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Your Photography Everywhere You Are

It was May 30, 1985 when Philips introduced the first universal remote control under the Magnavox brand name. It was the solution to an entertainment problem: What do you do with a stereo, a television and a VCR you have to control with three separate remotes? Home theater buffs rejoiced when they could finally rely on just one remote to do it all.

Flash forward to August 18, 2011 – and people need a solution to their personal device problem: What do you do when you’ve got a laptop, a tablet device and a smartphone – three separate places where photos are stored?

Recently, we asked our Facebook fans that same question. Over 150 fans commented and shared their secrets to keeping it all straight…

Viggo Tellefsen Wivestad says: Lots of folders in lots of places!

Gail Browne says: photos in 3 places, laptop, external hard drive and disc – Lightroom

Brandon Hamilton says:  i keep four copies of every photo i edit and chose for posting. 1 on an external drive, 1 on a second external drive, 1 on my mac, and 1 online on flickr. oh and i dump all the files as is on an external drive so 5 copies…. and some i print out.

Tamara S. Badlands says: Devices fail & I’ve learned the hard way unless you have a copy of it elsewhere you’re in trouble..on each backup (separate partition > external drive> DVD), under each year is a document file that contains a list I update as I add new photos & a screen shot of the year in list format.) One cannot be ever be too lesson was learned AFTER I lost family wedding photographs.

Kathy Hagen says: Have a computer strictly for photo work. All my photos are backed up on that computer which is backed up to an external hard drive once a week. All devices (iPhone, iPad, and multiple cameras) are downloaded onto said computer once a week.

We suspected these challenges existed, but it was good to read through all the responses and hear about the issues firsthand. Keeping track of photos across multiple devices is complicated, requiring either some advance planning or an extremely disciplined routine.

After reviewing the first wave of comments, the team was even more curious about how many photos people are actually dealing with. In a follow up post, we asked Facebook fans to tell us if they’ve pushed the limits of their smartphone or tablet device’s storage space, and if so, what kinds of workarounds they’ve come up with. More than 900 fans “Liked” this post (likely empathizing with storage limitations!) and over 100 thoughtfully commented on their creative solutions…

Arash Nabi says: External HD and a copy in Flickr :)

Robert Vitale says: Dump it and start anew!

Alida Latham says: Everything gets downloaded and put into Lightroom, just like everything else! All photos treated equally, regardless of their origin!

Bertrand Leonard says: Less used items are transferred onto a portable HD then space is available for new ones. Really, it’s a vicious circle because when manufacturers upgrade memory sizes, the software also upgrade production’s quality and file sizes. So the more we use the less we can have, this space problem might never end… Unless?

Celeste Squires Barker says: I upload photos I want to keep to Facebook, and then delete them from my mobile phone.

Christopher Byron says: Mhmm, I moved a good amount of photos to a DropBox account to keep my iPhone nice ‘n roomy. Also is nice because it keeps all of my devises linked, including the iPad and Laptop.

Adam Hede says:  Yes, I have encounter problems on the iPad, due to the resolution. But the solution is pretty simple :b delete a movie or two and I can fit about 200 pictures more! But yes, the solution is really to be picky with the storage ):

When it comes to your photos, you don’t want to have to worry about space issues or deleting any files! For many, it’s second nature to use your smartphone to capture spontaneous moments, just as you would a point and shoot. Have you ever been at a family gathering, a party or on vacation and before you know it, you’ve snapped hundreds of photos with your phone? What do you do when you want to edit them at home on a laptop or move them over to your tablet device to share? Yes – it’s okay to cringe. For those who’ve been there, it’s not easy and can be a very tedious process.

We realize life doesn’t just exist on the desktop. You need a simple, convenient and – most of all, fun – way for your photography to be everywhere you are.  Imagine if you could access all the photos you’ve stored on your laptop, tablet device and smartphone, without having to deal with manually syncing all your devices or working around the storage limits of each device. No matter which device is in your hand you see your entire photo library. So those hundreds of photos you took while touring through Italy with your smartphone would also appear in the library on your tablet device and at home on your laptop…just like that.

At Adobe, we’re exploring solutions to get you there. And it should come as no surprise that we will also leverage the power of Photoshop editing technology for quick fixes along the way.

Just as the universal remote control was celebrated for taking three remotes down to a single control, we’re examining ways to take the photos you have on all three devices down to a single library – making photo storage, editing and sharing seamless from wherever you are.

We appreciate your input as the team is hard at work behind the scenes…more updates, coming soon!


i’m running the icloud beta and this has solved all my problems, 5g of on-line storage for free from apple and my phone and ipad and mac’s all sink with it with out me having to do anything. what more could you ask for? other than more room and that you can pay for :)

For me, everything marches steadily towards my Lightroom library- one drive and one library to rule them all :) I might end up with photos across a couple of devices – DSLR, phone, compact camera etc, but they all end up in that one library. The Library HD gets backed up to a drive I keep off-site.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Do you have any time frame of delivering such a solution? I am anxiously waiting. Right now a cloud seems to be the best option. Thanks for posting.

Just can’t wait. My pictures library is 300gb big plus loads of photos on iphone

Whoever comes up with a good and easily manageable solution to the problem om how to organise, save, keep track of and update photos across multiple platforms, devices, formats and years will have laid a very golden egg indeed. What makes photos different and a special challenge is that they sometimes take up a lot of space (depending on your camera, each of my RAW files are normally about 15 MB) and that they don’t contain searchable text.
As a hobby photographer I think it is important to keep editing and storing regularly and avoid running up backlogs.
Crucial, too, is to have a system that you stick to fairly strictly, so that you can retrace your work and refind your photos whenever needed. Myself I have a folder system with separate sub-folders for edited files. I use it for photos from my two cameras and my iPhone (a photo is a photo) and also my videos (I make very few). I try to be good at deleting as many RAW files as possible, but sometimes this is painful.
Once a year I transfer last year’s production to an external drive, so as to keep history and present separate. When doing this I make yet another effort to delete un-needed photos.
My system is far from perfect, but it is the best I have managed to come up with, I look forward to the day when the perfect filing solution is presented.

    There is only one perfect filing system, it is called the bin, it does exactly what you want it to do, the next best one is about 5 feet high and has draws in it. Computers are monsters that love duplicating things and losing other things.. If ever you find the perfect system, please please please let me know :-)

First, I would like to see a common interface among PS, Bridge and LR. Second, I would like to see the same catalog between LR and Bridge. Third, same nondestructive “editing” in PS as in LR.

All in all, seamless transition during my workflow among all the applications and consistent storage model. Delta files should be implemented on Ps like Lr.

Once those are in place, it would seem that a common approach to image storage could achieved in a more consistent manner.


I’m an image junkie, but I’m also a techno-dinosaur. I have nearly 11,000 images that go back to 1945. I have absolutely no idea how many replications exist; nor am I able to identify where they all are. I have a 0.5T external supporting my home network (WIN desktop, laptop, an ipad and an iMAC. As technology advances, I upgrade storage, recently adding an iOmega for the IMAC time machine. My biggest problem is sorting. I can’t figure out where the original time stamp is manipulated, but images almost never respond to Date sorting. i master file by year, sub-sorted by genre, etc. At the end of the day, I still spend way to much time managing and way too little with enhancement. who has the silver bullet?

Use Dropbox and all your computers, iPads, iPhone etc all get updated automatically as everything is saved online.

Nice post.. :) I have the same problem too..
Maybe you can give me some tips for my blog :)

I was a big dropbox user for linking all my content between devices until i lost trust in the security of it all. Currently testing ways to simply encrypt my data before it hits dropbox.

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