Product Spotlight: FastPictureViewer

November 29th, 2012

A photographer for six years, Stephen Daugherty was raised in Southern California and is currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area where he works as a software developer. His love of traveling and photography makes for very diverse and interesting images.

Primarily self-taught, Stephen has an enthusiasm for the craft that is hard to miss. His extensive portfolio includes street scenes and landscapes that transport the viewer into the surroundings. Following is his review of the FastPictureViewer.


Product Spotlight: FastPictureViewer by Stephen Daugherty

As a traveling photographer the weight of my gear is something that is always on my mind–or to be more precise–on my back. Whether you are shooting in extreme conditions or plane hopping to your next destination it’s more important than ever to try and limit the amount of gear you need to lug around. If you’re like me, you only have room for a small laptop acting as a photo organizer and backup mule until you have a decent internet connection to upload to Zenfolio.

For my photo management at home I use Adobe Lightroom, but it doesn’t work well on my travel laptop. Curious just what kind of amazing machine my travel laptop is? It’s a dual core CPU GHz that was current in 2009 and clocks in at 10 minutes to import 100 raw images into the Lightroom catalog. It takes an additional half hour to create the preview JPEGS. That’s forty minutes before I can even begin to review less than a half day’s worth of shooting!

This is where FastPictureViewer comes in to save the day. This application has been optimized for high performance even on low end machines and I was excited to see what it could do on my travel laptop. Not only does it make photo management a lot easier but it also saves me a ton of time: I can immediately start going through my photos and marking my selects.

The workflow is simple as well; I insert my memory card into the computer and select the DCIM folder on the card. Using FastPictureViewer I can quickly go through my photos (RAWs and JPEGs) and mark the photos I want to keep. The application automatically copies those images to a destination folder with my ratings and labels. It’s that simple! Now what used to take several hours each night takes just a few minutes. Maybe I’ll finally be able to get some sleep while traveling!

While FastPictureViewer works great for quickly viewing and managing images there are a few other neat features as well. You can apply XMP/IPTC metadata to your images and see Geo-tagging coordinates. If you ever want to know how many of your photos were shot at a specific aperture or shutter speed you can quickly see a statistical breakdown of your images. Perhaps the best feature is the ability to quickly publish images directly to Zenfolio. I can see myself using this feature while I’m traveling to make even quicker work of my backup operations. Very handy.

In the end, FastPictureViewer is not a replacement for the likes of Lightroom and there are some minor issues as it’s a complex application–reading the documentation should help, though. Also, it should be noted that FastPictureViewer is for Windows only and you can’t do any raw editing inside the application (which isn’t an issue for me because I never did that on my travel laptop anyway). Overall it makes the more mundane tasks of photography less of a burden while on the road–and getting work done any bit faster is always a good thing.