My Travels In Digital Photo Organizing Hell

I’m three days into trying to figure out the best way to deal with our large collection of digital photos that have accumulated since 2000.

When I started (on Christmas Day – I figured it was a one day project) Picasa said we had around 35,000 photos. After several different clean up approaches, we now have about 15,000. That’s the power of Duplicate Photos Fixer Pro which has been probably the cleanest and most straightforward part of this whole exercise.

But – let’s start from the beginning. Several years ago I created a shared Dropbox folder for me and Amy and moved all of our many folders of photos into one folder in Dropbox. I didn’t try to organize anything then – just get them all in one place. I then installed Picasa on each computer, spent a little while with Amy figuring it out, and let time pass from there.

Amy spent a lot of time over the past few years cleaning up photos, arranging them in folders, and copying things from place to place from within Picasa. We had various applications, like Dropbox and iTunes, set up iPhone sync directories. We avoided iPhoto, but every now and then it opened up somewhere and did something. Amy would sync her digital SLR photos with Picasa and then move them around. A bunch of other stuff probably happened in the background as we connected Picasa to the web, installed various Google apps on our machines, and I had a brief foray into using an Android phone.

However, I mostly ignored the problem. Every few months Amy would get frustrated looking for a photo and ask if I was ever going to clean everything up. We constantly talked about getting our iPhones set up to share stuff in a useful way. I bought Amy a new camera (the Sony A7) and decided as part of it I was going to clean up the mess that I’d help create over the years.

I vaguely remembered installing a Google Photo uploader thing on my desktop at work several months ago and letting it run for a few days while it uploaded the mess of photos we had. I looked at https://photos.google.com/ and scrolled through a huge photo collection. Yup – it uploaded them, although preserved none of the folder hierarchy Amy had painstakingly created. And then I started noticing lots and lots of duplicates. That’s weird – I wonder how that happened. After poking around for a way to have Google just automatically eliminate them, I discovered no such feature existed. Ok – I can delete a bunch of duplicates – let’s just share all with Amy. Oops – no way to do that.

Well, that would have been too easy. So, I spent most of Christmas Day afternoon using Picasa to clean up all the folder hierarchies, move photos from the hundreds of randomly named (usually with a date) folders, or the folders named “Move These Later 7.” I started as a Picasa novice and now have mastered it, with all of its quirks.

And then I realized there we had nested folders of duplicates spread out all over the place. Aha – now I knew why Google had duplicates everywhere. After a few searches, I found Duplicate Photos Fixer Pro and, after making a backup of the gigantic photo folder (via the web – so there was no web to desktop to web traffic), I quickly reduced our photo collection by over 50%.

I went to bed and let Dropbox and Picasa do their thing as everything synchronized on my painfully slow home Internet connection (there’s nothing like seeing a “10 hours left” message to decide to call it quits for the night.)

When I woke up yesterday, Dropbox looked fine but Picasa wasn’t synchronized. After messing around with Picasa for a while, I decided to just unlink the scanned folder (which was just the high level photos folder) and let it reindex. That worked. I messed around with the Dropbox hierarchy some more to try to clean things up. I noticed that Picasa again got out of sync. After doing this a few times, I started reading about Picasa on the web and my soul was crushed. I had a fantasy that the long term solution for everything could be something that lived on top of Dropbox, but as I realized that Picasa was getting old and stale (it shows in the UI) and there was a pretty clear path for Google toward everything being entirely web, Android, and Google+ (or – well – Google Photos) based. In other words, Picasa isn’t likely a long term solution.

Deep breath. At this point I checked with my partner Ryan who has 10 zillion photos and he quickly responded Apple Photo plus iCloud Photo Library (iPL) with a backup on Google Photos.

So I spent the rest of yesterday getting my mind around Apple Photos including a multi-machine and user struggle to understand the implications of what Apple thinks a family is and what can be shared between family members. Of course, the relic of the Apple iPhoto library didn’t help, as it introduced a new wave of duplicates which Duplicate Photos Fixer Pro figured out. Eventually I realized I had about 20 remnant Picasa temp files, each which were getting indexed in Apple Photos, so I hunted down and expunged them all. I started a bunch of folders uploading (I was trying to create some semblance of an Album structure). I was getting the hang out it, but it was dinner time so I was done until the morning.

When I woke up this morning, iPL told me that it has 11,781 files left to upload. Amy and I went out to breakfast. When I got back 90 minutes later, iPL now only had 11,721 files left to upload. Well – that’s not going to work.

