Photos Archives - Dropbox In 30 Minutes: The Guide

Dropbox photos in Camera Uploads vs. Google Photos

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A reader recently came across one of my videos on youtube about Dropbox. He wrote:
I have a very specific need and I am struggling to find answers on the internet. Can you please help me. I have a Huawei Mate 9 smart phone with the Dropbox app installed and I have selected the automatic upload setting for Camera uploads. From what I can see there are a number of apps for organizing photos on a smart phone, but this organization does not translate once they have been uploaded into Dropbox. I can organize Dropbox but then I still have unorganized photos on my phone.
Am I right in thinking that by using Google Photos and Google Drive I can have organized photos on my phone synced with ones on my google drive? Is there a way to do this with Dropbox?

Yes, Dropbox has a problem with organizing photos. In earlier editions of the software they tried to create tools to help with this, but Dropbox abandoned them … probably because they were too hard to use or few people wanted to go through the trouble of categorizing them. So basically, it’s just reverse chron in Dropbox Camera Uploads.

Google Drive is integrated with Google Photos, but to be honest with you, I seldom use Google Photos. This blog post, however, says its organizational tools are pretty good, including auto-find features based on image recognition.

In my experience, the iOS Photos app is the best at auto-organizing photos by date, location, and even facial recognition, but obviously for Android users that’s won’t work.

Screenshot of Google Photos:

dropbox photos vs google photos

Dropbox’s Carousel app: The 1-minute review

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Dropbox offers an optional mobile app for iOS and Android called Carousel. As I described in the revised and expanded Dropbox In 30 Minutes, 2nd edition, The Dropbox Carousel app is a great way to view and share the photos stored in your Dropbox account, as well as those stored on your phone’s camera roll.

Once installed, Carousel asks permission to access the settings and content on your Dropbox app. After granting it, Carousel will display thumbnails of all of the photos and videos stored in your Dropbox account, not just those in Camera Uploads. It arranges them on a timeline which you can scroll through using a finger.

The first time you open the app and scroll through your collection, it can be quite a surprise to see photos that you shot or transferred to Dropbox months or years ago. The marketing for Carousel promises “every photo and video is safe forever.”

You can easily distribute photos in your Carousel collection to others. Once you find a set of photos that you want to share, tap the share icon. You’ll be able to select certain photos, and then email them to friends with a short message. Recipients have the option of viewing the thumbnails in the email, or downloading them to the Carousel app installed on their own phones.
Here are two views of the Carousel app. Browsing the timeline is displayed on the left, and the sharing process is shown on the right:

Dropbox Carousel app screenshots for Android

Overall, I think Carousel is a great idea, especially for those Dropbox users who use Camera Uploads a lot. However, I think some of the sharing options could be improved. The obvious target: Carousel integration with Facebook. But even having SMS or MMS support would be cool.

What is Camera Uploads, and how to manage photos in Dropbox

By Blog, Video

If you are new to Dropbox, you may have seen a folder called “Camera Uploads”. What is Camera Uploads? It’s a feature in the Dropbox mobile app that automatically syncs the pictures you take on your smartphone (iPhone, Android, etc.) and automatically uploads them to your Dropbox account. This short blog post and the two videos shows how Camera Uploads works, and how you can manage the storage space and photos in it.

As you can imagine, Camera Uploads takes care of a big problem — syncing photos between your smartphone and PC. It happens wirelessly in the background when the app is turned on, so you don’t even have to think about it.

But Camera Uploads causes a few problems:

  1. The uploaded photos and movies eat up your Dropbox storage space
  2. The photos aren’t organized into albums

The following video and the linked blog post I wrote earlier this year show you how to manage Camera Uploads. The video shows you how to delete photos, either one at a time or in batches. The blog post shows you how to use Dropbox Photos, to organize the pictures in Camera Uploads into albums.

For more information about Dropbox and how to get the most out of the desktop and mobile apps, download the ebook or buy the paperback version of Dropbox In 30 Minutes. For more information about Dropbox, visit Dropbox.com.

Video: Manage the Camera Uploads folder

Blog post: What are Dropbox Photos, and how can they help you organize images?

What are Dropbox Photos, and how can they help you organize images?

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Today I received a notice from Dropbox that I had access to a new feature called Dropbox Photos (also called “Dropbox Albums” in the email announcement I received). What are Dropbox Photos? In a nutshell, they are an easy way to organize images in Dropbox and share them with friends and family members. In this short post, I’ll describe how to use the basic features of Dropbox Photos. There’s a screenshot below which shows the most efficient method of moving images to a Dropbox album that you’ve created.

If you’re a heavy Dropbox user, you probably have hundreds or even thousands of images stored in various folders. I think my case is typical — over the past few years, when people have emailed me photos, I have saved some of them to a special folder I created in Dropbox, so I could transfer them later to iPhoto. I also have Dropbox enabled on an iPod touch, iPad and Android phone, which means that every time I take a photo or create an image using those devices, a copy is saved to Dropbox’s Camera Uploads feature.

The problem: The images are scattered across multiple folders, and it’s hard to find and organize them. Many of the photos have the default file name given to them by the camera or tablet (such as DCN1234.jpg).

Enter Dropbox Photos. The idea is to let people easily select individual or multiple photos stored in a Dropbox account and instantly assign them to albums that you create, such as “Hawaii 2013 Vacation” or “Pictures of Fluffy”. It’s very easy to do. The Dropbox Photos application is built into Dropbox.com, and located at dropbox.com/photos. It apparently shows all of the images in all folders, arranged in thumbnails in reverse-chronological order (e.g., the newest ones on top). To create an album, click the “Create New Album” button to the left. You can then click on individual thumbnails to select the ones that you want to move to the album, and drag them over to the name of the album. They are instantly added to the album.

An even better approach: Click outside of the thumbnails and hold the mouse button down as you drag over multiple thumbnail images. A translucent rectangle will appear, and as it covers the thumbnails, they are highlighted. Once you are done selecting a group of photos, release the mouse, and drag the highlighted images over to the name of the album that you want to drop them in. The screenshot below shows the path of the pointer as 12 images are highlighted and later dragged over to the Dropbox Photos album I created called “Feiwu 2013”:

Dropbox Photos how to select

Once the album has been created, you can select it to view the pictures. To share the album, click the name of the album, and press the blue “Share” button on the top of the browser window. Then, enter email addresses or press the Get Link button to get a link which you can paste into a document, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Dropbox share photos

As described in “Dropbox In 30 Minutes”, shared links are not private — if anyone copies or forwards them, they can be seen by other people you may not know.

While this is a cool feature, and definitely an alternative for users of iPhoto, Picasa, and other online and offline photo applications to worry about, one thing that may keep many people from using it are the limits on storage for free Dropbox accounts, and the relatively hefty cost for upgrading to a paid Dropbox account to handle lots of photos — Dropbox Pro currently costs $10/month, which is a lot more expensive than iPhoto and other desktop applications. On the other hand, the Share feature and automatic synchronization from mobile phones (via Camera Upload) are attractive features for many. We’ll see how it shakes out …