a Windows system, it must meet the following:

  • 4GB RAM.
  • Intel 5thGen or newer CPU.
  • Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1903 or later.
  • Operating System – RAM – 4GB.

Pros of Adobe Bridge

Here are some additional advantages of Adobe Bridge:

  • Completely free.
  • Media files cache. This function optimizes file playing performance.
  • Allows you to alter the capture time. A useful function when shooting in different time zones.
  • Enhanced interface. Bridge’s library workspace allows multiple item selection for an overview.
  • Centralized administration of caches. Any member of your photographic team may export a cache to a shared folder and import a local copy of the shared cache.
  • Simple login and logout. If you’re already signed in to another Adobe program, you can use the same credentials to log in, but your computer won’t show the login box.

Cons of Adobe Bridge

This software also has a few drawbacks, including:

  • It only comes in one language: English.
  • When several people access the same files, there’s a risk of data corruption.
  • Due to the enormous cache that Adobe Bridge maintains, reading huge file groupings can be slow. Adobe advises regularly clearing your cache to combat this issue.

2. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a cloud-based photo editing program with sophisticated editing tools. It can be used for file management, previewing data across many devices, and even licensing your photos.

Its comprehensive search and filtering capabilities let you quickly locate files in an extensive photo collection. In addition, the advanced image editing tools change images without sacrificing image quality or using a lot of disk space.

Additional features include:

  • Cloud storage.
  • Keywords mapping.
  • Convenient search options .
  • Synchronization with different devices.

Lightroom also has an intuitive interface for organizing and editing photos.

Rather than the standard MDI interface, Lightroom’s GUI is laid out in tiles. The center workspace is encircled on all sides by foldable panels.

There’s also a neutral grey scheme to promote optimal color perception.

Apart from keywording all your pictures, the software enables you to add copyright information and signatures manually. What’s more, you can protect your works when you upload them on third-party sites.

Lastly, the system requirements for running Lightroom on Windows or Mac are identical to those for Adobe Bridge, except that 8GB of RAM is required.

Pros of Adobe Lightroom

Additional advantages of Adobe Lightroom include:

  • Syncs editing steps across devices.
  • For modest picture modification, cloning and healing tools are available.
  • Quick and simple picture albums, slide presentations, and online galleries.
  • Brush, gradient and radial adjustments let you apply multiple effects on a single mask.

Cons of Adobe Lightroom

Although a powerful digital asset management tool, Adobe Lightroom isn’t a very capable photo editor. Here are a few of its shortcomings: 

  • Limited editing capabilities. 
  • There are no layers or blend modes.
  • Subscription-based service. You can purchase Lightroom alone or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography subscription, both beginning at about $10 per month.

3. ACDSee

ACDSee is specifically designed for photographers, giving them a host of features to search, filter, share, and transfer files. 

You don’t need to upload files on ACDSee, because  the program accesses your operating system’s folders. All you need is to copy the files to your hard drive. They immediately move to the ACDSee database, where you can search for them.

You can import files through the program if you want, adjusting file names and adding information as you go. Additionally, you may resize your images, change their titles, and rotate several photographs simultaneously.

Several more helpful tools include the following:

  • Backup function.
  • Batch processing.
  • Expanded metadata.
  • Supports facial recognition.

With the face recognition feature, you can tag models in photographs to efficiently locate their shots.

Additionally, the program features three view modes for easier searching:

  • View Mode provides a large display to view your photos one at a time,
  • Manage Mode lets explore folders, filter out pictures, make slideshows, and share images on various photo sites.
  • Photos Mode displays all material, regardless of whether it’s organized in folders or subfolders.

ACDSee supports most raw file formats; however, you don’t have control over the processing settings. Therefore, it’s best to connect it to a raw editor and work between the two to edit raw files. 

Pros of ACDSee

Below are some advantages of ACDSee:

  • Free trial.
  • Increased stability.
  • Database statistics.
  • Non-destructive editing.
  • Customizable interface.
  • Additional blend modes.
  • Fixes chromatic aberration.
  • GPU-enhanced layers engine.
  • Non-destructive noise reduction.

Cons of ACDSee

Similar to other software, this organizer also has a few shortcomings:

  • Costly. ACDSee Pro pricing starts at $59.99 as a one-time payment. Other packages range from $100 to $189.
  • Not recommended for a large library of images more than 100,000. Some users experience freezing in file management when renaming, copying, or moving files in a library of this size.

4. Photo Mechanic 

Photo Mechanic is a program for viewing, managing, and organizing photographs. It lets you upload a photo from your camera in a few seconds then add a signature, keywords, or a copyright notice.

Here are a few other beneficial features:

  • Culling.
  • Quick file import.
  • Metadata options.
  • Ingesting and browsing.
  • File transfer to other services.

With this app, you can start editing your pictures as soon as they’re imported from your camera’s memory card. Additionally, flipping through the photos is very smooth, even when other applications are running concurrently.

Photo Mechanic needs Mac OS X 10.10 or later to download on macOS. If you’re running Windows, you’ll need a 64-bit version of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 

Pros of Photo Mechanic

Below are additional benefits of Photo Mechanic:

  • Extremely fast.
  • Multiple simultaneous imports.
  • It doesn’t require a powerful computer.
  • Excellent compatibility with different file formats.

Cons of Photo Mechanic

Some cons of Photo Mechanic are:

  • No mobile version.
  • No AI for keywording.
  • It doesn’t support Hasselblad files.
  • Expensive. A new license for Photo Mechanic is around $229, with upgrades from older versions starting at $90.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of digital asset management software for photographers and how it can help take your photography business to the next level.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for new ways to increase sales, these programs should be at the top of your list. We highly recommend ACDSee or Lightroom because it offers many helpful features that will make organizing digital files much easier.



Hi, I'm Benjamin, Digital Media Strategist and product photographer for Skyline FBA. I have been involved in content creation for over 10 years and love helping people develop strategies to grow their business. My wife and I are Product Photographers that are experienced in Amazon FBA, eCommerce, Lifestyle, and Advertising photography.


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