PhotoStructure is designed to be a safe, permanent home for all your photos and videos.
There are many, many software packages to help manage photos and video libraries.
PhotoStructure is uniquely focused on 🗝️ ownership, ✨ convenience, and 💎 permanence of your library.
🗝️ Ownership #
PhotoStructure is “self-hosted,” which means it only runs on your computer.
PhotoStructure isn’t yet-another cloud-based photo service that will be discontinued, or shut down, or involved in a privacy scandal, or disappear, along with your photo library.
Your photos, videos, and metadata safely stay with you, and always will.
✨ Convenience #
PhotoStructure is designed to be easy to install, and effortless to run.
PhotoStructure runs on most computers #
PhotoStructure doesn’t require any expensive, proprietary hardware. It happily runs on your laptop, desktop, server, network-attached storage, or virtual private server.
We’ve got desktop installers for macOS, Windows 10, and Linux. Server installations, including docker, are supported.
Quick and easy installation #
PhotoStructure’s desktop installation takes less than a minute, and the welcome page only has 3 questions before you’re on your way.
Automatic imports and synchronization #
PhotoStructure can automatically import photos and videos from all your drives.
PhotoStructure will find that old backup folder that has some long-forgotten baby pictures, and the new photos you just uploaded, without you doing anything.
Automatic organization #
What I had, before I started PhotoStructure: a pile of hard drives and old backups and duplicates and some files that had succumbed to bit rot. A big, intractable mess.
What I wanted: a deduplicated set of all my photos and videos, in one organized folder hierarchy.
So I wrote it. PhotoStructure can bring some order to your chaos with automatic organization.
Advanced de-duplication #
PhotoStructure automatically groups together duplicate copies and similar variations of your photos and videos, and scales to libraries with millions of files.
PhotoStructure’s variation aggregation is state-of-the-art, using both metadata and perceptual matching heuristics.
Validation & inference #
Photos and videos are automatically checked for corruption before being imported into your library.
Files that are missing metadata use advanced inference heuristics to “fill in the gaps.” This metadata inference is leveraged by automatic organization.
Fast and fun browsing of “samples” #
Photo galleries typically show you the last handful of photos and videos you’ve taken.
The human brain is remarkable at image recognition and pattern matching. We recognize patterns effortlessly, and find repetition boring: like seeing the last handful of photos and videos you’ve taken.
We find new patterns and images interesting, and even delightful.
When you view your PhotoStructure library’s home page, you’ll see a random
selection, or “sampling,” of images from your library. When you click
you don’t see all photos in reverse-chronological order, but instead, a random
“sample” of images from every year. Click on a year, and you’ll see a random
sampling from each month.
This makes every PhotoStructure page delightfully different.
You’ll find yourself rediscovering and enjoying memories you haven’t seen for years and years.
💎 Permanence #
A lot of software and hardware is regrettably short-lived.
We’ve made a bunch of decisions, both technically, and organizationally, to help make your PhotoStructure library robust and durable.
Portable libraries #
Your PhotoStructure library is portable across both machines and operating systems. You can create your library on an external drive attached to a Mac, move the drive to your Windows computer, import more photos on that computer, then move it to your NAS, and everything just works.
Many photo libraries are only designed to support tens of thousands of assets, at which point they slow down or crash.
PhotoStructure is designed to hold lifetimes of photos and videos, and is tested to run quickly and efficiently on many-million-asset libraries.
Automatic backups and internal health checks #
PhotoStructure backs up your library database automatically, and continuously monitors for problems. (The results of these health checks are viewable on the “about” page).
When PhotoStructure detects warnings or errors, repair tasks are run when applicable, like:
- database optimization and dump-and-load restoration
- file import retries when processes get “stuck” or timeout
- child process recycling when high RAM usage is detected
- cache clearing when the disk is nearly full
- pausing current imports when the system or library disks are nearly full, to avoid errors caused by full disks.
Open standards and formats #
PhotoStructure doesn’t hide all your photos and videos in a proprietary library, or require expensive, proprietary hardware.
Your library database is stored as a SQLite database, with a clear, readable schema.
Upfront revenue source #
If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold. – Andrew Lewis
PhotoStructure’s revenue only comes from our users. PhotoStructure will never make money through “data sharing” or by showing advertisements to our users.
If PhotoStructure, Inc. goes away, PhotoStructure won’t #
The code that powers your library will be open-sourced in the event of business closure, so you can continue to run PhotoStructure on your own hardware. I’ve written a lot of open source software in the past, and substantial parts of PhotoStructure are already open source, including exiftool-vendored, mkver, and batch-cluster.
Related reading #
Why did I write PhotoStructure?