Putting all the pictures you’ve taken into one single digital album may be common sense, but it’s a bit of a drag. Here’s how to do it easily.
Safety, convenience, or obsessive compulsive disorder: there are many reasons to make a single backup copy to the cloud of all the pictures you’ve taken over the years.
Thanks to a multiplatform app like MyShoebox, as well as keeping digital photos from all your machines and your smartphone in one catchy album, you’ll also have a backup copy. All in a few simple steps.
Why save the photos?
Years ago I lost all my photos. It was a tragedy of epic proportions, I suffered intensely for weeks and it still burns me up inside to think back to those painstakingly pixelated memories which all disappeared in a (not so pixelated) puff of smoke.
It was my first digital camera and I took thousands of pictures. I had saved them on my PC and I left to study abroad. While I was away, I continued to take pictures as often as I could and I saved them on my Spanish roommate’s computer.
Then, disaster struck. My friend reinstalled the operating system without telling me and, back home, I found my home computer infected by a virus that had erased all my documents, music, and pictures. I had lost more than a year and a half of photos.
But how do you do it in practice?
The lesson is: make sure you have the best, updated antivirus and, above all, always make a backup copy! But the problem with physical backups is that they too can suffer at the hands of fate, and with all the different devices we now have, all we do is connect and load, connect and load.
Colleagues and friends have often talked about using Dropbox to do automatic synchronization of the photos taken with your smartphone, but for me it wasn’t enough. So I started looking for a solution that works for all devices, and it was then that I came across MyShoebox, an app for PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone that makes backups of all your photos in the cloud – for free and automatically!
How does MyShoebox work?
In general I tend not to trust promises of the miraculous, but after trying it, I was completely won over by this multiplatform application.
Syncing photos was easier than I expected. First thing I did was register for the web app, and then I downloaded the software to my computer. After entering my email and password, I had to choose which folders to synchronize and MyShoebox started to upload photos.
I then downloaded MyShoebox for Android. I entered my credentials in the app, I chose to upload pictures via wifi only rather than with the data connection on my smartphone and the images were uploaded to the cloud.
Et voila, a few hours later I had a timeline with all my photos taken over the last 10 years! A giant album accessible from your desktop but, above all, from your smartphone, wherever you are.
How is my photo collection organized?
MyShoebox’s main function is the ability to organize your photos in chronological order so you can find them easily, but but that’s not all. While this is perhaps the most practical feature, the app also has other sections where you can find photos organized according to other criteria.
Home: Here you’ll find a Timeline menu at the top and another called Explore below. Under the second, you’ll find lines of photos, sorted according to different criteria. Clicking on the first one, Remember when…, you can access your pictures arranged in a random order. This Day in History is a random day of the year in which you took photos and, by defining the date, you can see all the pictures taken on, for example, December 6. The bottom lines will not repeat other days in the past, traceable through the superimposed text that tells you how many days have passed from one date to another.
Timeline: When you sign in to this section there are all the pictures in your life in chronological order.
Events: In this section, the images are grouped by month. If you click on one of these, you see all the photos taken in that month of the year.
Search: Here you can search photos with different filters, such as date, day of the year, timeline of the day, camera (or smartphone) used, location, etc.
Cameras: The photos are divided here by camera used. Again, just click on any photo to see all the ones taken with that machine.
Shared: MyShoebox allows you to create image galleries and then share them with whoever you want, via email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or simply via the link. In addition, you can add friends to the gallery and invite them to upload photos.
Time Travel: Perhaps the most fascinating and original section of MyShoebox. In Top events you can browse your memories year after year, and if you click on a photo you will see all the ones taken that day. Scrolling down the page, however, you have access to a range of statistics about your work as a photographer. You can view the cameras used over time in an intuitive graph, days of the week and the days on which you’ve taken more photos, as well as the years, the months and the seasons when you’ve opened the aperture of your machine most often.
The ideal solution?
I started using MyShoebox to solve a practical problem, i.e. how to store all my photos securely in one place. After loading them all, I started to browse the various functions of the application and rediscovered all those photographs I’d forgotten about, hidden as they were in folders and subfolders of the dark pit that is my hard disk. The benefit was therefore twofold: I made a backup and re-discovered images of months and years past.
Not only that, but the Android app can also review the photos when you’re out and about, and store the ones you’ve just taken securely, without having to connect your smartphone to your PC. In addition, MyShoebox immediately found duplicate photos I had on my Android device and my PC.
Despite all the advantages, MyShoebox has a couple of points against it. These are generally faults where the app falters when we get it wrong, like having a camera with an incorrectly set date – this results in a timeline which doesn’t actually reflect reality. There are others that depend on the application itself. Seeing a random photo, for example, is one of the joys of the app, but not being able to go back to the date it was taken or to other images taken on the same day (to locate the photo) means that the charm of browsing an album is somewhat tarnished.
Also, if you just use the free version, MyShoebox resizes your photos to 0.7 MB with a maximum size of 1280×720 pixels. This means that after a few days of using the trial subscription you’ll probably upgrade to the pro version, because it makes little sense to let the app reduce the pictures, especially if you’re using it as a backup service.
However, after a few months of use, I can declare that overall I’m pretty satisfied with the service. My photos are safe and, above all, I dusted off some memories that were hidden in the depths of my hard drive. Thanks to the app for Android and the sharing options, I then found myself sending photos of old friends via WhatsApp, reminiscing about the good times we had. In short, MyShoebox has become my digital photo album and now I can’t imagine life without it!
What app do you use to take pictures on your smartphone?