Picture management and backup solutions

Created by brianfroelund on April 22, 2014, 12:32 a.m.
  • Hi

    I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to handle our digital family photo album.

    I currently have about 60 gb of images and videos in a folder on google drive that syncs to my laptop. They are in the following structure:

    pictures/<year>/<date> <event title / comment>


    pictures/2013/2013-05-24 Summer holiday/

    On windows i could auto import into a structure like that but i haven't found a way to that on my mac yet. Any tools that can support an existing structure? I am also willing to change the structure but I don't like how iPhoto wants to take complete control as it makes the images hard to access from other platforms using Google Drive.

    I am also not locked on Google Drive but it is pretty cheap as long as i don't break the 100gb which i won't do for the next 2 years or so. A downside to Google Drive however is that i'm not able to selective sync subfolders. I have a 256gb hdd in my laptop and it's taking up a lot of space so it would be nice to only sync the 2-3 most recent years.

    Any suggestions for a better solution?

  • Have you tried Flikr?

    You get 1TB for free, and the sharing options are great. As well as sharing 1 pic or 1 album with a specific person, they also have a system where you can tag other peoples accounts as Friends or Family, and then when you upload images you just can pick if an image is private, friends, family or friends and family. It works really well.

    However... It's a big job to get everything uploaded and tagged the first time. I have put about 15,000 pictures up to my Flickr account (using the Flickr Uploader app on Mac, which allows you to select an album directly from iPhoto).

    I did all this uploading as a one way street though. Now I have put all my historic pictures up there, I just upload all my new snaps straight up there using the iPhone app for phone pics, and Lightroom for pics on my DSLR.

    I know a lot of people like their folder structures and I was the same for films, music, pics etc, but once you give in and use a programs indexing system, you would be amazed at how much nicer it is to browse your photos using the tags and things on a service like Flikr.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions about all this. I did all my pictures as a prototype for my girlfriend doing all of her (tens of thousands) of pictures. It was a pain, but we learnt a lot and it was definitely worth it.

  • I personally think the year/month/day structure is weird. I know a lot of photographers who use it, but I know that I never will.

    Regarding backups: I have two 1TB drives in my computer. One is used purely to mirror the other. I also have an external HDD that I leave at work. It comes home with me occasionally to backup the primary drive. I use Carbonite to backup my Lightroom catalog and a few other folders on my computer (selective uploading is great).

  • I back my photos up in several locations, I have an editing copy one one set of drives in my machine, Then I have an archive/unedited copy on another set of drives. Then I have a storage server in another room, that I keep all my movies and music and other backups on. Depending on how important the data is depends on which array in the server the data goes. I generally put my photos on my RAID Z - volume, as it has more error checking and correcting, and less decay than most other file systems. Since its also in a parity based setup if I drop a drive or one starts having a high error rate it can be recovered from the other drives in the set.

    Currently using 3tb WD Reds, They have been holding up well (I started using the reds as a test to see how they would hold up compared to the RE's which are more expensive but high quality). They are cheap enough and reslient, without getting stuck with the greens which have an incredibly high error rate, and low read and write speeds. Or the blacks that still seem to have a rather high error rate and time based decay.

    The server is nothing but a amd apu based machine, built around spare parts, with a ubuntu linux install and ZFS installed. Cost wise its all in the drives, with only about 150-200$ in the mobo cpu memory.

    I also make backups of my lightroom catalog pretty much constantly.

  • @AtomicEdge:

    Flickr is definitely an option. Using it as a backup is it possible to download all pictures on Flickr if i need to? Also does it support video and if so is there a loss of quality between the backup and the original? How do you import the pictures from camera? copy/paste?


    I have year/date not year/month/date. It quite easy to find stuff by the event title and i don't have more than maybe a 100 folders in each year.

    It's important for me to have the option to also use the backup as a way of accessing/showing the pictures.


    I wan't to avoid any solution that requires me to periodically go and manually make sure that i have a backup. I'm busy enough as is :) Also with the amount of gb i need backed up i don't see the point of the external drive / NAS solution as it will be very expensive and if the house burns down it's all gone. Accessing the photos would then also rely on home bandwidth.

  • @brianfroelund: Yes, it supports video. There are tools that link into the Flickr API for things like bulk downloads, such as this one: https://www.flickr.com/services/apps/72157622874451890/

    The online Uploader on there is pretty good as well: https://www.flickr.com/tools/

    They store all your files in their original format, but allow you to view them smaller, or for in video in SD. Downloads are always the original files though.

  • @AtomicEdge: I was just about to upload when I saw that they only support up to 3min of video. So if I wan't to use Flickr then i will have to separate my videos from my photos. Not sure that is a good idea :)

  • @brianfroelund: Ahh okay, I wasn't aware of that as I only use it for pictures. :-/