I gave up, deleted all the photos from my instance of Apple Photos that was uploading, and read a draft of Eliot Peper‘s newest book Cumulus, which was awesome. I did a few other things, had dinner, and am still waiting for Photos/iCloud to figure out what it’s doing several hours later.

For now, I’m taking a break as I ponder my next move. Suggestions welcome.

  • krissberg

    Sounds like a start up idea. I struggle with this too. Even if you have them organized and backed-up, it’s still not easy to ENJOY them. Who wants to go down memory lane in front of a desktop? iPad can be slow, and it often shows things out of order if you’re just going through a Dropbox-type slideshow.

    Something that synced your photos seamlessly between multiple devices, deleted duplicates, made it easy to sort, filter and even markup with quick captions, and then enjoy in frames situated around the house would be amazing. I’d pay for a Dropbox/Instagram/Picasa/Digital Frame mashup.

    Related: we need better search functionality. I should be able to search my photos with the phrase ‘Kriss with red hat’ or ‘Snow day winter 2015’. With facial recognition software and color scales encoded, it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult. (easy for me to say)

    • there’s a startup a friend pointed me at a few months ago that sets the crowd loose on your folder (dropbox for example) for organizing, editing, tagging, etc. I don’t think machines can do this yet… still need humans/monkeys for now. sorry… can’t dig up name of the service :/. memory failing me.

      I’d pay for the same service for sure.

      latest iOS has started walking down your suggested search path. ask Siri to find “photos from San Francisco last May”… it just does the right thing. quite impressive actually. assumes geotagging was on of course, and that all your pics are in iPL :).

      • My biggest struggle with Apple so far is the extremely slow upload speed. I hope a 1GB connection helps.

        • I suspect it will “help” but I’d bet a dollar, not by much. other thing to consider is the inbound channel that Apple has into iPL. even if you open up your up-channel, their receiving down-channel is probably throttling users to a non-trivial degree. very interested to hear how 1GB up pans out though.

          in my experience, services that want/need big data dumps from consumers auto-throttle based on consumer up-channel averages, and the average consumer up-channel throughput is probably more like 1-5MBps (and still throttled after the initial “burst”).

          • Yeah – net neutrality. Oh well. How did you get all you photos to iCloud. Just wait patiently?

          • net neutrality? 😉

            yup. patience. I ensured the disk that houses the library was set to not sleep (just to be safe), and ensured that the mac that was performing the upload (the one running the Photos code) was set to never sleep as well. “sleeping” tends to kill long running things like this. I then waited several days. I think I left town in the middle of it and it was still going when I came back. it eventually got there.

            this particular library is 30k photos, and about 300GB in size.

          • Crazy.

            Ok – the repair seemed to get things moving again which is a little progress.

    • Adriana Mederos

      Historian desktop software offers facial recognition – it’s awesome!

  • Charles

    It’s shocking how seemingly underserved this “shared memories” space still is. To complicate things, we’re a dual-platform family.

    Google Photos seemed interesting at first, but it scales down photos over 16MP and throws away RAW data.

    Amazon Prime Photos apparently doesn’t munge photos and supports RAW images, but the mobile apps aren’t competitive with Google Photos.

    So I guess what I want: Amazon Prime Photos’s storage with Google Photos’s smarts and mobile apps.

    • multi platforms adds a nasty wrinkle to be sure. essentially guarantees at least one of the platforms has an explicit export/share/sync step (that essentially guarantees won’t get followed 🙂 ).

      • We are all Apple at this point so multi-platform isn’t really an issue. But something is seriously wrong with my iCloud Photo Library and there’s no obvious way to just reset it and start all over. I guess that will be part of the journey of enlightement tomorrow.

        • for safe measure, hold-down the option and command keys before opening Photo. then select “repair”. probably moot, but why not.

  • Todd Vernon

    There is no good answer. About 10 years ago I wrote a set of command line tools now ported to OSX that take a whole bunch of photos in a directory and move them into a set directory structure. Year/day created. Each photo is named i.e. 2015-01-0001 etc. so I end up with. 2015/2015-01-0001…0002 etc. when the kids became teens and everyone got iPhones I added dedup to the code because we all have about 20% of each other’s photos. Lately I started syncing the NAS photo directories to yahoo photo stream for backup and browsing as it’s free and now in the cloud.

    It works great, but I had to roll my own!

  • A note of caution if you go the Apple route: make sure you set up Photos to reference your existing folder structure, NOT create its own. The latter results in a single photo library file that is impossible to unwind. My wife’s photos were locked in that vault and it created some serious headaches when we aimed to merge things.

