Photo sustainability


There is a lot of great advice on the web about the various ways to manage your digital photographs.

Apple’s latest Cloud storage and sync service based around their is one of the more recent developments. This service has improved significantly over recent years and is a simple solution for most as long as you are aware of how to manage your cloud storage.

As a long time user and Apple adopter I have necessarily had to change my own workflow on several occasions, adapting to hardware and software evolution. I invested both time and money in to their “professional” photo package, Aperture, only to being disappointed when they dropped all further support.

In addition to this evolution I also need to manage the photo libraries of my close family. These are after all, our collective memories; and therein lies the problem of Cloud based and software solutions and the inherent risk of future compatibility.

Sustainable digital photo management

In my view the most sustainable approach is to ensure that you have your photos saved as separate image files outside your chosen photo application. This way you are independent of future software changes and have the flexibility to use the photo solution of your choice.

How to get there…based on Apple’s

  • Open and select all (Cmd A).
  • Select export and identify a location on your Mac to save your image files (ensure that it is a location that will backed up).
  • If you choose to select the option to keep the moment name etc then you’ll resulting folders will be named accordingly.
  • Once you are certain that you have exported all your photos as image files, then delete the contents of your photo library in the If you are concerned about this aspect, the other option is to create a new library to carry out the next step.
  • Open preferences in (Cmd ,) and deselect the copy photos option. For those experienced with Aperture, this then puts in to “referenced” mode.
  • Then import all your photos back to and you’ll have what appears to be the status quo before you started. However now your photos are independent of the application.


Apple Photos support