Sorry for the TL;DR
I am desperately trying to find a solution which satisfies all my needs and I cannot find any. All my googling showed answers for the different questions then I am interested in.
The question is about how to organize your photo collections properly.
Everyone now have digital cameras and smartphones which produce big amount of photos. If we don't organize them properly we will never be able to find anything. And this is just a waste of space.
I tried many approaches and tools. I will tell what I have now and please
Recently I used to keep photos using the following folder structure
Photos\1990. Very first photos
Photos\2013-01-10. Some event
Photos\2013-01-10. Some other event happened the same day
Photos\2013-03-06 – 03-20. Some long running event such as vacation
Photos\2014-02-10. Some other event
Photos\2014-02-11. Yet another event
Easy search by a specific event or date.
Older photos are always on top, you have to scroll down all the time. When I used SkyDrive as my cloud backup, I had to scroll to the bottom and wait all the time since it loads top folders data first.
Incredibly difficult to watch photos from different folders. You have to switch between different folders manually.
Recently I tried to google better approaches and found more nested.
Photos\2014\2014-02\2014-02-11. Some event description\Photo1.jpg
- Less top-order folders, so no scrolling required, generally faster.
- Even deeper structure. Two watch photos from 2013-12-31 and 2014-01-01 you'll need to change four folder levels: two times up, two times down...
That's all plain approach – just folder structure.
Let's talk about software solutions.
I tried different ones and probably the best one I found is Google Picasa which I thought I will make my choice of preference.
Integration with Google+
Keeps metadata inside image files. If you add extra tag to 1000 photos you will need to reupload that 1000 photos. I want to metadata to be stored separately. It should be reasonably small, so I can just upload metadata changes.
Metadata is somehow highly coupled with the system. I saved Picasa metadata from ApplicationData, then reinstalled Windows. But after that all my face recognition metadata gone.
Metadata does not seem to be compatible with Google+ metadata.
Could not find a way to search photos that has Tag1 AND Tag2. For me only Tag1 OR Tag2 worked.
So far I tried SkyDrive and Google Drive (with integration to Google+)
Seems to be very slow, I uploaded my 70 Gb archive for more than 3 weeks on my reasonably fast ADSL2+
It was somehow losing its cache and tend to resync whole 70 Gb twice!!!
Does not support nested albums.
You cannot tag a person if it does not have an email. To tag my one-year-old son I used Leonid.Naumov@fakeemail.com, but this just looks ridiculous. Moreover Google+ doesn't remember emails if you don't have a person in your circles so "IntelliSense" for next photos won't work.
And the last bit I'll explain why I worry about nested folders.
As I described before I am ok with flat structure now. But for "legacy" photos from old times where I don't have EXIF information, they look something like
And I have no idea how to reasonbly flatten up such structure.
I described the issues I have and I willing to see how you smart geeks and nerds deal with similar problems.
Here is the list of "requirements" I have but feel free to criticize them or propose a new one
Quick search base on dates, events, faces and tags
Support complex queries like select all photos made in July 2013, made in Ashfield, contains ((myself and my wife and my baby) or (my friend))
Local storage with cloud mirror
All meta information should be stored externally, not in the EXIF tags. Otherwise, if you add extra tag to 1000 photos you will need to reupload that 1000 photos. But instead you have to just upload changes to your metadata, which should be reasonably small.
And one bonus question about video: I have DVD with this AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders. If I convert it to mp4 I'll lose some additional materials including menus. Is there a reasonable way to keep everything without DVD format? Ideally it should be just mp4 files (to be able to upload it and watch online) with some additional metadata file which allows me to view with menu if needed.
Regards, Michael Naumov