How to create a cheap (free) secure photo database?

On three separate occasions, teams I have worked with have had a need to develop a photo database so they could rapidly find photos shared among a team. Each time, we explored a number of vendors; however, cost for databases have been a factor. Additionally, the time to load photos into the database was another limiting factor. After a little brainstorming, we developed an answer that we would like to share with you. Here are factors we considered:

  • Cost
  • Speed to locate a photo
  • The ability to search for photos based on title or metadata
  • Scalable for new users and photos we included

Here is the solution we developed.

Software requirements:


  1. Either share a physical drive with all team members through a local network or create a share using Dropbox.
  2. Install Google Desktop on all team member computers, and configure it to ensure it indexes the new shared drive.
  3. Upload photos into the new shared drive. You can update the photo metadata using Microsoft Pro Photo Tools.


  • Give your photos meaningful names.
  • Update the metadata for the photos. Microsoft Pro Photo Tools will allow you to batch update photos.
  • Learn how to filter your Google Desktop searches.

The speed with which Google locates photos is stunning. Our team is very happy with the solution, and the cost is also something to smile about.

3 thoughts on “How to create a cheap (free) secure photo database?”

  1. DBGallery ( is also an inexpensive way to share a photo database. It has excellent search features and adding images is as simple as dragging a folder onto the program. It shows images across Google Maps, can edit metadata for any number of photos at once, and has many other useful abilities. Using DropBox is a great way to have DBGallery turn into shared and searchable photo database over the internet.


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