    Adobe Lightroom has some good organizing capabilities, but where to sync it online is another question. Amazon Drive or Dropbox are solid options so long as you primarily manage the files on your computer and not online. Picasa I’ve used for years, but you’re right that it’s getting outdated.

    Funny, I ordered a Sony A7Rii five minutes before I read your post. The A7 is such a great setup. What’d you go with for lens(es)?

    • I didn’t see that option in the new Photos app.

  • Dave Walters

    I’m about to cross 100k pics (525TB), and haven’t fully solved for dupes but my current config works well.

    Photo lib is stored locally on a FW800 RAID drive off the iMac (2TB x 2TB). Currently it lives in iPhoto, but that’s due to change soon – not sure what software is next. From the RAID, I use Arq to auto-backup to AWS (used to use Glacier, but upgraded to S3 on recent price drop). Google Photos also running in the toolbar backing everything down but have admittedly only looked at that archive 2-3 times. The AWS backup tier recently survived an all-out RAID failure (blown file index from multiple 5 yr old unplugs!) so it’s definitely battle-tested.

    For the iPhones (which now generate 90% of casual shots), I use OneDrive on both devices to create a shared stream (photo + video) that’s uploaded to iPhoto lib when I hit my ~130GB limit in OneDrive. And turn off any AAPL photo sharing – streams or otherwise.

    Full-blown AAPL guy, but haven’t trusted them with anything more than 10 Word files since the me.com days.

    • I think I’m about ready to trust Apple especially since I’ve got backups in Dropbox and Google.

      • Dave Walters

        You’re a braver man than I. And I’m definitely checking Mylio for my next software solution. At least we’re not all individually suffering in silence. I’ve gotten some killer tips from all the comments. Thanks for shining the light!

  • Meng Weng Wong

    I have 300GB of photos spanning 15 years. I use Lightroom to manage the folder hierarchy, which is just Pictures/YYYY/YYYY-MM-DD/*.jpg. It intuits the date out of EXIF automatically. Lightroom prioritizes archive integrity but also gracefully handles scenarios where you the sysadmin do things to the filesystem without telling it, like deduping or moving folders around. It copes well.

    I treat this as my master archive; all snazzy webby cloud apps are disposable projections of the archive. The master is synced via CyberDuck to S3 as Infrequently Accessed for backup disaster recovery. I park it on a TB external drive and use Lightroom’s Smart Previews to maintain a smaller version on my laptop SSD for editing.

    That KISS architecture allows me to test cloud services and their uploaders with impunity while keeping the main archive SAFE. (Little investing joke there, ha ha.)

    Flickr Pro offers unlimited storage, maintains original file size, and preserves folder names but loses filenames. Google Photos (unless you buy more quota) loses quality, maintains filenames, and has better search indexing, but discards folder names. Neither is good enough, so the S3 backup is still needed for the future.

    That’s the raw stuff. It’s important to edit and select highlights for display. I upload those “greatest hits” into separate Flickr albums, set to public.

  • Hi Brad, I don’t think there’s one easy solution as much as finding one that works with your style. I think there are 2 kinds of people – those who like to search stuff and those who like stuff organized.

    If you’re in the search bucket, google photos is your best bet. However, as someone pointed out below, they scale all photos down.

    If you are in the organize bucket, it means signing up for one massive organization (perhaps just cluster by year for a start and a few major events with the rest under miscellaneous :)) and a similar upload and organization every 3 or 6 months to keep up the tradition.

    I tend to be wary of Apple software for these things. So, I just do a Dropbox camera upload and just put into broad buckets sorted by year every 3-4 months.

    In case this helps….

    • I’m a searcher and Amy is an organizer. Therein lies the rub.

      • So, obviously, you’re going to go down the organizer path, right?

        • Obviously.

          • Hehehe.

            Then, my Dropbox solution with broad categories and periodic organization comes highly recommended. Doesn’t take much after the initial set up. And, even that can be as simple as you want it – when in doubt, there’s always miscellaneous. 🙂

  • Daniel Kraft

    You must have hit some issue that requires Apple support. I have 29k pictures and about 700 videos that sync perfectly to iCloud and from there to all my apple devices (2 iPad, iPhone, Mac). Note: I have 200GB paid storage, with 103GB used.

    I am not sharing every photo with people but create albums for events (e.g. a vacation) and make that available to all the participants of the event, mainly my wife and over time added the kids as they grew up. Starting to share albums added the most structure to my pictures as it includes albums share with and by me.

