Have you ever lost your collection of photos because of a problem with your computer or backup hard drive? It’s one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you. All that time spent taking great photos, downloading to your computer, organizing and arranging into albums, tagging with people, places and events… gone. Never to come back.
All those captured memories…. lost.
There are a few online photo cataloging applications, but most of us are using traditional desktop applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Picasa, iPhoto or any other of a thousand applications.
Here, I will show you how you can set up iPhoto to store all your photos in the Cloud AND on your computer. This means you can continue to use iPhoto like you always have while having your photos, and any changes you make to them, safely backed up… all the time.
1. Get a Dropbox Account
The first thing you’ll want to do is get a Dropbox account. If you have only very few photos, you can get the free 2GB account. Otherwise, I’d recommend going with the 50GB account or higher. If you’re not sure how much you need, open Finder and then Pictures. Click on “iPhoto Library” then on the cog, select “Get Info”. It might take a few seconds, but you’ll end up seeing the pop-up below. Look at the “Size” field. This is how much space your photos are taking up. Your Dropbox account has to be bigger than this.
Once you’ve got Dropbox installed, it’s time to move your iPhoto Library over to it. First, make sure iPhoto is shut down. Then, go back to the Finder window where you had the iPhoto Library. Open your Dropbox folder in a new Finder window (CMD+N). Then, simply drag your iPhoto Library into your Dropbox folder somewhere. I’d recommend putting it inside the Photos folder. As soon as it starts to move, the Dropbox icon in your menu bar will start spinning, indicating that things are either being uploaded or downloaded – in this case, it’s your photos and iPhoto setup that are being uploaded.
3. Launch iPhoto
Finally, simply double-click on the iPhoto Library icon you just moved. This will open iPhoto and it will automatically know and remember where all your photos now live. From then on, you can simply use iPhoto as normal (by launching from the dock or applications folder) and it will use the photos you’ve added to your Dropbox.
Now, when you add new photos to iPhoto, make changes to existing photos, or organize them, it will all be automatically backed up to Dropbox. Dropbox uses Amazon’s S3 storage platform. Basically that means that it’s very safe and very secure. Your precious photos are being stored on one of the biggest providers in the world.
Should you’re computer crash in the future, you simply get a new Mac, install Dropbox and then all your photos (in the iPhoto Library) will magically appear on your computer. Then, just launch iPhoto by double-clicking on the iPhoto Library folder icon (like you did earlier).
And, if you want to do even more with iPhoto, check out this great guide from Michael Grothaus available on Amazon.