My Perfect Photo Management Process using Dropbox & Flickr

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This is going to be a long post but after weeks of testing, I have a process I am very happy with for managing my photos in Dropbox using Hazel and automatically uploading them to Flickr. Not going to go into the whole thought process on why I moved from iPhoto to Dropbox/Flickr but feel free to PM me if you want more background. I tend to be wordy in my posts so apologies in advance but you are who you are.

Bottom line is that this gives me tremendous flexibility with my photos for future use and also enables me to access my photos from anywhere while easily sharing old and new photos.

Pre-requisites:

Note: I am not including how I moved all my photos from iPhoto into Dropbox, however, I will mention that the easiest way I found was to actually leverage Aperture (which I already had) to open the iPhoto database and then change all photos to whats called referenced masters. This enables you to take them out of the database file and export them into folder structure format.

Part 1: Folder Set-up and General Workflow
Downloads: Hazel Rules

The very first thing you should do is create a folder(s) which will serve as your top level directory for housing your photos and videos. In my case, I keep photos and videos separate so I have a Main_Photos and Main_Videos folders. Next, if you are like me and my family, generally you will have multiple people taking photos and videos (P&V) and then you will want to import them into your photo/video library. The first part of the workflow involves creating separate folders in my Dropbox account for each person who might add P&V to our library. I do this because I want to tag the files by author automatically as it helps with discovery later on (a big portion of my workflow). I use an app on our iPhones for automatically importing the P&V into the correct folder which makes this happen seamlessly (more on this later). Next step is to create a folder for reviewing the files. While we have a DSLR, a majority of our photos and videos come from phones and as such, many of the files are not worth keeping. In order to keep our library cleansed, no file can be included in the master library until it has been reviewied. This can be done by anyone in the family. Finally a folder is created to copy the approved pictures to so it can be uploaded to Flickr and then deleted (easier this way for a variety of reasons mostly related to the script I use for auto Flickr importing). Screenshots of my Hazel folders and Dropbox folders are below.

Image
Image

Part 2: Processing Photos & Videos

As I mentioned in Part 1, the first step is importing all the P&V off our cameras and phones into their respective folders (by name). Then within each person’s folder, here is what is happening:

  1. Dive into subfolders
  2. Delete all screenshots (no one is taking screenshots unless by accident)
  3. Use Exiftool to rename the file based on the date taken (all my files are named by the date taken)
  4. Tag with Author name by using the name of the Folder (ie Johns_Photos tags as John)
  5. Using exiftool to use the filename to then reset the modify date of the file (this is the system modified date which might get altered as part of this process, which I don’t want as sites like Flickr may use this to organize/sort the photos)
  6. Color the files based on type (images vs video) before they are moved into the Review folder so I can easily distinguish between the two)

Note: For step 4, the script is based on the folder naming convention I am using so if yours is different, you will need to modify the script. You probably could also use Hazel here but I didn’t.

Part 3a: Review the Photos & Videos

This is pretty simple. I look at each image and video and decide whether or not I want to keep it. If so, I simply remove the color label (added in Part 2) which kicks off Hazel to do the following:

  1. Run another exiftool command to use the filename to change the modify date (just making sure it remains correct)
  2. Move to my main Main_Photos or Main_Videos folder sorting into a subfolder by year (ie 2013 or 2014)
  3. In each of those folders from 2, the files are further sorted into month within the year (I kept this process separate from the above sorting as I sometimes turn it off when I am adding lots of photos at once just to ensure everything is working as it should). You could easily just combined steps 2 and 3.

Part 3b: Adding Keywords
Downloads: Keywords applescript

I put this as part 3B just to digress on Keywords for one second. In thinking about how I wanted to organize my files, I decided against using the structure advocated by many where you create a folder for the event or album you want to collect photos and videos under. Instead, I use the very simple format where all files are organized into years and the subfolders by months. I did this because I find it to be the most organizationally efficient and future proof should I want to change my structure. Instead, I tag with keywords stored into the files metadata for creating these albums and events. In OSX, I create Smartfolders based on these keywords to organize my photos on the main desktop (Smart Folders/Smart search enables me to keep files in same location but pull together into a faux folder) and in Flickr, it organizes files by keywords so you can see all the associated files (you can even create actual albums off of Keywords if you want). To do this as easily as possible in OSX, I leveraged an applescript i found, enhanced it, and installed it as a service that allows me to select a group of photos and videos and tag with a keyword(s). It generates a pop-up box where I can type in the keywords then uses exiftool to update the metadata. I actually do this step before 3A. Below is a screenshot of the script in automator.

