Make your Own Cloud Source for Remote Photo Backup

If you are like me and would like to take your iPad with you while photographing, but you would like the ability to store your photos to a "cloud" source before getting back to your home or office, here is a cheap way to make your own cloud service using a free Dropbox account, an inexpensive Mac program called Hazel, and your Mac computer.

First off, open a Dropbox account. You can get 2 GB for free and up to 8 GB for free if you recommend friends and they sign up for the Dropbox service. Dropbox basically keeps files in sync between devices. You will load the free Dropbox software on your Mac and load the Dropbox app on your iPad. When you copy files from your iPad to Dropbox, those same files are copied to your Dropbox folder on your Mac, via the internect connection to Dropbox.

The only problem with this free account is that you are limited to 2 - 8 GB for the free account. You can purchase more space, but if you follow the next steps you will not need to do this.

There is a Mac automation program called Hazel. This program only costs $25 and it will allow you to setup an automated step on your Mac that will move files copied to your Dropbox folder to a folder of your choice on you Mac. This will allow you to basically copy unlimited amounts of raw and jpg files from your iPad to Dropbox and then the Hazel program will automatically move these files from the Dropbox folder to another folder, cleaning out your Dropbox folder, thereby never exceeding your Dropbox space limitations.

Here is a picture of the Hazel screen where I setup the Photo folder from my Dropbox folder to move files of any name to another folder on my Mac called New Photos.

 Dropbox Photo folder added in Hazel program and the command to move files
 This is my command Move Files. Name is not blank and the action set to move to my new folder on my Mac. This basically moves all files from the Photo folder as all files will have a "not blank" name.

This works very well and clears out the Dropbox folder everytime I copy files to my Photo directory on Dropbox. As a side note, if you want to copy the other way from your Mac to the iPad, simply use a remote connection program such as iTeleport to connect to your Mac, copy a local photo file with your Mac to the local Dropbox folder (use another folder besides Photo, as these files will be moved with Hazel) and then use the Dropbox app on the iPad to open the photo from your Mac that you just copied to Dropbox using the remote connection program. It might be a good idea create two Dropbox folders, "Photos In" and "Photos Out" or something similar, where the "in" folder is where you copy files from a remote location for storage and the "out" folder is where you remote into your Mac and copy files to be accesses remotely with your iPad. I will probably change my setup to do this very thing.

Almost Free Cloud!!! After purchasing the iPad, Hazel, iTeleport and Mac, you are all set with no reoccuring fees and the cloud is actually your computer at your own location. I also have a backup drive connected to my Mac that backs up my files regularly. While I am on the road or away from my home, my photo files are copied to my home Mac, and backed up to the external HD as well.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by or any affiliated companies.


Total comments: 3
androidian slip
By androidian slip (Aug 12, 2012)

I would like to see a field test article using that infinitec ium of prior commenter. as a direct purchase from manufacturer I'd like to actually know whatbpower I'd be getting or hassle.

By noegd (Apr 23, 2012)

Interesting approach, although one that requires leaving the Mac powered on 24/7. I try putting it to sleep when not in use and even switched off/disconnected from the mains when away for several days.

Speed of Internet connection when away from home may also be an issue (you don't want to upload gigabytes of data on a 3G connection or even a slow hotel WiFi...).

Zombie Stew
By Zombie Stew (Apr 22, 2012)


EyeFi --- SDHC card wifi to local devices or hop to internet. EyeFi really really needs an EyeFi MICRO sdhc card (or micro SDXC)

Infinitec IUM --- flash USB wifi to local devices or hop to internet. Infinitec needs to employ esatap (power over esata, work in either esata or usb ports)

dropbox is a choice. ALSO signup for box, Amazon S3, and a handful of other free[mium] cloud providers.

Setup freeNAS at home/work with ZFS. Other than ZFS is inanity.

rsync is your friend.

Once upon a time I would have defended windows freeware. But vista drove me and mine to linux. XP is our last microsoft OS. We use Ubuntu, arch, fedora, & BSD ... so we have OSX love, too. Raspberry Pi soon.

FLAC or no sale. We use both iOS and android, jailbroken and root'd respectively. MY hardware is MINE. My information and privacy are NOT commodities (pox upon facebook & google "free" services & other "social" "networking")


Total comments: 3