Ideas for revolutionary photo organization!

Hi all,

For quite some time, I have been searching for the ideal photo organization software. In my opinion, it does not exist. When there is the necessary functionality, often it looks ugly and dated. This may also be due to the fact, that the longer I searched, the more specific my requirement list, up to a point where it was impossible to find it all in one product. But I have the feeling, that Nextcloud offers the necessary framework to fill this huge gap in the software universe.

Let me tell you how I picture it:
(EDIT: now with corresponding github issues. Maybe you can go like them or give your two cents on github)

  • Looks: if you want to show your albums it needs to look sleek and elegant. Sorry, but quadratic tiles are just too boring. Variable pictures sizes make it more interesting to look it (like the suggestion from @janis91 on github, loving it!)
    Design of the main content view

  • Rating: For example after vacation, I usually put the best pictures in a folder _official, but where do I make the cut? I don’t want to delete the less great pictures, but also would like to be able to just view and present for example the best 20. That’s why I think a 1 to 5 star rating is the most efficient way (for example 1: all of them, 3: top 20, 4: top 5, 5: absolute masterpiece). However, most platforms only offer ‘favorites’, and on top of that usually lack a filter feature within albums.
    NEW: Ratings for pictures

  • EDIT: Simple photo editing: Removing from album, fully deleting, rotating. Could be also useful for video clips
    Allow user to delete a photo in viewer
    Delete command from sidebar list

  • User Management: this is a big one, that no other software could solve for me. Picture this: a family of four: some events/vacations with all of them, some with two of them, some individual. In whose photos folder do you store them? And then copy them? Hardlink them in the terminal? Share them in Nextcloud, then bye bye folder structure, when everything is flat in the shared folder. None of it is ideal.
    My idea would be a photos app, where I can share albums with other users, causing the files showing up in both file structures with hard links or mounted.
    Workflow to share pictures within the photos app

  • Sidebar with seperated albums and folders.
    Structure of app and app navigation entries to have
    Add albums feature and separate “folders” from “albums”
    Implement album creation

  • Albums sortable (by date taken, size, name) and filterable (by rating, tag)
    “sort by” for album/folders view
    Change photo order in public shared album.

  • Sharing external: Same as the files/folders sharing by link. Another reason, why this needs to be in Nextcloud, and not some other software.
    EDIT: Currently, shared links always appear in Files view when accessed publicly. A shared album should also be seen as gallery view (screenshot #4) and maybe even with fullscreen mode when opening pictures (screenshot #7), just in a read-only mode and no side-bar.
    Photos layout for link shares

  • Timeline view: either for individual pictures or albums, with an actual timeline on the side, like in Plex or the Google Photos app.
    EDIT: Maybe its not even needed as a menu entry, but could be a standard feature whenever pictures or albums are sorted by date.
    EDIT: Calendar view could be a low performance option for those servers sweating under the heavy load when timeline viewing all pictures.

  • Maps view: already done very nicely in the maps app. could be debated if integration to photos is necessary.

  • Face recognition: already existing app. could maybe be integrated?
    Face Recognition

  • Support for external storage and in general maybe the possibility to specify the photos parent path. An album that is shared with me appears in the correct relative path (e.g. 2020 > Vacation Spain).
    External local storage is not picked up
    Limit Photos to a single folder + subtree

As I said, unfortunately I have a ridiculously specific idea of how it should like and work. But I wonder if I am the only one looking for these features, or maybe you all could share how you solve these issues personally?

I think that with these features, Nextcloud Photos could become the number one photo organization! I created some drafts of how it could look in the attached pictures.

suggestion photos app 9

What do you guys think? Or how do you solve my listed issues?




AWESOME! I love it. Hope anyone can make this happen :slight_smile:


I fully agree. That would be awesome.

Yeah I have wanted something like this ever since I started using nextcloud. This is a pretty good spec of functionality that I would like. Another good example is Google Photos. The core functionality I want is being able to create and share photo albums. Albums should not change where photos are stored, just store a reference to the photos.

Do you think this should be built-in to the default photos app or be a seperate app?

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Great ideas and helluva presentation. As an optional setting for image previews, include full-frame aspect ratio thumbnails and you’ve got something truly revolutionary.

Separate app from the ground up IMO.


Thank you guys for the great feedback. Good to know I’m not alone with my wishes.
I don’t think its necessary to do this from the ground up, since this was basically already done roughly one year ago, when Photos replaced Gallery.

After some research, many of my points can already be found as issues on github:

Limit Photos to a single folder + subtree

Workflow to share pictures within the photos app

External local storage is not picked up

Design of the main content view

But sure, many of my points are not covered (yet). There could be some potential in building it completely new, maybe also some of my suggestions conflict with the current Photos framework. It just seems like double effort to have two Photos apps.

@skjnldsv you’re the maintainer of Photos. How do you see this? Are my ideas something, that you see in the future of Photos?


A very interesting article and well prepared. Obviously a lot of time spent on such a presentation!

But this bring me to the point: time! - I have 1,000’s of photos which are scattered all over the place (Google, my drives, DVD’s ,etc) and in, let’s say, my retirement, I would also like to organise them into one place (or gateway). I use Nextcloud for my daily organisational needs but as “weingeist” alludes, it can be much more.

