Synology Photos versus PhotoPrism

Continuing our discussion on Synology Photos and PhotoPrism. I am starting a new thread on photos apps especially other non Apple Photos App.

Welcome everyone to share their thoughts, views, experience, feedback and suggestions, etc.

Let me start…

I am trying to steer any from Apple photos, especially those stored in icloud. This is for two reasons.

  1. I want all photos in one place, whether they are taken from iphone, Andriod phone, DSLR or mirrorless camera, camcorder, etc.
  2. I want to reduce icloud storage from 2T to one level down, which is 200G. This may be tough, but I want to try

So far I have tried Synology photo with great results. I am also in the process of setting up Photoprism on a Linux box but hope to point the photo storage back to my Synology NAS photos location (same for Synology Photo and Photoprism if possible)

I also use photosync on my iphone to push photos to my NAS but this seems to be redundant as Synology Photo app on iphone can do the same (?)

What are you trying to do with photoprism that synology photos does not do?

I do not know whether Photoprism can do the following or do better than Synology Photos but this is the list that I am hoping for

  • better face recognition
  • better recognition of location based on landmarks, using AI
  • easier sharing of photos or albums with others (have not tried in Synology Photos yet)
  • creating and sharing smart albums
  • auto rotate

-synology face recognition is ok (I had considered photoprism because of this)
-I don’t have any need for location AI based things so never looked into it
-sharing is great with synology, easy to send a link (also you can “request photos,” for example for Christmas I sent a link to family for Christmas photos from the get together and it brings up a web interface with a folder or individual upload, and you can set destination folder so they all get uploaded there) This was not a feature I had expected to use but find I use it all the time now. So much easier than trying to get everyone to airdrop to me etc.
-I don’t think synology does the last 2

All things considered I thought synology did enough that it wasn’t worth the photoprism hassle, especially when I saw reviews saying photoprism is a bit more resource heavy too. Not sure my DS918+ is going to be good for that.

noted , I may drop out Photoprism if there is no better suggestions from others

Hmm… You touched on an area that I’m interested in. I currently do not store any photos in the cloud as I just don’t trust it and have a friend that lost all of her photos on day in iCloud several years ago. To this point I’ve been syncing all of my photos on my Mac — from my iPad Pro and an iPhone 8+.

I’ll admit that it’s a MAJOR hassle to sync all of these periodically — something that frequently takes me an hour or so… The two devices just don’t sync well with updating photo libraries on them — a general source of frustration for me. It’s one of those “lather-rinse-repeat” sort of things…

I did play with PhotoPrism a bit and other similar self-hosted apps as well… I guess for me I’d like some of the features that the apple Photos provides such as automatic name recognition, and that sort of thing…

I think the biggest thing that I’d like is some easier way to get pictures moved from my iPad, iPhone and my two cameras (Olympus Pen-F, GoPro Hero 11 black) all into one place.

I’ve got an old HP desktop (Elitedesk) using an SSD for the moment and am hosting movies and whatnot on it as it’s running Linux like a champ. If I could find something that would make my digital life easier that would be great… I’ll be watching these threads — maybe I’ll get some inspiration!


I thought by syncing your photos from iPad , iPhone and Mac, you are already using iCloud to sync ? Unless you had set up something that is outside Apple ecology ?

Photoprism recommends running it on a SSD, especially for raw which is a big turn away for me. And my experience has been a NAS for indexing takes forever, and more advanced stuff for photos is forever plus a day! And I have 4 spinning drives without SSD or SSD cache and already feel that advanced processing wouldn’t work well.

I’m curious what you think when you get it spun up. I’ve been considering going full rack server and using my 918+ as offsite backup…if photoprism is they much better maybe you can talk me into spending some money!

Do you not use the synology photos app on the iPad and iOS to sync. It background runs when on local Wi-Fi and plugged in (so essentially backs up every night). My wife and I each have a separate folder. We clear monthly the photos from the phone (via synology photos app, it has option to delete only backed up photos and video). Then the shared album is where we put our curated final photos to save which is what I view on Apple TV on synology photos app.

I think this solution is much better than Apple multiple user personally, but does miss out on some advanced on device features. It makes up for it in self hosted, easy to back up in folders, and multi user support (and sharing and photo requests).

No … you can sync directly to your Mac from your “i” devices… it’s a legacy feature of MacOS and has been around for years. Ideally Apple is trying to shun people away from using it in favor of iCloud (as far as I’m concerned)…

Consider this scenario…

You have two iDevices — an iPad and an iPhone… Both have new (and different) pictures on them that are not on the other. So, you plug in your iPad first (doesn’t matter which) and have it import all the new photos (screenshots, etc) to your Photo Library… all is fine. Then the Mac sync’s the IPad’s photo library with that which is on the Mac — including the photos that were just imported into the Mac. That takes a while…

So… the iPad is done. Now you plug in the iPhone… import the new photos there to the Mac’s “master” Photo library. Now sync the iPhone which will now have the original Mac’s photos, the iPad’s photos and of course it’s original photos that were imported a moment earlier.

