Younity – a Must Have Free App for All Photographers!
Modern digital cameras…
…produce beautiful, high-resolution photos. However, with high resolution images comes more data, and therefore larger file sizes. If you use a mid-range point-and-shoot or low-end DSLR camera, your file sizes are fairly large. Have a higher-end camera? Then you know all about enormous files. Lets not even talk about shooting video! For most photographers, this leads to a constant quandary – how to remotely access your portfolio. Where should we store those files, and how can we access them when we’re away from the computer they’re stored on?
Recently, I discovered a free mobile app that (for most) will solve this dilemma.
The app is called ‘younity,’…
…and it allows photographers to take their entire photo/video portfolio with them everywhere, without carrying around hard drives or uploading to a “cloud” server. younity turns your iPhone or iPad into a limitless portfolio browser to access your photos, privately share them, post them to social media like Instagram, or even print them at the nearest printer. It lets you quickly access all of your Lightroom catalogs, no matter where you are or what you are doing. younity solves this dilemma better than anything else (that I’ve seen) by creating a secure peer-to-peer connection between your mobile device to your computer(s). By downloading the desktop software, then download the mobile app you can view, stream, share, download or print content off your computer(s), from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
“younity creates a “personal cloud” for the files shared on all of your various devices to let you access them anytime, anywhere.” – TechCrunch
Younity builds a “personal cloud” out of your computer(s) so you can always have all your content without having to upload files, sync devices or carry around your computer. According to CEO Erik Caso, younity is “distinctly different from most technology in the market now, in two primary ways. First, instead of requiring you to upload your content to company servers (which can take weeks for large catalogs and cost hundreds of dollars per year), younity turns your own computer(s) into the server. Second, when you install younity on multiple computers or external hard drives, it unifies all the content across them onto your mobile devices – so you never have to browse a specific device.” This not only results in a safer, more private and more secure type of service (the company that makes younity never has access to your files, file metadata or devices), it also makes it very easy to browse and find all your media – you can search across all devices at once and see all your photo catalogs in one place. Perhaps best of all, since they don’t have to pay for storing your data, the service is free (a low cost annual subscription is currently in the works for people with many devices).
I’m surprised by how easy younity is to setup and use, especially for a free service. Younity is super helpful to show off your portfolio to potential clients using an iPad or iPhone. Up until now, we’ve never really had an app of any kind to allow for such on-demand access to your portfolio or photos. To top it off, younity makes uploading to your favorite photos to Instagram quick and easy with there integrated one-click Instagram feature in their app.
“Share any photo off your home or office computer, right to Instagram using your iPhone.” – The Next Web
6 Features I Love About Younity
- Lightroom (LR) integration: younity automatically discovers your LR catalog (if it is in a non-default location you have to point to it), and reads its structure. You will be able to access Recent Photos (last 100), your LR Folders, and your Collections from your smartphone or tablet. If you install younity on multiple computers that each have Lightroom catalogs, it will show them all in a single unified view of Recents, Folders and Collections.
- younity will let you view/share/download any LR photo or catalog from any computer you install it on. If you have one LR catalog on your laptop, and another on a home or office computer, younity will read both and merge them into one single view.
- Social posting: Post those high-res photos on your desktop or laptop media directly to your social account from your mobile device using the younity app. You can access and post any photo off of your home or office computers directly to any social site through the younity app. This allows you to keep heavy image and video files off of your mobile phone, yet still have access to them on the go. Use this feature for a #sneakpeak from a recent shoots.
- Printing from anywhere: Need to output physical copies of your work? younity allows you to print any of your photos at the nearest AirPrint enabled printer.
- Push to your TV with Airplay or Apple TV: Need to demo your portfolio to a room of people? younity incorporates Apple’s AirPlay to enable streaming it to a TV.
- “Ephemeral” file-sharing: Allows photographers to share any content off their home or office computers with anyone, allowing them to view/stream the media, but not download. Shared files automatically expires after 7 days and can be unshared at any time you choose. People who receive your shared files can not download them or re-share them; however, they are able to take a screenshot. This can be great for sharing unedited shots to clients or models.
How Younity Differs from Lightroom Mobile:
As the folks at younity have pointed out, while Lightroom Mobile offers some features around accessing your Lightroom catalog, there are definitely some considerations to make before setting that up. My problems with with Lightroom Mobile sync are:
- Lightroom Mobile only syncs Collections, not Folders.
- You must configure each and every Collection to be synced (this is not particularly obvious).
- The syncing process can take days or weeks to complete.
- Synced photos use up storage on your iPhone or iPad – it will do this until your device runs out of storage.
“younity brings Snapchat-like capabilities to the rest of your files.” – PC World
What to Expect When Using Younity
- The fact that younity does not place your files in the shared cloud (like Adobe Creative Cloud or DropBox), or move your data from one device to the other (syncing devices) means that your computer needs to be on and connected to the Internet in order to access the content (your computer can hibernate/sleep, but can’t be ‘off’).
- In order to view full resolution photos, you have to download the photo to your device. If you do not, you will be viewing a lower resolution version (optimized for speed and mobile screen size).
- Currently, younity only offers an iOS app (iPhone and iPad), but the Android and web apps are coming soon.
- The time between installing younity on a computer and being able to access the files on your mobile devices increases with the amount of content you have. younity scans your computer and external hard drive(s) to find your content. If you have an enormous collection of media, it can take a while to scan (ranging from minutes to hours, depending on the number of files you have and the age/speed of your computer).
- Lastly, there is an implicit limit on the number of photos younity can handle, or rather the number your smartphone or tablet can handle. At some point, large catalogs represent too much metadata for the younity mobile app to put on a typical smartphone/tablet. I’m told hundreds of thousands to maybe a million or so photos are not a problem. Somewhere around a million photos you’ll notice the scan on your computer taking a very long time and your smartphone having trouble getting all the metadata.
I found this video online that does a great job showing how younity works.
How to Get Younity
Now that you’ve read all about why I think younity is such a breakthrough app that can make your life way easier, you are probably looking to get started with using younity yourself. Well unless you are an android user, if so, hang tight…their android version is coming soon!
Here are direct download links for you to get started using younity.