I've used various photo management programs (most recently, iphoto and Adobe Photoshop Album Starter –which I LOVED), however there were limitations on both of these free programs that I found frustrating — beyond organizing photos chronologically or by event, and some photo editing capabilities, there wasn't much else you could do.
I found iphoto really frustrating because you couldn't take the folder of photos from a particular day or event and move them somewhere else. The folders are "hidden" by iphoto. So if I wanted to move a whole month's worth of photos to my external hard drive, I couldn't do it, I had to select photos and create another folder on the external hard drive and then move my files. The process was REALLY tedious.
When I was contemplating upgrading I was torn between Apple's Aperture photo management software, and Adobe's Lightroom. Really, what sealed the deal more than anything was that I had already invested in Adobe's Creative Suite (which includes Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Flash, Fireworks, and Acrobat Pro) Being a student, I got all of these programs at a huge discount through the school's online bookstore. I just thought that keeping everything Adobe would make the transition seamless.
I purchased Lightroom and installed it onto an external hard drive (2 terabytes). I have well over 43,000 photos on my computer which is taking up a HUGE amount of space. The plan is to move all of my photos into Lightroom on the external hard drive (which I successfully completed over the weekend).
Here's an interesting statistic. Out of those 43,000+ photos, Lightroom said that only 3,500 or so had been edited (opened up in Photoshop and color corrected, or altered in some other way). That means that most of my photos sit on my hard drive and nothing is ever done with them. They are just taking up space. This means I have to get brutally honest about my photos and start deleting the ones that just aren't any good.
Now I am learning Lightroom through tutorials on Lynda.com. It is "a member supported online learning platform with 40,000 video tutorials." (Quote from the Lynda.com website). You can learn about all of the Adobe software products, as well as web design, digital photography and a host of other topics. It is well worth the $25 monthly membership fee. I've almost completed the Dreamweaver series (which is the software I am using to create my website).
I am making progress, slow and steady…