Photo Mechanic

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Photo Mechanic
Developer(s) Camera Bits, Inc
Stable release 5.0 / November 11, 2013; 2 years ago (2013-11-11)
Operating system Mac OS X, Windows
Type image browser

Photo Mechanic is a front-end photo ingesting, tagging, and browsing tool by Portland, Oregon-based company Camera Bits.

Photo Mechanic allows the photographer to accomplish the initial capture of photos from the camera, to categorize photos into winners and losers, and to tag each photo with IPTC metadata; using IPTC Information Interchange Model, IPTC Core, IPTC Extension or all three types of metadata (the latter two are stored using the Extensible Metadata Platform or XMP).

Retailing at approximately USD $150 (updates to an existing license $90), it is targeted for the professional photographer market, particularly photojournalism and stock photography. According to noted photography educator Scott Kelby, "Every pro sports shooter at an NFL game (or otherwise) uses a program called Photo Mechanic (by a company called Camera Bits). If there are 40 photographers in the photo work room, you see 40 copies of Photo Mechanic open on their laptops."[1]

While Photo Mechanic has basic support for simple image edits, such as crops, it is meant to be used in concert with a dedicated photo editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and a back-end cataloging tool, such as iView Media Pro or Extensis Portfolio.

Software features[edit]


Photo Mechanic supports fast photo browsing and full color management. It is widely accepted among professional photographers as being the fastest tool for browsing and sorting files.[2]


Photo Mechanic lets the photographer apply a "tag", "color class", or "star rating" to each photo with a single keystroke. This can be used later to filter photos by quality or classification.

Metadata tagging[edit]

Photo Mechanic uses the concept of "IPTC Stationery." The user sets up a piece of "stationery" with the tags common to a group of photos, and can then apply them to any arbitrary set of photos. Many browsers and catalog tools allow users to apply metadata to photos; Photo Mechanic is distinguished by two attributes. First, the user interface is designed to make applying tags to large numbers of photos at once very easy. Secondly, Photo Mechanic can write IPTC metadata to many file formats. This includes proprietary formats such as Canon CR2 or Nikon NEF. Other keywording solutions typically cannot write keywords directly to the RAW file, but instead create a "sidecar" XMP file. Photo Mechanic actually embeds the keywords in the RAW file itself. If preferred, Photo Mechanic can also create and maintain sidecar files in addition to embedding IPTC and XMP into photos.


  1. ^ Kelby, Scott. "My Sports Photography Workflow (so far)". Scott Kelby Photoshop Insider. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Luminous Landscape review of Photo Mechanic - "More than anything else PM is the world champion for speed when it comes to viewing and sorting files, including virtually every type of raw file....There is almost a cult following of PM among photojournalists and stock photographers."

^ ControlledVocabulary review of Photo Mechanic - "Walk into any newspaper photo department, or look over the shoulder of a photojournalist editing and transmitting images in the field, and Photo Mechanic is what you'll probably see on their screen. It's a workhorse browser / annotation software that photographers use to get their images out of their compact flash cards and on to their computer hard drive or network while adding IPTC metadata to the images as they are transferred, or immediately afterwards."

External links[edit]