Changing Workflow for iPhone photos

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Now that I’m taking so many more pictures with iPhones, I’ve been thinking about how to best move files off. With digital cameras, here is the flow:

  1. offload the SD or CF card
  2. use DxO to process them as I find it’s automatic features blow things out less than Adobe Photoshop.
  3. Add location information with Lightroom and change dates as needed in the EXIF as I sometimes forget to set the date and time correctly when traveling (I do everything in local time)
  4. then put them into a simple file system (not Lightroom) that makes it easy to access and which is independent of the editing application. It’s work, but protects me from changes in software. These files go into a RAID-6 Synology NAS. I separate the JPGs from the RAWs so that I have an archive and also something that is in common format
  5. Backup these files onto another Drobo NAS and then into Crashplan so I get fourĀ backups
  6. FTP them to Bluehost running Gallery so there is access to them (although this is super slow so I need to either upgrade Bluehost or switch to a faster photo poster).
  7. For sharing purposes, use the low resolution iCloud Photo Sharing as it’s simple to add from the iPhone (more on that later) or from a Mac.

However with iPhone’s, this seems a little silly since the devices are naturally connected, so in experimenting with the flow. Also there are many more phones in our family and I’d like to collect the data there:

  1. Turn on Photo Stream if you only need JPEGs. I normally have left this off, but it allows full resolution backups of anything from the phones which is really a good idea. The main thing that you lose here are all videos and the live photos. Photo Stream only supports regular JPEGs
  2. Turn on iCloud Photo Library. If you have less than 5GB of photos (e.g. are cheap and do not want to pay Apple more), then this works, it copies all 5GB of photos up to your Mac automatically. The main issue is that you have to be disciplined about how much you store on your phone. In practice, other things are using iCloud storage, so you have to disable iPhone backup (I do anyway since it is pretty easy to recreate configurations) and disable a bunch of the applications that are storing stuff on iCloud, like WhatsApp for instance. The other thing you should do is to sweep through the iCloud Drive on your Mac and see what files are there, I had 1GB of old Keynote presentations.
  3. Final hint is that you should go to Photos/Preferences and unclick copy into library, you want as little as possible in the iCloud Photo Library so you leave most of the room for the iPhone camera.

From here you pretty much have the standard flow:

  1. Go to a Mac and use Photos to do selection and quick edits of these photos.
  2. Then export the photos as unmodified originals usually to the file system
  3. I have started to take DNGs now that iOS 10 allows that and DxO does not like this, so I use Photoshop to convert from DNG to JPG.
  4. Now I can delete the photos from Photostream and from the iPhone storage as well. The result is that I can now manage my photos as needed without have to “dock” the iPhone.
  5. Finally when I use multiple phones, I just access their photostream. This does require that I have the user’s password, but that’s not a huge problem in a family. Then I can use their Photostream to do the same as above.

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