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Picturelife migration to Smugmug

So Picturelife is finally, definitely, conclusively shutting down. I just received this email. 

TL;DR: they’ve migrated all customer photos to SmugMug, and agreed a free customer export package with them so customers can use SmugMug as a front end to export their photos (or subscribe to SmugMug going forward).

Dear Picturelife Community,

After four years in business, we’re saddened to announce the end of Picturelife. We’ve spent the last few months trying to find a solution to keep the service alive but we’ve had to face a challenging economic environment and a decreasing quality of service.

Fortunately, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with the team at SmugMug, a highly regarded company in the photography industry. A few weeks ago, we reached an agreement with SmugMug to provide you with a way to recover your photo and video memories. For those of you who don’t know SmugMug, it is a profitable family-owned, 14-year-old business that helps photographers at all levels safely store and share their photos. Although their service is not free, they have graciously agreed to offer all members of the Picturelife community access to their photos and videos for absolutely no cost or obligation. You will have the opportunity to download your photos and videos for free, and then decide if continuing with SmugMug is right for you.

As of today, your memories are now safely stored on and accessible through Smugmug, while picturelife.com and Picturelife’s apps and support are all being discontinued effective immediately. Our goal has always been to provide a safe place for you to preserve your photos and videos and through this agreement we are making sure they’re still available to you.

Look for an introductory email from SmugMug in the next few days that will contain all the information you’ll need to easily access your photos and videos. In the meantime, please visit smugmug.com for more information on their services.

We’re honored that you’ve trusted us with your memories, and your enthusiasm towards the community was a source of constant motivation for the whole Picturelife team.

Thank you again for using Picturelife, and for all the love and feedback along the way. And more than that, thank you for letting us be part of your life for some time.

Jonathan Benassaya

At the same time, I’ve just had a comment from a fellow PictureLife ‘victim’, who said they recovered 50% of their photos using this script.

So which to use? Well, I’ll probably try both, then download them all to home server and check for which is the most complete.

  • I already have a PictureLife zip download (the best previous method) for some photos, but I’m missing around a year.
  • I also have a full export/dump of the files as stored on S3, since I hosted them on my own bucket, but while the images are there, the metadata ain’t. That’s a long slog of re-tagging still to be performed, with many issues such as incorrect original EXIF dates.

So – I might use the other two methods, and then at least I have a copy of all my photos in some form.

The trick will then be finding enough rainy afternoons to analyse and deduplicate them all.

Whichever you use, just remember to learn from your PictureLife experience:

  1. Use a service that permits full, regular exporting of your photos
  2. Remember to actually export them
  3. Remember to back up your export somewhere else
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