Commercial photo sharing/backing up?
October 4, 2006 9:40 AM   Subscribe

What's the best solution for sharing, backing up, and uploading large amounts of photos for my work?

I work at a large non-profit, and we have large amounts (15 gigs now, and growing, probably at least that amount per year) of photos (jpeg, cr2) that don't have a coherent storage or backup strategy. I've been tasked with coming up with the storage solution. We need to be able to upload batches of photos into folders or by tags, and have several users look through them quickly and easily. I'd like to have two users at least; one for me, one for anyone else (more would be nice). They're all commercial photos we took, used for commercial purposes, so flickr's out.

We have a lot of amateur photographers in the company that might take fine photos, but aren't good at determining what the quality or useful shots are, so I need to be able to upload lots and sift through them later. They're on my hard drive now, and it's easy to look through the thousands quickly using Picasa; I'd like a solution for browsing that's similarly fast and easy. Cheap is also good; I'd rather not spend too many hundreds of dollars on the solution.

I've considered setting up space on a shared drive, but IT is concerned about the backup schedule and don't want to have the responsibility on their plates. Also, since I want to share photos and give people upload access across several worksites all over my city, a web site with an upload/browsing tool would be great. I don't want to share with anyone outside the company. I'd like a solution that could last us at least the next two years.

Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks!
posted by Pacrand to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was in a similar position recently and went the web server route using the Coppermine image library.

It runs on MySQL and PHP, neither of which I am particularly great with, but following the instructions I didn't have any trouble.

It's easy to add lots of metadata to the images, and is fully searchable and browsable by keyword. It can be a little clunky at times but has the great advantage of being free.

Admittedly, this doesn't solve your backup problems.
posted by ganseki at 9:49 AM on October 4, 2006

Sounds like you are looking for 1) a Digital Asset Management product which works well with 2) a backup product/solution. I had looked at Canto Cumulus (they made a personal edition a few yeas ago) but now their website is one of those "contact a sales rep for pricing" which doesn't say "cheap" to me. I don't know if iView MediaPro supports multiple users, but I have heard good things about it as a product. It has some backup features built-in, according to their site.

The key to a good backup solution seems to me that the metadata/database produced by whatever DAM product you select is A) stored on a shared server (as opposed to an end-user product like ACDSee which stores its database locally, even if the assets themselves are on a shared drive) and B) implicit in (A) is that the program allows multiple users to share a database (otherwise putting it on a shared drive is of less than no use -- you will just corrupt it or be locked out of it)
posted by misterbrandt at 11:34 AM on October 4, 2006

They're all commercial photos we took, used for commercial purposes, so flickr's out.
I think you should re-consider Flickr. They have extensive privacy options -- you could set your entire account default to "private". If you pay for a pro account ($25/year) you can upload files at the original resolution and then it's Flickr's problem to back them up, not your local IT folks.
posted by santacruz at 3:45 PM on October 4, 2006

Flickr's great, but in their terms they specifically state that it isn't to be used for commercial purposes. Since this has to be approved through my company's red tape, that's out. Thanks, though!
posted by Pacrand at 10:22 AM on October 5, 2006

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