I'm seeking a solution for cataloging many thousands of images. Each photo will be tagged and categorized to become searchable by a small group of private people. I've considered any combination with Lightroom, a custom Wordpress theme, and a private Flickr gallery. Does any one have any additional suggestions?
Picasa Web Albums work best. It meets the following of your requirements:
You can catalog a large number of photos (you may need to purchase additional storage from Google based on image resolution, but its relatively cheap)
You can tag individuals and add categories.
You can customize your privacy settings and sharing options.
It's really easy to set-up, use and share.
I have experimented with SlideShowPro, Flickr and Facebook but found Picasa the best option for private sharing.
It depends if the small group of peoples work on a local network or it is a geographically dispersed team with necessity to Internet access.
For the first case I'd recommend you to check out our Daminion. I'll not post a link here, but you can google it.
This is a low-cost, server based photo management system for small teams. It provides better security than web-solutions - all your content remains inside your firewall.
Version control, user roles, sync tags with metadata (IPTC/XMP/MWG)... Daminion can even write metadata into Camera RAW formats, including CR2, NEF, DNG, ARW, MRW, PEF, without creating xmp sidecar files…
For privacy, you can mark albums as private and give access to groups and users.
There is a Lightroom plugin that let you publish your photos to Piwigo.
Since you mention Lightroom, I assume you either have it or are willing to purchase it. That would be my number one suggestion for local asset management, in terms of applying metadata to images and identifying which ones to publish.
Publishing, searching and viewing by a private group of people is a separate problem - I use flickr myself for public photos precisely because it makes them very easy to find but if I wanted to create specific albums and limit access I'd take a look at smugmug.com. It's not free, but seems very well regarded* in terms of photo sharing sites.
(where "well regarded" means "I know people who have used it and rate it highly")
I would look at jAlbum. It is a free program (for non-commercial though commercial use is only $55) and it offers a great way to upload your photos for viewing. What I enjoy about the program is they offer many skins (some of which require you to purchase to remove credit links or for commercial use but many are free for any use) which allow you to have a lot of customization to your album.
Take a look at Slideshowpro Director.
SlideShowPro Director is a content management and publishing application that runs in your web browser. Use it to display (on any web site) desktop and mobile-friendly slideshows of your photos and videos, or extend it with Flash components and Lightroom plugins for even greater creative control. Director helps you do more with the web sites you create.
The new SkyDrive from Microsoft is very nice for picture sharing.
The web albums are very nice. It also works perfectly on mobile devices (also windows 8).
You can select which person has access to a folder (which contains pictures). You can select if a person has read access only, read/write etc.
But the most interesting feature for me is that there's a very simple option to download ALL images in full quality from a folder. This feature is really appreciated by familly members.
SkyDrive also have a program that can be installed on your computer. It works just like Dropbox. You can simply copy paste files in this folder monitored by the SkyDrive program and the pictures will get uploaded on the web.
The management website of SkyDrive is really nice, html5 website. You can also use the website to upload your pictures. Simply drag&drop the pictures in your browser while in a folder in the site.