Trying to gather comments on photos

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I have several hundred photos that I want to share with a group of about 40-50 people. I want them to be able to download the images if they desire, but more importantly I want their comments on the images as this is information that I am trying to collect. Most of the folks in this group are computer literate, but not what I would call computer savy.

I initially considered using Flickr as it is reasonably user friendly, allows commenting, downloading and tagging of images, and offers reasonable privacy features. But, my understanding is that trying to pull down comments is not easy and you are basically sent the data in a JSON format file separate from the images.

I also looked at a program called frame.io which is used primarily for video collaboration. It does not have tagging, but it does allow comments to be downloaded as a PDF file. There are also two other programs called air.inc and reviewstudio.com that are somewhat similar to frame.io, but neither seems as muture.

So, my questions are this:
  • Does anybody know of any photo sharing programs that are easy to use, have tagging, privacy, comments and the ability to download the latter?
  • Or, does anybody know of a way to pull the comments data from Flickr in some reasonable manner?

Thanks,

--Ken
 
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Smugmug allows you to do all that through the lightroom plugin (from Smugmug), but (a) Smugmug is not free, and (b) they need a way to log into smugmug, either directly or through facebook or similar social media. Some years ago they stopped allowing anonymous comments. They also will permit downloads of the original, unaltered image which many online sites will not (more specifically many sites often alter your image resolution or metadata on upload).

I don't use Flickr (any more), but look at the Flicker plugins available and see if any automatically pull down comments into Lightroom. They might, since LR has the ability to store and show them (a la Smugmug). Or some flickr fans will probably chime in.
 

Gnits

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If you want to be able to know who makes the comments then the individuals will need to sign in. This could be to a site you host yourself or a platform such as Smugmug or Flickr, etc..

You can create a private group in Flickr, where you can add Flickr members to participate. You can set the images security setting so that only images and their comments are visible by members of your private group. It works very well. This is useful especially if many of your audience already have a Flickr account.

You can also use the Web features of Lr also to do similar. Lots of video tutorials on this, but maybe there is a reason you prefer not to use this method.
 
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Thank you for your replies and suggestions. I had not looked at the plug-ins for SmugMug or Flickr as I normally upload my images to Zenfolio manually, but I will do so. Pretty much every site I have looked at, and I have looked at a lot, will require some kind of registration to allow a guest to comment, so that is a given at this point.

I have been pursuing the Flickr route that @Gnits has suggested above, but became concerned when I realized that while making the images available for download and viewing is important, the gathering of comments to identify people in the posted images is more important, and I need to make sure that data is eventually exportable.

I looked briefly at Portfolio, but could not see the comments feature, but I will look again. I have not considered the web features of LR but will look at that as well.

Thanks,

--Ken
 
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I don't think Portfolio has a comments feature. There is a link to Behance which is designed around commenting, but I have never tried it.

Parsing JSON isn't rocket science. I've integrated Jeffrey Friedl's library in some of my plugins, but you should be able to use anything - eg MS Word or Excel.
 
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More useful information and links - thank you! I also learned that one of the sites I was considering, dropmark.com , has the ability to export information, and appears to support several formats, including JSON. And yes, JSON is not rocket science, but I haven't worked with it much, and if the comments were buried in a lot of other data, it would mean having to do a lot more digging to pull out what I wanted in a useful format. Doable, but requiring more time and attention.

--Ken
 
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I finally spent some time looking at publishing collections to the web from Classic. A deep dive into the whole web side of LR has been on my todo list for a long time and I guess I am now wading into the pool. This may be a workable solution, but there are two questions that come to mind as I consider this. First, what type of jpeg (quality and size) is created from the smartpreview when somebody wants to download an image? Second, how can I extract the guest comments from the LR catalog? I know the catalog stores them, but I am not clear on how they can be exported.

--Ken
 
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So that's a really good question. I assumed there was a metadata filter for it, or that AnyFilter or some plugin could search them out.

In the past I just looked on Smugmug, where I publish. They have a display, chronological, shows a thumbnail of the image; it's all I needed. For something like soliciting feedback getting them in chronological order is important.

I'm still betting someone will chime in who knows how to search with some plugin.

