Recommended Software/services: The criteria here is that the software is open source or offered as free for personal, non-commercial or educational use, including non-profit organizations (i.e. schools, universities, public authorities, hospitals, etc.), and that it is natively multi-platform for Windows and Mac. Please remember that any Windows program will run on Mac OSx if you have Windows 10 running in Boot Camp. 

Book preparation and publishing:

LibreOffice 6, LibreOffice Writer. Free and open source software. Windows, Mac.

Writer is a well developed, mature application that, while acknowledging its word processing heritage, offers a wealth of page design and layout features. Writer is fully ODF compliant. For publishing the final document, Writer offers significant control over the .pdf creation process. There is a learning curve for this program when moving into the desktop publishing realm, but the results are well worth it. Download the office suite from -

The idea behind this list is to present freely offered, open source applications that are of use here. This recommendation gets away from that a bit...

Serif PagePlus. If you are interested in using a true desktop publishing application to produce photography books, there are both expensive and inexpensive choices out there. One of the very best is Serif PagePlus X9. The only problem is that Serif has devoted all of its resources to its new Affinity line and allowed PagePlus X9 to become a legacy application. PagePlus is still available for download from the Serif website at (scroll to the bottom of the page). The license is $19.99 as of this writing and is also available through the Serif website. It is available through other online outlets (prices vary). It is a Windows-only application but will run on Macintosh equipment under Boot Camp.

Book preparation and publishing (on line SaaS):

No longer recommended - while SaaS applications have made great strides for general use, continuing evaluation has shown that none offer the needed features or level of control for this level of production.

Photographic editing:

The GIMP 2.8. Free and open source software. Windows, Mac. Allows for the complete manipulation and editing of photographs. Similar to Adobe’s Photoshop. Download the program from Gimp 2.10, which is the latest version, is available from 

Image viewers:

FastStone Image Viewer. One of the best image viewers with image adjustment capabilities is the FastStone Image Viewer. The program has a wide range of image adjustment functions and supports a wide variety of image formats. It is currently freely offered  and is updated frequently. It is a Windows-only application but will run on Macintosh equipment under Boot Camp. It can be downloaded at  

XnNiew / XnView MP. Proprietary software but offered freely. Windows, Mac. A very good, lightweight image viewer that offers basic but competent image adjustment, editing and resizing functions. If XnViewMP seems to be a bit shy on features, it appears to be in active development. It should be noted that there are some quirks in the user interface that take some getting used to. Download either program from in either classic Windows trim or as a multiplatform application. 

File Synchronizing:

FreeFileSync lets you synchronize files between two folders or drives. You can  create an exact copy of the source folder, do a two-way synchronization that will copy new or updated files in both directions or use the "update mode" to copy only files that are new or have been changed from the source to the target. You can choose how to handle file deletions, sending them to the recycle bin or moving them to another folder.

PDF Reader:

While there are a number of .pdf readers available, Microsoft Edge (Chromium), FireFox and Chrome web browsers support .pdf files natively and work well for viewing files. It should be noted that as of this writing Chrome supports .pdf forms while Firefox does not. For printing .pdf files Adobe Acrobat Reader is  the recommended software as it is fully optimized for printing this file type. 

Online image hosting services:

Use of photo sharing sites, social media sites or portfolio sites is not recommended for a variety of reasons. There a number of free Joomla web hosting services available and these can be located by Googlingfree joomla hosting”. There is a learning curve to Joomla but there are plenty of online resources to help you. The results are well worth.

Recommendations for file formats:

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group, ISO standard format) device independent, extension - .jpg – compressed file format, use this file format for in-camera storage of images and display on the internet.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format, ver. 6.0, tiff/ep (tiff/electronic photography) is an ISO standard format) device independent, extension - .tif – non-compressed file format, use this file format for making image adjustments, printing, in documents used for creating PDF files and long-term storage.

BMP (Bitmap Image File, de facto standard) device independent, extension - .bmp – non-compressed file format, as an alternative to the TIFF file format, use this file format for making image adjustments and long-term backup.

PDF (Portable Document Format, ISO standard format) device independent, extension - ,pdf - compressed file format designed to present (in part) documents that combine text and images, general presentation is in standard pdf configuration while pdf/a or pdf/x configurations can be used for long-term archiving.

It is recommended that when you are photographing, store images in the JPEG format. If the camera being use offered a dual-save option (JPEG and its proprietary “raw” format) that option can be selected. For processing and storing, it is recommended that you convert either JPEG or raw files to the uncompressed TIFF file format. It is not recommended that the camera’s native raw format be used exclusively for long-term storage as these formats are both proprietary and device dependent.