Any software that can organize photos automatically

Manage the flood of images - put an end to the photo chaos

Peter Stelzel-Morawietz

Digital photography leads to a veritable flood of images - and over time, unfortunately, usually also to uncontrolled chaos on the PC. Thanks to artificial intelligence, even tens of thousands of recordings can be automatically analyzed, tagged and sorted in a short time. The result is amazing!

EnlargeHow to manage photos perfectly
© © Carmen Steiner - Adobe Stock

Every single shot does not cost a cent extra and can be taken with the smartphone anytime and anywhere: a huge plus point of digital photography compared to the analog films and paper prints of earlier days. At the same time, however, this leads to a flood of images and, according to experience, to a veritable chaos of images.

There the files are distributed over any directories, data carriers and devices - also double or triple. Because after years you don't know exactly what is secured where. And because the photos are neither automatically named nor tagged with keywords, the search is often only about visual viewing. Please imagine that you would save your text files according to the pattern "Word12345.doc" and not have a keyword search! The same is true of the situation with photos.

There are also possibilities for images to dissolve this chaos and bring order to the collection - thanks to artificial intelligence, this even works automatically. Suddenly it is fun to look at your own recordings again, for example because you can immediately see the appropriate recordings with a keyword search for a specific person at a specific location in a specific year.

Warning, fake!Fake photos, videos and texts

Merge all photos centrally in one storage location

EnlargeExternal USB hard drives in 2.5-inch format are handy and available with a capacity of one TB from 40 euros: enough space for almost any private photo collection.

Of course, we do not know on which USB sticks, memory cards, other data carriers, possibly disused smartphones, computers and so on your photos are distributed. In any case, it makes sense to bring them together in one central location. This can be an internal, external or network hard drive.

The following model calculation gives an order of magnitude for the required space: If you take 1000 images a year with a file size of five MB each, the space adds up to 5000 MB or five GB per year. So when processing the photos from ten years it is 50 GB. The amount of data will of course vary with you, but even with numerous duplicates, everything fits on an external 1 TB USB disk at a price of a good 40 euros. You will not be spared manual copying via Windows Explorer, but you do not need to make any particular effort in terms of organizing and naming the directories.

Delete duplicates to free up storage space and improve order

EnlargeBoth QNAP (back) and Synology (front) provide software for their network hard drives that automatically sorts and tags images.

In the next step, you can use Similar Images to find duplicate photos and delete unnecessary duplicates. The program is not limited to the comparison of file names, file size and date, but also analyzes the image content and assigns a value to each recording. If the values ​​of two photos differ below a threshold value, the tool classifies them as duplicates.

That's how it's done: After the installation, start Similar Images via the context menu (right mouse button) with "Run as administrator" and switch the language to German via "Languages ​​-> German". Use the preset “Normal Search” in the “Search” tab; in the second “Semi-automatic deletion” tab, change the deletion criteria in the following order (from the top) “Smaller file - Lower resolution - Older file” and activate the “0” option below -Files automatically delete “. Similar Images automatically deletes duplicates according to the criteria listed. Click on the folder with the plus sign in the middle right under the “Comparison directories” window, select the top level of your central photo directory and start the image analysis with the magnifying glass icon.

EnlargeIn the case of small image collections, you can still delete the duplicate photos manually; in the case of thousands of recordings, it is better to let Similar Images do it automatically.

In our test sample of a good 13,000 photos (approx. 60 GB), this took around 15 minutes on a medium-speed PC. Depending on the similarity and number of recordings as well as the set comparison threshold, you must then decide manually for some duplicates whether and which multiple duplicates should be deleted. At the end, the protocol shows the result: With our photosetting there are a good 1000 "similar image pairs", which frees up more than four GB of hard disk space.

Automatic subject recognition versus manual keywording

EnlargeIf the relevant details of compass and focal length are saved in the Exif data of a recording, Geosetter shows the location as well as the viewing direction and angle.

With the central storage location and the deletion of duplicates, there is already a little more order in the picture collection, but nothing more. Anyone who puts their files together in folders like "Christmas 2017 at ..." or "Pentecost 2012 London" has at least an idea of ​​the content. But you don't yet know which motifs are in the individual shots. To do this, the photos first have to be tagged - and that would take a long time with many thousands of files.

But there is a remedy, the IT companies from the USA analyze the photos with artificial intelligence, recognize motifs, faces and places and assign them the appropriate search terms independently. Before we do this on Amazon and Google with our image sample, it should be noted that commercial photo administrations such as Adobe Lightroom do similar things and automatically assign objects and faces. Freeware with this function is only available in isolated cases, one example is digiKam. Later more.

But first to Amazon and Google, both of which offer cloud storage for storing photos. Amazon generally provides five GB for this, Prime members even unlimited space for private pictures in full resolution. Google does not limit the storage for private photos either, but automatically reduces their resolution to 16 megapixels when uploading them. There are only exceptions for owners of the Pixel smartphones 1, 2 and 3 - limited to January 2022 for the 3-series model and until the end of 2022 for the 2-series model.

In the following, we will show you how you can upload your photos to the Amazon and Google cloud on your Windows PC and then analyze them and automatically tag them.

Amazon Prime: Upload images to the cloud for analysis and tagging