Where Did That Photo Go?

The other day I was looking for a photo. I remember I took it in NYC two years ago when I was up there for the marathon. I took it on my ‘old’ iPhone 4. I really liked the photo and wanted to use it again with a new app. Unfortunately, I can’t find the photo. This sort of thing really drives me nuts. Why is it so hard to keep track of photos?

A picture of railroad tracks
Hey, are my photos on that train? Which track should I take? Picture of tracks around sunset, processed with Lo-Mob

There are so many sites out there that give hints for great ways to keep track of such things. In the past (pre-iPhone, pre-iCloud) I primarily used Lightroom. I really wish there was a direct way to integrate iCloud and Lightroom, but there isn’t one that I’m aware of. There is one method someone has developed but I’m not sure if I want to use that one (I found that on this blog post). You never know when Apple may tweak things, such as where photos are stored, with an update that could break methods similar to that one.

Lately I’ve been using iPhoto just to keep all my iPhone photos in one place. But I’m not a fan of iPhoto. I love how it is integrated with iCloud, but that is about it. Don’t get me started on Faces (why can’t that be turned off). I’ve never quite figured out how to easily keep a lot of photos organized. I play with it a bit more every now and then, but something bad often seems to happen. With one upgrade it had turned off my iCloud settings, so photos were no longer getting loaded. When trying Aperture it wasn’t happy with iPhoto and they got into a fight over my photos. Every time I tried to get albums working between my iPhone and iPhoto something odd would happen. Photos would get reimported, old albums would vanish, etc. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing. So many little things slowly annoy me to the point where I don’t want to see either of those programs again.

Image Capture, the OSX utility program, lets you grab any/all photos from your iPhone. It also let’s you delete all the photos. Using that program is actually the only way I know to delete all the photos from your iPhone (drop me a line if you know another way). For awhile I was just using this method to import all my photos to my computer and use them in Lightroom. The downside is that I sometimes forgot to delete things from my iPhone after import and I would end up importing duplicate images at a later time. The iPhone also starts at “image_0001” for naming images. After it has taken 9,999 images on the same iPhone I’m not sure what would happen. I think the most I ever had on one phone was about 5,000.

My photo might have been on Flickr, but after searching via date and possible tags, I still couldn’t find it. Was I searching on the wrong on the date? Did I just not upload that one? Did I forget to tag it with something obvious? Should I have created an album for pictures around that time?

My main iMac was also getting long in the tooth. It was the lovely matte screen 24 inch model from 2006. That was the last matte screen iMac they ever made. I started to use it less and less for photography. I was having so much fun with the iPhone, and the sluggishness of my iMac made me lose incentive to keep things updated and sorted.

Between iPhoto, Aperture, Image Capture, Lightroom, and my slow iMac I was getting annoyed. So many little things. I really shouldn’t complain, but humans love to complain about one thing or another. And like many other people that play with and use technology, it always seems that you want apps/programs to do at least one thing differently.

But even if all these apps worked together or had a few features added, I’d still have my biggest problem. How can I keep track of a photo I took a few years ago? I’ve read lots of posts by both well known professionals and casual photographers who have a wealth of tips about various methods. Tags, folders, albums, which photos to keep and which to pitch, comments in metadata, using sites like Flickr, applying hashtags to my tweets with a photo, making albums on Facebook, using 3rd party apps on my iPhone, etc. The list is extensive. The bottom line is that everyone says to develop a method that works best for you.

I guess that is the problem. I just don’t know which method I like. Or maybe I just don’t spend enough time properly sorting and tagging photos when I first get them on my computer. Friday morning I ordered a new iMac. I’d been saving for most of this year and it seemed like Apple was taking forever to release this updated model. I’ll be starting fresh with Lightroom. I’m not yet sure exactly what I want to do with all the old photos from my current iMac, and still not sure how I want to integrate with iCloud. I’d better decide soon.

My new iMac will arrive between Dec 24th and 31st. I’m excited. It will be the middle of winter so I’ll spend some time working on tagging and sorting. Will that help me find old photos? Will I end up ditching lots of old/pointless photos? I hope whatever I choose to do helps to make life simpler. I can almost see why my grandparents would just hang tons of pictures on the wall. If you like it, just print it and put it on the wall. It is much harder to lose that way!

So…back to looking for my two year old photo. If only I had sorted better back then, and invested more time. πŸ™‚

PS. I’m heading up to NYC for a week, so I might be quiet for the next week or so. I’ll try to keep track of my photos, at least the ones I like. I’m also so busy packing that I haven’t done any proofing on this post…sorry for any babbling.

5 Replies to “Where Did That Photo Go?”

  1. iCloud is for sharing photos and not for organising, so regardless if you want to use iCloud you still need a good photo archive. As you metnion, Lightroom is very good at that, even if it does not integrate into iCloud.

    For importing photos from iOS devices into Lightroom, I use Dropbox which do keep track of which photos have already been downloaded. Then I import the photos from Dropbox to Lightroom. Why I can not easily delete all my photos from my phone is VERY annoying.

    Keywording photos is essential!

  2. I stumbled upon an app called Phog Phog. Why it has that name and/or what that means I don’t know. Anyway, it sorts your pics by date taken. Of course the pic has to be on your phone. It does make finding shots easier than scrolling the camera roll.
    Not an absolute fix by any stretch, but it does what it does well.
    (Don’t get me started on the state of the photos on my PC. I keep hoping if I ignore it long enough something miraculous will organize it. *sigh)

  3. In case anyone is worried about the huge amount of space taken by photos, there are ThinPic for iOS and JPEGmini for Mac to reduce JPEG file size while maintaining resolution and visual quality.

    Use with caution if you’re doing business with that photos. Always keep the originals. πŸ˜‰

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