If you are SQL inclined, here's how you can pull photo comments from all published collections. It does not pull gallery comments (which Smugmug allows). I'm not 100% sure that LR even pulls back gallery comments, in a brief look I did not see any.

select c.comment, c.commentRealName, c.commentUsername, c.dateCreated, rf.absolutePath, fo.pathFromRoot, f.idx_filename
from AgPhotoComment c
inner join AgLibraryPublishedCollectionImage pi on pi.image = c.photo
inner join Adobe_images ai on ai.id_local = c.photo
inner join Adobe_images aim on aim.id_local = coalesce(ai.masterImage,ai.id_local)
inner join AgLibraryFile f on f.id_local = aim.rootFile
inner join AgLibraryFolder fo on fo.id_local = f.folder
inner join AgLibraryRootFolder rf on rf.id_local = fo.rootFolder
If "SQL" doesn't mean anything and that looks like gibberish please ignore it, it's not for you. ;)

If I were doing this (and as a matter of fact I'm in the middle of starting to with a bunch of relatives) I would push the photos out publishing from LR using the Smugmug plugin, but I would take back the comments from Smugmug as their display is perfectly adequate for doing updates.

My bigger issue is I expect most people will NOT comment online, but prefer to send me an email. And there the issue is how they can identify the photo. I did an "alpha" test with my kid (ok, 30 year old kid) and his first reaction was "people will never find the file name in the details and won't know how to send a screen shot and you will never figure out what photo they are talking about".

An alternative is to try to put a file ID number in each image title. Ugly, but it may be the best alternative.
 
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So that's a really good question. I assumed there was a metadata filter for it, or that AnyFilter or some plugin could search them out.

In the past I just looked on Smugmug, where I publish. They have a display, chronological, shows a thumbnail of the image; it's all I needed. For something like soliciting feedback getting them in chronological order is important.

I'm still betting someone will chime in who knows how to search with some plugin.

If you are SQL inclined, here's how you can pull photo comments from all published collections. It does not pull gallery comments (which Smugmug allows). I'm not 100% sure that LR even pulls back gallery comments, in a brief look I did not see any.



If "SQL" doesn't mean anything and that looks like gibberish please ignore it, it's not for you. ;)

If I were doing this (and as a matter of fact I'm in the middle of starting to with a bunch of relatives) I would push the photos out publishing from LR using the Smugmug plugin, but I would take back the comments from Smugmug as their display is perfectly adequate for doing updates.

My bigger issue is I expect most people will NOT comment online, but prefer to send me an email. And there the issue is how they can identify the photo. I did an "alpha" test with my kid (ok, 30 year old kid) and his first reaction was "people will never find the file name in the details and won't know how to send a screen shot and you will never figure out what photo they are talking about".

An alternative is to try to put a file ID number in each image title. Ugly, but it may be the best alternative.
The videos and articles I watched showed Classic pulling back the comments from a published collection and displaying them in the right panel so I was hoping there was some reasonable method of exporting or extracting them. I do not do any work in SQL so that is not really an option for me.

I only have a couple of test images on Flickr, but I requested my information to see what they would send. I was surprised it took over a day to pull data on just a couple of images, but they did send me a zipped download of a number of separate JSON files, including one for comments. As I forgot to put in some test comments, I was not able to see how they display and if they tie back to the specific image. If there is some easy tie back, then this should make any conversion of the data easier as I am not having to wade through all of the data pulled to just get comments. If not, then having separate files could be a real pain. I did try to convert the JSON file from dropmark and it presented itself nicely, but I was still not sure how I would pull the comments for all of the images and somehow have them correctly associated with the image.

Like you, I am dealing with family members and any barrier to viewing or commenting that seems too high is going to create problems. As it is, almost every site that allows commenting requires some type of registration (although viewing and downloading are usually permitted without an account. I get it, but I also know that some people do not want to sign up for another "service".

--Ken
 
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Like you, I am dealing with family members and any barrier to viewing or commenting that seems too high is going to create problems. As it is, almost every site that allows commenting requires some type of registration (although viewing and downloading are usually permitted without an account. I get it, but I also know that some people do not want to sign up for another "service".
That's where I am also.

