Best Windows Photo Program

While there are only a few good photo organization / editing programs on a mac (namely iPhoto), there are hundreds available for the PC.  Many people use the Nikon or Kodak software that came with their cameras, but most people seem to either use Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Personally, I use Windows Live Photo Gallery…and here’s why.

1. When you make a change in Picasa, IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY SAVE THE CHANGE TO THE PICTURE.  This is definitely the main reason I hate Picasa.  If you crop or color correct the picture in Picasa, it doesn’t actually save your changes to the file.  Meaning, the change will still be there if you re-open Picasa.  But if you try to upload the picture to Facebook through Facebook’s photo uploader or if you try adding the picture as an attachment through Gmail or something, the change won’t be made in that picture.  This is because when Picasa changes a picture it keeps the original file the same and instead saves a hidden file in the same folder as the picture that basically tells Picasa what changes were made…so the changes appear to be made in Picasa but aren’t there in any other program.

How is Windows Live Photo Gallery Different?

In WLPG, the changes are saved DIRECTLY to the picture, but the software keeps another copy of the original picture in a different location in case you ever need to revert.  This way if you ever switch photo programs or are looking at the pictures in Windows Explorer or upload them to Facebook / attach them to an email, your changes are there.

This is idiotic and I’ve never understood why Picasa does it.  All it accomplishes is forcing people to use Picasa and making it very difficult to use anything else (to get the edited pictures saved you have to export and re-import them).

2. Descriptions and Photo Tags.  This is very similar to number one.  Basically, if you tag a person in a photo or add a caption/location/description, WLPG saves that information DIRECTLY TO EACH PICTURE.  Picasa, on the other hand, merely saves that information to the “Picasa” hidden file…so if you ever send the picture or switch computers it will no longer be there.  Again, idiotic, in my opinion.

What’s my current gripe with WLPG?  In order to edit a picture you have to import it into your gallery.  This is obnoxious and I’m almost positive this didn’t use to be the case.  There are many pictures I want to just do a quick edit on without importing the entire folder of pictures into my gallery and this is now impossible to do in WLPG.

I originally planned on writing this post over a year ago but never got around to it, but nothing much has changed in that year.  Both pieces of software are well designed, easy to use, and work well.  However, in my opinion, WLPG is the only true contender because Picasa is too proprietary and doesn’t save things to the picture.


About the Author: Chris Bellman

Sophomore ECE major at The Ohio State University. Technology enthusiast. Runs own IT business in Cincinnati.