BreezeBrowser on a Mac « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

BreezeBrowser on a Mac

BreezeBrowser on a Mac

For years folks have been asking, can you run BreezeBrowser on a Mac? I have been using Downloader Pro to download my images and BreezeBrowser Pro to edit my day-take folders quickly and efficiently. It temporarily sharpens the images and viewing is virtually instantaneous, a far cry from waiting for photos to “generate” for viewing in Bridge. I can often have a morning’s images downloaded and edited (have the keepers selected) before my lunch is served. You can learn more about these two great programs here.

Recently I’ve been hearing that all Windows PC manufacturers will soon quit making laptop screens of high enough quality to support the work that we currently do on our HP PCs. I am somewhat of an oddity in I optimize all of my best images on my laptop (rather than on my home computer). Recently, I began bugging my superb web guy, Peter Kes, about running BreezeBrowswer Pro and Downloader Pro on a Mac. Peter kindly wrote two short pieces for me to share. The first is a bit simpler than the second. Reading both will–when the time comes–make the transition easier.

This version is a joint effort:

Mac users can use one of two different virtual machine products to run operating systems other than Mac OS. Those include Parallels Desktop and VMWare/VMWare-Fusion. Once you have installed either of these, you can install and run a Windows operating system like XP, Windows 7, or Vista on your Mac. Once that is accomplished and Windows is up and running on your virtual machine you can install programs like BreezeBrowser Pro, and Downloader Pro. Serious creative photographers who are into Out-of-the-Box stuff can even run Fractalius on a Mac. Do note, however, that a Window’s copy of Photoshop or Elements needs to be installed for Fractalius to work. In all of the preceding cases, the programs and plug-ins will run just as they would on a Windows machine. And all of you know that I find the convenience of Downloader Pro BreezeBrowser Pro to be unbeatable; in combination, they save me dozens of hours each month.

Note: installing Windows on a virtual machine requires that you own a legal copy of the Windows operating system. This is where VMWare Fusion comes in handy; you can use this program to import a Windows operating system that has been previously installed on a PC. Once imported, you will have a fully operative copy of the original Windows operating system that will be already registered.

This version–directly from the keyboard of Peter Kes–may shed additional light on the BreezeBrowser on a Mac issue for many of you.

More than once I hear from friends and colleagues questions related to Windows vs Mac functionality. Most software is available for both platforms but often there is only a Windows solution. Good examples of this–from the photographic community–,re BreezeBrowser Pro and Downloader Pro, available only for Windows platforms. The BreezeBrowser products are in many ways very intuitive to use and offer a great many functions that make downloading, sorting, and organizing your images very easy. I use both programs on my Mac most every day.

The most recent release of Mac (Mac OS X Lion) de-commissioned support for Rosetta. This function in older Mac operating systems allowed for the installation of PowerPC based applications. As Rosetta is no longer supported many applications that previously ran fine on a Mac are now useless. Vendors are either late, unwilling, or unable to develop a Mac OS X Lion solution. After my upgrade from Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Mac OS X Lion a number of my favorite applications did not run anymore. (For example, on my updated Mac the Fuji X10 camera software failed.)

There is a simple and powerful solution for this: virtualization software for your Mac. How does that work? It allows you to run other operating systems like Windows (e.g. Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7) or other operating systems on a Mac. With this solution a dual boot is not required. Your Windows programs will run like any other applications, in a virtual machine, in parallel with other applications on your Mac. You can now install Windows-only programs or programs that were previously able to run with Apple’s Rosetta support in the virtual machine

There are two ways to get to a Windows-based virtual machine on your Mac.

If you have a Windows license or a legal copy of a Windows Installation CD, you can purchase a license for Parallels Desktop for Mac V10.7. Once purchased, downloaded, and installed with a valid license key, you will launch the program and install Windows within Parallels Desktop. You can order a copy of Parallels Desktop by clicking here.

