What are you using to manage your photos?

Thought this might lead to some good discussions and thoughts. In brief when I first came to the Mac is in part because of the wonderful software of Aperture. As I saw that Aperture was soon to not be supported I moved to Lightroom Version 5. Now I take most of my photos on my iPhone 8 and manage those through Apple Photos. Thinking of moving to just Apple Photos though would like external drive support as I have 700 GB of photos.

So what do others do for photo management?


Very unhelpfully, I just have mine all dumped in google photos and use search.


I mainly shoot DSLR (well, mirrorless right now) and rarely take photos with my phone, so it might not be tailored to your case.
I use Lightroom CC (mainly the Classic version, but I’m starting to fiddle with the new version a little bit, since they’ve added a lot of features to that) because it’s quite powerful for the digital asset management and because I’m lazy and don’t want to change a system that works since the death if Aperture (but it’s not cheap).
I keep the raws on an external drive and the previews that Lightroom builds are quite useful if I’m away from the desk (edit on a MacBook Pro) or if I edit on the iPad or the iPhone.
The drive is backed up in time machine and to Backblaze B2 via Arq.
For specific editing needs I use ON1 Photo Raw 2018 or photoshop (just a little, I suck at photoshop).

LightRoom CC Classic Desktop Version

I’m in the process of scanning the family archive of photos that date from early 1900’s to present. The collection has a number of different film types and formats and the total collection consists of some 20K individual images. I take about 2000 digital images a year and have about 20K of those in my Lightroom system already. My husband also takes about 2000 digital images a year and those will also eventually be added to the family LR Catalog.

I’m redoing my workflow for scanning and picture cataloging and metadata capture right now. Most of the recent work has been on developing custom scan info using VueScan for capturing the odd size film types and on developing my personal controlled vocabulary for keywords.

I am also scanning a collection at the historical society of about 1500 glass plate negatives from the early 1900s. Those are in their own separate LR catalog.

I like LightRoom because if push comes to shove it’s a standard SQLite database and I can go in and edit it or extract out all my data easily with my own set of queries. I verified and tested that before embarking on these 2 big projects using it.

Picture files are on our RAID server, which is also backed up nightly to an external hard drive. I have one copy in a media rated fireproof safe in the house. One copy in a media fireproof safe in another building and one copy offsite at another family members house that we swap monthly. I keep his offsite backups and he keeps mine. A final copy of most of the pictures is on an ever growing set of CDs that get tested for readability once a year. Catalog files have roughly the same backup plus a rotating set of 3 drives that are all being used by Time Machine.

Editing used to be all in Photoshop but now I’m using LR for the non-destructive save the instructions, editing that makes more sense to me.

Long-time Lightroom user here starting with V3 and currently have the Adobe CC Photography Plan. I like the ease at which I can take photos with my mirrorless camera and iPhone (using LR CC Mobile) and have them all appear in the same catalog with synced edits across all devices.

Storage of photos is on my NAS, backed up using CrashPlan for Small Business, with the working copies or “edit queue” on my MacBook.

Export presets allow me to upload photos, either individually or an album, to Flickr, Facebook and/or Instagram, or share by custom link to an online CC gallery for friends/family to download without having to use a social media platform.

Yes, those are very useful too. To friends and family I’m sharing trough Apple Photos tho, it feels better/easier

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Like you these days I take most of my photos with my iPhone (X). “The best camera is the one you have with you” approach. I do have a DSLR which I will take/use when I feel the need (usually for very low light or long telephoto shots). Like you I loved Aperture and even though I can’t use it any more I still like it much better than Lightroom (I have Adobe CC). About a year ago I tried switch to LR again but it just didn’t stick. Having yet another storage method and cloud service is complexity I personally don’t feel is justified.

Since I take most photos with an iPhone I import DSLR shots into Photos/iCloud. I will use Photoshop or LR to edit if necessary. Having everything in iCloud enables me to do powerful searches on the content going back far in time (I think I have about 15 years back in iCloud now). With the exception of the rare imports from my DSLR this all happens without me lifting a finger. I export all photos I have fave’d to my NAS - not so much for backup as a way to share, use in screen savers across devices, etc. I find I often want to look for an old photo based on location, person, object etc. and it is just so easy with the iCloud apps. Need a picture of my dog from 5 years ago - snap. Need to remember which beach we were at last time we were in Pensacola - snap. And so on.

If Adobe was truly integrated with Apple’s ecosystem I might use their apps instead. But it’s not and I’m not a wedding photographer or etc so the features generally aren’t worth the trouble to me. But of course it really depends on each person’s needs and preferences.

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I’m in the same boat. Google’s AI is pretty smart and you can search for Dog and it can find all the pictures with dogs in them. Plus, it’s free and unlimited!

