Synology–Photo Backup Review

posted in: Hardware | 0


In my previous post on Synology I got it all setup.  Over the years we’ve done a bit of travel, taken a bunch of photos and have generally done poorly at keeping the originals in a place they’re easy to find.


Because we take most of our “nice” photos on big travel trips, we have a big pile of external drives with our photos on them. Above is a photo of just some of them. Some are old and even backed up to DVD and I don’t own a DVD reader anymore.

As phone cameras have gotten better over the years, we’ve bee taking more photos on our phones because it’s there, it’s light and the photos as pretty ok and tend to save dragging our big camera equipment for stunning landscape, wild animals etc.

When we travel we tend to do the following:

  • I buy a fresh external drive at whatever the current good pricepoint is, and pack an older one as a 2nd backup
  • Take a day of photos (or a morning)
  • back at our hotel we download them to the drives, process them, upload the best online.

We may also take photos on our phone and we’re less good at backing them up/uploading.  Generally I let mine go up to Google Photos but I’m running out of space.

Getting the photos in one place

There’s a few places we need to get photos from:

  1. USB drives
  2. Phones
  3. “other”

USB Copy

For the usb external drives the easiest way to do this was to use the USB copy app.


I started using the Photo/Video Import option which was fine for my older photos what were either jpegs (before we started shooting in RAW) or my RAWs that were CR2s.

I discovered by noticing they were missing it wasn’t picking up the RAWs from my mirrorless camera which were CR3s.

So I switched to Data Import (which means I might get things that aren’t photos) so I could guarantee I got everything in one go and work out fixing it up later.


There’s a few options here. As it’s easy to set up – I was happy to create jobs when I plugged things in but you can set it to run whenever a drive is attached.  Using this method I extracted all the photos off the external USB drives and onto the NAS. Basically, everytime I wandered past the NAS or thought about it, I’d plug in a new drive.

DS Photo for Mobile Phone


On my Samsung I installed the DS Photo app and connected it up to the Synology. In that app you can set it up to backup the photos you take either as a once off or you can have it sync in wifi etc. 


Now that’s in place – it’s automatically backing up my phone. I’ve gone broad and grabbed a bunch of ways images get captured on my phone as the other thing I do a lot is take photos of signed documents and I really should get better at keeping those on record aswell.

Other Backups

For my other types of backups I have a few options.  Most of our “finals” are on my smugmug account so I can download them as a zip onto the Synology and unzip them etc.  This is going to take awhile as there’s a lot of photos.  I’ve also got these on DVDs so at some point I need to pick one or the other and visit someone with a drive and sort it out.

Viewing and Using the Photos

Now that I have a mirad of ways to get the photos onto the NAS what do I do with them?  There appears to be 2 different apps with different purposes/advantages etc.  Really I’d live the combination of the two apps as one which appears to be coming in Disk Station Manager V7 in Synology Photos.  This is currently Beta and at time of writing I’m on DSM 6.2.4-25556. 



This one will import your photos and do some groupings based on autotagging features you select


This is good for me when I haven’t done any tagging at all and helps me find the photos.


I haven’t worked out how to move the directories around and this and Photo Station seem to operate independently so I was starting to have 2 copies of files.

Photo Station 6


There’s also Photo Station 6 which has a companion mobile app DS Photo.


It allows me to arrange the photos, stars, tabs, see metadata etc.  You can also set the albums up as shared galleries etc.

I haven’t quite worked out all the tricks here but what i see on photo station vs ds photo can be different and I assume that could be a caching issue.


I do notice the NAS is loud and gurgly when it’s just copied over a bunch of new photos but otherwise fairly quiet.

I’ve got a lot of organising todo so hopefully by the time I’ve done that the newer app will be out for me to use.