Photo Organizer - 20 year procrastinator

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ReallyBigFeet, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    We recently bought my mother in law an iMac. She has been taking digital photo's literally since 1990 and has since converted every family polaroid, 35mm or 110 picture to digital versions via just about every conversion method imaginable.

    One problem...she NEVER bothered to index any of this stuff. There are pictures stored on literally a dozen different hard drives, many of which haven't been backed up ever.

    So I want to fix this for her and give her a digital imaging app that will allow her to attach each of her hard drives, one at a time, re-index everything and store them in a NEW NAS rig I just installed for her. She'll initially be connected to NAS via direct connection (for speed) but after will be accessing it via ethernet or wirelessly. I'm not a huge fan of Time Capsule but that's a different story.

    What I'm looking for is one Mac app that can do this (suck all her digital pictures from various sources and copy them to a new single source), index them (auto-magically would be nice, but its OK if she needs to go through and index them on-the-fly as they are copied over) and then, thereafter, become her central digital image repository for all her pics.

    The app needs to let her easily send the pictures out to various 3rd party picture processing services...anything from the local Walgreens to Shutterfly or a picture hosting site.

    iPhoto is a nice way to start this, but I'm not hip on how it handles image exports. She's a neophyte and the whole exporting process seems rather obtuse for her. Otherwise, it may work well assuming I can point it to a central source.

    Ideas and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for your time.
  2. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I don't think there's anything out there that will automatically index (organize?) photos. How would it know what you wanted, and how to organize them?
  3. ReallyBigFeet thread starter macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
  4. holly wilton macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2011
    Dates are a good start.

    Organizing by event is huge as far as really being able to use the images. If you have the patience to get this far with the project, maybe you or your mom would make a good business out of organizing photos for people. There are people out there who are making money at it. has info if you are interested.
  5. davidinva macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA
    Agree. Organizing by date is the best first step. Then events will begin to appear in her memory. Still an enormous task at any rate.
  6. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    Don't forget you can organize by faces. Using iPhoto or Aperture you can identify faces in the photos and it will use machine learning to begin finding similar faces in other photos. After a certain amount of training it can be quite effective at finding the same person in many different photos. It may not be useful as the only organization method (especially if many of the photos aren't of people!), but when combined with another method (date, event, etc.) it should certainly help.
  7. ReallyBigFeet, Dec 24, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011

    ReallyBigFeet thread starter macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    Just a follow-up.

    Here's what I ended up doing for her.

    1) Purchased two USB Flash Drives. One is the Lexar Echo 64gb mini. It is "perma attached" to the Mac because its so small. I reformatted it to MacOSX with Journaling enabled and its speedy enough for her purposes. This is her primary iPhoto library. I gave a lot of thought to just skipping this and letting her put everything on the iMac's drive, but I wanted this to be super-portable in case she wants to use the library on her little MBA sometimes (she takes that with her on her winter RV pilgrimage to Florida). This lets her take her whole library with her easily.

    2) Purchased a secondary 8gb el-cheapo flash drive. This is her "exports" photo key. Anytime she wants to take pictures up to Walgreens or Wolf Camera to make prints, she exports what she wants to this memory stick. It also can be used on her Canon MX-something photo printer (it has a USB key slot up front, auto-scans for pics and lets her choose which to print).

    3) Took all of her photo hard drives and imported them, one at a time, to iPhoto 11. I let it auto-categorize by dates as the Event type. This is satisfactory for her since she tends to recall events by dates anyways. iPhoto kept her original folder names intact but still groups things by date(s). So instead of 22 different folders just named "Summer Vacation" (seriously....that was how she was categorizing things), I now have 22 different date-organized Events in iPhoto. Sure, they are all named "Summer Vacation" but the dates are in place to let her sort by those instead. Works well.

    4) I've got the whole thing setup to backup the Lexar Echo drive to the NAS -AND- her local hard drive (when attached to the iMac) once per day (at night when she's not using the Mac). This way she gets the speed of a local drive when working with photo's but I get peace of mind that everything is being backed up daily. When she imports new photo's from her cameras, they go to her local drive (again, for speed) and then the whole iPhoto library gets backed up nightly.

    Thus far...she's thrilled. She can sit down, import new photo's, surf around older ones and easily export them to a stick to go make prints if she wants. Sure she can print directly from iPhoto as well but she likes to go to use the camera kiosks at the local stores so this works for her.

    Thank you to everyone here for the tips. Sticking with iPhoto just made sense in the end.

    She's a happy camper and I can now work on her NEXT big project: Taking FIFTY years worth of assorted video footage and converting them to DVD's. Some of these are really old Super-8 circa the late 60's, as well as all other formats since then (Beta, VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, MiniDV, etc). I have a feeling I'm going to be outsourcing this one.

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