Photography / Hands-on Review

Getting to Know Mylio Photographic Management Software

         

Mylio wants to change the way you manage your photographs. And Mylio makes a compelling pitch in its bid to become your go-to digital photography file management application—running on multiple devices and seamlessly integrating your current workflow. 

Are you a photographer who has been in the digital workflow for years and has an established system for importing, filing, tagging, starring, and backing up your images? Are you brand new to digital photography and lost on how to best organize your first batch of images? Or, is your life a mess because your digital images are scattered about multiple hard drives, USB drives, memory cards, and mobile devices with hapless abandon?

Mylio—My Life is Organized—has a solution for you, and you, and you, too.

The Seasoned Pro and Mylio

"Mylio adapts to your system and does not force you to change."

If you have an established workflow, sometimes change is the enemy. I understand this. Once you are comfortable with a workflow, you need a darn good reason to change it.

The good news about Mylio is that it mirrors your current file organization system. It doesn’t force you into some programmer’s idea of the ideal system. Regardless of whether you sort your images by date and time, by number, or in folders, Mylio adapts to your system and does not force you to change.

As a digital veteran, you likely use Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, or another editing app for image retouching, adjusting, and organization. Mylio will work with your current editing system(s).

The Beginner and Mylio

If you are new to digital photography, hopefully the folks who sold you your first digital camera told you to figure out how to store and manage your images before you started. If you have not established a system, and you haven’t uploaded many images, Mylio might be perfect for you.

You start by importing your images into a Mylio folder and let the software guide you to a tidy storage solution.

The other Mylio bonus is that a non-destructive photo editor that handles RAW images is built into the application, so there is no need to purchase a dedicated photo editor, unless you want to use one. And, if you already have an editor, Mylio cheerfully handles those edited files, as well.

Mylio and Your Mess

I will not name names, but I have friends whose photo file management is so disastrous, it makes their disastrous apartments look clean by comparison. If this describes your apartment, your hard drive, or if you have 8,000 images on your computer’s desktop or cell phone, Mylio might just be the housekeeper you need to get your stuff squared away.

Are some of your photos on your laptop? Are some on a USB drive in that drawer over there? Are some in a five-year-old external hard drive from back when 250GB was a lot of data? Did you know you had photos in the cloud? What about that old laptop that barely runs and sits in the closet?

Put all your images into your Mylio folder and let Mylio rid you of duplicates, organize everything, and archive your images while you start vacuuming the floor and getting that two-day old pizza out from under the bed with your college buddy’s hand-me-down sand wedge.

What is Mylio?

Mylio is a subscription-based application that runs on your desktop computer, laptop, and/or mobile devices that serves to gather and manage your digital photographs, sort them, tag them, edit them, and sync them between devices, hard drives, and/or the cloud.

Mylio was developed by David Vaskevitch, a passionate photographer and the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, who faced the same file-management challenges with which all digital photographers are confronted.

File Management on Mylio

As stated above, Mylio does not force you to change an existing file management setup; it works with what you have. If you don’t like your current system, use Mylio as a catalyst to switch to a different management system.

Mylio introduces tagging, star ratings, colors, and flags into your workflow. If you already have been doing that, it copies all the organization you have already done in other programs, as long as those changes are written to a standard sidecar file.

If you are a Lightroom or Aperture user, Mylio is designed to work seamlessly with those programs and allow you to do your normal editing while providing enhanced organizational capabilities.

If you are an old-school Photoshop/Bridge user, Mylio will replace Bridge in your workflow. Bridge is fine for what it does, but Mylio brings a lot more to the table for file management and cataloging, while allowing you to still do your heavy editing in Photoshop.

Backup and Syncing on Mylio

"Automatic sync on all devices? Pretty awesome, if you ask me."

One of the core features of Mylio serves to put your overtaxed “did I back up these images?” mind at ease. When a device or drive with Mylio is connected to the Internet, it automatically syncs with the other drives and devices. The system is designed to sync when everything is on the same network, but it can also happen remotely. For instance, if you upload images from your camera to your tablet while on assignment, those images can automatically show up on your laptop at home—as long as it’s powered on, is online, and Mylio is running; it does not run in the background like some backup systems.

Automatic sync on all devices? Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

You may be thinking, “How are my 50,000 RAW images ever going to fit onto my almost-full-of-memory smartphone?” Well, they won’t. But when Mylio syncs, it smartly evaluates the storage room on a particular drive or device and transfers full files, preview-sized files, or thumbnails. You can also manually dictate the type of file for each device.

Edits and tags made on one device will automatically be applied to that image on the other connected devices, when synced. You can spend your commute or vacation tagging images or assigning keywords and know that those edits will make it to the original images when you sync Mylio devices.

Mylio Is Not a Cloud

Cloud storage has its advantages. You can upload all of your files to the cloud and access them wherever you connect to the Web. Everything is in one place. The disadvantage is that, until you move things into the cloud, they aren’t there. Also, try to open a ton of large photo files on your tablet using a coffee shop’s Wi-Fi network and you might end up with a second cup of Joe before you get one high-res file to appear.

Mylio manages files on your drives—and your cloud, if you so choose. Mylio also has a Mylio Cloud option for encrypting and transferring a small number of files through the Web. Mylio works with your cloud, but also allows you to have nearly instant access to the files (or at least thumbnails and previews of them) with its incredibly fast browser system that includes a kind of virtual page-flipping function. “Hey, coffee-shop stranger! Want to see my vacation photos from last year?” Boom, a version of that file, or even the original, is right there at your fingertips on your Mylio-equipped device.

