How do you handle digital photos?

I really like the ability to take photos with my phone. When I was pretty young, I inherited several cameras and related tools, from one of my dad’s uncles. I tried to do photography, when I was growing up. I even developed my own black and white pictures, but it was expensive and just not real easy.

These days, taking pictures is easy, quick and cheap, but I’ve not found a good way to manage the storage and retrieval of them. So far, I’ve just let Google store them for me, but it’s my understanding that they are going to stop providing that service, for free, in a month or two.

I’m looking for hints or tips on how to handle digital photos, for the long run.

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Interesting topic ! I’m eager to know how people handle their digital assets too !

here’s my basic pipeline (I take pictures as a personal hobby, but I also make images and rely on reference pictures for work) :

  • all my images are stored on a synology nas, volumes are shared via smb, mapped as network drives on my windows devices
  • on my phone, I use the official DS Photo app by synology, it auto uploads photos to my nas.
  • Pictures I took are sorted by /year/month, other infos and metadata are set via tags (iptc/xmp), I also enabled face recognition.
  • reference pictures for work are sorted in a separate volume, sorted by broad categories (eg /databank/animals/fishes ; databank/architecture/antique ; …), further classification is done via tags and keywords metadata
    Tagging is very time consuming, so part of the classification by folders is to inherit tags according to the tree structure (an image inside /architecture/antique/ inherits these tags. I then, add more specific keywords in ImageRange/XnView).

for photo management (tagging/sorting/etc), I use a combination of different programs:

  • XYPlorer as a file explorer to review, sort and move photos into folders
    (based on labels and keywords)
  • ImageRanger for batch tagging (iptc/xmp) and batch processing (I mostly use this because it’s quite fast for huge folders). it’s installed on my desktop pc and access the nas via smb. it’s also used for development and as a general Lightroom alternative.
  • XnView as a viewer and quick tagger/editor for smaller adjustments

photo catalogers :

  • Synology’s Photostation is my current default app to share albums and photos with friends and family
  • I also have a selfhosted PhotoPrism install (via docker) it acts as a potential replacement for Photostation, main unique selling point : provides tensorflow-based auto-tagging and looks cool
  • and a Damselfly install for evaluation. it is a fairly new cataloger, it’s nice because it re-uses Synology’s Photostation thumbnails, and can operate on the distant drive without duplicating assets (which is one of my requirement, I want all assets to remain in their original location, thus I eliminated ‘’, lychee and other catalogers that need to import (duplicate) assets to their own database. Tropy is nice but it lacked support for file formats that I need).
  • I need to check and evaluate PicApport and Anchorview

photo editors and tools

  • photoshop as a general editor, although I would rather recommend Affinity, Luminar or Inpixio (my PS license is paid by work, but I would never go with adobe for my personnal use)
  • Topaz gigapixel and topaz denoise for enlargement and denoising

desktop viewers :

  • xnview as my main viewer alongside XYPlorer (went back to XNView after several years using FastStone)
  • FragmentViewer ( as an alternate viewer just because it’s cool
  • PureRef when I need to pin several ref images for work. alt : Kuadro / JPegView (deprecated)

mobile viewers (android):

  • I moslty use file explorers like X-Plore File Manager (the dark mode is nice, the light theme is on the ugly side) and MiXplorer as image viewers
  • but I still have QuickPic installed

cloud services / backups :

  • recently, I’ve bought lifetime accounts on and to experiment with different workflows both are nice services.Walling is more akin to an allround note-taking/pkm service that handles images really well (although it lacks batch tagging for now), while starchiv is mostly a Digital asset management/storage service with nice batch tagging/auto-tagging features
  • I use amazon glacier for cold backup, but I’m looking for alternatives

ps: I can’t add direct links as I’m a new user :slight_smile:

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Welcome. I’m not so old here myself.
Thanks for the nice detailed reply.
Post a few more times, then you won’t be new any more.

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