Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I travel a lot, and would like to be able to edit, tags and organize photos from two separate machines. Sometimes my wife may be doing it from the home computer while I am doing it from a laptop while in a hotel. We would both be online simultaniously, so I am not worried about editing offline. We do minimal cropping and red eye reduction but I am more concerned about managing the thousands of photos than spending time on single photos.

I have used Adobe Elements in the past, and was annoyed as it seemed that our time spent tagging was tied to the proprietary software. Seems odd that it is so hard to export these photos to offline photo book makers - but I guess that is a second question! Right now I use Picasa - if there was a way to automatically synchronize then it would be perfect.

Thanks!

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If you use the online storage that two of the answer here suggest: beware! Once online, it will never be deleted for sure. –  Leonidas Dec 27 '10 at 13:52
    
@Leonidas — with a reputable service provider, that should be a very small concern. I would only be concerned with highl confidential politically-sensitive images — not something I usually worry about! –  mattdm Jun 9 '11 at 20:56
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@mattdm The world unfortunately does not work this way. Companies are sold, bought and hacked. Own encryption is the only way to safeguard against data-spillage "in the cloud". I already start to worry at private pictures - one day the parties are over and the children grown up. –  Leonidas Jun 10 '11 at 0:18
    
@Leonidas — eh, maybe. For me, data loss is a bigger concern. It's not like the hackers are really excited to steal my photos. SSN, or credit card, sure. –  mattdm Jun 10 '11 at 0:24
    
I think @Leonidas brings up an important point. Given the nature of the cloud these days, information you put online is quite likely to exist there so long as we have the energy to maintain the cloud. Privacy may not be a concern for @mattdm, but it is a concern for many of us, and at least something to keep in mind when moving photos through any online service. –  jrista Jun 12 '11 at 16:51
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6 Answers 6

One option would be to use an external storage service (like Dropbox) to store the photos. But you could also consider using a service like Flickr to store them and synchronize the photos with the two machines using Lightroom for example.

I'm not saying that would be easy since I have not tested the scenario.

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Not a bad idea, but you have to make sure that two people aren't editing at the same time. Typically these programs aren't designed to handle external edits to their databases while they're running. If you can ensure that one person shuts down before another starts, then this might work well. –  Craig Walker Dec 25 '10 at 22:35
    
Good point, thanks! –  André Carregal Dec 25 '10 at 22:46
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I think another option could be to do management and tagging on the "cloud" and do edits just one at a time. The easiest solution that I can think of for this is to use a SmugMug account. One can edit keywords online, add captions, move to different galleries, place copies in different galleries, do smart galleries and collections ... and the list goes on and on. The ability for both of you to work at the same time should be fairly simple through either signing up as a Pro user and having an "admin" and an "assistant" account that would allow for multiple users. Or just sharing the "admin" account.

Basic things like cropping could be done online, however larger edits would require reuploading the files using the replace tool (http://www.smugmug.com/help/proof-retouch-replace)

Now since you mentioned book publishing, I will say that SmugMug does have ties with various printers, including book publishers.

I am just a satisfied user which is why I recommended them. If you would like to try it out there is a free trial, you can even use my referral code https://secure.smugmug.com/signup.mg?Coupon=D5I4bmVRNHNpU.

I use SmugMug quite a bit while traveling also as a method to backup my images, which could be beneficial.

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+1 for SmugMug. They have a great service in general. –  jschoen Dec 27 '10 at 14:11
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I agree with Bradford that tagging and editing in the cloud is the way to go. But I've been a longtime SmugMug user, and I've gotta say that while captioning and keywording is pretty fast, having to go to that annoying Tools dropdown to crop or perform any other edit is a pain. And moving or copying to other galleries? UGH.

I've found Phanfare's web-based management tools to be excellent. Buttons in a toolbar for cropping/red-eye/brightness/contrast.

Drag-and-drop for moving images. Or you can use their copy and paste buttons.

Way more usable.

SmugMug is great if you use Lightroom or Aperture to manage your photos. But their web-based tools frankly kind of suck for any kind of bulk usage.

Flickr's Organizr is pretty good, but their organizational structure (or lack thereof) has always seemed weird for me. And cropping/red-eye/brightness/contrast edits have to be done in Piknik, which sucks.

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Be careful with using standalone photo management applications on the multi-user environment.

Our company just released Daminion Server 0.8.8b - True multi-user photo management solution for home-users and small teams: Daminion Server 0.8.8b

I've wrote a small post about why using Picasa or any other photo organizers might lead to damaging your content.

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I really like flickr for its tagging capabilities. I don't know of any good online services that have an interface suited for working with thousands of photos.

For a more customized solution you can have your pictures and lightroom/bridge metadata files on a shared drive (existing drives using NFS/Samba or a networked drive like Iomega etc).

That way regardless of which software you use, you'll still be accessing data off the same location.

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What about Google Picasa?

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