I have been on a desperate search for a simple way to organize my photos. But every photo organizer app that I have tried has been so much more complicated than what I need.
Is it just me?
What I Want from A Photo Organizer App
Let me start out by explaining what I need:
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FREE 2019 Printable Calendar
- I like to store my photos in a folder structure preferably on an external network drive like the WD MyCloud and also in the cloud (right now I use Google Drive).
- 2017-01 New Years
- 2017-o1 Misc
- 2017-02 Valentines Day
- I want to see each folder in a beautiful gallery type view (not tiny little thumbnails). By gallery view, I want to see at a glance if the photo is a vertical or horizontal shot. I also want to see what is in the photo without having to squint. If two shots are similar, I should be able to see the difference without opening each one.
That's it really.
Related: WD MyCloud EX2 Review
What I Don't Want from a Photo Organizer App
- I don't want one big database stuffed with all my photos (so Apple Photos is out)
- I don't want the photo organizer app to create little metadata files in my photo folders (so Mylio is out)
- No need for tagging people, places, etc. (with 20 years plus of photos – I don't have time to do it)
- I don't want to create albums in addition to folders.
- and, I dislike the timeline view because many photos for a single event may happen on multiple days
Why Can't I Find It?
It really does seem kind of ridiculous, doesn't it?
All I need is the ability to view my folders that are full of photos in a gallery view.
So here is my plea – if you know of some service or app that can do this – please do tell!
Photo Organizer Apps That I Have Tried
Of course, I have tried a bunch of photo organizers. Many are pretty amazing – but just overly complicated for my needs.
I so wanted to love Google Photos.
But sadly, there are redundancies in the app that make it time-consuming.
How It Works In a Personal Google Account
- You can create a folder and add it to your Google Photos folder in your Google Drive
- These photos will appear in your Google Photos app (not so with a business account).
- You can then create albums in the Google Photos app.
- You can work the other way and upload photos to Google Photos directly. In your settings you can make it so your photos show up in your Google Photos folder in Google Drive. But then you will have to organize your photos into folders on that end.
- Your albums in Google Photos do not translate to folders in Drive and vice versa.
So you see, there is a lot of duplication in creating folders and albums etc.
Also, scanned photos – which are likely old family photographs – show up randomly on your timeline in Google Photos depending on the date of the scan – unless you change all the metadata.
Right now, Dropbox works a lot like Google Photos – with the duplicate effort of albums and folders. Dropbox photos also uses a timeline view.
This is changing on June 30, 2017 and seems like it will be more folder based.
But yet, the gallery view seems like it will still be based on a timeline (even though they are eliminating the timeline strip on the right.)
So, without seeing it in action, it seems that we will still not be able to open a folder of photos in a beautiful gallery view (not to be confused with the new Dropbox gallery view which are thumbnails) – just thumbnails.
Smugmug is drop dead gorgeous.
The gallery views are just stunning.
However, you must upload all your photos to Smugmug – and you don't really see the folder structure.
When you need to use a photo, you can download it to your computer. But if you want to download a whole gallery, you can't just drag and drop. You click the download button and in a matter of seconds to minutes they will email you a zip file with your photos.
Then you open your email, download the zip file, and so on.
This process takes too long for me.
I have heard only good things about Mylio. But, it just has more features than I need. And I don't like the little metadata files it creates in my folders.
I am an Apple fangirl but I am not a fan of the single database concept.
I used iPhoto for years, then Aperture, then Photos.
The result? About 4 photo databases across 2 computers, give or take.
It's a mess.
I'm actually afraid to open the app these days.
So Where Does that Leave Me?
As you can see, I am at a loss when it comes to photo organizers.
The only service that I have not really tried is Adobe Lightroom.
I kind of shy away from Photoshop (I prefer to use PicMonkey for photo editing) and am afraid that Lightroom will have a steep learning curve as well. (although if I am wrong about that – please let me know!)
All I need is a simple way to store my photos using a folder structure, where I can view the photos inside the folders in nice galleries.
Can You Recommend a Photo Organizing App or Service?
Tell me about your favorite photo organizers in the comments below.