Digital Asset Management in PhotoLab

that’s funny…

IMatch is far more then “just hierarchical keywords”. And ExifTool can be considered one of the safest methods to write metadata to image files. But you can use sidecars and even suppress writing to the RAW files. You can easily switch from/to IMatch while keeping your valuable metadata in sidecars or image files.

How many developers do you think “Photo Supreme” has? They don’t even provide an address or phone number on their web site.


But I needed just hierarchical keywords and their import/export to XMP, a common thing in most RAW developers. If this functionality was in PhotoLab on that time, I would never have started to look on other tools. I would even pay around 70€ for a DAM extension for photolab, if it would allow me to work in a way comparable to Lightroom’s and would integrate itself like Filmpack or Viewpoint. I have again two posts on my facebook group from people complaining that they are urged to use Lightroom 6 with DNG converter or Acdsee as DAM, because PhotoLab does not cover the full workflow from SD card import to JPEG export. Here a comment google translated from german:


I have a problem since I want to move away from Lightroom I bought ACDSee for photo management there I add my RAW files to keywords. ACDSee generates XML files for this when I open this RAW’S now in DXO Photolab 2 I can not search for these keywords what am I doing wrong?

Greeting Stefan"

Why do you want to move from LR (as a DAM)?

You can continue to use most of the DAM functions even if your subscription expired.

About “what am I doing wrong?”:

This poster mixed up DAM and RAW processor. The DAM shall be used to search the file and hand it to DxO then. That’s the key function of a DAM, so I’m somewhat confused about the question.

What is your guess on how many people, that use Lightroom, On1 or CaptureOne use an additional DAM tool, because the embedded DAM parts of the tools are not sufficient for them? I would guess not more than 10%.

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are you speaking to me?
I don’t understand your point.

Why not opt for Bridge then? It’s free.

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Because bridge is file based, not database based. Too slow searches, because no index. I have evaluated it also.

I am just an amateur and it works just fine on my Mac. I also tried NeoFinder but prefer Adobe. I think I will probably rejoin the subscription.

I also tried NeoFinder but prefer Adobe. I think I will probably rejoin the subscription.

Hi, may I ask what is your experience with Neofinder ?
I started using it few months ago and I am building up my catalogue again.

@markinho, my mileage is limited mainly because when I first loaded the trial it had performance issues with Mac Mojave. These have now been corrected and it runs pretty swiftly on my 2017 iMac. What drew me to it was its functionality in the direction of metadata and geo tagging plus it is able to display thumbnails from Affinity Photo project files. Also displays Luminar project files, not that I am into that piece of software. It was always going to be between NeoFinder and XnView; the latter is free the former is of course Mac architecture.

DPL now building a DAM has rather muddied the water. Do I wait for that? How long will it be? Will it be good enough? Or do I just pick a stand alone and go with it. Then Adobe have picked the pace up. I still think LR is a difficult act to follow (certainly DAM-wise) and I am quite taken by LR CC and its cloud offering - it is a shame that as yet it does not support plugins and one can only hand off to Photoshop which does accept plugins of course.

To really dirty the water - Apple Photos as a DAM is not too bad imo. It has all the basics, is fast, works across all devices, has excellent plugin support and is free. Downside is you can only hand off jpegs to the plugins and that has obvious consequences.

So my question is where now or just stick with Adobe and that in turn is influenced by should I keep my raws and final tiffs/jpegs separate. I do keep them separate at the moment with the finals in LRCC.

A flow I had been considering was made up of DPL, NeoFInder and Affinity Photo but it is how to integrate that with the cloud. At the end of the day LR CC on mobile is very good. There is not a DPL equiv.



I see, thanks for your reply.

I am amateur too and I am very tired of all those little garded gardens and marketing promises.
I decided to use several powerful tools that DO IT RIGHT instead of one sluggish software that always need improvement.
My iMac is my main station to organize and store.
This fact do not prevent me to do some part of the work on my laptop and then move the files over since I know exactly how each file get together. Even the Neofinder database is easy to move around (when keeping the same folder structure).