I just went through Smugmug as a regular user, and commenting requires a login either with a Smugmug account, or with Facebook or Google. Facebook and Google collectively cover a lot of people. I'm not sure if they cover all my relatives, and I only have emails for a few (but am hoping a lot of forwarding will occur) so it is hard to ask.

If you think collectively they are enough, Smugmug really is a good alternative to NOT pulling down the comments (ok, the LR plugin does pull them down, but my point is you do not need them).

Here's an example of a set of comments from my site. They are in order, it tells you who said what, and shows the image. The image is also a link which, if clicked, takes you to the gallery and photo.

So if I decide to use comments online, I will not use them from Lightroom-pulled-down, I will just sit with a browser open to see who said what, and act on them in lightroom. It's really more convenient than anything I could do with the comments (and I can do SQL so that includes extracting them directly).

The real question for me is whether people are OK using Facebook or Google -- what happens when someone has neither? Will they just go away, or will they try to cope and email me? And is that 2% of the people or 20% or 80%.

Or maybe I'm the only one left in the world not on Facebook and I'm worrying for nothing. o_O

Smugmug offers a trial, if you want to give it a go. If you like it and care to use it, here's a referral link, it should (I think) give you 20% off and then me 20% also if you sign up. Smugmug Referral Link Coupon Hopefully it's OK to post such when fairly disclosed. But the key thing is they offer a trial, and a well integrated plugin (use theirs not JF's, though JF's is not bad it often gets broken by Smugmug upgrades as they do not rapidly publish UI changes).


comments.jpg
 
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That's where I am also.

I just went through Smugmug as a regular user, and commenting requires a login either with a Smugmug account, or with Facebook or Google. Facebook and Google collectively cover a lot of people. I'm not sure if they cover all my relatives, and I only have emails for a few (but am hoping a lot of forwarding will occur) so it is hard to ask.

If you think collectively they are enough, Smugmug really is a good alternative to NOT pulling down the comments (ok, the LR plugin does pull them down, but my point is you do not need them).

Here's an example of a set of comments from my site. They are in order, it tells you who said what, and shows the image. The image is also a link which, if clicked, takes you to the gallery and photo.

So if I decide to use comments online, I will not use them from Lightroom-pulled-down, I will just sit with a browser open to see who said what, and act on them in lightroom. It's really more convenient than anything I could do with the comments (and I can do SQL so that includes extracting them directly).

The real question for me is whether people are OK using Facebook or Google -- what happens when someone has neither? Will they just go away, or will they try to cope and email me? And is that 2% of the people or 20% or 80%.

Or maybe I'm the only one left in the world not on Facebook and I'm worrying for nothing. o_O

Smugmug offers a trial, if you want to give it a go. If you like it and care to use it, here's a referral link, it should (I think) give you 20% off and then me 20% also if you sign up. Smugmug Referral Link Coupon Hopefully it's OK to post such when fairly disclosed. But the key thing is they offer a trial, and a well integrated plugin (use theirs not JF's, though JF's is not bad it often gets broken by Smugmug upgrades as they do not rapidly publish UI changes).
It's good to know that SM lets guests us the big services to log in for commenting. That makes me wonder if Flickr also uses that type of registration system for comments as they are now part of SM. I have not done SQL queries and really do not have an interest in learning, so I am trying to find a data solution that is not too complicated. There are several plug-ins that sound as if they can pull the comments from various sites that accept up and downloads from LR, and that is what I want to focus on right now. I realized that while I want to share the photos and have them available for download, what I am really after are the comments. And, I do not expect to maintain an account on the web for an extended period of time, so pulling the data is important so I can marry it up with the images for future generations.

I used to have a SM account, but moved to ZF about 10 years ago before both SM revised their whole platform. Switching back is an option, and I would be happy to use the referral code if I do (and I also make the disclaimer when I include a referral code in any post), but right now publishing collections from LR Classic sounds interesting as John Rellis has created a plug-in that is supposed to pull this data. I just wish I had more time to devote to this project. Work has been busier than expected, and my free time seems to be consumed faster than I can account for.

--Ken
 
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