Photo storage for organizations
February 25, 2016 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good cloud storage solution for organizations? Our non profit is looking for ways to keep thousands of photo organized.

Ideally, we'd like a solution that allows multiple users to upload and download photos organized with folders and tags. Many of our staff and supporters take photos that are useful for our communications work, but it has long been difficult to find the right photos when we need them and to convince people to upload their photos.

Right now, we use Google Drive with a mess of folders that staff sometimes upload their photos in to. There is no tagging in Drive and it is far too easy for someone to create duplicate folders and confuse everyone. Previously, we used Gallery, but it was awkward and is no longer supported. Some photos have also been stored in Basecamp and others uploaded via email to Drive.

What we'd like:
  • Users can upload photos easily, hopefully into folders, and automatically have them shared with everyone.
  • Users can create their own folders/albums.
  • Some sort of tagging system so we can tag photos and find them again. This would also be great to record when credit is needed for a particular photo.
  • Users can't unthinkingly delete their photos or anyone else's (Drive's remove versus delete is constantly confusing for people).
  • Likely to be around for a while (we don't want to be switching systems every few years).
  • If this solution also allowed us to store PSDs, INDDs, PDFs, video, etc., we'd be over the moon.
  • Duplicate matching would also be fantastic, especially if it could rid us of photos stored in multiple resolutions.
  • Simple sharing of images outside the organization would be great. We attach links for photos to press releases and have found that local media get frustrated with Drive, but have no problem if they can just get a bare image via HTTP.
  • We are willing to host something ourselves or pay for a cloud solution. Per use payment is not likely to work well as we have many users with little activity, but per GB payment would be fine.
  • Ideally, we wouldn't have to create new accounts for everyone, i.e. they can sign in with Google credentials.
We know that we won't be able to meet all these needs, but hopefully there is something that will be an improvement over Drive.
posted by ssg to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We just switched over to smugmug for a similar issue. No PDF/INDDs support I think but it does do videos and may do PSDs. You can tag and comment easily without needing to train end-users. You can set up several layers of access - the full admin access, a admin-limited "assistant" access that can do some organising and sorting, access that can download and upload to specific folders easily and access with a password to a single folder that can allow uploads (good for volunteers to upload directly).

The duplicate matching is not great, but we were able to more easily tag duplicates and clear them than in the other solutions with batch editing.

Sharing is good - we have client safety issues so have to be able to block sharing of some folders and allow other folders to be shared, which is nice to be able to do.

People can use it with a password you give them, they don't need to have an account of their own, or they can create their own account.

They give you a short trial that extends, and the rate was something like $40/year for a basic account which was enough for several thousand photos for us to use as an image bank.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:07 AM on February 26, 2016

On a school tech mailing list these were mentioned: (one person is using a paid hosted version)
A few people use Flickr
posted by Sophont at 1:29 PM on February 26, 2016

We just signed up with Tandem Vault. It has almost everything you require except the Google sign in. Although maybe they'll work with you? They're on the smaller side, and I was able to have several long conversations with the ED. She actually had been the photo editor/manager at the Nature Conservancy, started working with Tandem Vault as a vendor, and then starting working there. They are very open about their product roadmap. Our requirements were pretty much identical to yours. We were using Picasa desktop to scan the org's shared network drive, but Picasa is not multi-user at all. The user permissions in TV are very precise and granular.

Downsides: it's a bit pricey, $99 per month. Not sure what your budget is. The good news is that it's based on storage, not users. Google's face tagging and face recognition is just the best period. TV doesn't have face recognition but neither does any other product we looked at. Depending on the size of your org and your bureaucracy level, it might have a little too much going on. But it has waaaay less going on than some of the bigger enterprise-level DAMs that we looked at.

You can do a hassle-free 30-day free trial with no credit card, too.
posted by thebazilist at 9:35 PM on February 26, 2016

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