I have a MacBook Pro, while my wife has a PC. We have a NAS device on our network where we store all of our pictures. This gives us the ability to both view our photos from one simple location, without having to copy them back and forth to each others machines. It does, however, make it difficult when trying to find good photo editing software.

On the PC, my wife uses Picasa and it works great with this setup. The best part about it is the ability to "watch" folders for changes. If I upload new photos, she automatically gets them in her library, and vice versa. I've downloaded Picasa for the Mac, but found it very buggy. The organization isn't always 100% accurate, and sometimes the thumbnails don't match up properly with the photos themselves. Plus, performance has always been severely lacking when compared to the PC version.

Normally, I use Lightroom or Aperture for serious photo editing. However, it's nice to have something like Picasa for general photo viewing, or to make simple touchups or share photos to Flickr or Facebook. I've tried iPhoto on my Mac, but it lacks the "watched folders" feature, which is a real dealbreaker for me. Does anyone have any recommendations for good photo organization and editing software? Like Picasa but better executed on the Mac? What about Photoshop Elements? I've heard good things about it, but haven't found out if it has the watched folder feature. I've seen Adobe Bridge, but that doesn't give me the ability to make simple edits in the same program.

I'd really appreciate any recommendations you can give!

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    \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of What system should I use for photo management and sharing over a LAN? \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 2:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have a similar setup to test on as you, but there's a free trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 available here: adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/… . Looking at this forum post, it seems folder-watching is a feature of Elements, even if it doesn't work for some reason for this particular user: forums.adobe.com/message/4172768 \$\endgroup\$
    – Edd
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is funny. No votes up, 4 votes to close, and no answers. So a bounty was started. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


Instead of hunting down perfect solution with bunch of different software

Why don't you:

  • Install Lightroom on both systems (call Adobe about PC/MAC user licensing, not exactly sure if they will let you use your license on different OS, download trial versions for each OS and use your serial number on both, see if that works, if not call and complain)
  • Create Lightroom catalog for all your images
  • Store that catalog somewhere on the NAS device
  • Then just load the catalog from each computer

And take some time and show your wife how to use Lightroom.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To add: Sharing to Flicker, Facebook, Etc or just browsing the images is all possible with Lightroom. Also, check out the new version of Lightroom. Version 4, I've heard some great things about it. Although, I haven't tested it yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alen
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 5:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I got Lightroom 4. Seems to be much faster and I like the new blacks/shadows/highlights/whites sliders. Seems like you have more control. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 5:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've heard great things about it at the Flickr forum i regularly visit. However, this is from Adobe Forums on LR4 being very slow! \$\endgroup\$
    – Alen
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 5:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattGiesbrecht I guess this is possible with LR4. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alen
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 5:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Who knows if the dark image is original or not though... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 5:50

You can create a "watched" folder in OS X using Automator, Folder Actions or with an app like Hazel

There are examples on the Mac Automation blog. You can then set that to import to iPhoto or Aperture.


This is an old question, but it's almost 2020 and there still doesn't seem to be a good answer to this!

I just learned from costly experience that Adobe doesn't work well in a network/NAS situation. Catalogs cannot be stored on a NAS due to internal limitations (see here), so unfortunately @Alen's solution here is not realistic.

Lightroom 2020 doesn't allow catalog creation on network drives, full stop. In a Windows environment, you might be able to try and map a network drive like it's a local drive and "trick" LR into accepting the location, but that doesn't work for Macs; iOS needs additional third-party software to do iSCSI drive mapping like that (Adobe Forum).

Lightroom Classic allows you to ADD (reference) images from a NAS, but again the catalog is stored locally; it cannot be stored on the NAS where other licensed machines could reference that catalog.

You can try exporting a catalog to the NAS as a backup, but generally that duplicates the files (since it assumes you are backing up the entire catalog, not just the catalog metadata itself) (here).

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, this site doesn't work well for software recommendations. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 21:55

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