I am frustrated and I know I’m not the only one. I want want a photo management system that requires minimum maintenance and gives me maximum flexibility. I’ve complained about this before, but I’m tired of waiting for Apple to hand me a gift-wrapped solution. They didn’t last summer in iOS 6 and I have no faith that they will in iOS 7.
In my household, we take most of our photos with our phones, but we also have a big digital SLR which we break out for big events (if we remember to). Ideally, all our pictures would be automatically whisked away into a shared database in the cloud as soon as they are taken. From there we should be able to browse, organize, edit, and share them from any of our device, be they Macs, PC’s, iPads, or iPhones. In 2013, I don’t think that’s unreasonable to ask for.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at several products and hopefully finding answers. Today the journey starts with two separate app/service combos. One is Adobe Revel and the other is Everpix.
I was super-excited when I heard about Adobe Revel. The service stores all your pictures in the cloud, and they give you free iOS and Mac apps to edit and manage them. Pictures are streamed to your iOS devices as needed freeing up a whole lot of space. The apps are (supposedly) built on top of the same editing/browsing engine powering LightRoom and they are (actually) very well done. The service is expensive ($5.99/month) but it promises a lot.
Unfortunately, it’s missing some important features. First, it won’t store video clips and that means I need an entirely different workflow for them. With two little kids, we take lots of these “long photos” and I like having them mixed in with the traditional photos. Second, my wife lives in a Windows world and Revel doesn’t provide a Windows app or even a web app. That means she can only browse our library on her phone and that’s a show stopper.
After my experience with Revel, I was cautiously optimistic about Everpix. It also stores all your photos in the cloud and has terrific iOS apps for browsing your collection, but it differentiates itself in three ways:
- They automatically import photos from lots of places you might care about including your photo roll, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. That’s nice, but not terribly useful for me since I’m not exactly tied into the social network world.
- They have a terrific web app that works well on Mac and Windows.
- They don’t allow you to create albums or tag photos but instead rely on “science” to organize your photos for you. Since I always plan to do more manual organization than I actually do, it’s nice that this is done for me. I tend to take several pictures of the same thing but never delete the bad ones–Everpix does a decent job picking the good ones and showing you those first. In fact, I have Everpix configured to email me “random” “reminder” pictures from my collection everyday and it’s a lot of fun.
The package is expensive ($4.99/month) if you want them to store more than the previous year’s worth of photos, and I’d be happy to pay if it weren’t for the downsides:
- They don’t store video clips.
- You can’t edit pictures within the apps.
- They don’t store original images. Instead, Everpix stores compressed versions. I’m no photo snob, but I also don’t like losing information.
- You can’t easily export pictures. Once your pictures are inside, you can only get them out piece meal. I hate lock-in.
I’m keeping an eye on Everpix because except for the editing, these issues seem eminently fixable and I’d consider using an external editor if I had to.
The quest continues.