Image

Part 4: Auto-upload to Flickr

I wrote a whole separate post on auto-uploading to Flickr. Rather than extend this post more, I am just going to link to that post for the details however the one Hazel rule is included above in the download. Basically, you need to have Python installed and you need to run through a process to get some keys and credentials from Flickr, and then authenticate once with them, before this will work. I chose Flickr because of the unlimited storage (1TB) and because it was the only site that allowed me to see the detailed EXIF data for the files (which I used for searching and sorting). The rule simply copies the final photo or video to a folder where it is uploaded to Flickr. Once that is done, the file is deleted (as it’s just a copy).

Link to Flickr set-up post

A word on Searching on Metadata

For me, over the years I have amassed 100G’s of photos and videos and being able to more easily find files is important to me. Moving away from iPhoto, I wanted an easy way to do this and by having a script that allows me to easily add tags/keywords is very beneficial since I can then search on these terms in OSX and Flickr. You can be as anal or lazy as you want when it comes to tagging but the ability to do it is there.

Bonus: Auto-importing Photos and Video from your iPhone

There are lots of ways to get files from your phone to Dropbox but I am using an app called PhotoSync which is perfect for my process. It is installed on all three iPhones in the family and enables automatic uploading in the background to Dropbox (based on geolocation). In this way, I never have to remind people to sync their content. It just happens. It also has a variety of options including setting the specific Dropbox folder into which the files are uploaded as well as allowing you to import shared photo streams if you use them. This was the killer feature (and auto uploading in background) as being able to upload each person’s files into their respective folders is key to my workflow. I am sure there are similar apps for Android.

So there you go. Hopefully for anyone thinking of doing the same thing or who is already using Dropbox (or something similar), my process is helpful for you in automating your workflow.
dhy8386
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:19 pm

This post is great! I've been a long-time Hazel user and looking to do something very similar. A few questions for you if you don't mind...

My current workflow is very close to that of:

http://www.macstories.net/tutorials/my- ... more-33792

Are you familiar with this post at all?

Do you have a good workflow for reviewing your photos and quickly removing color labels? Any keyboard shortcut tricks? Also, for ones that you decide to get rid of, do you just delete them from your review folder?

Do all of your family members use your Dropbox account or do you give them their own Dropbox account and share that folder with your master account?

One thing I've run into... I don't want to be logging in with my Dropbox credentials on other family members phones but if I use their own Dropbox account, they are limited to space. I have a paid account, but even if I share a folder with them for this purpose they don't get to use my space, as they are limited to their own space.

Regarding PhotoSync, do you ever run into timeout issues? I currently use CameraSync, but occasionally run into issues when it's trying to do long videos, that it will time out and I have to manually restart the upload.

Great workflow - it's given me many ideas to possibly reevaluate the way I do things!
johnmcguire
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:59 pm

I am loving the concept of this, especially the keywords aspect. When I tried to download your keyword service however, it comes up as broken. Do you have a good copy you can upload per chance?
learned
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:18 pm

My ideal future has always been to have the ability to search for photos by the people in them.

It's not completely finished, but I've managed to solve this using Picasa's facial recognition and openmeta/Mavericks tags. Here's the project here:

Http://github.com/rjames86/picasafaces_to_openmeta

The code is still a bit ugly, but it's working. Now I can do things like "Tags contains me" in Finder and get all the photos of me.
rjames86
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:38 am

Maybe you could help me:

I recently re-encoded all my videos since 2003, and overwritten originals.
However because it changed the creation date, i has messed up all my dropbox... (The Photo tab has all video in the May 2014...)

Here is the structure of "archived" photos + video (from 2003 to 2013)

Code: Select all
YYYY > YYYY-MM - EVENTNAME > Pictures + Videos


Is there a way, to fetch the date from the filename and rewrite the creation or modification date?

