Tatsuhiko Miyagawa's Blog

Private Photo Sharing the Hard Way (2013)

December 26, 2013

All of my photos taken with my camera and phones are organized in Lightroom. All photos are backed up to Amazon Glacier using Arq. I’d love to share only the selected photos with my family, but also share specific collection with friends without accounts.


  • Share photos with family
  • Family use a combination of PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android
  • Sync/share the whole photo collection automatically to computers and tablets
  • Nice if synced folders are read-only, so that Family can’t delete my photos
  • Share specific collection with friends with secret URL (web sharing) Number of selected photos are roughly 800 photos per year: exported with 2048px/JPEG with LR, about 1.5GB with 3000 photos.

(Photos with longer edge 2048px or below don’t count towards storage for iCloud and Google+)

FeaturesFlickrAdobe RevelDropboxiCloud Photo StreamGoogle+/PicasaBitTorrent SyncStorage1TBUnlimited2GB~1000 pics/album15GB 1000 pics/albumUnlimitedPricingFree$5.99/moFreeFreeFreeFreePremium Pricing$50/yN/A100GB $10/moN/A100GB $15/mo~N/APrivate SharingFamilyYesYesYes (Apple ID)Yes (Google Account)YesPC SyncNoYesYesNoNoYesMac SyncNoYesYesYesNoYesRead-only SyncNoNoNoYeswith appsYesiOS appYesYesYesiOS PhotosBest Album, Web AlbumsYes (no gallery)Android appYesNoYesNoGallery, G+ PhotosYesAlbumsYesYesWeb, AndroidYesYesNoSecret LinkYes (GP)YesYesYes?YesNoAirPlayNoYesNoYesYes (with apps)NoChromecastNoNoNoNoNoNo


Clearly there’s no one app that does everything I want. Need to pick up a few and let them what they can and are good at.

Not going to use:

  • Flickr: no sync, poor official iOS/Android apps.
  • Revel, iCloud: Pretty close but no Android client support. Currently trying:

  • BitTorrent sync: syncing photos with Android storage
  • synced folder on Mac: Wi-Fi sync with iTunes, Home Sharing with Apple TV
  • Google+ Photos: Android viewer, iOS sync/viewer (Best Album) and secret link
  • Dropbox: iOS/Android viewer and secret link Pretty much everything is automated with Lightroom Smart Collection publishing.

Dropbox and BitTorrent are almost interchangeable, but: Dropbox does web-based sharing and Photo Albums, while BitTorrent Sync has unlimited storage and read-only Sync.

By the way, it’s a shame that Chromecast doesn’t support any slideshow at all, even when you have bunch of photos on Google+.


This research is probably not fair to Flickr, because there might be third party apps that enables sync and offline viewing that I haven’t researched.

I haven’t bothered such options, particularly because my Flickr account is a full of mess that I don’t want to deal with. G+ has a clear advantage that has a clean start for me.

However Google+ also has a better support for Japanese customers than Flickr/Y! — remember, Flickr is a yahoo.com service and there’s no Japanese language on their site/app.

Again, this is not a comprehensive research — probably there are third party apps that enables some of the features in the table.