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Self Hosted, WEB Photo Organizer With Photoprism and Raspberry PI

photoprism raspberry pi featured imge
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With Smartphone camera quality increasing, thousands of photo files live spread in our hard drives, sometime without a unified organization. Photoprism (running on Raspberry PI) can help handling these files, providing an automated organization and an amazing web browser interface

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to install and setup Photoprism on Raspberry PI.

photoprism logo

Photoprism is a self-hosted alternative to Google Photos with many additional features. It allows keeping your files private, as they will be stored in your private server (Raspberry PI) and you can keep them available only in your home. It indexes your files to make it easier to show and group them. Photoprism uses Tensorflow to automatically reversing geocode calculation and tagging, rediscovering long-forgotten shots. This enriches your photos data adding location info such as state, city and category. It also helps in identifying duplicates, so that indexed photos will result uniques, removing noise when browsing images. A more complete feature set can be read from Photoprism features page.

Official Photoprism procedure to install on Raspberry PI uses Docker, as it keeps simple installation procedure. But we need to implement some simple tricks because official docker image requires a 64-bit CPU. For this reason, we’ll install the official 32-bit OS, then enabling the built-in 64-bit kernel.

What We Need

As usual, I suggest adding from now to your favorite e-commerce shopping cart all needed hardware, so that at the end you will be able to evaluate overall costs and decide if continue with the project or remove them from the shopping cart. So, hardware will be only:

Check hardware prices with the following links:

Amazon raspberry pi boards box
Amazon Micro SD box
Amazon Raspberry PI Power Supply box

Step-by-Step Procedure

Prepare Operating System

First of all, we need to setup our OS, installing the official 32-bit OS. I suggest using Raspberry PI OS Lite (as it keeps our RPI enough light and fast and we only need web access), but you can also use Raspberry PI OS Desktop (in this case working from its internal terminal).

Make your OS updated. From your terminal, use the following command:

sudo apt update -y && sudo apt upgrade -y

As indexing tasks may be memory expensive, to avoid “out of memory” problems you should change Raspberry PI Swap memory value from default 100 (MB) to 1000. From terminal:

sudo dphys-swapfile swapoff
sudo nano /etc/dphys-swapfile

change “CONF_SWAPSIZE=100” to “CONF_SWAPSIZE=1000”, save and exit from nano. Then:

sudo dphys-swapfile swapon
sudo systemctl restart dphys-swapfile.service

We can then install Docker in our Raspberry PI. For this step, you can refer to my tutorial to install Docker on Raspberry PI. Remember to install also docker-compose. Portainer is not strictly required.

Enable Raspberry PI OS 64-bit kernel

To do this, we can use a trick coming from the config.txt file. The current OS will result using the 32-bit kernel, as “uname -a” terminal command will show an armv7l architecture, as in following:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ uname -a
Linux raspberrypi 5.10.17-v7+ #1421 SMP Thu May 27 13:59:01 BST 2021 armv7l GNU/Linux

From the terminal, open this file to edit:

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

and append at the end of file the following row:

arm_64bit=1

Now you have to reboot your Raspberry PI in order to get 64-bit kernel running:

sudo reboot

After the reboot, you will have an ARM64 architecture running:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ uname -a
Linux raspberrypi 5.10.17-v8+ #1421 SMP PREEMPT Thu May 27 14:01:37 BST 2021 aarch64 GNU/Linux

Install Photoprism

Differently from official procedure, I suggest downloading and running the docker-compose file into a dedicated folder in order to avoid conflicts with possible other future docker-compose files. From terminal:

mkdir photoprism
cd photoprism

Download in your Raspberry PI the official docker-compose yml file:

wget https://dl.photoprism.org/docker/arm64/docker-compose.yml

Last but not least, change your photoprism “admin” password from docker-compose file. Open it with nano:

nano docker-compose.yml

identify following line:

PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD: "insecure"

and change “insecure” (which results in the default “Photoprism” password) with your one. For example, I will set my admin user password to giuseppe by using following line:

PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD: "giuseppe"

Be aware that docker-compose file is indentation sensitive, so take care to not change indentation. Finally, launch Photoprism container download and setup with the following terminal command:

docker-compose up -d

This command will take a some minutes as it needs to download and extract many images and setup database. When terminal prompt is back to you, verify that the 2 docker containers defined in docker-compose file are up and running:

pi@raspberrypi:~/photoprism $ docker ps --format "table {{.Names}}\t{{.Ports}}\t{{.Status}}"

NAMES        PORTS                                       STATUS
photoprism   0.0.0.0:2342->2342/tcp, :::2342->2342/tcp   Up 4 minutes
mariadb      3306/tcp                                    Up 4 minutes

From this command output you can already check that the two containers are both up (status column) and that photoprism service is exposed in its default 2342 port.

Open Photoprism Web Interface

From a web browser, you can reach your Photoprism installation using your Raspberry PI’s IP address and above identified port. As my RPI is located with 192.168.1.238 address, my URL will be “http://192.168.1.238:2342”. The login page will appear:

photoprism login

Use your password set in docker compose for your admin user and click “SIGN IN” button. You will enter the Photoprism home which is empty as you haven’t still loaded any photo:

photoprism home empty

To upload your very first image, identify the upload button on top-right:

photoprism home upload button

Click it for moving to the Upload page:

photoprism upload page

Use the “upload” button from this page to add a photo file from your computer. It will load and index this image and go back to search (home) page. As I used an internet image, it appears to my installation inside the review area, available from left side main menu:

photoprism imge to review

Once te file is approved, you will find it in your home page:

photoprism first image loaded

More info on how to use your Photoprism installation are available at Photoprism user guide pages.

Enjoy!

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