If you have a Windows license in the form of a privately owned Windows PC (you have a PC with Windows on it but do not have the Installation CD), you will want to purchase VMWare Fusion 5 instead of Parallels. Once purchased, you install the software on your Mac and then install the migration assistant software that comes with VMWare Fusion 5 on your Windows PC.

When these installations are complete, launch the Mac installed VMWare Fusion server component. Now open the PC migration assistant software on your PC and follow the instructions for pairing your PC with the Mac. VMWare on your Mac will now import everything on your PC into a new virtual machine: all applications installed on your PC can now run from within the virtual machine on your Mac. This is a great solution for those who own PCs that are already loaded with Windows-based software solutions. You can order a copy of VmWare Fusion 5 by clicking here.

I have installed and used both Parallels Desktop for Mac V10.7 and VMWare Fusion 5 and am very happy with the performance of both.


Thanks to Peter Kes for his help here. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog; Peter will get back to you.

39 comments to BreezeBrowser on a Mac

  • I love this site and very thankful to Artie and all the great information I learn from it. I do have to say right now my head is spinning from what I just read. I have a mac and wish I could use some of the pc only programs, such as Fractalius. Besides the extra cost of running two platforms, it sounds like there are other issues that may be a problem such as where will the support come from when a issue pops up, etc. I just wish it was a simple choice. I will check out PM and see what that is all about. Thanks for all the posts.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your kind words Tony. Peter Kes runs the two platforms on a Mac without any problems.

  • Gary Shackelford

    An excellent alternative image downloader program for Mac users is ImageIngester Pro, by Marc Rochkind, and available at . A free trial is available for download. The app is also available in a PC version. ImageIngester Pro is an industrial-strength app that automates ingestion with double backup; naming; moving to folders; applying bulk metadata and Camera Raw/Lightroom settings; GPS tagging; converting to DNG; verifying; and correlating multi-camera shoots.

    A useful resource where you can find extensive discussions of ImageIngester and other downloader programs as well as other DAM [digital asset management] issues is The DAM User forum, hosted by photographer and DAM guru Peter Krogh at . Krogh is the author of “The DAM Book. Digital Asset Management for Photographers.”

    I have used ImageIngester Pro for several years and love the app. After ingesting my raw files and applying bulk metadata (including renaming) with ImageIngester, I go to Lightroom for image optimization and cataloguing and for DNG conversion. This system works well for me. For those who might be new to Mac, it is important to be aware that if you install Windows virtualization software on a Mac and then choose to run Photoshop in this environment, you will need to purchase a separate PC version of Photoshop to run it under virtualization. I agree completely with Allan Schneider’s comments on the issues pertaining to running PC virtualization software on a Mac, including his comment that a better solution for Mac users would be for the developers of PC-only versions of software to make the plunge and develop Mac versions.

    • Gary Shackelford

      The two URLs that I included in my post above were stripped and not included in the posting. To go to Marc Rochkind’s website, Google “ImageIngester” and go to the website. To go to The DAM Forum, Google “The DAM Forum” and click the link to that website.

  • Allan Schneider

    This method ( two operating systems, three software vendors and then then the app) is a cludge and probably not managable by the average PC user.
    Forget for a moment the implementation questions. Let me pose this simple question.Who are you gonig to call when you need support or have a software defect?
    The point here is which vender has tested and supports this software configuration?
    For example apple could sya breeze browser is not supported on a mac and hang up. Microsoft say the do not support Breezer Browser in this configuration and we have never tested it.
    My guess is NONE of them and each will point to the other as the source of the problem. I am not even discussing the release to release transition problems yet and who is going to support accross releases and all of those possible functional incompatibilities .

    I would note trust my precious photos in this cludge ,( unsupported) environment.

    Why don’t you just make a version that runs on a mac?

    • Jay Gould

      Alan, who is “you” that should make a Mac version? What do you do?

      • Allan Schneider

        If it makes business sense for the owner of BB to do a mac version they should consider it.
        Why do you want to know “what I do” for what?

