iCloud Photostream and DSLRs don’t seem to be a great fit

OK so I am diving into photostream. I’ve enabled on my iPhone 4 (don’t yet have a 4s), iPad 2, my MacBook Pro, my Win7 PC. So the dream was — some set of my photos would be magically replicated across all these machines. Magically.

I have two photo points of entry — the iPhone, and my DSLR (usually a Canon, sometimes an Olympus PEN). The DSLR photos enter through Aperture on the Mac where I manage my photo collection — filter out the good and bad, touch up, organization, etc. So the first challenge was getting Aperture to play with Photostream — needed to let software update patch Aperture, and then it was just a setting to turn on. Now a magic Photostream folder appears in my library, yay. And a test photo I took with the iPhone magically appeared in the folder, yay!

However…I shut the lid on the MacBook at this point and moved locations and thus wifi networks. Post move, I added a bunch of photos off the Canon into Aperture. Sadly the photos did not appear on the iPhone, Aperture showed a little broken connection icon next to Photostream and was unable to connect to iCloud even tho my net was fine. I brought the net up and down but didn’t help. Seems like maybe Aperture gets stuck in a broken iCloud mode. So i quit Aperture and immediately photos started propagating to my phone — apparently the Photostream replication works without needing Aperture to run, some background process is handling the sync. So sync is working fine.

But a couple oddities:

* First, I don’t really want every photo from my DSLR to immediately jump into my photostream. One of the great things about DSLRs are that you can quickly take 10-20 photos of a scene and then filter out the best later. But all of these show up in the photostream, and so my photostream gets polluted with many many variants of one photo. Not really what I want.
* Second, photos don’t seem to be removable from the photostream? This is strange. I can’t delete them on the iPhone. I can’t delete on the Mac. They are just stuck there forever? Until they age out (Photostream shows the last 30 days I believe)? This seems really unfortunate.

So I conclude using Photostream with DSLRs is not a great experience and not really the intent. Which is too bad, the automagic sync is nice. I can also use the old-style sync of a folder of photos but this is really suboptimal — I have to configure what folder to sync in iTunes, and then sync only happens when I plug in my phone to my Mac, or using the new wireless sync, when I plug the phone into power. Not nearly as nice.

I’d really like to be able to specify which folders to sync, Photostream-style, from within Aperture, and have that sync happen all the time. And I want to be able then to edit the folder contents so that I can add and remove photos from the stream.

  8 comments for “iCloud Photostream and DSLRs don’t seem to be a great fit

  1. markus
    October 16, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Actually that’s really bugging me. I was looking forward to iCloud and the photostream – finally an easy way to sync your iPhone/iPod touch pictures with your Mac… That’s working fine, but as you said, when I connect my DSLR with my Mac, I don’t want ALL the photos to appear on the photostream. Apple really has to work on that and improve the photostream. At least make it possible to delete pictures separately.

  2. Ben
    October 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

    In Aperture you can turn off option to automatically add all imported photos to Photostream and then simply drag the pictures you want.

    The setting to automatically download pictures added to your Photostream from other devices (eg. iPhone) is separate so you can leave that on to collect any photos taken with your phone etc… but only publish select DSLR pics…

  3. john
    October 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Ben’s approach sounds like the right thing to do for the moment. But manually managing the DSLR pics into the photostream sounds like a pain. I’d prefer to have photostream respect some Aperture rule — “all new 5 star rated pictures go into photostream” or something like that.

    And overall, I really just want automagic sync of selected folders with my ipad/iphone.

  4. October 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Spot on article. Really disappointed by the iCloud/Aperture. I love the way the images from my iPhone appear on my Mac, but the other way around ! Sheez – nightmare. I just imported my images from a wedding I shot on Friday as I would normally, but then I discover my Mac is chugging like a train as it upload hundreds of files that I do not want on my phone. It would be nice, if you could create separate photo stream albums for a project, and have the options of a smart album.
    That would be very nice.

  5. MJ
    October 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    uncheck the “automatic upload” checkbox from the preferences -> photo stream… glad to know that I’m not the only one get bugged for this.

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