DAM actually stands for ‘Digital Asset Management’ and refers to a platform or software that manages digital media files, such as photos, and takes the place of physical storage and internal servers. DAM software is especially important when it comes to maintaining, organizing, and streamlining all of your images, videos, and other digital media content. A good digital asset management software will keep all of your digital media in order, which in return increases productivity, saves time, allows collaboration and file sharing, and makes the workflow much smoother.
If you’re thinking about getting your first Digital Asset Management software to manage your photos, but not sure where to begin, this guide will list the top 7 DAMs to organize your smooth workflow and/or store your photos.
- Luminar 3
When it comes to photo management in general, Luminar 3 is a workhorse that never fails to impress. This photo editing software is a top contender for Lightroom and Photoshop, offering a wide range of post-editing tools such as filters, layer functions, and more. You can even perform more complex editing, such as creating an old paper texture like you’d do in Photoshop. If you’re a photographer that takes a large number of photos in one session, such as for family photography or product photography, Luminar 3 is a great tool for managing, editing, deleting, and keeping all those photos organized. The developers provide tonnes of educational content, guides and tutorials on photography techniques, photo editing and camera settings. For instance, you can learn how to set low key lighting by reading the blog section and skylum.com.
With the software’s new and improved DAM system, photo organization is made easy and efficient. You have a high level of control over your files, and the catalogue feature makes organization a breeze.
Pros: High level of control, one-time fee vs. subscription, impressive AI
Cons: No specific lense profiles, may lag with very large files
- Adobe Lightroom
In the photography world, Adobe Lightroom is a very popular choice for digital asset management. As one of the original DAMs on the market, it has a long history of reliability and success. Its simple interface allows amateur as well as professional photographers to manage their media with ease. As a software built by photographers, for photographers, you have peace of mind knowing that this software does everything the average photographer would like it to do. It doesn’t have Photoshop or Luminar 3’s high-level capabilities, but it’s perfect for organization and general photo editing.
Pros: Easy-to-use UI, lens-based corrections, cloud-connected mobile app
Cons: Slow import process, raw conversion not as detailed as competition
- ACDSee Pro Studio 2019
Much like other DAMs on this list, ACDSee Pro Studio is a photo management software that has two essential modules to it: the digital asset management phase (importing images, library function, organization, etc) and the editing and developing phase. ACDSee Pro Studio’s DAM functionality is impressive and allows you to sort through and organize hundreds of photos in your library with ease. A great feature of this software is that it doesn’t require importing. That is, ACDSee Pro Studio automatically accesses your drive directly and imports files into your DAM. Lightroom on the other hand requires manual importing.
Pros: DAM navigation much quicker versus Lightroom, cheaper than competitors, all-in-one solution
Cons: UI is outdated, editing process lags sometimes
- DxO PhotoLab 2
This complete photo editing software is one of the best around. It has complete editing capabilities, such as intuitive local adjustments, unrivaled denoising technology, and all the standard editing tools you’d expect from a software that competes with Lightroom. PhotoLab’s newest feature is actually their DAM module, called PhotoLibrary. The photo management interface is aesthetically pleasing and very easy to use. It has all the functions that Lightroom has, such as rating, sorting, search function, and more.
Pros: Fast and organized DAM, amazing noise reduction, user friendly UI
Cons: Few workflow tools, lags with noise reduction sometimes
- PhaseOne Capture One Pro
Another complete image editing software solution, Capture One offers all of your standard editing tools such as organization, color grading, layer mode, and more. However, perhaps where PhaseOne Capture One Pro 8 stands out most is its beautiful and customizable interface. The software is well-designed, making it easy and seamless to move from photo import to library management to editing to final product. Speaking of photo management, the DAM module of this software is extremely easy to use and has the added capability of not importing duplicates, which helps keep your library clean and organized. It’s lens support is expansive as well, providen lens profile corrections for just about every camera out there.
Pros: Impressive UI, complete solution, do not import duplicates feature
Cons: Pricey, no cloud/mobile app options
- Apple Photos/Google Photos
Chances are, you already use either Apple and Google Photos on your phone. If you’re looking for a great photo management solution, these cloud-based photo storage apps are great options. Perhaps one of the best thing about Apple and Google Photos is that they work seamlessly from your phone to your computer. You can access your photos no matter where you go, due to the cloud-based nature of these apps. They also are very easy to use with your third party editor, such as Photoshop. Both of these apps also offer the capability of processing your photos, with adjustment features for light, exposure, shadows, and more. Machine learning algorithms are another great aspect of these applications that is actually quite impressive. To top it off, Apple Photos/Google Photos is completely free.
Pros: Completely free, cloud-based, additional editing features
Cons: Not a complete photo management solution
- Adobe Bridge
Before Lightroom existed, Adobe Bridge was the ultimate companion for Photoshop and was used by many photographers. Whereas Photoshop was (and still is) the one stop photo editing software, Bridge is the photo asset management piece to that puzzle. What most people don’t know, however, is that this great DAM software is still available– for free. While it is definitely not as powerful as Lightroom or any of the other softwares in this list, it is a very capable and easy-to-use DAM that allows you to organize your photos free of charge.
Pros: Completely free, easy organization
Cons: Can be slow, not a complete photo management resource