    • Mary Stamper

      Easier said than done. They may not have resources to write both versions, and they may not believe that they will sell enough mac versions to warrant the expense of hiring people with mac programming skills. And don’t say “but Adobe does it”. They are a big company that charges high prices for their products and designing the infrastructure that allows them to maintain two separate platforms for all of their software is a big expensive deal. So is maintaining the dual sets of skills. Good windows programmers are usually lousy mac programmers. If a vendor plans to target both platforms, they need to do things that allow that when they first make the design. Based on my 25 years in the software industry, I’d bet that the reason BB refuses to “just make a mac version” is because they likely CAN’T. The software would probably have to be completely rewritten.

    • Mary Stamper

      I am going to take issue with the notion that the virtualized windows environment is a kludge. Are you aware that virtualization is the way that information technology is going. Your BANK may be running in a virtualized environment! Virtualization works very well.

      It is however true, that the vendor may not be willing to test in a virtualized environment, and it is also true that many users are not able to cope with the complexity.

      My objection is the expense. You buy a mac. You probably have a photoshop license for a mac. Then you have to buy the virtualization software (vmware, parallels). THen you have to buy the Windows license. Then you have to buy Breezebrowser. And as for using Fractalius and other Windows-only plugins, your mac license for photoshop will NOT work. You have to buy a Windows license for photoshop and then you still have to buy the plugin. Virtualization can be very, very expensive. And then you have upgrade problems eventually, because, oopps, I just upgraded my mac to the latest and greatest “cat” and now my vmware/parallels license has to be upgraded. The domino effect continues.

      I suggest that folks just make a choice and live with it. Just because folks on this forum love Breezebrowser doesn’t mean that it is the only solution or even the best solution out there. Believe me, Photo Mechanic is a wonderful tool, and you should try it out if you use a Mac. And you can make it even more powerful by using Mac folder actions and Automator scripts. I use Photo Mechanic/Capture NX for Nikon/DPP for Canon for raw processing/Sometimes photoshop for more complex tasks/Lightroom for cataloging. Works well for me.

      • Allan Schneider

        The Virtual Machine environment ( VM) works extremely well and has been around for 50 years.

        What is being suggested here is not quite the same VM environment as your bank may be running.

        First.The VM software and the operating systems under it were written under the same hardware environment. and system instruction set. (That is not the case here ). ( VM/370 running DOS, mutiple MVS machines and others – all looking like seperate systems and distinct systems images. Each in there own contiguous address space. There were written for the same machine archietecture and instruction set.)

        Second. The vendor software banks use are licensed to the bank and it contains support for this kind VM operation. The bank would not run a production environment with non supported software even in a VM environment. No Bank would run unsupported software unless they wrote it and then they would support it.

        If my first point is clear the mac and windows where written in different instruction sets and in different machine environment. Yes you can simualte the windows environment on a mac and it appears to run quite well. But the adding a non supported ( and tested) product adds more complexity and risk the average user can tolerate.

        • Mary Stamper

          Actually, it’s getting very common to run various UNIX VM’s inside a Windows container (alongside additional windows VM’s in the same container. My company is doing it. Mac os x is a flavor of unix. Or a unix container with Windows VM’s. Nothing at all unusual.That’s part of the point.

          Also, be careful about the word “emulate”. Emulation is not virtualization. Emulation also exists in the form of instruction translators such as Crossover. Now those are risky. Very risky.

          The “risks” of virtualization are getting so low that as long as you have sufficient resources to run the host machine, seriously, there isn’t much to worry about. Virtualization is a routine situation today.

          I agree that it may be too complex for the average user, but I personally object far,far more to the expense than the complexity. I’m taught “average joes” to user virtualized environments.

          What one could do is contact the manufacturer and ask if they will support a virtualized environment.

        • Peter Kes

          Most private users buy software as OTC or with limited warranty. Banks buy software with extended software maintenance. No comparison. If you have a crash on your Mac or PC, both Apple and Microsoft will not take responsibility for the loss of your photos, whether you run a native OS or in a virtual machine.

