How Mylio Helps Natural Exposures Manage a Million (!) Images

Case Studies

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

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Our Story:

I’m an outdoor photographer who heads up a small business called Natural Exposures. We take small groups of people on photo tours in some of the most spectacular places on earth – from the Arctic to Antarctica, South Africa to South America, Croatia, to Madagascar, to New Zealand. Up to 18 trips per year. As you can see from some of my own pictures, we’re known for bringing our guests up close to amazing landscapes and wildlife; along the way we also help them learn more about conservation, how to take great photographs, and maybe even something about themselves. We promise memories you’ll never forget – and the pictures to prove it. (We must be doing something right – in 2014 the World Travel Awards, an organization that acknowledges excellence in global travel and tourism, named us the World’s Leading Specialist Holiday Company. We were pretty proud).

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

Why Mylio?

I use Mylio for finding images quickly via the rocket-fast search tool, and the super simple calendar tool. I recommend it to any small business for three reasons: volume, speed, and support.

Volume. Our heavy travel schedule gives us a lot of stamps in our passports — it gives us even more photographs. I have about a million images in my library – all of which I manage with Mylio. Yes, your read that right. That’s a lot of photos. So many, that when I talk to the folks at Mylio, I joke that I’m their Test Dummy – constantly trying to break their software. But they won’t let me do it.

Screenshots or it didn’t happen:

Speed. Since we manage so many images, you’d think loading time would be an issue with our photo organizing software. But the thing that’s so phenomenal about Mylio is that I can scroll through my nearly one million images at 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 use it now, after Mylio, I can hardly stand how long it takes to load images.

The thing that’s so phenomenal about Mylio is that I can scroll through my nearly one million images at speed. Anyone who works with Lightroom knows the frustration of having the little beach ball come up after only 50 images.

Support. Equally beneficial for us at Natural Exposures: Mylio has great people that are available to help if we get stuck. If you’ve ever run your own business, then you’ve been your own IT person, and you know what a boon speaking to a real human can be. 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.

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

Mylio is an astonishing product. I looked into others with similar features, and they were in the $20k – $40k range.

How We Use Mylio:

I know Mylio was built for sharing images between devices, but we’re putting a twist on that and sharing them between our office staff. That’s something that wasn’t available before Mylio.

For instance, my wife Tanya does all our trip planning and logistics, and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been on a plane to, say, Australia, and she’s 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 tell her “yes, plenty!” and show her where to find them on her Mylio-enabled device. And like that, she has access to all of them.

Most of my work in Mylio is done on my laptop. I use Mylio on my iPad – thumbnail images — for show-and-tell. I have it set up so I can sit down with people who are thinking about taking a trip, and show them what they can expect.

When I’m in the field, I carry a 4TB external USB hard drive, which is also a Mylio-enabled device. I tell Mylio to put thumbnails and previews of my library there; with that setup, I’ve only used 2TB so far for the nearly one million images. This drive goes everywhere I go – 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 – I have too many for my main machines or laptops. I recently moved the Mac Mini from the office to my home, and sync it with the other devices across the internet. This gives me one offsite backup of my originals; recently I’ve taken steps to have a third copy of those files in another location as well, so that we have an absolute, true backup.

Advice for new Mylio users:

Decide what kind of shooter you are – that will determine which version of Mylio is right for you. If you’re just doing family and general day-to-day stuff, and shooting .jpegs, then use the free version; you can likely get most of your originals on your computer. It’s super simple and easy. If you shoot RAW files, things get a little more complicated, and costs a little more money. In this scenario, Mylio works great with a decent-sized hard drive.

I can’t imagine were I’d go if Mylio went away. It’s an amazing product. Often, while looking through images for the business, I’ll find myself coming across family stuff. Oh my god – there’s Mom fifteen years ago! There’s our wedding pictures! There’s our son when he was three – and now he’s in college!  These pictures – and their memories — weren’t available to me so easily before. I’ve enjoyed this unexpected benefit so much that I’ve started a little Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feed devoted to it – I call it ‘Mylio Memories’.

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.