Breaking Photo Library into multiple libraries

(Lynda Cook) #1

My Photo Library has grown to a point that it’s very hard to manage (58k). I’d like to break it into 3 separate libraries. I plan on downloading your photos book, but want to know if there are significant changes in the upcoming OS 12. I don’t want to start something that will have changes in the middle.

(Al Varnell) #2

Nothing is locked into macOS 12 yet. I don’t recall anything being mentioned at WWDC18 concerning such a feature nor read any rumors, but wasn’t really looking in that area. Anybody with information beyond what has been announced by Apple won’t be able to comment due to NDA. If you aren’t willing to take a chance, then you will need to wait until Fall to be certain.

(Tommy Weir) #3

I don’t know how well breaking an existing Library into smaller ones will go but you can have multiple Photos libraries relatively easily.

Holding down Option (Alt) while clicking on the Photos app icon will prompt you to either create a new library or choose an existing one.

You can’t have two Libraries open at the same time obviously so no dragging between them. Even Show Package Contents on your existing library might present issues if they’ve all migrated to iCloud, might not be all entirely present. It looks like you’d have to export in bulk, prompting a download of originals, and then switch libraries and import into the new library, then go back and delete from the old library once you’ve checked all are in.

58k images in Photos is a lot for that app I think. Other DAMs are pro level and non-trivial to explore, and quite pricey whether standalone or subscription. I have been waiting for Luminar to provide this at a reasonable cost, long promised, so I can recommend it to folks.

(Alan Forkosh) #4

I think that using an export process may lose some metadata and would require reconstruction of things of virtual structures like albums, I think a better procedure is to duplicate the old library and then delete the photos that are unwanted from the new album. Obviously, you need enough space to do this, but hard drives are relatively cheap these days.

(Alan Forkosh) #5

One additional note:
Deletions don’t actually delete items immediately. Normally deleted items hang around for 30 days. However, you can force items to be deleted immediately by opening the Recently Deleted item from the librarian clicking ‘Delete All’.

(Neil Laubenthal) #6

Speaking of libraries and photo management…I’m looking forward to the release of DAM features with Luminar. I’m currently on the Adobe Photo plan for 10 bucks a month to use Lightroom and Photoshop…but since I own Pixelmator Pro already and rarely use PS…if Luminar works as an asset manager…and will import from Lightroom it might be worthwhile as I generally don’t like subscription software since if you stop paying it stops working.

(Lynda Cook) #7

I was hoping something had been released that I missed. Good input on losing metadata. I might duplicate the file as suggested then separate the photos.
Thanks for the feedback.

(Josh Centers) #8

What do you mean by very hard to manage? More photos than you can process? Takes too long to sync? I don’t recommend splitting your library unless you have a good reason, especially if you use iCloud Photo Library. iOS 12 offers a few important changes in Photos—the Memories screen is now called For You and combines some other features, the Albums screen has been redesigned, and there’s a new Search screen along with a much better search function.

If your problem is just finding your photos, you may either want to wait for the new operating systems, which will help reveal old photos in various ways, or consider Google Photos, which has incredible photo search and a number of features to help surface photos.

(Lynda Cook) #9

Besides my family photos( which go back to the 1800s), I have thousand of photos supporting my genealogical research. These are the ones I’d like to move to a different library, and meta data isn’t a big deal for these. I do use iCloud and don’t want to screw it up. I also have Google photos.

(gastropod) #10

Lynda Cook wrote: “Good input on losing metadata.”

Take a look at PowerPhotos, the Photos incarnation of iPhoto Library Manager, $30 for the pair.

It can move much (though not all) of the metadata between libraries. I haven’t used it, but several of my users have split up or merged iPhotos libraries successfully with iPhotoLM. Apparently the hooks into Photos are more sparse than for iPhoto, so it can’t do as much. But it may be the easiest solution, and it would let you move things around later if you decide the first split wasn’t what you needed.

Cloud implications I don’t know about though. My experience of ‘cloud’ with or without an ‘i’ has been uniformly poor–I don’t do clouds, but some of my users do, and sorting out problems is far worse than if no clouds are involved. And yes, I do have skewed data…

(Tommy Weir) #11

If it’s research I would imagine that a different approach might be more useful. It’s less about correction and adjustment and more about organising and adding data. Have you considered DEVONthink Pro Office?

(Lynda Cook) #12

Thanks for the info about PowerPhotos. For years I used iPhoto Library Manager, but when Apple started screwing around with the photos apps, it quit working and I didn’t realize it had been recreated. It might do what I need, but will have to research what impact it will have on my cloud storage.

(Greg Scarich) #13

Someone is confused and it may be me. macOS is at 10 now and iOS is at 11, so presumably the OP is talking about iOS but libraries only exist on macOS, so guess we’re talking about macOS. Beta is out so you could give it a try. 58k photos is not a lot, but depending on the computer it can be slow. It’s too many for my 2013 MBP. I’m with Josh Centers, multiple libraries are a pain. If you could have more than one open at a time (like files in most apps), it wouldn’t be so bad. It’s really hard to decide what belongs in each. I have the genealogy issue too and some of those people are alive so which library do things belong in. I don’t think iCloud deals with multiple libraries very well; for sure only one can be linked as the System Library. You can’t merge and export libraries like you could with Aperture—not sure how iPhotos handled this. If you use Faces I’m pretty sure you can’t export files and have that info come across, although you can keyword all photos with the person’s name before exporting. I just moved everything from Aperture to Photos but have libraries split and it’s a nuisance (mainly for space reasons—I want current photos on my SSD and therefore have to have older libraries on external drive). If I decide to stay serious about managing photos I’ll have a good look at Luminar’s DAM. I miss Aperture. Good luck.

(Lynda Cook) #14

When I just did the latest Luminar update, there was an indication that the DAM might be released this year. I’ll hold off until after 12 and the next release of Luminar are released and see what happens.

(Greg Scarich) #15

If you already own Luminar, definitely as it takes a lot of time to adjust to a new photo organizer/editor. People are hoping for an Aperture replacement which had a good DAM, and lots of other capabilities.

(gastropod) #16

Lynda Cook wrote: “I’ll hold off until after 12 and the next release of Luminar are released”

Yeah, I’m holding my breath on Luminar too; I’m still using Aperture. I abhor Photos and Adobe anything, so the only thing I could move to is Capture One at $300 (I’ve tried the others I could find out about such as Darktable without liking them). But at least it would import my Aperture libraries and preserve the edits pretty well. Plus I could configure a (mostly) light interface in C1, which would be a big win since dark interfaces are an anti-accessibility abomination.

Here’s hoping for luck for all of us…