BatchPhoto processing software
BatchPhoto provides a lot of tools that could be handy for snapshooters, bloggers and graphic designers. It’s simple to use and well supported with a reasonably comprehensive Help manual and six online tutorials that cover key processes. There’s also an online forum where users can post questions, make suggestions, report bugs and discuss tips and tricks.
We don’t think this software will be as useful to professional photographers or other experienced users of sophisticated image editors because of its limited adjustability (and because most of them include batch processing capabilities).
Be aware that the adjustments you make to one file in a folder will be replicated on all images within that folder when you click on the Process tab. The value of batch processing will be lost if the files require even slightly different amounts of editing.
That said, it’s a useful program for re-sizing, re-naming and watermarking files and adding dates and comments or titles. It could also be handy for rotating or flipping images as well as producing monochrome and/or sepia conversions.
BatchPhoto was developed by Romanian company, Bits&Coffee SRL, and is sold via the company’s online store. Designed to handle large batches of images, it includes facilities for converting, resizing and editing images as well as the ability to re-name, date stamp, watermark and comment on files. Users can add effects like borders, frames and various special effects and post the results directly to Facebook or Flickr.
The BatchPhoto box shot. (Source: Bits&Coffee SRL.)
Although most purchasers will download the software from the developer’s website, it is also available in some places in boxed format. Rergardless of how it is acquired, the software is offered in three versions: Home, Pro and Enterprise, with different feature levels and different pricing.
When this review was carried out, each version was discounted, with the Home version available for US$29.95 (down from US$34.95), the Pro version for US$49.95 (US$59.95) and the Enterprise version for US$129.95 (US$149.95). Trial downloads are available from the company’s website at https://www.batchphoto.com/download-start.html.
The differences between the three editions are small but significant. If you want the auto folder watch feature that identifies newly-added photos on your computer, network or an FTP site or if you require the software to work on Windows or Mac servers, you’ll need the Enterprise edition. Otherwise, the Home edition provides the basic features, missing out on uploading to FTP, automatic processing with scripts, detailed logging and roughly half of the graphic filters. It can’t be used for processing raw files and it doesn’t support some of the more exotic file formats handled by the other editions.
The Pro edition fits in between them and represents the best value-for-money. We received the latest update, Version 4.3, which was released in April 2018 and worked with the fully-featured Enterprise edition.
Who’s it For?
Batch processing software can be a genuine time-saver for anyone who takes a lot of photos and edits them on a regular basis because it lets you apply a selected modification (or set of edits) to multiple files with single (or a short sequence of) clicks. But it’s only really useful if all the files in the batch require very similar adjustments.
BatchPhoto provides a decent range of ‘universal’ processes that can be applied to pretty much any set of image files. These include the following:
- Annotate and Decorate: the ability to add a date stamp, watermark, comment, photo border, picture frame or vintage frame.
- Transform: the ability to resize, crop, change DPI, replace one or more colours or rotate images. Auto crop and auto rotate are included.
- Functionality processes include batch processing, folder watch, image format conversion, raw format support, rename photos, image to PDF, EXIF and IPTC metadata support, contextual menu integration and FTP and Facebook upload support.
However, its touch up functions like auto contrast and auto gamma adjustments, sharpening and adjustments to brightness, contrast and colour balance require files to be very homogeneous. The same applies in some degree to the special effects processes that include sepia and, black and white conversions, charcoal, oil paint and emboss texturisation and solarisation.
The User Interface
BatchPhoto’s user interface is simple, elegantly designed and quite straightforward to use. The program opens with the screen shown below, which contains a large ‘Photos’ area carrying the message: Drag & Drop Your Photos Here Or Click To Add Photos.
In the top left hand corner of the screen are five dropdown menus titled File, Edit, View, Wizard and Help. Screen grabs from the File, Wizard and Help menus are shown below (the others have only a few items).
Above the Photos area and centrally orientated are four tabs, labelled Add Photos, Edit Photos, Setup and Process. A radio button labelled ‘Help’ lies at the right hand end of this row.
To the right of the Photos area is a sidebar with four buttons: Add Photos, Add, Remove and View, which are largely self-explanatory, The Add Photos button is used to open the folder containing the images you want to work on; the Add and Remove let you add or remove individual or multiple images and the View button provides four viewing options (details plus three thumbnail sizes). Below them is a preview box containing a reduced-size version of the image you’re working on.
Mousing over the thumbnails calls up a box (shown above) that provides the file name, type and size, the pixel dimensions, the date and time the shot was taken and the camera used. The next step is to click on the Edit Photos tab, which opens access to five panels containing adjustments and graphic filters that can be applied to the images in the Photos area.
Clicking on the Add Filter button pulls up a panel containing these filters. At the top is a button labelled All Filters, while lined up below are groups of filters/adjustments covering common objectives.
The Annotate palette contains tools for adding comments, dates and watermarks, as shown below. An example of how easy it is to watermark batches of images can be seen I nthe screen grab below.
The Transform palette (shown above) contains tools for rotating, cropping, flipping, re-sizing, replacing colour and creating thumbnails for indexing photos.
The Touch-Up palette is used when you want to adjust brightness, contrast, colour balance, hue and saturation, sharpness or noise levels. It also contains a very basic Levels adjustment tool.
Be cautious when using functions that can’t be fine-tuned, such as the auto corrections for contrast, gamma and levels and the Equalise tool that applies histogram equalisation. The latter can produce undesirable results with some types of images. The illustrations below show examples of different ‘Touch-Up filters.
Next in line is the Apply Fx tool, which contains a large collection of special effects that can be applied to batches of images. Among them you’ll find B&W, Sepia and Negative conversions, a couple of blur tools and several edge effects and transformations that replicate charcoal drawing, oil paint, solarisation, spread, swirl and wave effects.