I can not wait forever so I jumped with Neofinder.
But I use Exiftool to create the XMP files and probably for much more in the future since this is THE tool for metadata.
If you are interested we can open a new thread to talk about tools and workflows…

NeoFInder is ok, no doubt. I suspect XNView is more powerful but not as nicely integrated into the Mac ecosystem. I find that the Exif management capabilities in NeoFinder, XNView, Bridge and LR are all more than satisfactory for my needs. I have never felt the need to use or even try Exif Tools and do not see that changing.

BUT, I am sort of sold on the cloud and I really like the way LRCC works with it and across all devices. I probably see DxOPL as my raw converter but whether I need to use it all the time is open to debate. LR and ACR does a pretty good job, especially on those ordinary “snap shots”. I just wish I knew what the DxO road map is and I also wish they would adopt Fuji X as that is a direction I am likely to go at some point.

XNView is really not very Mac like. I’m something of a software geek and I struggled with XNView. The easiest way to integrate DAM with DxO Photo Lab (or any RAW developer) is to separate culling from image management. The images which need to be managed in most workflow are our finished images, not our RAW files. RAW files can be managed by the OS. Steps.

  1. move images from SD card to dated folder in your master Images folder (called “Pictures” on Mac): something like “/20181116-SC-Kittsee-vs-Pama”
  2. Triage. Cull and rate. I use FastRawViewer. PhotoMechanic is another well-known tool for this work. XNView would fit in here if you can stand the interface. Lyn would work if you just want to choose keepers (it’s rating system is not compatible with XMP based FastRawViewer or Bridge). Adobe Bridge would work but be very slow. Old versions of Lightroom won’t work for this part as they won’t be able to read the RAWs without converting to DNG which PhotoLab and many other quality RAW processing applications won’t read.
  3. Delete the throwaway files (less than four stars, usually about 80% of a photographer’s shots). Move the selects to a dedicated folder “Selects”.
  4. Point DxO PhotoLab at your “Selects” folder. PhotoLab as you know has its own very good though slow file browser. By only including selects (say 20 to 100 for an event), PhotoLab’s image browser is much more spritely.
  5. Process all your photos.
  6. Export your finished TIFFs/high quality jpegs to another folder tree - something like “Masters”. That folder tree is what will go into your DAM.
  7. Import the new folder into your DAM, whether it’s NeoFinder, Aperture 2/3, Lightroom 3/4/5 standalone, iMatch. You can use almost any DAM and not worry about updates as they all understand TIFFs and jpegs.

Your DAM will be managing about 7000 photos per year (based on 150/week which is about 20 finished files day). For a really busy commercial photographer that number might be 25000 per year. This certainly beats 70,000 or 250,000 RAW files per year in terms of overhead.

Most DAM programs (Aperture, Lightroom) start to struggle with performance and database consistency over 20,000 or 30,000. With the numbers I’m talking about here you can either keep a single catalogue for three to five years or at least one catalogue per year, rather than a catalogue every two to six months.

I struggle see what DxO can build as a useful DAM which would scale without creating an enormous dedicated application which would just use DxO PhotoLab as its RAW developer.

As DxO really wants to build a DAM, I’d comment that the best one which I’ve ever used in terms of speed, convenience and pleasure was Apple Aperture 2.x. If DxO just get a copy of old Aperture and copy the rating and culling system from Aperture, I’d be very interested. Aperture allowed a photographer to change (develop) a photo even while browsing. The switch between browsing/rating and developing was seamless, instant with immediately responsive controls. DxO would have to significantly improve performance to offer this incredibly immediate Aperture experience rather than the clunky Lightroom Library | Develop workflow.

What bothers me most about DxO PhotoLab now is the speed. The speed is okay if you use the auto enhancements and don’t tweak too much. But when trying to do fine contrast and colour work, the 3 to 15 second lag to see one’s changes becomes very taxing. While C1’s noise reduction doesn’t compare with PhotoLab, the responsiveness of the colour controls is astonishing after working in PhotoLab. My current workaround is to turn off all noise reduction while processing images. Before output, I select all my images, turn back on NR, switch NR to Prime and choose the amount. Working with NR disabled helps a lot with responsiveness.

