Say you have people taking photos and videos you want to get into your gallery. Maybe they’re field workers snapping pics of a job site. Maybe they’re church members having fun at the summer picnic. Maybe it’s you taking vacation photos with your lovely family.
There’s a good chance you’re using a mobile phone. What’s the best way to get those photos and videos into your gallery? Well, you have options:
- Use the browser in your phone to go to your gallery and manually upload the files using the ‘Add assets’ command in Gallery Server.
- Email the media files to yourself and then upload them to the gallery from a desktop computer.
- Plug your phone into your PC with a cable, copy the files over, and upload them to the gallery.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of any of these methods. It feels clunky and like too much work. For my personal gallery, I have it all automated. I use Dropbox and file syncing software to automatically push my camera media files to a server and then let Gallery Server auto-sync them once a day. Every month or two I go through and delete all the junk photos & videos and move the good ones to a permanent location. It’s low maintenance and my media files show up in my gallery without me having to do anything.
Here’s the home page of my personal gallery:
Yeah, I know. I haven’t gotten around to changing the default ‘Welcome to Gallery Server Pro’ message. One of these days. Anyway, there are three top-level albums – images, mobile-r, and video. The mobile-r album contains everything that is currently stored in the gallery of my phone:
Here’s the workflow I use to get these files to that album:
Using Dropbox to upload media files from your phone to your desktop PC is easy. Install the software on each and make sure DropBox on your phone is configured to upload camera pics:
The camera files automatically show up anywhere I have Dropbox installed, such as my desktop PC:
Once the files are on my desktop PC, I use SyncBack to synchronize this directory to the mobile-r directory on the server. I’ve used SyncBack for years and have found it to be powerful and easy to use, a pretty tricky combination to get right. The free version is enough for my needs, but they have a couple higher levels with more features.
I set up a profile in SyncBack to synchronize the two directories. If a file in my Dropbox folder ‘Camera Uploads’ doesn’t exist on the server, it’s copied over. If it’s on the server but not in Dropbox, it’s deleted.
You can see I have two additional profiles that synchronize my photos and videos. Those are the long-term storage locations I periodically copy the camera files to after I’ve deleted the ones I don’t want and make any desired editing changes.
The last step is to configure the gallery to auto-synchronize once a day, found on the Albums – General page in the site admin area:
Now I have a gallery that is continually updated with the latest camera files as well as my master repository of photos and videos. It would be easy to add albums synchronized to additional mobile devices.
Since I have my SyncBack profile and gallery set to synchronize every 24 hours, it can take up to two days for a media file to get into the gallery, longer if my desktop PC happens to be turned off. That’s fine with me. But if I wanted less latency, I could decrease the interval or use one of the commercial versions of SyncBack that automatically runs a profile when a file modification event is detected, like an incoming photo.
Why use SyncBack at all? Why not just use Dropbox to push the files directly to the web server? Well, it’s easy enough to get your Dropbox files on the server, but the only way to get them in your gallery is to point your gallery to the Dropbox camera directory or one of its parents. This is problematic because you lose the ability to include other directories in your gallery. In my case, I want an aggregate of my photos, videos, and mobile phone files in one gallery. Those are three different directories on my PC. I could create a second gallery that points to just the Dropbox camera location. If that works for you, groovy. But I want everything in one gallery. So the best solution is to use SyncBack to push files from their master location to the media objects directory on the web server.
Skip the desktop PC?
What about skipping the desktop PC? That is, use Dropbox to push files to a Dropbox directory on the server, then run Syncback on the server to copy files to the destination. That is perfectly valid and may be the best solution for you. In my case, I already had Dropbox on my desktop PC. This is also where I have my master repository of photos and videos, so it was convenient to set up Syncback to copy from all three locations on my PC to the server.
Plus, it’s also nice to keep the server as lean as possible, and with this architecture I don’t have to install Dropbox or SyncBack on the server.