        • Peter Kes

          Please also note that Banks, even though they have extended maintenance run up to 12 copies of their precious data. Just to make sure to be covered when a vendor makes a mess. If you do the same, it is safe to run the most unreliable software.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Alan, Many folks use BrBr on a Mac efficiently. If I may ask, what is so precious about your photos? Do you not think that everyone who cares about photography views their photos as precious?

      • Allan Schneider

        My photos are precious to me because they document my family’s life for the last 25 years or so . And I treat them ( numerous backup) with that in mind.
        Also contained in this are the photos that I take in pursuit of excellence in photography. I take those quite serious ( but not as much) as well.

        I think most people feel the way I do and take serious steps to protect and preserve them.

  • I mentioned Photo Mechanic earlier and quite a few others have followed up on that. One thing that it is especially good at (which no one has mentioned so far) is renumbering images . . . I use it with five-digit numbers.

  • Graham Hedrick

    Hi all;
    I have been using Photo Mechanic since 2004. I have used Adobe and Apple’s Aperture since v.01. Since my biggest concern is that Apple will kinda push Aperture to the side and have it fade in the sunset, I have finally moved to using Lightroom. Through all my years in digital photography starting with the Nikon D100, Photomechanic has been used in some shape or form in my work flow. Today, I start with Photo Mechanic for my culls, go to Lightroom for my DAM work and finish with Photoshop and all the NIK tools. I hope this helps.

    An interesting side note. There is a verry well known photographer named after a very large four legged Maine critter. He recently moved to the Mac. He uses Photo Mechanic. Here is the interesting part of his journey. He has made and marketed his own image culling software for years. He uses Photo Mechanic now, even endorseses it on his blog. The best part is, it appears he does not use his software!

    • Mary Stamper

      I’ve used Photo Mechanic for at least 6 years, along with Capture NX, and sometimes DPP. PM totally rocks. It’s fast, provides tons of capability, has a very flexible ingest mechanism for unloading cards/cameras, has an excellent keywording facility, integrates with raw processors very well and isn’t loaded with bugs. I’ve had no trouble going from mac os x tiger all the way to lion without a hitch.

  • Will either of the programs work with Mountain Lion Ver 10.8.2

    • Mary Stamper

      The latest version of Photo Mechanic works splendidly on Mountain Lion. I’ve been using it for weeks now. If you are already using Mountain Lion, down load the PM demo and try it out.

  • Diana Johnson

    Plain and simple. Why won’t BreezeBrowser and Downloader Pro make a Mac version??

  • Mary Stamper

    While I don’t dispute the utility and functionality of Breezebrowser, Mac users have an excellent alternative in Photo Mechanic, which has just come out in a new version.

  • Thanks David, I just downloaded a Demo copy and will play with it for a few weeks. I m only looking for a culling program; I use LR for all edits prior to PS. Cheers, Jay

  • Mike, the problem is that the output from BB is either a TIFF or a PSD. Once you have use DPP you are now working destructively on the pixels instead of a virtual copy in LR. Once done it cannot be undone. I, and most LR users never work on the original image. Some save as a CR2 asnd never touch it; some, like myself, save as a DNG and never touch it. Of course you can import from DPP into LR as either a TIFF or a PSD however, the benefit of LR’s ability to work on a file in a nondestructive manner is lost as DPP is a destructive program – you change the pixels because there is no virtual copy.

    PS: Artie, thank you for loosening up on the ability to easily edit our posts by moving the cursor here and there before they are uploaded. 🙂

    • Mike Vanecek

      No matter the format in LR (cr2 or tif or DNG or …) all changes in LR are non-destructive. The difference will be where the XML metadata changes are stored (sidecar, in the metadata part of the file, or the LR DB). DPP works just fine with LR if used as a browser or batch converter. Do it all the time. Browse, delete, convert (or not) to tif, import in LR. No problem. BTW, DPP is a Canon product, it does not talk PSD or DNG (I prefer TIF over DNG anyway). Hence, after DPP one will either be importing into LR using raw or tif format where modifications to either are non-destructive.