Mylio Wants Your Images to Be Safe

Mylio recommends a comprehensive, yet not excessive, plan to keep your images safe. The company’s advice is to have three original images on three drives (to counter hard-drive failure) stored at two separate locations (to counter fire and theft)—3-3-2. The Mylio interface is designed to encourage this by visually showing you all of your Mylio-equipped devices and the types of files saved on them, be it originals, previews, or thumbnails.

Social Media on Mylio

Mylio works with social media websites like Facebook and Flickr. You can import all the photos you posted to Facebook and Flickr into the Mylio catalog for safekeeping, storage, and organizational purposes. Of course, the images stay on the Web but, with Mylio, you can access them anywhere from any device once it’s synced.

Editing on Mylio

Mylio is an image editor. Think of it as a “lite” version of Lightroom or Aperture. White balance adjustment, tone control, saturation and vibrancy, sharpen, rotate, crop, red-eye reduction, and quick black-and-white conversions are available at the touch of a finger to the screen or a mouse click. The best part is that the editing is non-destructive and the editor works with all types of photographic files.

The largest shortcoming of the Mylio editor is its inability to do clone-stamp and healing work. There are also no lens corrections, layers, or tone curves. Consider Mylio for “casual” editing. Heavy editing will still be done in a dedicated photo-editing program.

One of the great advantages of Mylio, whether you use the editor or not, is that edits made to a file in the Mylio catalog will automatically show up on those same files stored on other drives, devices, and/or the cloud. Edit your photos almost anywhere, at anytime, and know those changes are going to make it to all your originals.

A portion of the editor can turn into a virtual light box, where you can drag photos from different folders, events, or dates and put them in a section where they can be reviewed, edited, tagged, etc. Where you may have had to create a new folder and then click-and-drag or move files in the past, you can now do virtually inside Mylio.

Everything on Mylio

The magic of Mylio is its ability to store all of your images, wherever you had them hidden, in one convenient place.

A friend might ask for an image, from a party, held months ago. My canned answer, before Mylio, was, “I’ll get it to you soon, but it’s on my NAS.” In my head, I knew I had to go home, connect to the NAS, and dig the file out of my library (80% of which isn’t on my desktop hard drive).

With Mylio, that image is on my phone, or tablet, or laptop. I can easily send him a preview-sized version, or quickly email the original when I get to a Mylio device with the original on it.

Ease into Mylio

A word of caution from Mylio: ease into the system. Our product rep emphasized trying a few files or folders first before you go “all in” with Mylio. There is a bit of a learning curve, but Mylio doesn’t ship with a 1,000-page owner’s manual, so it’s obviously not a long, steep curve. But, before you move 15 years’ worth of digital images into Mylio with one click-and-drag, you should take it for a test drive first. Luckily, Mylio offers a free trial period for just this reason.

Mylio Options

The Mylio application is a subscription service. B&H offers both the Standard 1-Year Subscription and the Advanced 1-Year Subscription. The Standard allows you to sync up to 100,000 photos on five devices. The Advanced plan is for up to 500,000 images on 12 devices and features remote sync across networks.

Both plans include Lightroom integration, RAW image editing, and edit with brushes. If you are in the market for a portable hard drive, Delkin’s 1TB RhinoDrive ships with a one-year Mylio subscription (at press time).


Workflow on Mylio

Here is just one example of how Mylio can support your workflow.

On a recent trip, I packed light and headed out with a camera and tablet—no laptop. On the flight home, I uploaded my images to the tablet and into Mylio. Instead of watching an in-flight movie or playing games on my phone, I went through my images, deleting the misses (it happens), star-rating my favorites, and tagging the images with keywords.

I also did some light editing to the photos I really liked with the built-in editor.

I got back to New York and turned on my desktop computer. The tablet was on Wi-Fi. The desktop was on Wi-Fi. I turned on the Mylio app on both devices and, within a few minutes, my desktop had the photos from the trip, edits, tags, and star ratings in place. I could do some dust removal in Lightroom, or lens corrections, and those corrections would make their way to Mylio and then would be pushed out to the other connected drives and devices.

Now, if I wanted to bring those images to my friends the next day, I could turn on Mylio on my phone, and the images would transfer to it, as well, as I have specified that preview-sized images should live there.

Oh, by the way, the images automatically transferred to my NAS for backup.

Mylio For You

Photos used to be stored in shoeboxes. Then digital imaging happened. Now, we are forced to organize our images. If we do not, pictures get lost. Mylio has the brains and the features to save a lot of us a lot of time, headaches, and despair when it comes to keeping track of our binary shoeboxes.

If you don’t believe me, try the trial version and come back to B&H to get the full application, once you are sold on it. Then sit back and let Mylio organize your digital photography life.

 

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Great article with lots of helpful information.  I'm tempted and may play with a few images in the trial but I'm simply not a subscription-based fan of anything.  I'll stick with Aperture for as long as I can (evening holding off OS X upgrades...no El Capitan for me) because nothing I've found yet replaces the workflow, asset storage, and SmugMug/etc. integration.  Cloud storage is also not for me...same reason as subscription software...I can manage the cost of my work on a 3-3-2 backup plan (already do!) so no wondering if I'm seeing a preview-sized image on my iPhone or the original RAW on my Mac.

Hey Stukey,

Thanks for the compliment! I might agree with you about subscription software, but I remember the days of trading floppy disks for my Apple IIe with friends and I can understand why companies are employing that tactic. I guess there are pros and cons.

The more I think about this stuff, the more I want to go back to film!