If you take pictures on any regular basis, its useful to have a system in place to organize and edit them. Absent a good system, as the years go by your photos end up in random folders, scattered on different drives, or worse yet, left on your camera. Many shots that could be very cool with a bit of editing, get distributed or printed looking subpar.
For years I have used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom which has become the go to product for serious amateurs and pros. Often it gets compared to Aperture from Apple because both offer similar features. But Lightroom usually wins because most serious photographers use it with Photoshop and many plugins that integrate seamlessly. It also works on both PC and Mac platforms and is reasonable priced. If you are at all serious about organizing your photos and having an amazing set of editing tools to make them look their best – look no further – buy Lightroom.
If you are in the camp that has no interest in this topic, but know you should do something over nothing, then my suggestion is to develop a very simple system using one of the free or inexpensive cloud-based services that offer all you will need. Two of the most popular are Google’s Picasa and Yahoo’s Flickr. Both are owned by companies you know and offer different pros and cons. If you shoot lots of photos and tend not to edit much, go with Flickr. If you want more control over editing, use other Google products, and shoot less frequently, choose Picasa. For Apple users, iPhoto is also a solid choice.
The essence of this post is to hit home the message that if you take photos on some regular basis, you should have a system to get them from your camera into a place where you can easily organize and edit them before sharing them with the world. If you use Lightroom then I don’t need to even mention the importance of backup. And if you use a cloud-based option, then it’s done for you! If you still upload your photos to your computer and have little clue where they go, then it’s time to invest some energy in one of the options above.