This would probably take ages and for many even more. Since the digital era took over our photo activities, instead of a few hundred negatives at the most, now we have thousands - what to do? - I doubt I’m alone with this issue.

In brief then, this is a great article and thank you again to “weingeist” for trying to get the Nextcloud ball rolling more seriously on photos. Let’s follow this …

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Perfect presentation, excellent work but…that’s not going to happen. The video stream and multimedia file organization is very basic in NC and the project doesn’t seem to make significative improvements in that since ages.


I fully agree zx81. A lot of users already have trouble with preview creation which consumes a lot of memory and can slow down the system until server freeze. And yes, there are solutions or at least workarounds but nevertheless it’s is a configuration file nightmare for most users.
I’m sure that’s not programmers fault but maybe php isn’t the right technology to handle pictures…

I’d like to add a little feature request, that I miss dearly: delete pictures in full screen view (by pressing DEL or clicking on a bin bucket).

Unlike the author of the original post, I don’t want to keep “less great pictures”. Therefore I’d welcome the feature to delete pictures with certain star-ratings (e.g. 1 star).

Speaking of star ratings: I disagree that every picture should have 1 star in the beginning. How to differ pictures which are rated with 1 star and unrated pictures? I’d propose the possibility of “unrated” (0 stars) in addition to the 5-star-system.

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Please add video handling - especially rotation of Handy Cam videos.

to be fair, they trashed the old gallery due to multiple problems and created a new app from the ground up about one year ago. But of course this is a lot of work and therefore the feature list is surely limited. Call me an optimist, but I see this as a unique chance to really get something going when it’s that early in the life of a piece of software. I really hope the devs are open to bring some shape in this raw diamond : )

probably only for the timeline view with all individual pictures, right? maybe this could be made optional and be deactivated for lower end servers and only show the timeline of albums or the pictures within an album.

I’ve had a look at this in the past as well as many others and none of them filled all my needs, or just looked ugly. maybe piwigo did some work and is worth a second look. Calendar view seems like a nice idea (maybe an low-performance alternative to the aformentioned timeline with single pictures).

Fully agreed: it’s not on the list, but on my concept images I stated “rotate remove from album and delete picture”. So I’am 100% with you that this is a necessary feature, e.g. for photo culling for hobby to semi-professional photographers.

Good idea, could be implemented in the album list view: sort by rating then select all 1star pictures and remove them. Also the default rating could be discussable, seems like your suggestion is perfectly valid, but I’m afraid this is a level of detail that is still in the very distant future.

I think our job now is to be heard by the devs and show why it is a good idea. My biggest fear is, that there are very few hands for a lot of work. Devs, how can we support?

The project is growing in too much directions and the multimedia area is not one of them, I would prefer to have a better focus in the files area (and that involves multimedia), the frontend, theming…

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In my opinion Nextcloud is a way to degooglify yourself (for private users) and demicrosoft companies.

Degooglifying also includes getting rid of Google Photos. Of course there are other platforms as mentioned above by a few users, but its more comfortable and better integrated if the alternative would be within Nextcloud (think of user/file managment).

Apart from that, I don’t see too much work left for Files, for my need this is already pretty damn perfect. But that is just my opinion of course : )

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I don’t know if someone pinged @jan yet?

No, I don’t know the team well enough. But viewing his profile, it seams like a good idea. Thanks for your input.

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degooglify, demicrosoft, Photos, Files, …

I think the problem (or the feature) of nextcloud is the fact that the “photo app” is only for the logged-in users but for public anonymous shares there is only “files app”. Perhaps that must be changed, too.


Shared Link (same folder, same files, png, mp4 and md-files also listed):

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Yes definitely. I’d imagine something like my screenshot #4 and #7 (gallery view and fullscreen view of an album/picture) but also when accessing over public link.

I’ll add it to my list.

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Thank you for this!

So, I’ve been following this thread closely over the last weeks. There are looots of interesting things!
For the UI @jan have the last words. But we can discuss features in the meantime.

Like you mentioned in some posts, a lot of what you suggested already have opened issues.
While I like the forum for questions and help, I don’t really like its way of working the features requests and discussions :wink:

Ideally it would be super great if you could make individual issues on the github repo.
Even if lots of people complained here, the photos app gained a lot of attraction real quick after release, and lots of people have wonderful ideas! :tada:

On a more opinionated note, I find your mockups not very practical :thinking:
I see a lot of interesting things, but the UI is really off (I understand it was quickly done)

  • We don’t want the same UI as files/grid, this would defeat the purpose of having a photos app.
  • The goal of this app is to move towards a photos-edition/viewing focus. So you can quickly check your latests photos, edit them (, slideshow them, etc etc. Photos is not a file manager, if you want to manage files, rename, delete, whatever, you need to use files. Photos aim to be used for quick photomanipulation and preview :slight_smile:
  • Having metadata integrated into NC is definitely something that we want (will unlock the ability for us to sort by taken date, group by locations, (or whatever things that those new data provide us)
  • Having virtual albums is a super hard decision to make. While it totally make sense, we cannot have both folders and virtual albums. And I don’t see how we could easily migrate the existing way we have things to a virtual one. People will expect to have the old way and the new way, and they will just complain no matter what we decide :wink: Retro-compatibility is a pain to manage.


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