Thanks a lot !
yendi
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 6:35 am

Yes. Check my original post and download the scripts. I have both scripts for re-writing file names based on EXIF data and re-writing EXIF data based on file names. l
dhy8386
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:19 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the original post. I downloaded your Applescript to add keywords and not sure if it was me but when I selected 10 photos and added one keyword I found that the keyword had been added 10 times to each of the 10 photos. Just wondering if you found this or not.

I am just staring to organise my photos again and like you I am thinking keywords and smart albums. The one I have to figure out is how to have Exiftool add the Camera Model as a keyword during the process.

Like it.

Laurie
laurie_lewis
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:53 pm

Hi Laurie, please try the following. All credit goes to the wonderful Phil Harvey

Code: Select all
property ExifTool : "/usr/bin/exiftool"
property ExifToolOptionMovie : "-keywords="
property ExifToolOptionImage : "-keywords+="
property ExifToolSep : "-sep+="

on run {input, parameters}
   set pathList to ""
   display dialog "Enter Keywords (Separate multiple by comma)" default answer "" buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
   set kWord to text returned of the result
   repeat with i from 1 to count of items of input
      set this_item to item i of input
      set pathList to "\"" & (POSIX path of this_item) & "\"" as string
      tell application "Finder"
         if name extension of this_item is in {"MOV", "mov", "mv4", "m4v", "mp4", "avi"} then
            copy ExifToolOptionMovie to ExifToolOption
         else
            copy ExifToolOptionImage to ExifToolOption
         end if
      end tell
      do shell script ExifTool & space & ExifToolSep & space & ExifToolOption & quoted form of kWord & space & "-overwrite_original_in_place -P" & space & pathList
   end repeat
end run


Edit: removed some hardcoded names.
deluna
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:45 pm

the metadata Apple Script Service produces this error: "The action “Run AppleScript” encountered an error". Ideas anyone?
(security/privacy->accessability are set to allow "automator" access to the mac.)


Solution:

Blame El Capitan for breaking this.

There are a number of threads with this problem.

The OS X install now installs in /usr/local/bin instead of /usr/bin (due to El Capitan restrictions), but some script environments don't have /usr/local/bin in the path. So to fix this, specify /usr/local/bin/exiftool instead of just "exiftool" in the script.

- Phil
149047
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:10 pm

regarding the metadata script: upon selecting multiple files and invoking the apple script, i get multiple copies of the tags in each files (exactly as many as there are selected files)
149047
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:10 pm

deluna wrote:Hi Laurie, please try the following. All credit goes to the wonderful Phil Harvey

Code: Select all
property ExifTool : "/usr/bin/exiftool"
property ExifToolOptionMovie : "-keywords="
property ExifToolOptionImage : "-keywords+="
property ExifToolSep : "-sep+="

on run {input, parameters}
   set pathList to ""
   display dialog "Enter Keywords (Separate multiple by comma)" default answer "" buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
   set kWord to text returned of the result
   repeat with i from 1 to count of items of input
      set this_item to item i of input
      set pathList to "\"" & (POSIX path of this_item) & "\"" as string
      tell application "Finder"
         if name extension of this_item is in {"MOV", "mov", "mv4", "m4v", "mp4", "avi"} then
            copy ExifToolOptionMovie to ExifToolOption
         else
            copy ExifToolOptionImage to ExifToolOption
         end if
      end tell
      do shell script ExifTool & space & ExifToolSep & space & ExifToolOption & quoted form of kWord & space & "-overwrite_original_in_place -P" & space & pathList
   end repeat
end run


Edit: removed some hardcoded names.



this does not seem to resolve the multiple entry issue ...
149047
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:10 pm

I've spent the last few days implementing this workflow and it's amazing. Thank you!

Here's how to create Smart Folders in Finder based on the EXIF keyword. Note this works for .jpg images (not .png). Let's assume the keyword you added is Mango.

  • Open a Finder window
  • New Smart Folder
  • Click the Plus icon
  • Change Name to Other
  • Search Raw
  • Click Raw query and OK
  • Next to Raw Query type "kMDItemKeywords = Mango"
  • Click Save
  • Name the saved search and save it in the default location (~/Library/Saved Searches)
  • Click the Mango Smart Folder in the Sidebar and see your result
ryansebiz
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:43 pm


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