When we talk about storing and ordering our photo collection surely each of us has a different way of doing it. After years of testing various systems, making inventions and moving entire libraries, I have stayed with the Photos app. Why? In my case I have several reasons, from the availability of the content to the work I want to invest in maintaining my library.
There are several people who ask me, using other organizational systems, why do I use the Photos app to order my photo library. The last of them has been our Uti reader who is interested in Apple’s solution despite the fact that its folder system is very comfortable for him.
Path: from hard drives to Photos
My approach to Photos and my entire library is very simple and can be summarized in one sentence: I take the photos, the rest is done by my iPhone.
Years ago, when cloud storage was almost unheard of, I carefully arranged my photo collection on an external hard drive. It was one of the best systems available at the time, but with the arrival of the iPhone, history began to change. The beauty of the device was having the photos at hand, so I progressively synchronized, at that time via cable, my favorite photos with my iPhone.
Much later, with the arrival of iCloud, I began my migration of content to the cloud, not just Photos, documents, contacts, etc. At first, partly because of the internet connection via ADSL, partly to avoid paying for more storage, I only synchronized a certain amount, but everything changed with the arrival of the Memories.
Memories are those little videos that Siri makes with our Photos. They captivated me. They made me see the photos in a different way. After watching Siri create my first memory, with my photos from a recent trip I had taken, I said: all my photos have to be in Photos.
So I did it, all my photos, at that time about 3000 approximately, became part of my iCloud photo library. What did I have to pay a euro a month for iCloud storage? Yes, but frankly the extra space also allowed me to complete the transfer of all my files to the cloud. With this simple gesture my relationship with hard drives ended. Currently, with just over 9000 photos, I have opted for 200GB of iCloud storage for 2.99 euros per month.
Organization: the one I want when I want
In my personal case, before making the entire transition to the iPhoto library, which would later be called Photos, I kept my photos for years. Within the years then specified the occasions (travel, birthdays, etc.) and these subfolders were numbered in temporal order: 01 Christmas, 02 X Anniversary, 03 Summer vacation, etc.
With the transition to Photos the temporal order, which is the one that has always interested me the most, is automatic, so it is one less thing I have to deal with. On the event subfolders, I use albums. After a trip, an event or a certain event that I want to highlight within my photo library, I select the photos and create an album, it only takes me 5 seconds. Of many of those albums I then manually create a memory, usually a maximum of 5 minutes, so I have a video of all the special occasions, arranged chronologically and ready to watch at any time. The entire process? Between that I personalize the cover of the memory and the music about two or three minutes.
When I have more time I enter the album and manually delete the excess images, repeated or that I just don’t want to keep. During this process I also edit any photo that may have been somewhat crooked and I mark as favorites the ones I like the most. Since memory videos are updated with the information, after this process the resulting video is even better.
Features: memories, search, edit and share
But why do I choose Photos over other alternatives? I have tried some alternatives to Photos, such as storing photos in Dropbox. On paper it seemed like a good idea, but the app is more focused on file storage and syncing, and my library didn’t seem comfortable. Google Photos I discarded it for privacy reasons. And other options like NAS servers connected to the cloud or others Equivalent solutions lacked some key features that make me prefer Apple’s solution. They are as follows:
Memories: I have already described my system for creating memories of all the important events in my photo library, but I will emphasize once again its significance. Having a 5 minute video ready to reminisce about my trip to one place or another is almost priceless to me. It is not usual for me to sit down and start looking at photos, but a video does, especially when after a Siri notification I find the memory made directly in the app. With Apple TV it is common that, from time to time, I put these videos with the family.
Availability: After years of hard drives I came to the conclusion that having the photos stored in a drawer at home is not what I want. I like being able to access my entire collection at any time. In the context of a conversation with someone say “yes, look, this is the site I was talking about” and show it.
Dedication: As I said at the beginning of the article, my dedication to my photo library has decreased very, very considerably, at the same time that the results, for me, have increased exponentially. In the end my attention to Photos is summarized in taking photos, creating albums and memories, which takes me 5 minutes, and eliminating duplicates, for which I use the Gemini Photos app, and other maintenance tasks that are minimal.
Edition: Editing a photo in Photos is a matter of seconds. Flipping it, correcting the exposure, cropping a video, deleting something (which I use TouchRetouch for) is as easy as four taps. But the advantages continue: the retouching is non-destructive, which means that whenever I want I can go back to the previous version of an image. In addition, with the arrival of iOS 13 and the editing capacity that came to the Photos app, and now with iOS 14 and Big Sur, we really have many tools at our disposal, all in the same app, to edit our photos as we prefer. like it.
Apple tv: Yes, there are other solutions with apps to access the library from my Apple TV, but Photos seems one of the most complete. In the end, my television is where I see most photos, especially in the form of memories.
Searches: Impressive. The ability to find photos and videos from the Photos app is something that still amazes me. “Hey Siri, show photos of the trip to X” and the photos are on screen in a second. If we have already delved into the search capacity through the Search tab, the truth is that, why do I want to order my photos? In my opinion, I have any order that I want, at any time and dynamically. Just put something like “2018, Mar” or “Mom, bike, New York.” It is really impressive.
Share: Many times I want to share the photos I take with other people. In the case of my family, it is common for me to send the memory video as well as to share, through a simple link to iCloud, all the photos. With this system, each person can download exactly the photos they want, without further ado. For people who are not in the Apple ecosystem a link to a shared album allows them to see all the images, even as a slide show, and download the ones they want.
As I have already started the article saying there are many ways to order the Photos library. All correct and all with their strengths and weaknesses. Personally, after weighing different options, I have chosen to stay in Photos.