    Old iPhoto Events ended up in one folder, while maintaining the original event folder structure under that general iPhone folder. Old Aperture elements have been completely transferred to Photos.

    The annoying part is that albums you create for yourself (just for structure, not for sharing) on any device can’t be shared (as a whole album) with others. But it is fairly easy to share to an existing or new shared album.

    Long story short, for my needs:
    – tons of day to day picture (hundreds each month)
    – 500-800 holiday pics per trip
    – sharing with a small group of max 10 people
    Apple Photos turned out to be the best solution.

    I have also turn on AutoBackup to Google Drive on my mobile devices, which leads to a partial set of my pictures to be available some other way. I really have not followed up on that but your post made me check: 5GB have been backed-up.

    • Thanks. I’m coming around to the idea that I just have to have a machine upload to iCloud for a week somewhere …

  • jamesoliverjr

    Hi Brad,

    Yikes! That sounds painful.

    What are your thoughts about the best way to display photos once you free them from their digital prison?

    You probably don’t recall, but you were kind enough to do a Google hangout with the winter 2013 gener8tor accelerator class, and we met then.

    I created WeMontage.com, the world’s only site that lets you turn your photos into a large, custom montage on removable wallpaper.

    Good luck wrangling all those files and happy New Year!

    • Amy and I like to send them around and occasionally make albums to give to people on memorable events.

  • Rob Ryan

    First comment – best title of all your blog posts. Second, best timed blog post of the year. Third, I have to go through about the same number of photos (mostly of my Labradors) and hope you post a follow-up with some answers. Forth – thanks for the laugh. This was a funny and useful post. I’m preparing myself mentally.

    • Hah. Yes – do some meditation before you start to really get mentally strong.

  • TeddyBeingTeddy

    I’ve been kicking the can down the road on cleaning up my email inbox since 2006. I would pay $500 to someone right now if they could organize them all into intuitive folders with the end result being nothing in my inbox. If I were only diligent about using the delete button after reading emails…

    • I empathize with you on this one. I try for the zero inbox, and occasionally make it for that day, but it piles up. I could write rules to fix most of it, but sometimes I need to look at the emails which would get automatically filed. Ugh. Sounds like a great start up idea. All the recent ideas in email/inbox management have been mildly helpful but underwhelming as a whole.

      One would think that I could whip out some Bayesian doohickey that could analyze your existing folder format and the contents of each, then tell it to fix your inbox just like your other emails are filed.

      The challenge to that is that no machine learning or statistical predictive system can account for inconsistent email filing patterns. If the system looked at my folders, found that I filed nearly identical things in different places depending on the relative position of the lunar daedalus crater and the mean number of photons captured there.

      Still sounds like fun project if I weren’t so busy with my current startup.

      • TeddyBeingTeddy

        I’d imagine the algo would be a waterfall that mirrors how you try to remember emails. My personal waterfall would be: 1) sender, 2) Subject, 3) month, 4) other people CCd.
        So maybe the data model would be set up to default save to each sender, with ability to quickly change to search Folders by subject line, and so on. It would be an impossible data model to create because of the infiniate combination of words that could be subject lines…but in an ideal world, I don’t see a better way to Zero Inbox, but I love that as a startup name for whoever wants to tackle it!

    • Adriana Mederos

      lol – I let the retention rules purge for me – not always good

    • Yufa Li

      A big portion of my job as an Executive Assistant requires me to organize email inbox. I love organizing and I feel your pain! I’ve been compiling a list of ‘pains’ on our current email management system. I would love to hear your insights in details. Let me know what the best way to connect is. Thank you! ~Yufa

  • TeddyBeingTeddy

    Also – nice how iphone 6s’ take movie clip-like photos and bursts instead of shapshots, just to fill up memory quickly and force you to buy memory on icloud.

  • Google + organises all your photos by date taken. Automatic upload no duplicate photos, highly recommended. All you have to do is download google drive and google + apps and enable automatic upload of photos via wifi connection only in security.

    • The automatic upload didn’t correctly dedupe things…

      • In my experience, I recall google + asking me if I want to delete duplicate photos and I clicked yes. I have iPhoto on my phone but used Google drive and not iCloud. It may be that you have to let it all upload automatically then Google will sort it after.

    • Google+ is also not recognizing the location of my photos in albums. Yes, it saves, but when I search that location in Google, my images aren’t appearing. I have to upload my photos to the specific location in order to be visible in their search results. Then, they appear in my Google+ but divided into single images in each photo albums (that can ever be merged, because then they lose what I consider to be pretty valuable: a high visibility location tag). Long story short… Google+ is not the answer!

