Photonix

Photo Manager

Photonix is a photo management application that streamlines the process of storing, presenting and re-discovering photos. Once set up it will ingest all the photos in your collection and start building up an image database of everything you could want to search and filter by. It makes your entire collection available to you, whichever device you’re using — as long as you can get to a web browser.

We think Photonix could work well for you if you’re a keen photographer. Its aim is to be invisible to your existing process (downloading photos from your camera, editing and saving) but to be there whenever and wherever you need to find a photo again. Smart filtering means you can get to the photo or album you need. Face recognition, Object detection, location awareness, color analysis and a growing set of other algorithms can save you a lot of time.

Photonix application running on desktop, mobile and tablet
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Images are everywhere in our lives today, but all too often these gems end up as just files and folders on a hard drive — never to be seen again. Professional photographers spend a lot of time on photo editing so it’s important that those photos (and associated RAW files) can be easily retrieved later on. Using a photo editor (such as Lightroom, Darktable or Photoshop) is time consuming so get more value from that process. Photo editing software has evolved a lot over the years, but often your photo management tool can feel stuck in the past.

Maybe you let iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos or Picasa take charge of your daily snaps but find managing your professional SLR image files a much less slick affair. If you’re struggling to find software that will help with photo organizing, we think this could be the solution.

Pipeline illustration from camera to computer to somewhere else

If you’ve already tried out the demo and want to take the next step, please see our installation instructions.

As seen in…
Ars Technica
Linux Unplugged

Main Features

Image organizer

To have an organized collection of photos we believe each one should be tagged with as much useful information as possible. Tags are different from categories; a single photo can have many tags but could only be in a single category. This is why we think tagging is a lot better than trying to decide on a descriptive folder name to store it in. Having a database allows super fast filtering of photos by tags.

There are several different sources for these tags:

We think our photo management software excels in the area of smart features. In recent years, as you have probably seen in the news, there have been dramatic breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning. It was these developments that inspired me to embark on this project. Google Photos has demonstrated what is possible in the area of object recognition and detection but there is a lot more that can be done. Google has been very open with their technology and we have been able to leverage some of the same frameworks and pretrained models that they have created.

We currently provide the following smart tagging classifiers:

You can read more details of our algorithms in the image analysis documentation.

Photonix user interface showing filters, object recognition and map view

Image viewer

Quickly view images full-screen on any device you have logged in via app or web browser. Metadata about the photos is easily accessible by just scrolling down. This includes the standard details about the camera settings and date/time information but also extended data that the smart AI has determined. This includes the colors that were identified, objects in the photo, the county name and location on a map and more is yet to come.

Tracking multiple versions of photos and de-duplication

When you get into editing (with Lightroom, Darktable, Photoshop, RawTherapee, PaintShop Pro etc.) you quickly realize how easy it is to get into a mess with duplicate photos and different types of files. Free and paid photo management software is often lacking in this area and will leave you spending hours to come up with a system and then sorting by cutting and pasting. This has led many people to set up folders of differing types and versions but it can often be difficult to then go back and find the RAW version or different edits of a photo later on.

It would be great if some amazing photo organizing software could do that job for you! Well, Photonix doesn’t just blindly show every photo it finds, it compares date/time and other metadata to identify which files are actually versions of another. It will show what it thinks is your latest edit as the preview/thumbnail image but RAW files, camera JPEGs and previous edits are never more than a couple of clicks away in the user interface. You’ll soon be able to select a preferred edit if you prefer a previous version to be displayed.

Android and iPhone apps

We now have Photonix mobile apps available to download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. These apps give quick access to your server from your phone’s home screen. More features will be coming soon such as the ability to automatically upload new photos from your camera roll as you take them. You’ll then be reassured that your photos are safe and backed-up to your home server or cloud storage.

Please note that these mobile apps will not provide any useful functionality without having a server to connect to. If you just want to play with the app or download it as a reminder, you can connect it to our demo server. You can help our project succeed by leaving reviews in the app stores.

Multiple users

Maybe you’re setting up a home server running Photonix for your family. Maybe you’re thinking of using Photonix in your business processes with your colleagues. You can each have your own private library and then a separate shared library for collaboration.

Typically there will be one admin user created at the start and this user can then create additional accounts later on. Users can have a variety of roles and restrictions. Users will be able to invite other users to view/collaborate on a photo library. Access to the shared library can be controlled per user, i.e. read-only or read-write.

We use a framework called Django that means we’re not reinventing code to do things like authentication and authorization, improving security. All users will be able to use the full photo management features for searching and, if they have write permissions, the ability to tag and create albums.

You can find instructions on creating libraries and users in our documentation

Sharing online

We believe sharing should be easy and quick, whether it’s a single photo you want to send to your parents or whole photo albums you have prepared for a client shoot (e.g. a wedding). Unlike software such as Magix Photo Manager and Movavi Photo Manager, Photonix is built to be online.

Being online also comes with its own concerns around security and privacy. Your image files are very important and should be protected at all cost. We have experience building apps which handle sensitive user data and we make this the number one priority with everything we build. This is in contrast to some services that treat it as an afterthought.

We want to do this right and gain your trust, providing transparency about our procedures to security experts, developers and technically-minded journalists. This is one of the reasons that Photonix is open source — we’re so confident in our code that we’re happy for anyone to take a look.

We hope you’ll understand how seriously we take this and will bear with us until the feature is fully ready. Please sign up to the mailing list to be updated when this is ready.

Presentations and slideshows

It’s important to be able to show your images to people and guide them through your story and there are several scenarios where you may want to do this. Say you are at your home or the home of a family member, the living room TV is likely to be the biggest and best screen to use — if only it was convenient. Perhaps you are discussing your photos with a client and want to quickly present to them. These are a couple of experiences that we believe should be better.

The dual-screen scenario inspires a lot of creative ideas for us. Your phone could be controlling a TV via an app whilst still allowing you to search for the next photo. A client could be viewing a photo you just sent them in their web browser while you’re deciding on the next one to show.

It could be a very fluid and engaging experience. It will take a while for us to connect all these different technologies into a seamless experience but hopefully you can see the benefit.

Videos

We aim to add limited support for video files soon but right now, we’re trying to do the best job we can for photographers.

Please sign up to the mailing list so we can notify you of our version 1.0 release and other important news. We will not pass your details on to any other party and you can unsubscribe at any time.

svemonix

svemonix

Sep 2020

Looks like your app is on the right track!

Any chance for an ARM64 version?

BMHz

BMHz

Apr 2021

Thanks for the great work. Any plans to add face recognition and meta-data exporting?

kovacsadam07

kovacsadam07

Feb 2021

Nice job, looks very good! Also I like the tags instead of albums feature!