With the rise in digital photography comes the rise in hard disk space requirements and the sheer time spent going through all your photos, comparing them and trying to spot which ones to keep and which ones to delete. For serious or professional photographers this can cost hours, not to mention slowing down your computer and guzzling resources.
Chances are that 3 out of 4 of the photographs you've taken are a bit blurry, poorly exposed or just didn't capture the moment as well as the best of the bunch. In addition we tend to copy rather than cut but this soon leads to a heap of duplicates on your drive, often with different file names, in different formats and different sizes!
(installation file for Windows XP/Vista/7/8)
Some photo comparison software has emerged specifically to help with this issue by actually "looking" at and helping you find and compare photographs which are either duplicates or very similar. The photo comparison program I like best is that from Bolide Software, which has the plain name of Image Comparer. Unlike most, it easily handles different file formats such as .jpg, .png and .gif and most importantly for professionals it covers the RAW format. We're not talking one at a time either, for it can search and compare photographs of different formats at the same time!
Perhaps finding exact duplicates is not that impressive but where it really shines is the adjustable photo comparison system that can locate and compare photographs that are simply similar. Too many photographs of your cat on the sofa? Within seconds you can find them all, anywhere on your drive or CDs and pick the very best one. Even for amateur use it's impressive but for serious or professional photographers it's like having a dedicated assistant that never gets bored and never misses anything.
Wedding Photo Comparison
I was keen to try it with an incredibly tough challenge that any wedding photographer will recognize. Typically an average wedding collection before presentation to the clients can have over two hundred images, most of them of a woman wearing white and a man wearing black on the same day in the same place. Picking and choosing which should be kept and offered up to the clients as a 40 photograph album can be a real challenge, especially once you've removed the obvious howlers. Immediately the photo comparison software helped me break them down into categories, such as group shots, groom with hat, groom without hat etc. Top marks for that but could it discern the difference between some very similar shots?
This test was important to me because I cut my teeth as a professional helping a local wedding photographer and yes, part of my job was checking through the images to discard errors or problems. It sounds simple but I soon learned why he gave me that job; it's hard frustrating work.
Before my eyes it offered the images up in pairs and trios, making the task so easy I ended up comparing photographs after printing to double check. The comparison was clear though and never again will I spend an hour double-clicking through countless folders just to do what Image Comparer can do in 5 minutes.