Linux Format

Back up and view photos and videos

Ditch the expensive subscripti­on and back up (and stream) photos locally.


While it’s possible to create libraries in Jellyfin to stream your personal photos and home videos to the big screen, the question remains of how easy it is to transfer said content from your phone to your server. Taking its cue from your cloud provider, Immich is designed to provide you with your own selfhosted alternativ­e – one that doesn’t come with expensive subscripti­on fees, and which not only simplifies the task of transferri­ng your photos and videos to your server, but also gives you the means of organising files by album, people, location and more.

Immich installati­on

Immich is supplied as a container, so you need Docker

or similar to deploy it. Browse to https:// documentat­­ts

for the scripts and instructio­ns you need – Docker Compose

is the recommende­d route to follow, but we installed our instance easily using Portainer’s stacks feature.

The key environmen­t variable you need to consider is UPLOAD_LOCATION, which is where all photos and videos will be uploaded to on your server. If you plan to create libraries in Jellyfin for accessing this content, make sure it can access the path you set here.

It can take five to 10 minutes for Immich to set itself up and start, so be patient. Once complete, open your web browser and navigate to http://192.168.x.y:2283 (where 192.168.x.y is your server’s IP address) to get started proper. The first thing is to set up the administra­tor account – you need your email, a strong password, and first and last name. Click Sign Up and you’re prompted to log in with your new credential­s.

Get started

You’ll find yourself at the main web interface, ready to upload your first photo or video. Click the Upload button or drag your file(s) into the browser window and wait while they’re uploaded before refreshing the page to see the files pop up. They’re filed by date and clicking one shows it in full-screen with buttons across the top enabling you to view at full size, download back to your PC, view metadata, favourite the photo or delete it. Clicking the vertical ellipsis button on the right reveals more options, such as adding the photo to an album (or shared album), archiving it, setting it as your account profile picture and refreshing metadata and thumbnails.

Click the ‘i’ button to view its metadata, which is embedded in the file and should include the date and time the photo was taken as well as its filename, size and resolution. You may also see additional informatio­n – geocoordin­ates if the photo’s location was recorded when it was taken, or the camera’s make, model and photo settings, for example. You’ll also see a descriptio­n field, which can be edited if you wish to add one.

Upload from mobile

Immich offers apps for F-Droid, Android and iOS – just search the respective store for it. Once installed, launch

the app and you’re prompted to enter the Server Endpoint URL – if you’re happy to only use Immich while at home, you can simply enter http://192.168.x.y:2283/api,

or if you’d like remote access, you need to jump through several additional hoops. The following assumes you’re adding Nginx Proxy Manager to work on top of Immich’s internal reverse proxy, and that you are managing containers using Portainer.

First, log into Portainer and click on Immich_proxy, then scroll down to the Connected Networks section and join it to the same bridge network Nginx is on, so it’s connected to both that and its own internal immich_default network.

Open Nginx Proxy Manager and add a new proxy host pointing to your chosen domain or subdomain. Leave Scheme set to http, set Forward Hostname/IP to immich_proxy and Forward Port to 8080. After setting up your SSL certificat­e for secure remote access, click OK and verify the connection works in your web browser simply by browsing to your chosen subdomain or domain (such as https://immich. Once verified, enter this URL into the Server Endpoint URL field in the mobile app, then log in as normal.

Give Immich the requisite permission­s to all your photos and videos when prompted, and you’ll find yourself at a similar-looking screen to the main web interface. Start by tapping the cloud backup button in the top right-hand corner, where you can select which albums to back up, then configure automatic foreground and background backing up, so you don’t have to manually keep an eye on Immich while it transfers your media to the server (look for the handy Only While Charging option to restrict Immich’s

background uploads to when your mobile is connected to the mains). Once configured, click Start Backup and watch while Immich begins the process.

Manage your photos

As your collection grows (in real time, if you’re backing up from your mobile), you’ll see that photos are filed in date order. At some point you’ll want to bring some order to this chaos, and that can be done in several ways. The simplest method is to file photos into albums using Immich’s own tools. Click Albums on the left, then click Create Album to name your first album (and provide an optional descriptio­n). Beneath this you’ll see a Select Photos option. Note that photos can reside in more than one album.

You can also tag special photos as favourites, or archive photos that you don’t want to appear in the main feed (simply access them through the Archives shortcut under Library).

But Immich enables you to go further – click Explore and you’ll discover it has built-in facial recognitio­n and tagging options, too, as well as being able to organise photos by place. Let’s start with facial tagging. Click View All next to People to see all detected faces, then click one to add a name to the face, plus verify all photos assigned to that face are correct (if any aren’t, simply roll your mouse over the photo and remove the tick). If a person appears in this list twice, simply enter the same name again for the second instance, then merge the two together when prompted.

When browsing by place, click on a photo and you’re shown its properties screen complete with a handy Place tag under Details, along with a map pinpointin­g where the photo was taken, which you can zoom right into to pinpoint the location exactly.

Sadly, as things stand, Immich has no capabiliti­es for editing metadata such as date and location of photos – check out the box (opposite) for a way to fix this manually. Once you’re set up, click Administra­tion to further configure the server. You can create other users for family and friends, run jobs such as tagging objects and encoding thumbnails, plus access server stats.

Moving on

Immich is a fantastic self-hosting video and photos backup tool, but what about viewing your media? Both the web interface and mobile app enable you to browse, view and run slideshows, but if you want to go further and view your consolidat­ed home media on the big screen, you need to revert to Jellyfin.

Once your photos are uploaded and organised, switch to Jellyfin and navigate to Server > Libraries under Dashboard. Click Add Media Library and choose Photos to set up a library pointing to the relevant user folder inside the folder you specified in the UPLOAD_ LOCATION variable when setting up Immich.

 ?? ?? Edit your photos’ metadata before you import them into Immich – jExifToolG­UI offers an easy way to do just that.
Edit your photos’ metadata before you import them into Immich – jExifToolG­UI offers an easy way to do just that.
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 ?? ?? Immich is designed to look – and work – like your phone’s existing cloud storage solution, without the subscripti­on fees.
Immich is designed to look – and work – like your phone’s existing cloud storage solution, without the subscripti­on fees.
 ?? ?? Immich offers built-in facial recognitio­n, and you can merge entries to consolidat­e photos of a person young and old(er).
Immich offers built-in facial recognitio­n, and you can merge entries to consolidat­e photos of a person young and old(er).
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