Photo Managment

One of the issues I struggle with is how to manage all of our digital photographs. I really like to have all of my stuff organized and I currently use Photoshop Elements to manage our digital pictures.

The problem I have is that this is installed on our desktop computer (with the BIG hard drive). All of our pictures and digital video are stored, organized, and edited here. However, my wife also likes to have a copy of the pictures, and often downloads them to her computer, and adds her own organization. However, her laptop hard drive won't scale, and I don't really want to have two separate organizational methods.

Ideally, I'd just have her use the desktop computer to download and organize, but I've tried that approach and failed.

I'm not a huge fan up uploading all of these pictures into 'the cloud', aka Flickr, etc. I guess this would work, but I'm concerned about having our own local copies, in original format, etc.

What I really want is to be able to have her run Photoshop Elements on her computer against a shared drive and manipulate the same library. I'm not sure how happy Elements would be if I tried to do this.

Does anyone have any better ideas? What works for you?


  1. Eric,

    If you've got an old machine sitting around, you could use it as a simple fileserver. I installed XP Pro on an older PIII machine with 512MB of RAM and put a larger drive in it. Since the machine doesn't do much more than serve up files, it doesn't need to have much horsepower.

    I created two folders on it -- Music and Photos -- and shared those out "to the world" on out home network.

    Now, any machine on the network can get at pix and music using \\machine\music or \\machine\photos. It works fine with Elements (which my wife uses), CS2 and Lightroom (which I use), as well as iTunes and other apps for music.

    For our photos, that directory has a sub-dir for each year that we have pictures for. Each year directory has 12 sub-dirs for the months... and then within each month, there are multiple "event" folders.

    2006\06\CA Trip
    20006\12\Christmas Eve

    ... you get the idea. It's not perfect and I'll likely look at Windows Home Server before too long, but it's doing the job fairly well for us.

  2. Thanks for the feedback.

    I have a Linux box I have running as a backup server that I copy a backup copy of all my media files to (rsync). This stuff is actually already shared.

    You and your wife use different tools to manage the pictures, which is part of what I wanted to avoid (although maybe you have the right idea! :) ).

    I guess my question is, what would happen if I had two programs accessing a single Elements library file. I assume as long as they both don't open it at the same time it should work. Would be nice to know if someone did have it working before I go through the effort though (I'd have to remap where the pictures are in the library file).