How Piwigo can help teams collaborate remotely

The second wave of covid-19 is hitting hard in many countries. Lockdowns are back and most of us are supposed to work remotely. Since the spring, we have had to change our teamwork habits: no more coffee breaks, and welcome to chat messaging, video meetings, and other collaborative online tools…

At Piwigo we are used to working remotely, since all team members (permanent staff, interns, external collaborators, community contributors…) work from different places and even different countries. And among other tools, we use Piwigo every day for teamwork! That’s why we had the idea to share some tips to use Piwigo in the current context.

Moving from Local Storage to the Shared Cloud

It is not possible to share an external hard drive with your colleagues when you are no longer physically at the same workplace. 

It is also difficult to rely on the shared network directory (you know, the Z:/ directory on your computer’s desktop, from which you access billions of folders…).

Moreover, these are rather risky backup media (read our blog post on this subject).

So the right resolution is to move to the Cloud to store, organise and share your files.

How convenient : at Piwigo, we propose a ready-to-use offer to host all your files (mainly images, but also videos, PDFs…). And if you want, you can ask someone who knows about IT to install Piwigo for free on your web hosting.

With Piwigo, a secure Cloud dedicated to media files

With Piwigo, you have all the tools you need to create your company’s media library, secure and accessible from anywhere by all your coworkers.

Most of Piwigo.com‘s corporate customers use Piwigo this way, which means that their photo library is completely private, inaccessible to the public, and only accessible to employees.

It is possible to manage different levels of access (viewing, adding, modifying…), to limit the access of employees to certain albums only (depending on their department, for example). It is also possible to create temporary access for external partners and to activate sharing by link for people who do not have an account on your photo library.

To keep it short: with Piwigo, you have the perfect tool to store your files on an online, shared, secure space, and the icing on the cake: respectful of your personal data. No advertising trackers with us. No loss of your intellectual property.

To find out more, read the customer testimonial from Germain Dutilleul, Communication Manager at ICAM.

Organize your files for easy retrieval

“Where’s the latest version of the logo?”

You’ve already heard that a thousand times in the office, and now that you’ve switched to working remotely, it’s no better. It’s time to clean up your files, don’t you think? That way, everyone would be autonomous to find the file they need and save time.

That’s great, Piwigo will help you. Instead of searching for hours in a folder tree, with Piwigo finding a file is a piece of cake.

Just like on your computer, you can create albums and sub albums with infinite depth, but that’s not over. You can also use tags to classify and filter your files, regardless of the album they are classified in.

You can of course search for your images by name or other criteria (author, description…) thanks to the search engine, and even display them on a map depending on where they were taken.

You can even set up a multi-criteria filter system as shown in the example below (read this article for more information).

Our customers say it best:

“Since the implementation of Piwigo, we lose much less time looking for the photos we need, it’s instantaneous, we’re always up to date.”

Cindy D, Communication and Marketing Manager at ECT (read the testimonial).

Share your files in a few clicks

“Will you send me a Wetransfer?” 

You’ve heard that a thousand times, too. You organise a photo shoot, the photographer sends you a Wetransfer link, you download it to your computer, clean up the images, and then you send a Wetransfer back to your colleague…

With Piwigo, it’s all over. Your photo library has everything you need to share files and collaborate.

First of all, you can allow your photographer or anyone else to upload files directly to your Piwigo, safely and securely.

Then you can “clean up” the files directly on Piwigo, keeping only the best photos. Or keep the archive and create a selection to share with your coworkers and partners.

All this is true for photos but also for any other type of file, image, video or PDF! Brochures, graphic designs, brand guidelines… That’s why the communication teams love Piwigo.

You can also, when you are asked for a particular file, share the link to that file directly. All this avoids duplicates, version issues (which version is the right one?). 

And the best for last: it’s good for the planet!

Fight digital pollution with Piwigo

Yes, you’ve read correctly: collaborating with Piwigo can reduce the digital pollution caused by team exchanges! 

Indeed, every time you send one or more attachments by email or another messaging tool, every time you upload files to a server, every time a file is stored in duplicate somewhere: you are using server resources, and therefore, energy.

By centralising all your media on Piwigo, you avoid the digital pollution caused by file sharing. Each collaborator can go and get the files they need from the photo library, you can simply share a link rather than attachments. This is one of the good practices recommended to limit the digital pollution linked to the digitalisation of working methods.

How we use Piwigo for teamwork

At Piwigo we use our own solution on a daily basis to work as a team remotely. 

We have an internal Piwigo gallery, which is only accessible to the team. We use it, for example, during the design stages of new features or new pages on our websites. The designer creates an album to share their proposals of graphic models, everyone can view the mockups online and download them if they wish in small or large format. 

piwigo teamwork photo library
Screeshot of our internal Piwigo

Everyone can also post a comment to give their opinion.

Our internal Piwigo also allows us to share screenshots when we encounter a bug or malfunction. 

Finally, we use Piwigo to host all the resources that we regularly need: logos, mockups…

At the same time we use another open source software, Mattermost, an instant messaging software. It allows us to discuss in real time on thematic discussion groups, to share links, documents… In fact, we hardly send emails anymore!

