I'm working on an archiving project in which I'm scanning hundreds of old family photos, retouching them, adding metadata, and eventually hosting them for other family members to browse. I've checked out a couple of services for which I already have accounts (Flickr, Google Photos, Dropbox) but none seem to meet my specific needs:

  1. Free (or cheap < $100 a year)
  2. Good photo description/tag/metadata handling
  3. High picture quality capacity(no file size limits)
  4. The ability to sort/search based on certain metadata fields eg photos from 1940, photos of Grandma, Christmas photos
  5. Face tagging would be awesome, but just a bonus.
  6. Ease of browsing (Grandma needs to be able to use it)

Does anybody have any suggestions for possible solutions that might meet my needs ? A self-hosted solution is a possibility, provided its PHP/MySQL based. [Edit] I have hosting with PHP/MySQL already.

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    Could you state why these services are not suitable? E.g. Flickr does most of this, with a 200Mb per photo limit admittedly, but that should be easily enough for any reasonable archive purpose. Is it because it won't import your existing metadata very well? – Whelkaholism Jul 22 '15 at 14:33
  • I have never used this, so offering no guarantees whatsoever, but here is a tool that claims to be able to sync all of your EXIF metadata to photos uploaded to Flickr: flickrmetadatasynchr.codeplex.com – Whelkaholism Jul 22 '15 at 14:36
  • The tags in Flickr don't work exactly the way I need. If I tag something with "Grandma" for example, if people click on that tag it will show all photos in all of Flickr with the tag Grandma. I need for it to only show my photos with that tag. I can't use People tags either, because that only works for people who are Flickr users. Its very close to what I need, but not exactly. If anybody has a suggestion to make Flickr do what I need then that would be awesome. – khendar Jul 22 '15 at 23:54
  • Hmm, okay, I see what you mean. I have been annoyed by that myself actually. – Whelkaholism Jul 23 '15 at 10:14

You could get a hosting with mysql (costs about 50 $/year) and install a good php gallery. A good one could be for example coppermine gallery. But there are manymore.

Supports multiple uploads, usually you dont have space limits with those hostings, easy to use, supports galleries, user, rights, hidden galleries and a Whole lot more.

Personally I would go along those lines.

edit based on your change: If you already have a hosting then you can give coppermine a testrun! Its free


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    Coppermine is a great shout; I never used it for any production sites but used to mess about with it all the time – laurencemadill Jul 22 '15 at 8:54
  • Coppermine looks kind of old school. It's layout is table based, and the themes all have a distinct early 2000's look. I was hoping for something a little more modern looking. But I'll check it out, maybe I can find a decent theme. – khendar Jul 23 '15 at 6:08
  • Agree on that.. I was thinking more on the capabilities side, since to share family shots i thought it wouldnt need to be supercool.. :) but I totally agree about its look. – sharkyenergy Jul 23 '15 at 9:31

I personally recommend using SmugMug (www.smugmug.com)

These sites are really easy to browse through, exceptionally cheap, and offer great features for storage (to include private gallery sharing, etc.) I recently was doing the storage hop-shuffle, and discovered SmugMug right in the nick of time, before I was about to dump a bunch of unnecessary time into much more complex solutions.

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  • SmugMug seems to have the tagging/keyword capabilities that I need. You get your own subdomain, so keyword search is limited to your own collection, which is precisely what I want. Thanks for the suggestion! – khendar Jul 23 '15 at 0:15
  • No problem! It's exactly what I've been using, and I love it! I really hope it works for you? And best of luck friend. P.S. In case you want to see a live example, here's mine: NoThrone.come – James Jul 23 '15 at 2:57
  • I might give SmugMug a try myself for a more curated collection of my photos, thanks for this suggestion, looks good. – Whelkaholism Jul 23 '15 at 10:16

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