How to Manage a Million Photos

Case Studies

Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights, in the sky above Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada.

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Mylio allows this trip-planner and photographer to quickly search his massive stockpile of photos—giving him more time to focus on his customers.

By Eric Perret

Outdoor photographer Daniel J. Cox runs a travel company called Natural Exposures that brings small groups on photo tours to some of the most spectacular places on Earth. He and his wife/business partner take as many as 18 trips a year. “We’re known for bringing our guests up-close to amazing landscapes and wildlife,” he says. “Along the way we also help them learn about conservation, how to take great photographs, and maybe even something about themselves.” The company’s pitch to customers is, “memories you’ll never forgetand the pictures to prove it.” Clearly, they’re doing something right. In 2014, the World Travel Awards, an organization that acknowledges excellence in global travel and tourism, named Natural Exposures “the World’s Leading Specialist Holiday Company.”  

How does Natural Exposures use Mylio day to day?

Mylio was built for sharing images between devices, which we do, but we’re also putting a twist on that by sharing them between our office staff. Before Mylio, that’s not something that was available.

How does that work?

My wife, Tanya, does all of our trip planning and logistics. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been on a plane to, say, Australia, and she’s busy planning a trip to, say, Madagascar and needs images for marketing. She’ll lean over and ask, “Do you have any Madagascar images?” I’ll show her where to find them on her Mylio-enabled device. And just like that, she has access to all of them. Another scenario is that while most of my work in Mylio is done on my laptop, I use it on my iPad for show-and-tell. I can sit down with people who are thinking about taking a trip and show them what they can expect.

Photo of rhino in the rain by Daniel J. Cox at NaturalExposures.com as managed in Mylio

How has Mylio helped your business?

It’s made us faster. I’ve got about a million images in my library, so I use Mylio to find and manage images quickly. Both the rocket-fast search tool and the simple calendar tool get a lot of use. I recommend it to any small business for three reasons: volume, speed, and support.

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Why is speed so important to your business?

Since we manage so many images, loading time could be a real problem for us. But the thing that’s so phenomenal about Mylio is that I can scroll through my one million images at real speed. Anyone who works with Lightroom knows the frustration of having the little beach ball come up after only 50 images. Aperture was pretty fast, but when I go back to it now, after using Mylio, I can hardly stand how long it takes to load images. 

Photo of Orca breaching by Daniel J. Cox at NaturalExposures.com as managed in Mylio

With all of your travels, what’s your method for storing and accessing your photos?

When I’m in the field, I carry a 4TB external USB hard drive, which is also a Mylio-enabled device. Mylio puts thumbnails and previews of my library there. With this setup, I’ve only used 2TB so far for the nearly one million images. This drive goes everywhere I go, and I also use it to store new originals when on a trip. When I get back home, all the originals get transferred to the office setup.

In the office, we use a Mac Pro and a Mac Mini, each connected to a 50TB Drobo, each replicating across to the other. The Drobos are where I keep my original images because I just have too many for my main machines or laptops. I recently moved the Mac Mini from the office to my home, and I sync it with the other devices across the internet. This gives me one offsite backup of my originals.  

Have you used Mylio’s customer support?

If you’ve ever run your own business, then you’ve been your own IT person, and you know how important it is to speak to a real human and get the help you need. Mylio has great people available to help if we get stuck. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to reach Adobe with a question, only to find that there’s literally no phone number to call.  

Any unexpected benefits to using Mylio?

Definitely. While looking through images for the business, I often find myself coming across family stuff. Oh my god. There’s Mom 15 years ago! There’s our wedding pictures! And there’s our son when he was threenow he’s in college! These memories weren’t easily available to me before. In fact, I’m enjoying this side benefit so much that I started little Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds devoted to it. I call it “Mylio Memories.”

See Daniel’s Natural Exposures Blog, and connect through his social links: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


For more from Daniel, see his  Natural Exposures Blog, or connect through the social links below.

To see what a million photo prints — all in one place — look like in real life, look here.