A couple of years ago I migrated from 100% DSLR to 95% iPhone 7+ (6+ back then) shooting RAW with either Camera+ or ProCam.
Most of my post-processing is done in Photoshop CC for Mac, with just a tiny percentage being done
on-phone in PS Express, Photoshop Fix, Pixelmator, and/or Snapseed.

Private photos are stored in iCloud (through Photos), all others are stored in a specific folder in iCloud\Documents\

I use Photos because I only take family pictures and use iCloud sharing constantly. Most of my editing needs are also now covered by the tools in Photos (I only shot using iPhone). On the rare occasion when I need to do anything more advanced, I use Affinity Photo, usually on the iPad.

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I take a lot of pictures with my DSLR as well as my iPhone X. I manage the iPhone pictures in Photos and DSLR pictures in Lightroom.

DSLR Pictures: I import the pictures into Lightroom and edit them. If I want to share a specific event with friends and family (most of them are in the Apple ecosystem) I export the best ones to Photos and create and album to share.

iPhoneX Pictures: I don’t have the iCloud Library turned on but all my iPhone pictures sync to Photos on my computer. I have smart folders set up to automatically organize them by year.

Storage: The lightroom pictures are on an external drive with the following two forms of backup:

  1. Daily 3:00 a.m. backup to an external backup drive using Chronosync.

  2. Monthly offline back up to another external drive. I have set a reminder for this and do a manual backup using Chronosync. I keep this drive offline and in a different location from my computer.

The iPhone pictures on Photos remain on my MacBook Pro (500GB) and get backed up to a Time Capsule, the daily 3:00 a.m. backup and the monthly offline backup.

I take all my photos with my iPhone 8+ and use a combo of iCloud and Microsoft Onedrive to backup my photos! I’ve tried Google Photos in the past but I’ve been shying away from using Google services to maintain my privacy more!

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Manage photos? You mean that can be done?

I just use Photos to corral things. I don’t do much with albums or any other means of sorting. I probably should do more, but it’s a low priority right now. I get bored quickly with tedious tasks. The Photos library gets backed up to Time Machine and Backblaze. I need to get cracking on a mirror backup method again, but I can’t find my Carbon Copy Cloner registration code. :expressionless:

I am an enthusiastic and unskilled iPhone photographer. I use Photos with Google Photos for redundancy.

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I use Photos to stored and edited (supported with Photo shop elements 15) on my 2017 iMac. Photos are taken with my Sony RX100M3, iPhone and DSLR Pentax K5. Backups using CCC to my brother iMac, he lives who lives 100 miles away…4 attached USB HDD, WD MyCloud…Google and Amazon photo back-up , Apple Time Capsule and for good measure iCloud. Seems to work :rofl:.

Loving the new forum.

I’m still using Aperture, and will continue until it stops running. All images are “referenced” and stored in folder hierarchies by date and event. Then I export processed images into a folder hierarchy on the server system, sorted by location (mostly landscapes) or event (everything else). Then the photos are viewed by various means. I’ve primarily used Google for public display, although some photos are on my website. Sharing photo files with my family has been done using Resilio Sync shared folders.

I don’t like storing photos in databases. I much prefer the security (?) of file system folders.

Lightroom all the way for me. Started using it during betas prior to v1.0. Importing from DSLR and iOS devices. Love how it supports splitting the library across multiple storage devices, so I can keep the most recent years on local drive and older photos on the Synology. iMac is backed up to a local USB attached drive and the Synology is backed up to Amazon Glacier - very good value for this use case.

Using the CC Classic in Photographer Bundle. As for cost, I recon it is still way cheaper than the time I was buying film, getting the rolls developed and put into albums. Also, SO much more convenient and flexible.


Which OS are you using it with? I invested heavily in Aperture but stopped shortly after they announced it was discontinued.

Does anyone use Mylio?

I gave up trying to manage mine a while ago and let icoukd photo library do it for me.

Thanks all for the countless examples and suggestions. I think in thinking about this I need to do a couple things. One is to evaluate my usage or lack of with Lightroom. I also need to take a look at how Lightroom CC stores files. I’ll do some more digging but hopefully, I’ll arrive at a solution in the coming weeks. This could also coincide with my changing storage needs and maybe buying a NAS or larger external HD.

I’m shocked @dfay is still using Aperture especially because I’d imagine compatibility with certain files might be iffy.

I like @Noerah’s backup solutions. @ronguest’s thoughts on the matter are rather well put and could mirror my own thoughts as well. The design and power of search even within iCloud Photos are fantastic. @OogieM’s backup stuff is also interesting as I too am thinking of taking on a scanning project of family photos and Lightroom might be the best to use to manage them in a separate library.