I've historically kept all my photos and videos on my Windows Home Server (WHS). I've now got an iMac and I'm using iPhoto to manage all my photos (linked to the server, not managing the files locally).

How can I still use iPhoto to import my photos and videos from my iphone and camera, but keep the files on my server for backup purposes? I don't want to fragment my collection over many machines



3 Answers 3


You can move the iPhoto archive in your Photos folder in your Home folder to a location on the external drive, create an alias in Mac OS X from the new location, and drop that where the archive used to be in your Photos folder in your Home folder. iPhoto will automatically redirect to the external drive. I do this at home and it works great. As long as that external drive is backed up, you're all set.

Otherwise, you will have to use backup software (not Time Machine in this case) to ensure backups are made from the internal HD to the external hard drive on an automatic, ongoing basis.


I keep all my photos on a storage server, organised in folders by year, month, date of capture. So my file structure looks something like this:

 - 2009 
 - 2010
 - 2011
  - 2011.01
  - 2011.02
  - 2011.03
   - 2011.03.01
   - 2011.03.02

This is for storage of originals only. You would need to import photos from your phone and camera with something other than iPhoto (for example OS X built-in Image Capture app), then copy the files over to your storage server. This could be automated, but i do it manually, reviewing the photos and removing duds.

I then use iPhoto to grab the photos from the storage server, so they're stored in the iPhoto library of my main machine.

Some or all of the iPhoto library can be shared in Preferences > Sharing, so that other iPhoto machines on the network can see the contents of the library.

This should work for you as well, i guess. It's not really elegant -- what i'm looking for server version of iPhoto -- not sure that day will ever come!

  • Yeah this is pretty much what I do now, would be nice if there was a better way
    – James
    Mar 5, 2011 at 21:02

This is a one-time sync, but might be part of the puzzle:

In iPhoto, select the photos you want to move to the Windows server, File -> Export and choose a memorable folder, like Desktop/iPhoto.

Mount your windows volume, say through Finder (which will mount it to /Volumes) or some other means.

Open terminal and perform the following command:

ditto ~/Desktop/iPhoto/ /Volumes/Users/your_username/Pictures/iPhoto/

Additionally, you can find the iPhoto library under the following directory. Problem is that it's not structured in a simple format.

~/Pictures/iPhoto Library.photolibrary/Masters/

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