iPhoto Backup Gem

Ryan Sonnek bio photo By Ryan Sonnek Comment

I’ve had a very simple photo archival strategy in place for over 10 years now which basically boils down to grouping related images in a folder named for the event with an ISO8601 date prefix for easy organization.

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It’s a super low-tech solution that has worked like a dream across multiple operating systems, computers, and cameras. As long as operating systems have concepts of files and hierarchical folders, this strategy should work great for a long time to come.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve been a Mac user and have come to really like iPhoto. It gets the job done for organizing photos with a clean and fairly intuitive interface. My only real complaint with iPhoto is how difficult it is to get access to my original files for archiving and backups. Don’t even get me started on Time Machine and vendor lock-in…

I adapted a home-rolled python script as a first solution for extracting photos out of iPhoto and into my standard directory structure and it worked relatively well, but I finally got around to porting it to Ruby which is a huge win for code clarity since I am not a fan of Python.

The iphoto_backup gem is now available on ruby gems for anyone interested in extracting and archiving photos out of iPhoto. It is a simple command line application that will copy the files out of the original iPhoto location into the backup directory of your choosing.

$ iphoto_backup

Processing Roll: Wedding Pics...
  copying /iphoto/file.png to /my/custom/backup.png

Additional instructions and information are available on Github, and as always, pull requests are welcome!