  • Joan Merritt

    If you are overwhelmed with digital photos and seek professional assistance, check out The Association of Personal Photo Organizers – http://www.appo.org. There are photo organizers all over the US!

  • I ended up locally deduping (used Gemini) then went with automatic upload to Google Photos via desktop uploader (lost folder structure, but search is a nifty substitute) and mobile app uploader. Wish there was a better way to share all photos with family.

  • alek_komarnitsky

    I too can relate to the photo overload problem – curious to hear what
    you end up doing with your archive. One suggestion going forward is try to spend some time shortly after each “photo session” (i.e. trip, etc.) and be RUTHLESS in
    pruning your photos. I.e. do you really need a 100 pictures of you and
    Amy playing tennis when just a couple (best ones) will suffice. And
    consider being a “keeper” rather than a “deleter” – the later is making
    multiple passes and deleting pics until you have just the “good” ones
    left. Whereas the “keeper” makes (ideally) ONE pass and selects ONLY the
    truly outstanding pics – everything else gets dumped.

    • Adriana Mederos

      I use Historian desktop software and do exactly that…import into software after an event, tag then and then RATE them…5 stars must print 4 stars good representation of who was there 3 scenery…don’t bother with 1 & 2. I then upload the 4 & 5 to Forever.com where they are permanently stored and can be shared easily and privately and of course I backup my Historian vault regularly…one backup at home and one in the office 20 miles away

  • For me photos mark time. I tend to do things myself, like I write raw html/css and I don’t use “management” apps to handle things like pics, vids, music.

    Here’s my simple system. Top level folders contains camera names (iPhone, Nikon D50, etc.) Second level folders, dates and each contains all pics from that camera on that day. My routine is when I take a bunch of pics, I unload the camera into this temporally organized tree first, then clear the camera.

    Then I have a separate tree that is more meaning oriented and contains photos I’ve “used”, e.g. I sent them to somebody or I wanted to collect them together somehow, or I posted them online or something. This means I keep duplicates of lots of photos but I don’t care. I don’t use the cloud at all (don’t trust it for anything really). I have several external hard drives and usb flash drives that I keep all my “data” on including media.

    Prolly not as many as you, we have a few thousand pics going back 5+ years now.

    • Charles

      I hope you do regular, off-site backups too! If you don’t trust cloud services but trust Amazon as an infrastructure provider, you may want to consider using Amazon Glacier directly.

      • I keep multiple copies on multiple drives, but nothing offsite. Its a matter of trust. I don’t trust the cloud at all. Just my thing.

        • I hear you there. Lack of control of your data and a subpoena with a gag order… Unfortunately I have lots of data on cloud services, but it does make me nervous. I keep all data on my local machines encrypted at rest, although I worry that there may be a way to break the keychain that stores the encryption key. While Google especially, among others, claims that their cloud storage is encrypted at rest, I’ve started encrypting all of my data with my own private key before I put it on the cloud.

          Does anyone know of a good file system/explorer/Finder integration that support encryption like gpg better than gpgSuite? I’d like all files, no matter where they are stored, to be encrypted when they are created/saved/copied/etc. That would make my life significantly easier.

      • Oh yeah.

  • This is a timely post for me.

    I have a similar problem, with what may be an additional requirement. I want to have my photo repository accessible to all family members and I want them all to be able to tag the photos so that we can apply our collective knowledge to them.
    I have not yet found a satisfactory solution. 🙁

    I think that this requirement of having digital assets shared across family members is going to be a bigger thing. Really you want to be able to ‘own’ such assets in a name that will survive the death of the family member who sets it up. E.g theJohnsonFamilyArchive. There is some growing support for this kind of thing eg Kindle, but it is still early days. In the case of photos it is crucial.

    • Adriana Mederos

      You should look into forever.com It’s exactly why it was created. Give it a trial run with a free account. Account Managers exist on each account should something happen to you…and you can share with others privately unlike Facebook

  • Darla DeMorrow

    Hey, Brad. You’ve got a better handle on this situation than the average bear, but it’s still tricky, no matter what platform you use. And guaranteed it will change tomorrow, which makes us all crazy. But I’ve found a solution that I can recommend to my clients, who depend on http://www.APPO.org professionals like me to keep them sane. Check out http://www.Mylio.com. It’s a cloud-enabled service (not cloud-based) that allows you to organize in your own space, sync across devices, and only store in their cloud if you want to. It’s platform independent, sort of like the Evernote of photo organizing. You can throw stuff in the photo pile (making you happy), and it will automatically organize, to a point, making Amy happy. I’m happy to talk with you if you want to know more. You can find me online.

