Organising RAW photos

Posted on 26 June 2012


My GH2 shoots .RW2 files. I found out that I can not preview these files in OSX 10.5.8 or open them in Adobe Bridge or Photoshop CS4. So I needed a solution. Fortunately, OSX 10.6.8 does preview the .RW2 files, so this is a way to make quick selections. Looking into options for software to organise and ‘develop’ all this, I found these options:

  • free – Picasa. After my previous very positive experience I found that moving it from one computer to the other is not that great!
  • free – Iphoto. Not such good memories about organisation of the photos on the harddrive.
  • $   80 Apple Aperture 3
  • $ 150 Adobe Photoshop Elements 10. Great options for touch-up! Really, great!
  • $ 150 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. You can even get $ 50 discount if you also buy Photoshop CS6


I’ve been using Picasa for a while now, but this thread shows that there are quite a few problems with the picasa database. What it comes down to is that everything will be fine as long as you don’t move anything or try to move it to another computer. The best shot seems to be to move the .PAL files that represent the albums, but you’ll still be batch editing (find and replace) all photo-paths to connect the albums to the pictures. Also, you will need to rename the DBID’s somehow after they’ve been imported from the monitor folder, to get it to sync with the right online albums in your account. I’ve tested but unfortunately without success. So the sync with my online albums is lost 😦

Another problem is that I seem to have lost all people’ tags as well as the descriptions. Apparantly they have been stored in the database which I can’t seem to export or import. Only the GPS tags seem to be saved, I guess these were stored in the EXIF info.


I decided to look into Photoshop Lightroom first because of this pretty recent review (I have a MBP with 4 GB), with their free 30 days trial. It warns everytime about the days you have left everytime you start it up, so you will not be surprised by an expired trial.

My previous Picasa experience made me think about testing an export and import of the database. Adobe calls this database the Lightroom Catalogs, which contain previews, organisation, labels, photo location data, metadata and Develop instructions. It’s all interesting, but the last one especially: The develop settings are stored in Lightroom as a set of instructions that are applied to your photo on the fly, so the originals will stay untouched.

So how to get all this database and develop information from this program to another? How does this play with EXIF, IPTC and XML information. Here I found that it’s likely that a lot of the information could get lost.

Posted in: Photo