Moments - or Photo Station?

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Moments - or Photo Station?

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As a very lazy and infrequent taker of photos, invariably using my phone, here's another Intro I wrote for the family, this time to NAS Photos. It's from the view of a Mac/iOS users with iCloud photo streaming and Photos apps.

It was written in 2018 before the Moments shared album feature, which uses the main /photo shared folder.

At present I'm sticking with Moments DSM v1.3.0 because there was a problem with iOS/Android Moments apps uploading new photos. This happened in v1.3.1 and the release notes for v1.3.2 didn't state it was fixed. Synology Support didn't know if this had been fixed in v1.3.2 either.


What's wrong with Cloud services?

Mostly it's the amount of space available: without paying monthly fees it's not enough to hold a full library. Without space the service becomes a conduit to upload a phone to a home Mac/PC with a small bit of storage for the newest photos.

Also, the online service have been known to change their legal terms and conditions to give them more rights and usage to your photos (not Apple, yet). At best they can make the service provider's intentions ambiguous.

The Synology applications work alongside the Apple Photos ecosystem with both getting copies of photos and videos. A benefit of the Synology applications is that they provide access to the full library when away from home and, importantly, will upload videos without syncing to Mac/PC iTunes or having to force the upload to the Cloud through manually adding them to a shared album.

Which application?

Synology has two packages for photos and videos:
  • Moments is a new application focused on home users and is most like Apple's Photos app on Mac and iOS. It will process photos for time, location, people, subjects (sometimes cats are dogs but it may be able to learn to make better decisions!), and tags. It takes whatever folders are within your Moments folder and makes albums across them and you can share them using web links.
  • Photo Station is older and has access based on folders, so that public folders can be access from the Internet. It has some of the processing for location and tags but is not as sophisticated. However, it does have a map view for showing photos.
Moments is best for throwing photos and videos at it and then letting it do all the organisation, it's for home users that want to do a bit of photo sharing but without doing lots of hard work.

Photo Station is more flexible for sharing and organising, even with a basic editor. It needs to be told what you want it to do ... we've had it for three years and you haven't used it.

Phone apps

Both of these have iOS apps, with Moments being more like Apple Photos. They both support uploading new photos and videos (video is something Apple's photo-stream doesn't do, upload needs to be forced via a shared album) and they can be set to only do this over WiFi.

Where Moments will upload when the iOS app is opened (or still active in the phone's background), the DS photo app will upload to Photo Station even when the app isn't running (like Apple's Photos app). To do this requires a 'geo-fence' and GPS to be enabled all the time for DS photo: a geo-fence is a saved location that triggers an action when you're there, e.g. when you get home the phone detects it and tells DS photo to upload new photos and videos.

The two applications use different folders in your 'home' folder so they will upload your phone's photos and videos to a different location:
  • Moments is part of the new Drive package and its main folder is:
    • home / Drive / Moments
  • Photo Station has your personal folder here:
    • home / photo (and you will need to make a private album folder)
What to do? Moments is the simpler application to use for 'snappers', so long as you remember to open the iOS app every so often to get the new photos uploaded.

If you really need a map view of where multiple photos were taken then Photo Station is the one to use. If the minor battery drain of the GPS to get automated uploads is OK then that's a useful feature.

Do this...

I suggest using Moments, it's simpler, does a lot for little effort, and both the web and iOS apps are nicer than Photo Station.

If you won't open the Moments iOS app very often then using DS photo with a geo-fence trigger will guarantee that videos are backed up: just run Photo Station (personal) once to make the home / photo folder.

(Remember that you'll probably still have iCloud uploading photos too.)

Getting started

Within the home / Drive / Moments folder there will be some folders created by Moments when you upload from your phone and the web app, these are: Mobile and Web. Inside will be folders for each device you upload.

To have all your photo library(ies) available from the web and iOS app you'll need to import them. I suggest creating a new folder within Moments for each library and then it's just a matter of connecting your Mac/PC to the Synology NAS and uploading them. This is easier and quicker to do at home using local network connections.

Once the files have been uploaded the NAS can then take quite some time to process them, so be patient.

That's it.
Thank you @fredbert for this.

