Solutions to organize and view library + Features enquiries

Hello fellow users,

I’ve recently discovered Photostructure as a part of my effort to finally have a cohesive, clean and exploitable backup/archives of all my photos. I’ve been struggling to find softwares directed to personal users wanting to exploit their family/vacations photos.

I’m not sure which forum category is the most suitable for this concern so please feel free to redirect me or edit it back to the proper place. Thank you. This is kind of a mix between a “Feature wishlist”, a “Here’s my backupstrategy, can I have your opinion on it” and “what is the best strategy to organize a library”, as many days of searchs only lead to partials answers to different problems and I came up with a backup strategy for mine and would love to hear other people’s take on it.

I’ve been looking to do certains things and have certains functionality to finally have a clean photo archive. I’ve started from having, quite like the author of this program, several drives full of messy, unsorted, uncoherent files of several types (.jpg, .png,…) with or without metadata and EXIF datas; and have been wanting to finally clean it for a while and finally got enough time and ressources to focus first-hand on that matter.

I’ve invested into a NAS recently and I’m now focusing on my collection of photos. The NAS is from Qnap which has a quite nice software, QuMagie, that allowed me to do several nice things, albeit quite wobbly and uncompletely. I’ve been since looking for alternatives to view my photos and have the following :

  • A Main view in a timeline fashion, from newest to oldest of every and all of my photos in my dedicated Photo folder on the NAS
  • The ability to automatically backup the newest photos I take from my phone to this said folders
  • Item recognition to automatically apply at least simple broad tags to photos (Food, Cars, Landscape, Cats…), althought this is only found within QuMagie and doesn’t actually write those tags everywhere
  • Creating “smart albums” by actively regrouping in a single place all pictures matching one or several criterials
  • Facial recognition (Albeit very wobbly, for examples this goes to the extent of picking every small 15x15px face from screenshotted post’s miniatures, videogame characters, or even illustrations and so far you can’t really deem faces as false-positive or excluse them from the database altogether, ending up not even using it)
  • Sort by tags and other attributes (Such as Location, but again very unoptimizedly as there is no hierarchy and it creates several dozens of very very specific tags instead of allowing me to regroup by a bigger location, e.g. will not let me specify “Britanny” but will create one tag encompassing 2 or 3 photos of a very very specific Hamlet)

My current setup and file hierarchies, that are quite unoptimized :

  • A windows 10 system to sort and manually do most of the backup work, which whenever a batch is finalized, I’m copying onto the NAS folders
  • A Qnap NAS with QuMagie running backups from my phones
  • Image and video files are merely separated by Device taken [So, each of my phone and cameras I had got it’s own folder with every media taken with it. I’ve been experimenting with extra steps such as using BulkRenamingUtility to extract the “Date Taken” if present and rebuild file names a bit more cleanly, with this pattern : device_YYYY-MM_Photo-Couternumber]

Giving the strong wobbliness and lack of more refined, working features, I’ve been extensively searching for durables alternatives to the Gallery elements of QuMagie. So far, Photostructure was the best image viewing software I found despite the lacks of a bunch of those elements. The software got very good browsing options, but as mentioned, my library is very unsorted and got no tags and only scarce metadata to read so this limits what it can do for me with my current library state.

By browsing the documentation and the forum I’ve seen most of those features have been requested and/or are being worked on. In the meantime, is there another application I could use, in parallel to Photostructure, or to rework my collection to add the missing datas so PS can do a more efficient work ? and to be able to do the following :

Important :

  • Have a view of the pictures displayed by newest to oldest
  • Tag the photos with those smart/”AI” tools to recognize broad categories of objects, for example, Food, Cars, Nature, Beach, Water, Cats, Dogs, Faces,…
  • Tag and sort the photos with hierarchic metadatas, Like having “France>Britanny>whateverelsehamlet” so I could pick categories like “France” or “Britanny” and see all the pics from that area instead of having 600 different sublocations
  • Have the possibility of creating albums / view to quickly access to an aggregated view of a category : E.g. Select “Cats” and see all the photos of my Cats I might have

Would be nice:

  • Same as object but for faces/persons
  • Reverse geocoding : create a location metadata from GPS coordinates so be then sorted as previously “having “France>Britanny>whateverelsehamlet” so I could pick categories like “France” or “Britanny””

I havn’t been able to find another software to do that in the meantime and I would be delighted to hear your wisdom or recommandations.

To finish grouping all my photos together, I’m thinking about subscribing to Photostructure Pro to be able to fetch all the pictures from any old drive I might have and then have a clean, deduplicated, nice single archive I can process to tag/organize

Thank you for reading thru, Apologize for the length as I’ve tried to be descriptive and exhaustive while English isn’t my mother tongue.

