PhotoPrism: Your Personal AI Photo Management Solution

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Written By Zach Johnson

AI and tech enthusiast with a background in machine learning.

Photo management apps like Google Photos and Apple iCloud make organizing and sharing photos easy, but often at the cost of privacy. As more people become concerned about how tech giants use their data, open source self-hosted solutions like PhotoPrism are becoming increasingly popular.

What is PhotoPrism?

PhotoPrism is an AI-powered self-hosted photo management and sharing application. It can automatically tag and organize your photo collection without compromising functionality or privacy.

The project aims to provide a user- and privacy-friendly solution for browsing, organizing, and sharing photos. PhotoPrism was built from the ground up to run locally or on private servers, giving users full control over their data.

As the developers state:

Our mission is to provide the most user- and privacy-friendly solution to keep your pictures organized and accessible. That’s why PhotoPrism was built from the ground up to run wherever you need it, without compromising freedom, privacy, or functionality.

Being completely self-funded and independent, we can promise you that we will never sell your data and that we will always be transparent about our software and services. Your data will never be shared with Google, Amazon, Microsoft or Apple unless you intentionally upload files to one of their services. 🔒


Key Features

PhotoPrism offers many features to help users organize, browse, and share their photo libraries:

  • AI-powered tagging – Uses machine learning models like Google’s TensorFlow to automatically tag photos with objects, places, colors, and more.
  • Interactive maps – View your photo locations on high-resolution maps. Easily rediscover forgotten shots taken in different places.
  • WebDAV support – Sync and access your PhotoPrism library through WebDAV clients like Windows Explorer.
  • Mobile and PWA – Mobile apps and progressive web app provide a native experience on phones and tablets.
  • RAW file handling – Indexes RAW files and handles RAW+JPEG pairs with no duplicates.
  • Intuitive UI – Browse, organize, and edit your collection easily on any device.

Self-Hosted and Private

One of PhotoPrism’s biggest selling points is that it’s 100% self-funded and independent. Users fully own and control their data when self-hosting the app.

Being open source and self-hosted means no data is shared with tech companies without the user’s consent. The developers promise to never sell user data or expose it to other companies.

This gives PhotoPrism an advantage over closed source services like Google Photos or iCloud that use your data for advertising purposes. With PhotoPrism, you decide where your photos are stored and who can access them.

Getting Up and Running

PhotoPrism provides flexible options for installation:

  • Docker – The recommended method. Works on Linux, Mac, Windows, ARM devices like Raspberry Pi.
  • Binary downloads – Pre-built binaries for Mac, Windows, Linux.
  • Source code – Compile from source on any platform.

The main requirements are:

  • A web server like Nginx or Caddy
  • Database like MySQL/MariaDB or SQLite
  • Backend language like Go or Python
  • For mobile apps, a public DNS record

PhotoPrism provides detailed installation guides for Docker and other methods. The documentation makes getting up and running straightforward.

While initially setup takes some work, once configured PhotoPrism operates smoothly in the background. Docker options provide everything needed in one package.

Managing Your Photo Collection

PhotoPrism makes organizing your photo collection intuitive across all devices:

  • AI-assisted tagging – View and edit automatically generated tags if needed.
  • Location maps – See where photos were taken around the world.
  • Sharing – Easily create shareable albums to send to friends and family.
  • WebDAV support – Open and edit files directly from devices using WebDAV.
  • RAW handling – No need to convert RAW files, integrates seamlessly.
  • Duplicates management – Handles duplicate JPEG/RAW pairs, identical files etc.
  • Integrated editing – Perform common edits like rotations right in the browser.
An example of mapped photo data.

The clean responsive interface makes browsing through years of memories easy and enjoyable. PhotoPrism combines the convenience of cloud-based apps with the privacy benefits of self-hosted software.

Staying Up to Date

PhotoPrism benefits from constant improvements thanks to its open source model. Users can check the public roadmap to see what features are coming next.

Anyone can get involved and contribute to the project on GitHub:

  • Report bugs
  • Suggest new features
  • Improve documentation
  • Submit pull requests

This community-driven development means PhotoPrism improves over time. Users also have the choice to pay for premium features or sponsor the project through GitHub Sponsors or Patreon to support continued development.


For photographers and photo enthusiasts concerned about privacy, PhotoPrism provides an excellent open-source alternative to commercial cloud services. It makes organizing and sharing large photo libraries easy while keeping all data under the user’s control.

While self-hosting does require more setup and maintenance than cloud apps, the privacy trade-off is worth it for many. Additional benefits like full RAW file support and WebDAV syncing also help PhotoPrism stand out from proprietary options.

If you have an old NAS or Raspberry Pi lying around, setting up PhotoPrism is a great way to get more value out of it. Or you can run it in a private cloud VM.

For the privacy conscious who want full control over their photo collections, PhotoPrism is definitely worth checking out!

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