@Rusty So what are you using for photos and how do you backup them for example from your phone to your NAS?
Well I use a native Photos app for Mac. The library is hosted on the nas itself. So when I import the pictures from my phone they go directly to my library on the nas. That same lib is backed up to a secondary location as well as to Synology C2 service.
So I can use for example Cloud sync to sync my photos from mobile to my NAS.

I have my photos on my NAS and once a week I make a backup with Hyper on my external drive. I hope my photos are safe enough with this. I don't use Google Photos for storage anymore.
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Well I use a native Photos app for Mac. The library is hosted on the nas itself
There was always a debate about whether using a NAS share was safe for the iPhoto/Photos Library since Apple always said in should be a HFS+ (or now APFS) volume. The latest I can find is this: Where is it safe to store a Photos Librar… - Apple Community

When I started using Moments I first copied over my Photos Libabry/Masters folder to my Moments folder. Then Mac Photos and NAS Moments libraries are in-sync due to iOS Moments app uploads and iCloud camera roll sync.

I then use C2 backup to backup Moments libraries, as well as doing clones of the Mac and local hyper backups of the NAS.
I use a small 300GB C2 Plan 1. This is enough for photos and important documents. For the rest I've backups and will be upset if they all die but can survive it. I don't have anything that isn't at least backed up once.

I need to have a good review of all the accrued stuff I keep. I'm sure there's a lot I could get rid of.
I'm too paranoid to put photos on the cloud without encryption
That's why with the C2 backup I use encryption.

I've not used Flickr or whatever the other photo sharing sites are. And the Moments setup is private by default with shared albums sent with links. For Photo Station there was more flexibility but album permissions had to be set to ensure things didn't become public ... not that a set of out of focus sandcastles is too revealing :)
There was always a debate about whether using a NAS share was safe for the iPhoto/Photos Library since Apple always said in should be a HFS+ (or now APFS) volume.
Been using it like that since 2012 (hfs volume living on my nas) and had 0 problems. Running it on a sparse image.

Truth be told back the Photo station back then was poor. Might look into Moments as well but atm I have 0 time to test it out.
Might look into Moments as well but atm I have 0 time to test
If you are an avid photographer then there are pro apps out there (Mac's Aperture has long been an app of choice), but for the 21st century 'Kodak' users then the iCloud and Moments services are worth using.

The biggest issue with cloud services is when the non-techie/home user doesn't realise when the free cloud storage has run our and then their device dies ... and so does their media. This is what I've tried to do to stop me being the nighttime techie that has to recover the situation ... hence having various data recovery apps :)
and that works for me so far
The right solution doesn't have to be the same for everyone, so long as it works (y)

Other than the odd flurry holiday of photos, most of mine are blind shots round the back of stuff, like trying to see which colour ethernet cable is plugged in or what amp terminals are not being used (and is left top or bottom, can never remember this detail).
So I've been using Photo Station for a while. I'd say it's 'OKish', but what I hate is that it creates a separate 'photo' share and only pictures inside that share is picked up within that app... This doesn't fit my design of shares folders.

So I used some tricks to get the share 'inside' another share with SSH:

touch /etc/rc.local
vi /etc/rc.local
mount --bind /volume1/new_location volume1/photos
I'm using PhotoStation from beginning. I'm not professional photgrapher, using it just to share photos with my family and friends, cca 20000+ photos, 50 GB.
On my testing DSM I tried to use Moments but prom my point of view it is useless, no idea how to use it for my kind of photogalery. No way to organize albums, rights for different groups of users, logs of access, etc.
Tha main drawback for PhotoStation is that Synology stoped development of the app many many years ago focusing on other business and apps like Moments and therefore some important features are missing... :(
I'm using Moments from the beginning, never tried Photostation, so can't help much.

I like Moments, just need to remember that I need to open the app from time to time to start syncing to my NAS. Also, maybe it's sharing a bit awkward. Well, it's simple, but another person can see images in their shared folder only. If you want to have them in your own library, you will need to download them and upload to your library.
Never tried moments or photo station.
Can I turn off all the “intelligent” stuff in moments? Like face recognition and anything else.
If I just want a catalog of photos in a chronological order on the DS, is that possible?
I don’t want it sifting through photos day and night trying to guess who’s who and where’s what!

Photo station might be better suited for what I want but I believe it’s being phased out.

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