My cloud photo archiving experiment is continuing but only one of the original contenders, OneDrive, has survived and still running well. I was looking at a way to automated the update process to it and I have gone back to a very “manu-matic” (part manual, part automatic) method utilizing the powers of PhotoMechanic. There is a story behind that choice so I might explain that now.
A real advantage of the OneDrive approach is being able to control the sharing of specific photos with others in a secure (email private perma-link) connection (Dropbox also does this well). Google on the other hand isn’t secured (their idea of secure is just to have complicated file names, but that file name does have a permanent url, which is always publically accessible) AND I’m sure their approach will soon be, if not already being hacked. This private share feature would make such a service a good place for a family photo resource, that is only shared with the “trusted” family members.
This then got me thinking about making the family photos archive separately, and the more I think of it the better this strategy becomes. The difficulty is how to separate out the photos and more importantly the family just wants one or a few good photos not everything. The solution is good rating and culling. Damn, more work! This can be done with lightroom, On1, Aftershot Pro, Darktable using star & colour tab ratings. Providing I have this software automatically writes out. xmp sidecar files, I can make and change these rating at any time. These programs all monitor the .xmp rankings (Pick flag are an exception which none of the software seems to want to exchange, and I don’t use them anyway) As I am reviewing or processing my photos I consciously mark those photos with the purple colour tab (pressing <Alt>5 in most software, but not lightroom). However I like to recheck my ratings and colours using PhotoMechanic’s contact sheet display view perhaps once a week, I review each days contact sheet (PhotoMechanics Term for the folder/thumbnail view) and I can then filter to see only one star and above rated. I can also check the colour tags and metadata updates if required. and recheck the ratings (eg change * to ** etc.). Next I remove the purple tagged family photos (they will go into a separate archive (see below) and finally I “save as” the selected group to my OneDrive folder on my computer. I am only saving finished jpeg files and have adopted the practice of resizing the photos to 2400 pixels on the longest dimension and jpeg quality to high. This approach to reduces the file size but in future being able to print approx 10” by 8”. Finally it wpould be possible still be able to upscale because I have not utilized the .jpeg lossy compression to reduce size.
There was a secondary benefit from reaching back to a manu-matic step, after uploading my better photos into the cloud archive, without family photos included. I could switch the filtering to only include family photos (the purple colour tag and 2 starts of greater) and upload those to my trials of a private flickr family group and revised dropbox family folder. More is likely to unfold with this second type of cloud archive, so say tuned for updated.