The final button on the stack is the Decorate button containing seven different frames that can be added to pictures.
You can add multiple filters to your batch of images. However, BatchPhoto doesn’t make it easy for you to see the cumulative results as filters are added. The preview of the adjustments can take as long as 30 seconds to display but should show you the results of the processing. If you rush you can end up with batches of unusable images
An example of what can happen when you apply multiple filters to an image and end up with unacceptable results. (Note that the same processing would be applied to all files in the batch.)
Raw files can be treated in much the same way as JPEGs and we found BatchPhoto was able to handle most of the popular proprietary formats. The program doesn’t display thumbnail images for raw files; only icons. But you can click on any icon and it will open in the same way as a JPEG once you’ve pressed the Edit Photos tab.
All the filters are usable with raw files, which are adjusted in exactly the same way as JPEGs. Once you’re happy with the adjustments that have been made, the next step is to click on the Setup tab. This opens a dialog box that lets you choose the folder of images to process and the folder in which to save the processed images or whether the images will be uploaded to FTP, to Facebook or to Flickr. You can also select the output file format.
The Setup interface with the selection options outlined in red.
The default output format is ‘Keep the original image format (if possible)’. So if you’re processing JPEGs, that’s how they will be saved. When processing raw files, there are plenty of file formats to choose from, some of which are shown in the screen grab below.
The next step is to click on the Process tab, which calls up a dialog box asking whether you’re ready to process the images in the folder. If you click on Yes, a window will appear showing the progress of the image processing, as shown in the screen grab below.
The program crashed several times when we were trying to process raw files, something that didn’t happen when folders of JPEGs were being processed. It seems the problem lay with the actual processing because the crashes occurred with folders containing CR2.RAW, ORF.RAW, RW2.RAW and ARW.RAW files. Only two out of eight folders of raw files had every file processed. In one case, more than half of the files were processed before the crash occurred but in the others either one or two files or no files were processed. The screen grab below shows the message displayed when a crash occurred.
Processing files is relatively fast because BatchPhoto will utilise all the cores available on your computer system to process the images as quickly as possible. Once the files have been processed, they will be available in the output folder specified, as shown in the screen grab below.
Using a Windows 10 computer with an Intel Core i7 processor running at 3.6GHz, 8MB of RAM and a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming G1 6GB video card, it took 16.5 seconds to watermark a batch of 17 JPEGs; just under four minutes to apply three filters to a folder of 155 JPEGs, only a minute to convert 17 ORF.RAW files into TIFF format and two minutes and 31 seconds to apply a resizing filter and convert 32 CR2.RAW files into TIFF format. Readers with slower machines are likely to experience different results.
The Edit > Settings in BatchPhoto lets you switch certain features on and off, check for updates at specified frequencies and change settings for handling multipage photos and processing raw images. The default positions are shown in the screen grabs below.
Some of the editing tools include adjustable parameters for fine-tuning setting. However, we found they didn’t enable subtle tweaking because either the sliders were too small or an insufficient adjustment range was provided. Potential purchasers should note the Auto modes are not adjustable.
An example of a non-adjustable tool (Equalise) that failed to make acceptable adjustments but provided no scope for fine-tuning.
The most significant omission is a cropping tool for changing aspect ratios. This would have been handy when preparing images for slideshows that will be displayed on wide-screen TV sets, something many photographers do these days.
Aside from the ability to overlay multiple filters on an image, BatchPhoto provides very limited support for layers. Even then, the lack of subtle tweaking limits what can be done with selected photos.
It would have been nice to have a ‘Fade’ slider that allows users to reduce the strength of the last adjustment. The ability to select discrete sections of images for individual adjustments would also be an advantage.
BatchPhoto provides a lot of tools that could be handy for snapshooters as well as bloggers and graphic designers. It’s simple to use and well supported with a reasonably comprehensive Help manual and six online tutorials that cover key processes. There’s also an online forum where users can post questions, make suggestions, report bugs and discuss tips and tricks.
Unfortunately, we don’t think this software will be as useful to professional photographers or other experienced users of sophisticated image editors because of its limited adjustability (and because most of them include batch processing capabilities). Potential purchasers should also be aware that the adjustments you make to one file in a folder will be replicated on all images within that folder when you click on the Process tab. The value of batch processing will be lost if the files require even slightly different amounts of editing.
That said, it’s a useful program for re-sizing, re-naming and watermarking files and adding dates and comments or titles. It could also be handy for rotating or flipping images as well as producing monochrome and/or sepia conversions. If you need any of these facilities on a regular basis and are considering buying this software, we’d recommend the free trial download, which is available at https://www.batchphoto.com/download-start.html.
Hardware: Pentium or compatible processor at 1 GHz (minimum)
Systems compatibility: All modern versions of Windows, Windows Server, and Mac OSX
Display support: Not specified
Disk space requirement: 100 MB free storage space on HDD
Minimum RAM: 512 MB
Supported image formats: More than 170 including JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, PCX, EPS, PICT, JP2, JPC, PDF, PSD, SGI, TGA, WBMP
Raw formats supported: Canon (CR2, CRW), Nikon (NEF, NRW), Sony (ARW, SR2, SRF), Olympus (ORF), Fujifilm (RAF), Panasonic (RW2), Pentax (PEF), DNG
Computer interface: Internet connection and registration are necessary for required software activation and access to online services
Batch processing: Yes
Export to social media: Yes, to Facebook, Flickr, email
Mobile device support: Not specified
Distributor: Bits&Coffee, www.bitscoffee.com, +40(728)138-222
RRP: Home US$34.95; Pro US$59.95; Enterprise US$149.95
- Features: 8.5
- Ease of Use: 8.5
- Usefulness: 8.1