Dropbox + Carousel = Best in Photo Storage Management
Set it and Forget it
An Auto-Pilot Photo Storage and Back-up System
The photo chaos quickly overwhelms every storage method I ever tried. But my discovery of a Dropbox add-on app, called Carousel, has allowed me to win big, in the battle against digital mayhem.
Have a phone with a camera,
Have friends or family who have phones with cameras,
Have an extra camera (or two) besides your smartphone, then...
You will find these tools very helpful in managing your digital collection of photos.
Take a look at the stats on the sheer volume of daily digital photo uploads by Casey Newton, written on The Verge:
"Photos are some of the most important files you’ll ever create. We’re taking more photos than ever — an estimated 900 billion photos will be uploaded to the web this year. And billions more live on our camera rolls, waiting for us to back them up, erase them, or — amazingly — simply discard them when we give up and buy a new phone. I’m losing count of the people who tell me that they can’t take any more photos because their smartphones are out of storage space."
After a long and thorough search for a process that would work on auto-pilot, I finally found one. If you have thousands of photos (or more) then this system will feel like a miracle process for you. It gives me so much relief, not to mention the space it saves me on my computer, tablet and phone - because of cloud technology.
It starts with Dropbox.
I’ve been using Dropbox for years as reliable cloud storage, to keep my computer free of folders and files I couldn’t part with, and delete. Yet, they were rarely, if ever, accessed, and I didn’t need them residing on my hard drive, taking up valuable space. Dropbox now has over 300 million users, and are considered as one of the Top Guns in the online storage space. It’s highly unlikely they’re going anywhere. The service has been around since 2007. For me, they’ve been extremely reliable, while continuously improving their upload speed and functionality, and adding sync features through desktop and mobile apps.
The Dropbox app is also available for tablets and phones. Once you use it, is indispensible. Such a great app for locating, sharing and storing files from your computer for 24/7 access from any device. I love the app. It’s running in the background on my computer whenever I’m online to back up and sync all files that I use on my hard drive. Those that I’ve chosen to only view on dropbox are easily accessed through the dropbox icon which is in the upper or lower function bars, depending upon if you’re an Apple or PC user.
Dropbox offers free accounts, with 2GB of space to get started. It's an impressive amount of storage for the average user, but those who take innumerable videos and photos will use up quite a bit of space, depending on how much you use your camera(s). Most will increase their storage at some point. I've used them for over 5 years so I pay for several terabytes of storage on the annual plan. You can check into their very affordable pricing here. Also, for referrals, Dropbox will add storage to your plan, and every gigabyte helps!
Dropbox is a solid contender in the storage and back-up arena, and even if their service (for everyday file storage) isn’t warranted, there is a trust factor in knowing that your image assets will be well protected and preserved.
Then Dropbox added the icing on the cake!
The CAROUSEL app
There are dozens of apps in the automatic upload-from-your-device space… in fact, I saw an ad for one I’ve never heard of, just yesterday. But that bugs me. Because, there is no assurance that their service will be around in a few years. All too many apps have come, and gone, in this saga. It’s such a good feeling to have ALL photos, from all devices backed up and available through Carousel, automatically. Once you set it, you really forget it. However, it also depends on the settings you choose. I chose to have photos from my phone and tablet upload only when I’m on wi-fi and open the app. This keeps the service from draining my battery, and my data plan.
For the photos I import and process from my Nikon - I simply export the final images to a folder that resides on my hard drive, and automatically syncs to Dropbox (and Carousel). What a huge time-saver. When I no longer need immediate access to that “event” (i.e., a vacation trip), I choose to un-sync it from my hard drive and be accessible only through Dropbox. Yet, I can designate that vacation event folder to be an album, from within Dropbox, and it’s always accessible through the Carousel app, which is on both my phone and tablet.
For the photo-buffs reading, my raw imports from my camera all reside on external hard drive(s), which are backed up 2 ways — by Apple’s time machine and to Backblaze (an automatic cloud storage service). Once I set it up - it’s all automated. Unless I’m traveling, there are 2 external drives plugged into my computer at all times.
Once you set up your Dropbox account - you will have access to their sister app, Carousel. You'll see it displayed, whenever you're logged into your Dropbox account.
These 2 apps work beautifully - together - to back up, store (in full resolution), and display your photos and videos for endless viewing (on any device) as well.
This is an example of how video and photos display, using the Carousel app, on my phone.
Carousel also includes a flashback feature.
Flashback provides notification that photos from one, two and three years ago, are featured each day. It’s a great way to look back on what took place by viewing images we usually forget about, or would ordinarily delete from our phone due to lack of storage space. It’s easy to use the unproductive moments of the day to simply delete the photos that reside on your phone to free up space. The photos no longer take up storage on your phone, because every single image that you've allowed to sync, is available on the Carousel app - on any device.
One of my fav features is the timeline function provided in the app to easily scroll back in time, quickly, without having to swipe through the images forever. In addition, it’s effortless to create an album from your computer or device, and use the albums for quick event viewing as well. This application is well thought through, and I’m quite certain that Dropbox will continue to enhance this service, to stay at the top of the file-storage and photo-backup game.
Steps for Getting Started:
1 | Create your Dropbox account.
2 | Create any "Master Folders" you want to designate for photos, if you have pictures you take with cameras other than your phone or tablet. (It's better to keep real camera pictures separate from phone/tablet pictures).
3 | Download the Dropbox app to your computer, and all devices.
4 | Download the Carousel app to all mobile devices.
Carousel is accessible on computer through the Dropbox application - or by browser. As a Mac user - I installed the Dropbox application, and have it automatically syncing “real camera" photos on auto-pilot, as they are uploaded direct from my camera, or from editing software.
Dropbox stores the photos - which are available 24/7 through their both of their mobile apps or via browser.
Carousel automatically uploads ALL photos taken with, or saved to, your phone or tablet. They are stored in the "Camera Uploads" folder and displayed in the fabulous timeline on Carousel.
NOTE: Set the mobile apps to upload and sync on wi-if (only) so as not to use up valuable cellular data.
The key is to open the Carousel app every dew days on each mobile device (when on wi-fi) to give the app the opportunity to sync.
- The app always works in the background 24/7, to store and back-up photos, securely, in Dropbox automatically.
- All photos are categorized in timeline fashion for viewing on Carousel.
- It’s easy to locate photos from the past, using the built in timeline wheel function.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to post in the comments and I’ll answer any that I can. The Dropbox and Carousel duo are tops in my book, and save me countless hours of organizing and maneuvering a gazillion photos on various devices. The space you save, without thousands of pictures and videos stored on your phone or tablet — well, that’s priceless.
Until next time...