Now to sync the iPad again, you’ve got to jump through some hurdles with MacOS… It doesn’t like a forced sync frequently in my experience and doesn’t always want to re-sync the photos library back onto the iPad. You have to fiddle around to get it to do that.

Ideally I just want all 3 devices to have the SAME stuff on them… I’ve got a small photo library of perhaps 1200 photos and a bunch of videos… (long story)… I can only imagine what it would be like if I had 10k photos or more…

It’s just rather tedious to me… Apple’s sync’ing code is not super smart and usually just deletes ALL your pictures off each device before putting them back on.

So… that’s what I’m looking for — something better. I really need to re-think the entire endeavor … and NO I’m not going to turn on iCloud photos!

This is the old-school way. Which is how I do it too. For the same reason as you.

The way I do this is to have an album on the Mac for each i-device - something like “Jim’s iPhone,” “Jim’s iPad,” etc, which contains the photos I want on that device. I update those albums periodically, independently from sync’ing. Then, when I sync, only that album gets updated on that device. Again, old-school.

When I import, I delete the photos that are imported, hopefully automatically (“hopefully” because this sometimes doesn’t work - and hasn’t for ages).

This workflow separates importing and sync’ing, but you can still do it by plugging in only once.

Thanks… I’ll keep that in mind…

I want to add one more …

is it possible to view Apple Live Photos on either Synology Photos or Photoprism

Not technically but yes. The live photo is uploaded (certainly from PhotoSync) as a photo and a movie clip. I can’t recall if Synology Photos ia clever enough to display them as a single item but otherwise, they’ll appear as two files, with one being the video.

It’s currently the reason I still have Photos on the Mac, as Photos is better for displaying edited, burst and Live Photos. I use the cloud version of Photos to collate my images, then I export JPG’s from Photos using its export and have Synology photos display that. It’s a bit extra that I don’t really need and it might change when that 200GB barrier comes up shortly!

some initial thoughts on photoprism, nextcloud photo and synology photos

  • Photoprism:

    • very powerful, but resource intensive (my Raspberry pi will run a bit hot)
    • face recognition is ok, not better or worse than Apple’s own
    • mobile sync is hampered a bit due to Apple’s “first party app only approach”, so needs frequent restarts
  • Nextcloud Photo:

    • somewhat basic, but solid
    • face recognition is not there, but there is an add on in the NC app store that does that (not tried it yet)
    • solid syncing, no issues getting photo’s into storage (maybe because I use the app very frequently
  • Synology photo’s

    • solid implementation, and very fast, features bit limited
    • facial recognition does not work on my model (older model) so can;t comment
    • solid syncing, but again needs a frequest restart due to Apple’s limitations on 3rd party background syncing.

Overall I am happy with both NC and Synology syncing, and am now working to point photoprism to my nextcloud directory to have the best of both worlds: solid syncing and backup through NC, and the fetaures of Photoprism

Off topic from photos, but are you running next cloud on your synology. I keep looking at running it on my DS918+ (a few features like notes and calendar/tasks) seem a bit better, but have heard it’s a bit heavy and several horror stories about database corruption.

I run jellyfin, audiobookshelf, Calibre-web, kavita, and WebDAV in addition to synology native apps, so not all that resource intensive (minus jellyfin). Interested if you think next cloud is worth it and if your synology took a performance hit.

Generally I’m very pleased with synology.

I’m running it on a 2014 Fujitsu PC - Ubuntu server in a Docker container.
the same pc also runs Jellyfin, Calibre-web, Gitea, Syncthing and Duplicati (backup)
It’s been rock solid for almost a year now, no issues whatsoever (at least none that were not caused by me meddling with the setup)

Don;t think the synology would take very much of a performace hit. My docker containers never take too much out of the CPU or memory.

Any specific features you find better with Nextcloud. I just did a quick search and seems I need to add 5 dependencies to synology and then Nextcloud, and is 50-50 reviews from the self hosted crew (a lot say they moved to a full server).

I probably will try it anyway, ultimately could justify a home lab or even just a NUC to run something more heavy which would help with multi-stream jellyfin encodes. High bitrate go pro 4k videos kill the synology.

I’m not running it on a synology. I’m running it on a very old 2014 Fujitsu PC (running Ubuntu 22.04 server + docker). It shares processes with Jellyfin, Photoprism and several other containters, but the load never goes above 30% as far as I am aware. (4-5 active users at any time, my entire core Family is on it)

From a processing perspective I’m not really in favor of Synology, they always seem underpowered. I use it for storage only, with Synology photos running, and only other items running on it are Tailscale and Resilio sync.