Photo Storage/Access/Syncing Strategy and Workflow
So this is my first post here on the Verge forums and I have high hopes. I have been lead to believe (by the honest-to-a-fault Vergecast hosts) that the community here is nothing short of phenomenal. I am hoping some of you can provide some solid advice and insight on the challenge at hand. I imagine lots of other folks are in the same boat, trying to make a similar decision.
The big picture
I am looking to re-visit my digital photo strategy and workflow. I am looking for a one-stop solution that is cross-platform, cloud-integrated, and locally-synced.
I am really dealing with two types of photos: First off, I have the photos I take with my smartphone. These might be travel shots, family photos, quick reference photos for work, or interesting sightings on the streets of New York. These are the vast majority of my photos. For the past few years, I have been manually transferring these photos from my device (an iPhone 5 for a while, then a Galaxy S4) directly into iPhoto via USB. In iPhoto, I was doing lots of organizing, touch-ups, face-tagging, location sorting, and meta-data editing.
I also shoot my design work with a DSLR (usually in RAW) and manage these photos in Adobe Lightroom,
I am looking for a new solution to address the following complaints/short-comings of my previous system:
- All of my organization work in iPhoto was mostly useless to me on my new GS4 or just on the web.. I would like my new solution to have a synced native Android app to browse/edit/share photos. It should also be just as easily accessed via iOS because I am still using an iPad to access photos too.
- Sharing always seemed like a chore. I could share photostreams, but that seems clunky. I would usually end up making a dropbox folder when I wanted to share a photo or album with someone, but this felt redundant and confusing. I don't like the idea of lots of copies of the same photos floating around my devices and cloud space for lots of different purposes. Let's consolidate.
- Backup/syncing with photostream is spotty and not confidence-inspiring.
- Google Plus with Picasa for syncing. This has auto-upload which is nice and would sync well to my iPad and GS4 using the Google Plus apps. And I love the integration into the Android gallery app. I'm even willing to give Google's auto-highlight features a try. And sharing is a breeze if albums are already stored online and I can just share anyone on an existing album. But what about my desktop? Picasa seems to be stagnating and is way overdue for re-design and re-imagining as Google Plus photos. But is it going to get a re-design from Google or will it get the axe? When i have played with it, the syncing it offers with G+ photos (formerly Picasa web albums) is pretty dismal and mostly uni-directional which won't do. I would be willing to pay for more storage space to store original-res versions of all photos. I am also attracted to this option because I am very much plugged into the google ecosystem (Google Apps for business) so it would be nice to get things like the Google contacts integration, etc. But one of the most logical features of G+ photos that allows it to sync to a Google Drive for easy access to the actual files is not supported by Google Apps. Ugh.
- Dropbox with Picasa for organizing and viewing. Maybe I should just put my library in dropbox for all my remote-viewing needs? Then point Picasa at my dropbox folder? The dropbox app also offers auto-upload so I could turn off G+ auto-uploads. And I'd be willing to pay for extra space here, as I said above. But how do I organize? Dropbox allows you to create "albums" but those don't really mean anything outside of dropbox.com and the dropbox apps, right? They don't sync anywhere. I like the ease of sharing again, but I am worried about meta-data syncing from changes I make locally.
- Dropbox with iPhoto (with the iPhoto database only storing references to external files). The new re-written version of iPhoto is actually tempting me to stick with it. I could leave my photos in a dropbox and always be able to access the source files which organizing in iPhoto. But this still leaves me without well-organized photos on my Android device.
- Flicker? Haven't really considered it. Should I? They're offering a lot of space these days. And seem to be actively working on their apps, etc. But I am not plugged into the Yahoo ecosystem much at all.