jAlbum 13 Photo Website Builder Software Review


My first task was to start organizing images by date. I opened the program and drag and dropped a large folder of images titled “Exposure” from an external hard drive onto the workspace. I previously had stored images there for teaching and various articles I wrote on camera technique. After that loaded, I then went to “View>Organize> By Date” and chose my date parameters. I chose “Year.”

Creating a web page for your images these days is fairly easy, and there are numerous web apps available that offer a wide variety of colors and backgrounds. But organizing your images before you even consider the template (or “skin” as it is called in the trade) is perhaps the biggest challenge, given the proliferation of images we all have made with various cameras and mobile devices stored on flash drives, hard drives, and even memory cards. In short, editing images you want to include, and getting them organized and ready for web presentation, is the lion’s share of the task. This is especially so if, like many of us, you have been lax in keeping pace over the years and have finally decided to get your web act in order.

I recently got notice that the folks at jAlbum have posed a solution to this dilemma. Their recent upgraded version of their namesake software—jAlbum 13—incorporates an organizational solution that is quick and easy, yet offers many options along the way. I have worked with earlier versions of web build software from this company, so was fairly familiar with the basics (type jAlbum in the Search box on Shutterbug.com for my previous coverage). In this article I will concentrate on the organizational features of the recently released software upgrade.

« Here’s the workspace I created in jAlbum 13. On the left side you can see all the grouped by date images within the Exposure folders. (Beneath that are where you choose the “skin” or site template and other tools. Upper right are the other workspaces that we’ll explore soon.) I then clicked on all the images within that folder made in 2005 by clicking on that date and the software quickly sorted by EXIF data and presented the images in its full-screen browser.

I followed the drag-and-drop method to add all the images from the various folders and then created an album with them using the Make Album tab on the left side/bottom of the workspace. This allowed me to name the album, create keywords, place the album in a directory, and more.

I further wanted to organize the album by date and simply followed the procedure outlined about (View>Organize>By Date) and had access to images I made in 2007, 2010, and 2015.

First, it should be noted that the company’s software is primarily aimed at photographers who have a large volume of images on various drives, devices, and networks, with possible dupes taking up additional space. The new version is designed to help you sort and organize by date (year, month, or even a specific date), by GPS coordinates, by caption names (if you have captioned previously), and of course by folder. If you have not ID’d any images at all you can simply browse and drag and drop to build albums as you go.

For this test I worked with images from a large (2TB) hard drive, my laptop, and some CDs I burned years back. I do name my image file folders after download from the camera, so that helped. If you don’t then you will have more work, but this is all part of the image organization; happily, there are many tools in the software to ease the way.

If I then wanted to explore more large folders and group by date I could do so with ease by using this drag and drop and browser method.

My next task was gathering all the images I’ve made over the years at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. For this I searched labeled folders on my backup hard drive and even some I still had on my laptop made in 2007.

There’s a whole lot more to the new jAlbum that I didn’t cover here, including the ability to create Collaborative albums and sites for groups that want to share images among like-minded associates; many new Skins that support “Responsive” designs for tablet and mobile device viewing; a batch rename capability that can speed image labeling; and the ability to process and enhance images as you go.

« There were some Raw files in the folders but this didn’t stop me. The software has the capability to read and process a wide variety of Raw image file formats. While you might want to do this beforehand for more finite and sophisticated processing, there are certainly sufficient processing controls here to make very good-looking images for your website. Having Raw images in your folder will not impede your build and make you go back and process them before proceeding.

« Here’s another good tool. You can customize the image size and other parameters on posted images. This is part of the tools provided on the upper right of the workspace.

« You can also do some processing on individual images by clicking on Effects in the workspace. Not shown: Hovering on an individual image reveals the EXIF data as well.

Once you have your album ready to go click on Skin and Style to get samples of the many and varied presentations available. You can also download more from the jAlbum website.
Courtesy of jAlbum

In all, the new jAlbum 13 software makes it easy to both organize your images and build great-looking websites in the bargain. As you gain experience you’ll discover that it can make what might have seemed a daunting task a fun and exciting experience.

Once you have selected the Skin and Style you can preview the album, go back and make any changes to the order of images, reprocess if you desire, and more. Once done a simple click on Upload gets your site cooking and you can post to your own site, share, or have jAlbum handle the hosting for you.

More info is available at jalbum.net.