I have been pondering a lot for the best possible workflow and automation to deal with my and my families photos. Moving off iPhoto was an essential step and I found a relative simple way to get years worth of images out of it and filed into Dropbox by year & month.

What I have realised, however, is that iCloud and in particular (shared) Photo Streams come in handy if you want the most recent photos with you on your iPhone or iPad to show around (offline if required) or simply do a photo evening with the kids in front of the TV via AppleTV. Hence I had to integrate iPhoto back into my workflow, but without making it the centre piece of it.

Photo-Workflow

Now this is what I call a workflow and here is how it works.

We use the same Dropbox account on all devices, but even with different ones and some more Hazel magic you’ll be able to make this work.

Importing images (blue lines)

  1. All our iOS devices are using the native Dropbox app to upload the images from the respective camera roll into the ‘Camera Uploads’ folder.
  2. Images from our Point-and-Shoot are imported via one of our MacBook Airs and also find their way into the ‘Camera Uploads’ folder.

Editing and filing (orange lines)

  1. Now at anytime, best done once a month, my wife or I can review the images in the ‘Camera Uploads’ folder, delete some of them, keep the best and refine them with Flare, Snapseed or Pixelmator.
  2. Once we are happy with the individual image we give it a good name and move it to the ‘Ready for Filing’ folder
  3. As described in my earlier post Hazel will pick the images up from this folder and file them by year and month into a specific directory hierarchy on Dropbox

Distribution (green lines)

photostream-ios-setting

  1. Once the final images are back on Dropbox obviously all devices connected have them accessible, albeit iOS device only online/on demand.
  2. But to get them back onto iCloud for Photo Streams shared to all devices Hazel will work on my wife’s MacBook Air and import all new images (if not matched/imported previously and taken in the last 12 month) into iPhoto
  3. In iPhoto a Smart Album is used to create a Photo Stream for images taken in the last 12 months
  4. Finally all devices (some of them using the same and some using different iCloud accounts) have always the latest files available for (offline) viewing pleasure.
  5. I also created a Smart Album for images older than 12 months in iPhoto so I can easily purge them since they are still in the centre archive on Dropbox.

Kinda nuts. I know.

If Dropbox on iOS would allow marking of folders as favourites and you would not have an AppleTV, you could go without the Photo Streams. But at present this is not an option, unfortunately.