Ok, now you're totally confused. You've got two paths for your digital workflow--one that's easy but not the most powerful, and one that's more complicated, but more complete. Which programs are the best?
Figure 6.20. You love the photo you've shot, now what do you do with it? You need a workflow that makes your life simple. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann)
It's a lot easier than it might seem to choose the right path (see the sidebar "Choices, Choices, Choices" for some software starting points). And remember: You can always change your mind in the future, but if you do you'll either have to import all your photos into an all-in-one program or export them, rearrange, and re-caption them.
Ask yourself, "How involved do I want to be in this process, and how many photos do I shoot?" If you don't shoot a large quantity of photos, you won't need a powerful workflow. If you prefer to concentrate on the photographic aspects of your travel photography (everything that happens in front of the lens), then the simple solution is best. But if you read this chapter dying to know which program you should use to get the most out of your IPTC captioning, then you're a candidate for the specialized approach.
Figure 6.21. Paint Shop Photo Album is one of the many good all-in-one packages available. (Photos by Reed Hoffmann)
Choices, Choices, Choices
If you've decided to go down the one-stop photo package path, look no further than the programs mentioned at the beginning of the chapter: Apple's iPhoto, Adobe's Photoshop Album, Corel's Paint Shop Photo Album, and Google's Picasa, all of which are full of photographic power and picture-sharing goodness. (Apple's iPhoto is Mac-only; Picasa and Paint Shop Photo Album are Windows-only.)
If you've got your eye on the more professional approach, start with some of the industry standards. Try out Photo Mechanic for downloading, captioning, and browsing. Give Photoshop CS2 or Photoshop Elements, a scaled-down version of Photoshop, a whirl for your editing needs. (Elements 3 has much of the power of Album built into it). Check out iView MediaPro or Extensis Portfolio as a browser/archiving tool, though Photo Mechanic also handles those tasks well if you don't need commercial-strength image searches.
Both iView and Extensis Portfolio are designed for serious photographers who require true database search capability. Both programs can perform searches across tens-of-thousands of images in a snap, but the learning curve can be steep.
If you're using a Mac, you can't beat the image searching power of OS 10.4 (Tiger) or later. The built-in tool, called Spotlight, can find anything on your computer in a flash. Microsoft's next generation operating system promises to have these searching tools as well but isn't scheduled for release until late 2006.
Figure 6.22. One of the more powerful cataloging applications is iView MediaPro, which makes it easy to search and find your photos. (Photos by Reed Hoffman)
Figure 6.23. No matter what software you decide on, the important thing is to enjoy your trip and come home with memorable photos. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann)