PhotoBulk 2 review: Swiss Army knife for Mac batch image processing

An easy-to-use Mac utility to resize, optimize, rename, convert, or add text, image, date stamp and script watermarks to multiple photos in a snap.

photobulk 2 app icon
Eltima Software
At a Glance

Taking pictures can be a lot of fun, but the party comes to a screeching halt whenever it comes time to process images before sharing or publishing your work online. Whether you want to add a date stamp, watermark a caption, or just slim down digital photos before uploading files to others, a good batch editor like PhotoBulk 2 can do wonders for saving time and alleviating this big headache.

PhotoBulk 2: More advanced features

Unlike image editing powerhouses Adobe Lightroom and Pixelmator, which are designed primarily to work on a single photo at a time, PhotoBulk 2 is made to process as many files as you want to queue up, one after another, be it a handful of images or potentially hundreds in one fell swoop. While the original release sported a no-frills user interface, the sequel offers a more expansive palette that paves the way for advanced features promised in future updates, such as filters and red eye removal.

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PhotoBulk 2 features multiple watermarks and more options to resize, rename, optimize, and format an entire batch of images at once than you can shake a stick at.

In its current incarnation, PhotoBulk 2 offers an impressive trio of image processing tasks. The first adds one or more watermarks with your choice of custom text, graphics such a company logo or website banner, date or time stamps, and scripts, which are text tags you add and optionally rotate that get spread across the entire image to protect copyrighted content from being used without your permission.

Two post-processing settings allow shutterbugs to resize photos by width, height, percentage, free size, or max size, as well as to optimize images to reduce file size without compromising quality.

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Want to keep your photo data private? PhotoBulk 2 allows users to remove sensitive GPS data, camera, or contact info from copies in a snap.

Last but not least, three export tools are available, which offer full control over what kind of metadata gets passed onto new images (GPS data, camera info, copyright and contact info, or none at all), the format they’re saved in (JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, or TIFF), and how new files will be named.

PhotoBulk takes a modular approach-simply click on the settings you want to use from the left-hand sidebar, and those tools are added to the adjacent bulk settings column. Click the Start button, and images are processed and saved to a new folder named after the current settings. There’s also an option to save your configuration as a new preset, which can then be reused with subsequent batches from a pulldown menu located under bulk settings.

PhotoBulk 2: Batch watermarks

Adding files to PhotoBulk 2 is done by clicking the plus button in the lower left corner or dragging and dropping images onto the large preview area at right, which displays size adjustments and watermarks in real time. A small horizontal grid of thumbnails across the bottom allows users to quickly jump to a specific photo to verify or tweak the positioning of a watermark.

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Logo graphics can be added to images in bulk, which the software will automatically adjust accordingly for portrait and landscape.

Although you can’t adjust watermark parameters independently for each photo in a batch, PhotoBulk does a pretty good job of automatically compensating for portrait and landscape images when pixel dimensions are roughly similar. You can even add multiple watermarks with control over size, position, rotation, and opacity, but I was disappointed by the lack of text styling options-underline is the only choice available, with no way to add a drop shadow or outline. The app also works well for renaming files en masse, especially if you want to add a sequence of numbers between one and four digits as a prefix or suffix.

PhotoBulk 2 supports Apple’s newest HEIC, at least in terms of being able to add images, process them, and save back to the same format, which requires choosing the “don’t change” option in the Format tool. There’s no way to convert images saved in other formats to HEIC, but this at least saves users from having to first create files of another type. I was bummed to discover that PhotoBulk only imported JPEG versions of native HEIC images stored in my Photos library when using the Finder’s media browser; the only way around this limitation is to export a fresh set of unmodified images from Photos instead.

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PhotoBulk 2 supports HEIC images, but can’t save JPEG, PNG, GIF, or TIFF to Apple’s latest format.

Bottom line

Fast, versatile, and cheap, PhotoBulk 2 makes short work of those repetitive, mundane image processing tasks all photographers dread.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Modular batch image processing with real-time preview
    • Add multiple image, text, date stamp, script watermarks
    • Quickly resize, rename images with sequence options

    Cons

    • Can't independently tweak parameters for each photo in batch
    • HEIC limitations with Photos library import
    • No image format conversion to HEIC
  
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