Is there a way to automate this process with Hazel/automator?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jojoba, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I'm looking achieve the following:

    Every time I import photos from my camera and assign them to an existing or new album in iPhoto, I'd like to create/update a 'mirror image' of the iPhoto album structure in Dropbox.

    Is there a way to automate this? I've only just recently discovered that Hazel and Automator exist, so I'm not very familiar with automation processes, but I'm trying to get my head around this new potential.
  2. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Depends on why you want to do this. If you are looking to simply backup the image files, then I am pretty sure you can have the iPhoto images folder duplicated onto Dropbox. However, this won't be an iPhoto Album.

    What you need to know about iPhoto is that it is a Digital Asset Manager (like Aperture or Lightroom). When you import images into iPhoto it moves the image into a hidden folder in the iPhoto library, and creates a record for that image in the iPhoto database. After that iPhoto never moves or alters that original image.

    When you create Folders and Albums within iPhoto, those exist only as text entries in the iPhoto database... they are not created in reality. If you move a photo from one Album to another, all that happens is that the database record for that image is changed to reflect the Album... the image itself stays right where it is.

    So as a backup tool, to make a copy of the original images, then it may make sense to duplicate the images to Dropbox... but unless you have also duplicated the library then you will only have the images with none of the meta-tags (keywords, ratings, etc) or Album organization preserved. Better than nothing, but maybe not what you wanted.

    I suppose you could duplicate the whole iPhoto Library folder onto Dropbox. Do a Google search and see what pops up for pitfalls.

    You may want to look at the Apple's PhotoStream feature. I don't use it, but I believe it is designed to duplicate iPhoto 'features' across multiple Apple products, and perhaps this is what you want?

  3. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Thanks so much for the comprehensive response. My main interest lies in

    a) easy access to the images from other platforms (windows, android) via dropbox, and
    b) [but less so] as a 'back up' of the original images. Therefore, I'm not looking to copy the actual iPhoto library, just the images themselves.

    The only meta data I'd like to preserve is a folder structure that would mirror my albums in iPhoto, e.g.

    [main folder 'photos']
    [subfolder one 'holiday january 2011']
    [subfolder two 'work event 2009']
    [subfolder three 'christmas 2012']

    and so on. Keywords etc are not important.

    I've done a bit of googling and I'll do a bit more. I found one solution that people seemed to have used in the past, but the developer announced the he was no longer servicing the app that acted as the mediator (can't remember what it was called anymore).
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I think you are looking at Photo Stream or something non-Apple that does the same thing here.
    Just know that the iPhoto library is not designed to split off that way. It can be done, but the results may not be what you expect.
    Again... that information is held in the database...the albums do not physically exist. So, if you were to duplicate the images that are inside the iPhoto library, all you will see are the original images. No folders, etc.

    I suggest you read up on how iPhoto works...because it is a DAM (Digital Asset Manager) there are come concepts about working with iPhoto that make it very very different from the idea of just plopping your photos into nested folders on a disk. There are some very good threads in the digital photo section on this forum. Look for posts with my user name and iPhoto and you will find a good selection of threads to read. I tend to weigh in when people start talking about iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom. I'm not saying I'm always correct, ;) but it will help you find the threads that contain good background reading...
  5. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Thanks again for all that. I guess I'll just have to rethink this - perhaps I need to find a different way of importing the photos instead, going via Dropbox and from there to iPhoto, rather than trying to go the other way around.

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