How to automatically export photos from Photos?
February 27, 2018 7:22 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be moving to a NAS (probably a Synology DS218+) in the near future to use for backups/cloud storage. One thing I can't figure out is how to best back-up my photos.

All Mac household, with my wife and I each having a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. The phones are our primary cameras and each has a photo stream set up so that photos are automatically imported into Photos (the Mac app). I know I can just back up the libraries, but my ideal end-state is a single folder tree on the NAS where photos from both Macs are organized by date taken. What I can't figure out is how to get from point A to point B in any sort of efficient and unobtrusive way. Any suggestions?
posted by noneuclidean to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have seen similar backup workflows using Hazel; there are almost certainly free tools that will do this but Hazel is rock-solid and dependable.
posted by bcwinters at 7:42 PM on February 27, 2018

This may be an obtuse answer, but rather than back up the libraries, I go through the Photos application on the Mac, select all, then select File -> Export > Export Unmodified Original for X items. Once exported I delete them from the Photos cloud.

This at least gets the full quality files out of the library into a folder (dragging and dropping from Photos makes compressed copies) and you could run an AppleScript or something to sort them by date created.
posted by ticktickatick at 9:16 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

You should be able to do rsync to the Synology NAS. Set up a cron job and you are done. You'll have to make sure that the file names don't conflict. You can stick a timestamp at the end of the filename and trust to luck, you can put your name or your wife's name at the end for more safety, or you can rsync them to different sub-folders.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:44 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you are comfortable in the Terminal, you can use the `rsync` command on both Macs to push up your photos to a shared directory on the NAS.

If you right-click your Photos library, it offers to "show contents" (I think). Inside the bundle, there's a folder named Masters that holds all of your originals (in a year->month->day->sync structure). You can use that path as the input to the rsync command...but I believe it will try to replicate the folder structure on the target (i.e., the NAS), which could be ugly. If you can discipline yourself to do tickticktick's method of exporting pictures after each import, then rsync will dump them into one giant directory. Your Synology and/or your Macs might starts to struggle when the directory contains a lot of files; be warned.

(Yes, I am fighting this fight, too!)

Synology has a photos application but I don't dare use it, based on how sucky their music app is. :7)

There's also cloud services you could use, but if you've got separate Amazon usernames then you can't mingle pictures under a shared Prime account, and separate Google accounts mean your pictures will never be pooled. Verizon owns Flickr (via the Yahoo! acquisition), so I am worried about their viability. It's a crummy situation, and I wish there was a good answer!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:26 AM on February 28, 2018

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