    • Interesting – thanks. I’ll check it out.

  • neilheuer

    I used to use Gallery on a server and it was great but it required hosting and a server to keep it running. I moved to Google Photos. We setup a new account for us to both login – it is cumbersome but works. I recently read that Google Photos will let you share albums now so that is exciting and maybe helpful? Ultimately I think Google Photos will evolve in to something usable and better. I’ve tried Flikr and Photobucket all with frustrating results. Google Photo and I am sure Apple’s service has some good search by face capability which is nice. Good luck and I was hoping to read a great solution when I saw this in Feedly.

  • protrails

    Large hard drive backed up by Carbonite nightly. Can’t beat it and super simple. We have 750,000 high res nature images in this set up at ProTrails. Works like a charm and the best is, if you change your folder structure, it backs up as such on Carbonite.

  • Raj

    FLICKR sinks beautifully across devices and puts in chronological order nicely. It must be a post Christmas pre new Year nostalgia thing.. having just also indexed and sorted 65k family photos I realise it’s time to invest in healthtech & not foodtech / delivery companies…

  • Sunday Stacy

    I used to be a part of Creative Memories when it existed and still would love to help people archive photos, although I have not figured out what I would currently recommend, in general. The good part to your story is that at least all of your photos are digital, whether original or scanned, which is great. The bad part is that ever since photos went to digital, they have been lost within whatever platform they are a part of – computers, cameras, and now online. Not sure if this is better or worse than stuffing photos in a desk drawer. My suggestion is to make sure that you have the stories that go with the photos, which is actually why creating a hardbound album can be good. It sounds like within the comments there are suggestions that are helping you organize. I was using Dropbox then moving them to a CD by year and I also made a couple of “yearbooks” to be able to capture some of the stories. Now my photos upload automatically to Google Photos and I haven’t made anything specific in awhile. If I think of something more, I will let you know.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • A comment I tried to post yesterday was lost on a disqus hang, but I share your pain. I went through an analytical process about this a few years ago and landed on Aperture + local complete backups via NAS + a vault of top-rated pictures and important projects to Dropbox. And now that Apple has EOL’d Aperture, I have to start over.

    You may want to check out the work Jason Mathai is doing. https://medium.com/vantage/understanding-my-need-for-an-automated-photo-workflow-a2ff95b46f8f#.u7jao98dx

  • Thanks for posting this. I think I was there first tending the coals for you. Guess it’s hot enough…; )

  • Fancy Ruff-Wagner

    Hire a photo organizer. Well worth the money. http://www.appo.org

  • Just wanted to throw in my two cents here. First, the way you catalog photos when importing sets the stage. I keep them in a folder on my laptop initially until they’re uploaded to both my external hard drive and cloud storage.

    In the past, I went back and forth between Picasa, iPhoto/Photos. I never knew how much of my laptop’s storage was going towards original files and duplicates for these programs, and I never trusted Picasa/Google Photos to sync properly. So, when I was cleaning up my entire library, I used Picasa to flag my favorites via thumbnail view (it took days). I then cleaned up these ‘best’ photos in batches in Lightroom. That means renaming the original files, making final edits on the images, and adding metadata. I use PhotoShelter because they have a Lightroom plugin, and that let me instantly transfer my images to their cloud storage (and keeps them synced when I make changes).

    So, I have my best photos on PhotoShelter and my entire image library backed up on an external hard drive and privately on Flickr (why not, it’s free storage!). My best photos are also backed up on PhotoShelter. I’d love to hear about any tools that have more robust social sharing abilities. As a travel blogger, I want this system to flow faster from shutter click, to upload, to social share.

  • Adriana Mederos

    http://www.forever.com – create a free account and play around with it. You can upload large volumes of photos with Forever Valet (also free). You can make your account permanent by purchasing an account. This is NOT meant for all your photos..just the best of the best. Do you really think those you leave your photos to are going to keep all those hard drives or accounts when you are gone? You can also put in nested albums, it takes care of dups for you and you can journal about the photo so those looking at them 20+ years from know actually know who, what, when. The app lets you access those photos while on the go, and the best part is that you can share those with others including downloading at original resolution and of course create physical items like storybooks, calendars, canvasses and cards with them…