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How I Manage Photos with Dropbox and Pixa

Abandoning iPhoto is probably one of the right decision I’ve made in storing photos. Long time OS X users such as Federico Vitici and Sven Fechner started this and it remains as one of my favorite tips of all time.

But there is one problem. You still need an application to view and organize all existing photos.

Perhaps you have a folder shared between friends. Perhaps you have a folder filled with screenshots. Perhaps you need your photos tagged. You shouldn’t do that with Finder1. The only way is to find an application that can monitor folders live.

Developed by Shiny Frog, Pixa is an application for you to collect and organize your images. It’s tailored for people who build a huge gallery of images for references. What makes Pixa impressing is the Live Folders which can update the gallery according to the content of folders.

Just drag and drop a folder into Pixa to create a Live Folder. Once all the images are shown in the library, it’ll keep tracking all the supported files inside the folder, including all sub-folders.

Just because Pixa can handle the huge library well, it doesn’t mean you should drop all the folders inside. Try to only put the folders you want to view from time to time. I have six folders in my Pixa, each designated for different images.

Downloads is the default download folder. It’s the location where all the files I’ve downloaded stored. Since Pixa can only read images, I can see what I’ve downloaded easier. You can treat it as an inbox before moving them to their respective folder.

Pixa Gallery Folder

Gallery is where all the imported Photos from Dropbox are stored. If you’ve followed my tutorial on using Hazel to organize photos imported from Dropbox, your gallery should be structured like the screenshot above. You can get a timeline view of your stored photos organized by year and month. The timestamp and location coordinates in the filename provide you with the context when and where the images are taken.

Pixa Scrabook Folder

Scrapbooks is my personal Pinterest. I store all the interesting infographic, web comic, and funny images here. Pixa also supports PDF which proves to be useful if you want to view PDF without opening Preview.

Screenshots keeps all the screenshots taken on Mac, iPhone, and iPad in one location. Sometimes you need to edit the files without digging through folders. That’s why I choose to display this folder in the dock as stack so I can see whether the new files have been moved from Camera Uploads to the Screenshots folder correctly.

Pixa Stock Folder

Stocks is where all photos I’ve saved as references for future blog posts. If you’re a blogger, including a relevant photo inside a post is a great boost for your article. I gather stock photos by signing up newsletters from company I write about, or search through Flickr for images I can use for free2. In order to not forget the original owner of the images, I usually include the source link in the note section.

Pixa Wallpaper Folder

Wallpapers to display all downloaded wallpaper. It feels great just to take a look at all the gorgeous wallpaper in Pixa.

This setup has helped me to organize images efficiently. All the goes into Download folder and waiting to be organized, screenshots are available in the dock, and each images contain the important URL source.

Pixa is definitely one of the best application you can get to organize images. Stop wondering which application you can get to view all the photos stored in Dropbox. Get Pixa.


  1. OS X Mavericks will implement tags as one of the Finder feature. I don’t think it’s a great idea to use Finder for managing photos. Photos are visual and Finder can’t display them as well as Pixa.

  2. You should verify the copyright of each images and make sure they can be edited and used for non-commercial purposes.