Again, rather than tackling the impossible hill of DAM (no one has gotten it really right, particularly for all people - otherwise we wouldn’t all be discussing and arguing about DAM at such length) just now, it would be fabulous if the DxO team could do serious work on PhotoLab speed and responsiveness with an eye to overtaking C1 in this respect.


I am no power user and my requirements re a DAM are quite light. I certainly had no problem with XNView other than it did a lot more than I really wanted. As I have said I would have been quite happy with Apple Photos but for certain aspects killing that for me. But I agree, the DAM really comes into its own after the raw has been processed. My raws are tucked away into an archive once the work has been done. That is why I am seriously considering LR (staying with) as my end game for fully processed images. It will do everything I need and that is all that matters…to me.

The great thing about using DAM on processed images is that you don’t have to pick a subscription application or constantly deal with updates (updates which sometimes have painful consequences). I’m no Adobe fan (don’t like forced subscription at all; unhappy to have been lured into investing thousands in standalone apps for my company just before subscriptions were announced) - but I do have a paid Lightroom 4 license which may just be the ticket for long term management of my portfolio/output photos if Aperture 3.6 won’t do the job.

In praise of DxO - Photo Lab runs as well on 10.11 as on 10.13. I very much like that DxO does not try to force us onto the latest OS (Apple FCP X, Blackmagic Davinci Resolve for example). And the hardware requirements for good performance are not insane (Topaz Labs, Blackmagic again). Respect for its users OS and hardware choices is very much appreciated.

What you say about DxO is absolutely true. I believe they care about their users and work hard to be inclusive. You can never please all of the people all of the time, that is life. But they try.

You make some good observations re DAMs in general. Personally I have no problem with the subscription but that is just me. I see it being no worse than the constant upgrade costs associated with the likes of ON1. Each to their own though and as long as we get our own particular job done all is well in our world :-):grinning:

Well and clearly spoken/written.

As a service enginer i am mostly beaten by the error or breakdown when i am not thorrow in breakingdown the problem in bite-able steps.
start by deviding it in big clear steps. investigate/handle step for step and if judged correctly the fault will reveal it self even when it isn’t logic or easy found.
Last step is always document the error , the investigationsteps and the solution. For others and future similair situations.

I see the same way in image processing, And documenting where what’s whom’s per image is at the end not on the start. (Why waste time by entering data on images you delete somewhere in the proces to the endproduct.) Just a general search system is enough at the start.
(i often work from my importfolder and transfer keepers of the raw with my dopfiles afterwards in my raw archive.)
I don’t have thousands of images every week so maybe if i did i changed my mind.
But in general the steps you discribed i support.
i will add : copy from step 1 (import new raws folder) the raws to dated foldersystem in raw archive so if you changed your mind about some deleted images it much more easy to find then in your trashfolder of win10 (which i clean often).
Just clean up duplicats and sub images left over after finished product to avoid cluttered folders of waste.

If your DAM of finished images is well organised you can always find the original by date or filename or location.
Then again a simple DAM function which contains keywords like names, places, dates or subjects can be helpfull to find things faster.

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Completely agree Mark. I would much prefer to see PL focus on being the best ‘pure’ photo editor on the market, which I believe it just about can lay claim to now. The feeling that it is holding on to this by the fingertips, and now going to spend time on a DAM, is concerning.

I also agree about ON1, but have it in my toolkit for the excellent ‘Resize’ functionality, and because it handles some formats that PL does not (eg. mRAW).

Having said that, I’ve seen the ‘pundits’ mark down the PL score because of the lack of DAM features. For DxO this must be a concern, but I would rather they didn’t waiver.

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Hi everyone

We’ve extensively discussed this topic and it’s time for us to move on.
Lots of suggestions and feedback for us to take into account, lots of digressions, so I guess it’s time to close it in order to make some room for other ones, and free votes as well.

Thanks everyone!

Best regards,

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