What to use for photo management?

Looking at options to better organise my photos.

I would like to simply organise them by a year, month, day folder structure. I would also like it if it could store meta in the files them selves, or alongside the originals. I've looked at some packages but they all seem to use their own database or have a very strong preference for using their own database. Which I can understand adds a lot of functionality (that I probably won't use.)

I like the way facets for Foobar works, it's easy to organise and maintain my music with that and I hope I can find something in that spirit but for photos.

Windows or Linux options are open to me, but to use Linux I'd need to do some harddrive shuffling as I'm out of space there at the moment.

Just to close this, I eventually went with Capture One Pro 8.

It still uses it's own 'catalogue' but you can keep originals in your own folder structure. Stores additional meta in files alongside the original. Makes it easier for me to back up originals.

Why not, the ever popular go to choice, lightroom then?. I don't want to pay per month to use lightroom. There is a version of capture one for sony and that was only 50 EURO*. Since my camera is an RX100MK1 I've been using for a long while now, that's all I need for now. It's also a fairly decent for tweaking the raw images. Never used lightroom before, so I can not truly compare, I am sure light room is better and easier to use in this regard (from what I have read).

*That "for sony" version seems to have disappeared from their site now. The current price is 3 times what I paid.

There isn't really a 100% ideal solution in Windows. The closest is Photo Mechanic, and that's actually a pretty good program for Windows. Capture One is considerably slower in terms of management, viewing, metadata-processing and thumbnailing in comparison to Photo Mechanic or open source solutions, but it's still blazing fast in comparison to Adobe products, which are really really slow, so slow that they are de facto unusable with modern file sizes. The big benefit of Capture One is that it's the best RAW processor in Windows, the image quality from your RAW files will be exponentially better than from Adobe Camera Raw. Adobe Camera Raw, as used in Bridge, Photoshop and Lightroom, is just plain bad, and makes raw files from modern cameras often look worse than the jpegs that come out of the camera after internal processing.

If you want a really nice workflow with the benefits of open source, the 3 main applications for a gtk-based environment are Entangle for tethering, Rapid Photo Downloader for capture from storage cards and automated backup and batch conversion, and Darktable for management and editing. Darktable just uses the open source raw converter libraries, which are more up-to-date than Adobe DNG converter or Adobe Camera Raw, and produce much cleaner and better raw development with full customizable processing. In a Qt-based environment, all you would need is Digikam, which is a powerful management and search indexing program with extensive editing and raw development modules. With Digikam, you can even search photos in your library based upon a color drawing of the composition of the picture that you're looking for, and Digikam will find the picture that look like the sketch you've entered in the search pane. Digikam also does face recognition search that actually works (unlike the face recognition of Adobe LR CC, which just doesn't work at all), and everything runs really fast.

thanks for the tip Zoltan. sad to see capture one isn't free

Thanks for those suggestions. I am stuck in windows land at the moment. Honestly I am usually using a gtk based environment, I will make a note of those programs for the future. Digikam sounds very good though too, choices! (Actually I did have digikam installed once last year but I never got round to learning it in time, need to revisit it after hearing your summary)

Yes, I can confirm Capture One does seem slow to me when organising/searching. It's filling my needs for now.
I am not big into photography but was presently surprised by how easy it was to fix my hamhanded snaps and how well they came out after tooling around with some for a while. So I think I agree with you there.

Kicking my self for not finding or trying Photo Mechanic first, that does look good and probably was better aligned to what I was looking for in the first place.