      • Mike, “after DPP one will either be importing into LR using raw”; how do you import from DPP to LR in RAW? After DPP you automatically have a TIFF, don’t you? The CR2 is gone, isn’t it?

        We definitely agree that LR is nondestructive; however, if you import a CR2 that has been converted to TIFF in DPP the conversion to TIFF is destructive, isn’t it!?

        • Mike Vanecek

          Close DPP, start LR, import. The cr2 is not deleted when converted to tif in DPP. Converting creates new file; the old one is still on the disk.

          Editing in DPP is destructive, but on can save it to a new file.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Jay, As above you are wrong about the destructive issue. Whatever you use to convert you always have your RAW file.

  • I was a BreezeBrowser fan before I moved to Mac. I now use Photo Mechanic for initial editing and culling; Aperture (not Lightroom) for processing, RAW conversions and keywording; and Photoshop for finishing. Am very happy with this workflow.

  • Mike, BB is no brainer. It is the simplest beautiful program to use; not I really wish they had a Mac version. It is not a processing program. You simply open the images, review, tag either what you want to keep or what you want to discard, and then delete the trash. After that you can import into DPP or Lightroom. I avoid DPP because once processed in DPP I cannot use Lightroom to its best strength; the ability to process the RAW file in a virtual copy in a nondestructive fashion and preserve your original RAW unprocessed image either out of the camera or as a DNG.

    • Mike Vanecek

      I use DPP as just a browser so it is fully compatible with LR. However, I have been following Arties’s comments and may switch to using it as a conversion programs as well – the results should also be importable to LR?

  • A&P/P&A!!

    This posting could not be more timely!!!!!

    This week I have accomplished the “Big Switch” and started to eat the Apple – a 15″ MacBookPro with an anti-glare screen. I replace the stock hard drive with a 240GB SSD; I replaced the optical drive with a 480 SSD; it sings!

    There certainly are differences in the two platforms; I am finding that for some things my Mac requires additional key strokes to accomplish that which I could have done on my PC. However, so far happy with performance and results. I have abandoned One Outlook in favor of Three Apples (Mail, Contacts, and iCal) to accomplish push sync between my Mac, iPad, and iPhone for calendar and contacts – I like that everything is automatically up to date.

    Peter, are you an Apple with PC knowledge or vice versa?

    I have an OEM Dell CD legal copy of Windows 7 – I have the key etc. Can I use that disc for loading windows and then use Parallels? Are there differences between Parallels and Fusion so that if give the choice you would use one over the other.

    I love that there is a solution for Breeze Browser; I do not bother with Downloader. I simply attach my card reader and the first thing I do is copy all of the files from the card to the appropriate folder on my hard drive. The card gets formatted in the camera; the images are opened in BB for the first triage.

    All suggestions greatly appreciated!

    Artie, may we (not “can we” Mr. Teacher :-)) use this posting for other questions about migrating from PC to Mac?

    Cheers Guys,


    PS: Artie, I am arriving in Miami Feb 23; might you be in the very wide area? Cheers,

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jay, I will be somewhere in SW FLA then I think, likely on the IPT. I have alerted Peter; he would be glad to answer your Mac questions here.

    • Peter Kes


      Fusion is good when you don’t have a CD. So with a CD you can choose. I run both Parallels and Fusion. Other than using straight Windows within the two, I have had no issues with either of them.

  • Mike Vanecek

    To each his own. I use Parallels 7 with OS Mountain Lion on both my Macs. The installation and use is very straightforward and the program is very stable. I run Microsoft Money using Windows XP. Windows XP is no longer supported; however, I never do the updates anyway since the system is being used for a specific app. I use AVG, which is free, on Windows as a virus checker although it is probably not needed. Keep in mind that a virtual machine (VM) will use a rather large amount of disk space which may be an issue on a Macbook Air (24GB on my MBA).

    On the other hand, a Mac version of BreezeBrowser would offer many advantages over using a VM system.

    I have avoided BreezeBrowser because of the Mac issue and the need to learn yet one more program. An alternative is DPP which can be configured to render fairly quickly and shows the Focus point as well.