Phototheca principles

Phototheca was created with a few key principles in mind. The main one is “less is more.”

Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding in the meaningful.
— John Maeda

Less is more

“Less is more” is a philosophy that reminds us to design things that are simple yet beautiful. This is the cornerstone of the Phototheca software.

We’ve often found that the regular photo management software we’ve tried or even used on a daily basis has dozens, sometimes hundreds of features that it seems nobody really knows how to use. Having hundreds of features in a photo-organizing software program isn’t a problem in itself. Rather, the problem is that the user interface of that software is often quite complex, cluttered, and difficult to work with. Having dozens of buttons, icons, switches, bars, and overlays is overwhelming, makes visual noise, and distracts users from the point of it all: the photos and videos.

In early 2011 a group of friends — software engineers and photo enthusiasts — decided to change all that. Their goal was to build a product that would be beautiful, elegant, and simple, yet powerful. And with that, Phototheca was born.

Phototheca’s clean and sleek interface keeps the focus on the content — photos and videos — and hides a plethora of options and features under the hood. 

Along with the “less is more” philosophy, there are three more principles that guide our work: performance, intelligence, and simplicity.


Nowadays, our computers are fast. Actually, they’re really, really fast. And still, we struggle with software that makes us wait while it’s doing things. That’s not how it should be. So the next principle behind Phototheca is performance.

Phototheca is built with the most advanced and progressive software programming techniques, which means it works blazing fast even on outdated computers. We’ve made countless optimizations and done endless fine-tuning to ensure Phototheca uses your hardware capabilities with maximum efficiency. Even bulk operations work fast, saving users from wasting time when working with Phototheca.


Phototheca was made with intelligence in mind and it manifests everywhere in the application. The software remembers the state it was in when you closed it, and restores it back to that point when starting again. And while you navigate in the Library, it remembers positions and places and lets you go back to the same point you came from.

When importing photos from removable drives or smartphones, Phototheca remembers imported photos and doesn’t import them again, preventing you from having duplicates. It always shows the progress of bulk operations and gives you the option to stop them at any time. To avoid confusing situations, Phototheca shows descriptive messages and helps you to understand what’s going on. With Phototheca, users feel confident that everything is under control.


Phototheca has a simple and uncluttered yet powerful user interface (UI). At first glance it might look too basic, but this is intentional. A robust toolbox is accessible via menus and hotkeys, without visual presentation as buttons or switches. Phototheca puts the users’ content front and center and makes the UI as discreet as possible. The look and feel of Phototheca is highly customizable and gives everyone the ability to adjust it according to their own needs and tastes.

It’s possible to add more bells and whistles, or go in the other direction for a Zen interface and hide everything, keeping just the photos in focus. It’s up to the user to decide.