Mattermost, an open source online chat
Mattermost, an open source online chat

We are convinced that the open source world has an important role to play in the digitalisation of companies. It is important that we do not let our working tools be confiscated by GAFAM. There are alternatives to Microsoft Teams, Google Drive and other Salesforce, and at our level, with Piwigo, we want to help employees and entrepreneurs all over the world to collaborate better and work more efficiently.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

External drives, CDs, network directories : the enemies of your photo library

Whether you are a private individual or a professional, from the moment you start using digital photography, the question arises: how can you be sure not to lose your data? And how to share your photos easily?

So you will set up a backup system: on a USB key, a DVD, an external hard drive, a shared network directory… Let’s take a look at these solutions and see if they are durable… and user friendly.

USB stick, CD, DVD: say goodbye to them

Recently, while I was helping my father-in-law configure his new computer, I realized that for years he has been storing his travel photos on USB sticks.

USB sticks and memory cards use flash memory.

He ignored that a USB stick has a very limited life span. USB sticks or flash drives use what is called flash memory, a storage format that by essence is not sustainable. USB sticks should never be used to store data permanently, but simply to transfer it.

So I explained all this to my father-in-law, and what did he answer ?

“You know, I also have all my photos from the 2000s on CD-Roms!”

You can’t imagine my face when I heard that.

Yes, this kind of face.

Burnable CDs and DVDs are today endangered species, but have long been used as a backup medium, and still are, in families but also in companies.

Big mistake!

I have another story about this. When I was a student I went to Greece for 6 months for an Erasmus exchange, and when I came back home in France, I burned all my photos on 2 CD-Roms. My laptop having crashed, I only had these CDs to keep track of my 6 months abroad.

Some time later, I wanted to show my photos to a friend: unfortunately, one of the two CDs was unreadable. These photos were lost forever. Too bad, isn’t it?

Burnable DVDs are no better. These devices have a limited lifespan and are extremely fragile.

Conclusion: if you have photos stored on USB sticks, CDs or DVDs: move them quickly to a more reliable medium (if they are not already lost).

External hard drives: not as reliable as you might think

External hard drives have the reputation of being a robust backup medium. Yes, they are certainly more reliable than CDs… but they have some issues too.

First of all, external hard drives don’t live forever.

Yes, an external hard drive can die suddenly, and this happens more often than you might think.

First of all, you should know that a hard drive is provided for a certain number of read/write cycles. Depending on its use rate and storage conditions, the average life of an external hard drive is from 5 to 7 years. Without mentioning the risk of failure!

SSD hard drives, which are the new standard, are no exception to this rule since they are based on a flash memory system, such as the USB stick.

Therefore, they cannot be fully trusted.

“Yes, but external hard drives are still very convenient for sharing photos”, are you going to tell me?

It’s true that if you work as a team within an organization, the photo library will often find its place on an external hard drive that you will pass on to your colleagues.

But really, you think it’s convenient?

What if your colleague deletes photos by mistake?

What if you need to manage different access rights for different people?

And honestly, is it really that easy to find your way it out in this mess of files?

Everyone will end up copying all the data onto their own computer’s disk, and you’re done with your attempt to centralize your photo library.

Among our corporate customers, many who have been there no longer want to hear about a shared external hard drive!

Shared network drives and NAS: collaborative, really?

If you are computer literate or work in an organization, your photo library may be accessible from a shared network drive. This is a folder accessible to all users on your local network. This folder can be stored on a single network computer, a server, or a NAS (a shared storage device on a computer network).

Shared networks drives on Windows.

Regarding reliability, this system is far above that of a USB key, of course. But be careful, you must plan a second backup system, otherwise you will lose all your data the day the machine fails.

Moreover, since your data is stored physically at your place, you can still lose everything in the event of a fire, for example.

Finally, if you look at the collaborative aspect of this system, you’re not far from the external hard drive. Of course, no need to move the hard drive from one workstation to another, everyone can access the photo library at any time. You can also limit access rights by directory, and prevent users from deleting files.

But honestly, to find what you look for in this folder tree structure, it’s not always easy. When you have thousands of archived photos, it sometimes becomes a puzzle to find the image you need.

The hosted photo library: reliable and collaborative

You might have guessed what will follow: CDs, USB sticks, external hard drives and even shared network directories are not effective solutions to manage your photo library. They can even turn against you.

This is exactly why more and more organizations are choosing Piwigo to host their photo library.

With an online photo library software, you have a user friendly user interface to sort and organize your photos: by title, by theme, by date or place of shooting…

Piwigo backoffice
Piwigo backoffice

You can share a photo or directory with a person at any time with a few clicks, without any danger.

“Previously, our photos were stored on external hard drive and CDs, and indexed in a spreadsheet. A real challenge to find a file! Now it has become very easy and fast for the whole team to navigate through our photo library. Piwigo has completely changed the way we work! We chose Piwigo because the tool was complete, easy to use and affordable.”

Remi Ancel, Documentation Manager, Archea Museum

You can choose to download Piwigo for free from piwigo.org, and host it on a server of your choice.

You can also create an account on piwigo.com: in this case, we take care of the hosting and the backup of your data. Even if you delete a folder or a file by mistake, we can go back and recover your precious lost data.

For more information, please read the article: Where are photos stored with Piwigo, which details the security measures taken by our team.