How-To: Create the Ultimate Camera-to-Internet Workflow


Taking photos with smartphones and uploading them to the Internet instantly is nothing to brag about these days. Even point-and-shoot cameras have optional Wi-Fi solutions available to upload images as soon as they’re taken. But what if your needs are a little more complex? What if you need to use the lens choices only available with a full-blown Digital SLR configuration, but still want to get some form of the image online as fast as possible? Whether you are in the field with a mobile MiFi-like hotspot, or at a location with Wi-Fi access available, the following solution will allow you to take stunning images in full resolution, and still streamline the upload process with correctly sized images for immediate sharing with family and friends.

For my setup, I use an older Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT paired with an EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens and a monopod. I also use a MacBook Pro to handle image processing and file uploading (though you don’t necessarily need that much power). The software I use is a simple mix of the stock Canon EOS Utility (PDF), Apple’s built-in Automator, and the Dropbox Client for Mac.

Through Canon’s EOS Utility, the naming convention used for saving the images in the transferred to the folder on the Mac is configurable.

EOS Utility - File Name

This technique saves considerable time, considering the alternative would be syncing the images at pre-determined intervals and manually moving files around on my file system. Even though I share a Dropbox photo folder, I typically don’t specify that location as the “Destination Folder” that Canon’s EOS Utility uses to save files to. Instead, I save files from the camera to another folder that I set up in Automator as an Action Folder. This intermediary Action Folder resizes the images and copies them to the Dropbox folder for instant upload to a shared folder in my Dropbox account. When Canon’s EOS Utility offloads the images from the camera to this folder, the workflow I created (detailed below) will execute.

Automator Actions

To create this Folder Action, from the Applications folder in the Finder, launch Automator and select the “Folder Action” template. Folder actions are workflows that are associated with a folder. Any items dropped into that folder will cause the workflow to run. Once the folder action has been created, set the “Folder Action receives files and folders added to” as the location that the Canon EOS Utility is offloading the images to. This will start the process.

Next, add the following Actions to the Folder Action:

  1. From the Library, select a “Copy Finder Items” action located within Files & Folders.
  2. Set the “To” to some temporary location that images will be resized within. Do not use the Dropbox folder location in this step, as the full size images will be copied and then resized.
  3. From the Library, select a “Scale Images” action located within Photos.
  4. Set the “To Size (pixels)” to 1024.
  5. From the Library, select the “Add Text to Finder Item names” action located within Photos.
  6. Set “Add Text” to _1024x682 “after name.” This will add a suffix to the end of the file name indicating that the file has been resized.
  7. From the Library, select another “Copy Finder Items” action located within Files & Folders.
  8. Set the “To” to the local Dropbox location that images will be uploaded from.

Each time you press the silver shutter release on the Digital SLR, the resulting image file will automatically be transferred to the Mac, resized, renamed and uploaded to the Internet!

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