Confused by digital photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by donl1150, May 15, 2016.

  1. donl1150 macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2014
    I post this thinking that I am the only one not understanding how to deal with my digital pictures but I rather doubt that is the case. I will describe my situation with the hope I get some guidance that will lead me (and likely many others) out of the wilderness.

    My primary computer is now a MacBook Air but I still occasionally use my PC as well. Between my wife & myself, we also have 2 iPads & 2 iPhones. On all of these devices, we have digital pictures. We have a wireless network at home on which we have an Apple Airport Time Capsule & a Western Digital Network Attached Storage device. I also have increased my iCloud storage capacity to 50 GB.

    What I would like to do is consolidate all of our photos into one place (most logically the NAS) and then safely delete them all from our portable devices to free up that space. We would then use our iPhones or iPads to contain copies of only the most current pictures so we can ‘share’ with our friends & family. We want the ability to have pictures on our hand helds to 'come and go' as desired. I have watched a lot of You Tube videos that go in to great detail about photo ‘editors’ but I can find none that really shows me the basic 'big picture’ I am looking for.

    I have a sense that Apples Photo app with be the tool of choice but I really don’t know how to go about the mission. On top of that, I don’t understand how iTunes plays into the mix but I have a feeling that it too is a vital cog. I look forward to any and all comments that will help me in understanding the digital photo world that remains my wilderness.
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Unfortunately Photos is sort of an all or nothing solution, and requires a library on a Mac.

    I'd recommend Mylio. It's designed around sharing images. Sort of like Dropbox: the same image folders exist on numerous different devices, all in sync. But unlike Dropbox you can sync different types of images: previews, thumbnails or full sized. This helps a lot with devices with limited storage.
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68040

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    People are taking more photos than ever, and saving each and every one of them (more or less)...

    First off, iTunes is not part of this at all. While you can use iTunes to sync albums from the Photos app to put them onto your iOS devices, it's hardly the approach you'd want or need. When you connect an iOS device to your computer, both iTunes and Photos open, each for their own purposes. You could quit iTunes after it opened, and still be able to import images to Photos.

    Yes, the strategy of loading them all onto a NAS (and be sure to backup that NAS!), and then putting only the selected images into some sort of shared, universally-usable library makes some sense. The cloud (whether using a web-based photo sharing site, DropBox, iCloud Photo Library...) is the most effective way to be sure everyone who needs access to those images has it.

    I wouldn't say Photos can't be part of this solution at all - it's not quite all-or-nothing - but no matter what tools you use, you're likely to have added complications (and potentially, several of them) when you try to craft a custom solution. Every app developer biases things in favor of committing to their app - they work best when you're "all in." In the case of a database designed to manage images ("DAM" - digital asset manager), which is what both Photos and Lightroom are - while you have some flexibility as to where to store the contents, they do want you to keep everything within the database/catalog. Otherwise, you lose part of the benefit of using that approach. Effectively, anything outside of the catalog is in terra incognito. And as soon as you maintain two separate catalogs, life can get even more complicated.

    If you were to use Photos you might import the images from your cameras and iPhones to the NAS using Mac's Image Capture app. You could then use Photos' Import function to review those images and Import the Selected images into the Photos library. From there, you can use iCloud Photo Library - for all of your devices signed into that same iCloud account, you would have access to everything (and be able to edit the images on any of those). You can access and manipulate the iCloud Photo Library from a PC or non-Apple mobile device by signing into - you can upload and download images, create albums, edit and delete images, all from the web interface.

    For those family members who are not signed into that iCloud account, you could make Shared Albums and invite them to join the shared albums - those shared albums can be accessed via the Photos app on their iOS devices and Macs, and can be accessed by all others via web browser. You can even give them the right to add to and edit the contents of those albums.

    It may be easier to add images to iCloud Photo Library first (images taken with an iPhone, images imported to the Mac from a camera, image files added to the library via, then Export all those images to the NAS for archiving. Once archived, you can delete the not-keepers from the iCloud library.

    Also, iCloud Photo Library keeps all deleted images for up to a month in a separate Deleted album. So, you could delete images immediately from an iPhone, and later, on the Mac, you could go into Deleted and Export those images to the NAS.

    When you use iCloud Photo Library on both iOS and OS X, you can choose an option to "Optimize Storage" - the app monitors available storage space on your device, and manages the library accordingly. (Full-resolution images are always maintained in the cloud.) That can mean replacing full-resolution images with "optimized size" versions (sufficient quality for satisfying display on that device). When space is even more limited, it may delete even those, and store just thumbnail versions of images that haven't been recently viewed - if/when you choose to view an image, it'll be redownloaded in higher resolution.
  4. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    I don't think this needs to be very complicated at all if you just use iCloud Photos. I'm sharing photos between several devices right now and it works quite well. If you want to build your own system or whatever and manually sync it or whatever, do that, but also know that there's an out-of-the-box solution that totally works:

    1. Photos on OS X and iOS will allow you to keep a single library with all the full-resolution files housed wherever you want (you can tell Photos to locate your library on an external drive, no problem). I guess put them on that NAS if you want.

    2. From there, you'll need to turn on iCloud Photos, buy the appropriate amount of storage, and let it sync. This can take a day or two if you have a lot of photos and videos. When it's done, all your photos and videos are now backed up to iCloud, in addition to whatever local backup system you're using (Time Machine, etc.)

    3. Once that's done, any iOS or OS X device signed in to that Apple ID will now see that same library of photos. As long as you choose the "Optimize Storage" setting instead of the "Download and Keep Originals" setting, secondary devices will download small thumbnails to start, and will only pull in full-resolution files on demand as you view them. Any edits you make to photos will sync right to the other devices, and the original unedited versions will also be retained.

    4. If you want to share photos among devices with different Apple IDs, create shared albums and put photos into those. It's quite easy and will sync automatically, even in the background.
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I think the OP would be wasting his time with Photos as his solution.

    Note the details: two NAS devices. Photos is VERY problematic on an NAS, and requires HFS+ formatting. Not sure that would work since he also has a PC. And "ideally" he wants 'em all on the NAS.

    Sure, you could have a subset of images and use it for sharing, esp. with the Apple devices. But you'd probably still need something else.

    That's why I'd recommend Mylio. It syncs with all of those devices and the folders of images just sit in the folders you already have. You could have say a folder of "Birthday pics" with the originals on the WD NAS and then sync previews to say your laptop, and thumbnails to the iOS devices to save space. Edit the original, and the changes get synced to all.
  6. mrex, May 22, 2016
    Last edited: May 22, 2016

    mrex macrumors 68040


    Jul 16, 2014
    i use "wd my cloud" app. it automatically backups photos/vids from my ipad/iphone to my wd nas. you can also create wd cloud account to be able to browse your nas from anywhere. and you can choose whether it backups them only in wifi network or using both, wifi and cellular, networks.

    i use the app on my mobile devices and with computers drives/shares are mapped or media is shared via dlna media server (nas) to other devices (tv, players, android tvbox...).

    what do you mean?
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Photos only works with drives formatted in the Mac's native fileformat, HFS+. Not NTFS for example.

    You can search around online for reports about issues with Photos libraries stored on NAS devices; usually the issues arise with latency, and synching to iCloud Photo Library. If the NAS isn't visible to the Mac when it does a sync it can create problems. Doable, but Apple is kinda silent about it, and generally recommends direct storage instead.

    And to emphasize I was talking about the active system library, not backing up a library, or the photos themselves, or referenced photos.
  8. mrex macrumors 68040


    Jul 16, 2014
    Photos... meaning app or images? if you mean applications, i rarely use ****** apple apps.

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7 May 15, 2016