Here’s some app’s I’ve tried but we’rent suitable at the moment :

  • Eagle : Seems to be to tag reference material for design and not for photographies
  • ACDsee : Only includes facial recognition and is more designed for editors and not for just viewing your photos
  • DigiKam : very extensive tool but couldn’t find simple viewing and auto tagging functionalities
  • I’ve been reading about Excire and Nero AI photo tag, do they allow to tag the libraries in such a way so then it could be used into PhotoStructure ?

Welcome to PhotoStructure @Akula !

As far as backups go–more copies are better, and ideally, have one offline and offsite. See the post for details:

I’d set up Resilio Sync or some other app on your phone(s) to make sure the originals get copied to your NAS, and automatically backed up.

As far as tagging goes:

This almost be with the latest alpha build of PhotoStructure version 2.1, aside from the device bit, but that might be doable using GRANDPARENT, depending on your current directory hierarchy. See How to change the naming structure? - #2 by mrm for details.

AI-based tagging is really problematic for several reasons:

  1. Object recognition is regularly ~50-85% accurate, but when it’s wrong, it can be embarrassingly bad.

  2. The vocabulary that it tags with is in a flat namespace, or the ontology is… odd. In any case, one person’s acceptable ontology is most likely very different from anyone else’s.

  3. Taggers don’t seem to support “source discrimination.” In other words, “where the tag came from.” This is required for incremental syncs to be correct–as the tagger is improved or the ontology is edited, the prior and new tags need to be merged appropriately.

I’m playing with a CLIP based approach which should avoid these pitfalls. There will still need to be a user-provided ontology if people want to browse rather than search, and that will be editable, but it’s quite promising.

I envy your multilingualism! :100:

So, my TL;DR:

  1. Get automated backups in place immediately. Having a full offline backup means that if your app does any unexpected behavior, you can repair any damage done.

  2. Don’t use tools that overwrite your originals. It’s really hard to make even metadata edits without causing some (even minor) data loss. ExifTool does (I feel) the best job at this, so PhotoStructure uses ExifTool under the hood, but even then, I default to writing edits to sidecars. I wrote up what PhotoStructure does, and what I think other applications should do, here: PhotoStructure | DAMs, systems of record, and how PhotoStructure plays well with others

Feel free to hop into our discord: there’s a bunch of us in the same boat you’re in!


Thanks for your answer. I’ll definitely join the discord.

Just to quickly bounce back on the tagging,

While i understand how nefast it would be for your library to have tags automatically applied on the file itself, wouldn’t it be a suitable option if those tags were linked to the photo either in a sidecar file, or in a file settings from the software itself ?

Again taking QuMagie as a reference point, it do a fairly good job at tagging stuff, so it’s still kinda useful to have it tag photos knowing the tags aren’t saved to the files themselves. However the limitation of this wolbbly app is that it doesn’t seem there is an accesible list of which tags it has tagged photos and no options to refine it yourself if you’d want a cleaner but quick display of your photos (Ergo just selecting and removing from a dynamic album)

So while this is far from a permanent solution, i’m still fiding quite the use in everyday viewing of my gallery by just having those dynamics albums referencing files as they’re synced so i can quickly view a few broad tags (Cats, Food…) and it’s quite a nice feature even if this leads to some cringe mislabelling, but as long as it’s not hardwriting the tag on the photo itself…

And just a quick word on the ontology, while indeed it’s proper to everyone, it’s still nice to have, to begin, a fixed grid that again allows you quick access to most of your files when you just want to visualize and show your latest trek pictures for examples

Thanks for suggestion backup software as i’ve had troubles finding decent solutions to have a proper backup of my phone’s content over the years, And thank you for your time



I’m just another random user, but I’ve been trying the same things for a while. My suggestions…

  • Tag the photos with those smart/”AI” tools to recognize broad categories of objects, for example, Food, Cars, Nature, Beach, Water, Cats, Dogs, Faces,…

I’ve tried several tools and as @mrm says, they’re still unreliable. So unreliable that I think it’s still best if they analyse and then write to their own databases, not to the files. Different tools will then let you search or create smart albums or use tag hierarchies but they’re all implemented differently.

  • Same as object but for faces/persons

I’ve still not found anything reliable enough to trust except for good old Picasa 3.9 running on a Windows desktop… nothing I’d trust to write to files anyway. I’ve found that by asking Picasa to write the names to metadata as well as sidecar files, Photostructure will correctly read them and identify them as people. This isn’t a great long term solution as Picasa hasn’t been maintained for a long time. But it’s still got the best UX of any photo tagger I’ve tried.

  • Reverse geocoding : create a location metadata from GPS coordinates so be then sorted as previously “having “France>Britanny>whateverelsehamlet” so I could pick categories like “France” or “Britanny””

Several tools do this and it’s really useful (again, best not to write to files, just leave the coordinates there). Also handy is plotting them on a map so you can fly around and see what photos you took in a specific place. I’d love for Photostructure to implement that.