With a pair of National Geographic covers to his name, not to mention being named Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year in 2013, Dan Cox knows a thing or two about photography equipment. And software. And backups. In a previous story, Cox discussed what he likes about Mylio: namely, that it doesn’t rely on an Internet connection or the cloud and its automatic syncing, speed, and organizational capabilities. Here, the longtime Mylio user goes into the nitty-gritty about a few other favorite features.
GPS and mapping
One Mylio tool that’s become very helpful to me is the GPS mapping technology. Since much of my work is done with scientists and wildlife biologists, having a GPS location on the photos can be very helpful. Many scientists appreciate this attention to detail. It’s easiest if your cameras have GPS capabilities built-in like the Olympus E-M1X I shoot. (If you don’t, there are apps that can connect GPS data to your camera.) I’ve also been known to shoot an image with my iPhone to get the location that I can then add to my normal camera’s photos using Mylio. GPS location has been a real asset for my science work.
Captioning made easy
Adding who, what, why, and where to your images is an essential tool for any database-driven system, and Mylio does this well. All you do is highlight a group of images, type out the caption, click on one of the images and they all get the same caption. I use an external cut and paste tool called Copy’em Paste. It is a great option for keeping a list of captions in category form that saves everything you might want to use later.
Mylio supports external editors like Photoshop or Lightroom
Like everything in life, nothing’s perfect. Hardcore editing of an image is not Mylio’s strong suit. It wasn’t built to replace Photoshop or even the editing tools in Lightroom. That said, I still produce 80 percent of my edits within Mylio, including pictures that go out to Facebook, Instagram, my blog, or other Social Media. If I have a photo in need of advanced editing tools, I use DXO PhotoLab. External editors are easily accessed via Mylio. I’ve also used Luminar, Photoshop, Pixelmator and others.
To take an image from Mylio to an external editor, you simply highlight the image, go to the top menu bar, click on Photo and Open With. You can then select the image editor of choice. If I have numerous pictures needing extra help from DXO PhotoLab, I first add them to a Mylio Album. Then I go to DXO and create New Project. Next I switch back to Mylio, highlight them all and do an Open With DXO. DXO sees them as a group, adds them to the new project, and you’re ready to batch edit.
Mylio simplified my workflow
Admittedly the process described above sounds like a bit of a pain, but I can promise you it took me much longer to write it out than it does to actually do it. When all the images are tweaked to perfection, I then have DXO save the image as a Tiff to Original Folder right next to the original. Save to Original Folder is a key component to working with an external editor. It’s one of the main reasons I work with DXO. (Many external editors do not have a Save to Original Folder option. Photoshop does as well as Lightroom.)
With Save to Original Folder, the image goes right back to the spot the original RAW resides. No more having a separate folder for tweaked images that you have forgotten you’ve fixed. Mylio picks it up from DXO Tiff and adds it to the Mylio database. Simple, painless and organized. Without Save to Original Folder you have the added work of finding the saved Tiff, digging around for the original folder and dropping it in. That’s painful!
Mylio tools for tracking photos
Keeping track of your pictures also requires Keywords, Star Ratings, and Flagging. Thankfully, most of these things have been standardized. Mylio is no different.
•Star rating. Like Lightroom and Photoshop, Mylio allows star ratings. In my workflow, a one-star rating is destined for the trash can. Two stars is a way I mark all our “people” photos. Three stars and up are images with enough quality to make our online searchable database. Four stars is special, and five stars is absolutely amazing.
•Flags. Flags are simply that. Either On or Off. I wished we had a flag option like Lightroom where we could Flag images as a Reject. One star is my work around, but some folks might like to have the 1 Star for other things.
•Color labels. Another common tool that Mylio has adopted is color labels. I don’t use them a great deal, but they’re another way to organize your pictures. Read more about creating an effective rating system here.
Daniel J. Cox is a celebrated nature photographer who has been documenting the outdoors for over 40 years. His work has been featured, among other places, on covers of National Geographic magazine. Visit Natural Exposures to learn more or connect with Dan.