If you shoot as much as the next photographer, most of your hard drive is taken over by pictures. Now, try to imagine how many of them are duplicate photographs or just visually really-really similar? Chances are, the answer is a lot.
If you have a digital camera (not a film one) you shoot about 10-15 takes from one angle or of one posture before you’re satisfied, right? And then you only chose one for editing. That’s 14 pictures that you will never need right there, and that’s every scene of every photoshoot.
You must be already thinking about getting an external hard drive or buying cloud storage and moving your gallery, because your Mac’s space is not infinite. Or you might have already done that. Anyway, in the long run, billions of photos you no longer need keep piling up and it seems like there’s no escape from it. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this.
In fact, every creative person has it going: designers, illustrators, writers. We move folders, copy from gallery to gallery, create 10 similar files or download 10 copies of the same sketch because we forgot we already did so. We’re creatives, you can’t expect us to be organized after all. Refer to accountant people for that.
How to spot a good duplicate photos finder
The problem with duplicate and visually similar photos is so commonplace that here at MacPaw we created a professional duplicate image finder, Gemini 2. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s good and how it can help you sort your photos.
Dealing with duplicate photographs
First, you need to find duplicate photographs in your gallery. Then you have to figure out which version to delete in each case. All that takes loads of time if done manually, so Gemini 2 does most of the work for you. Gemini's work starts with looking for exact duplicates. If it’s the same picture (or any file, by the way) with the exact same size and contents, just a different name or location, it’s a duplicate.
To find duplicated photos you just need to download Gemini for free and run the scan. You can scan your whole Mac, selected folders, or just your Photos (or iPhoto) library. By the way, if you’re scanning the Photos library, make sure to choose the library for scanning, not the Photos app, the icons are pretty similar.
When it’s ready, you’ll see what can be deleted right away (Gemini is smart and knows some files can be safely removed) and what you should take a closer look at. Then just tell Gemini to delete, for instance, all the oldest versions, and leave the newest for use.
Click on Select Duplicates and choose which types of files you’d like removed. Don’t worry, Gemini only moves files to the Trash, so if you accidentally get rid of something important, just click Review Trashed and choose the ones you’d like to put back.
Find similar images and sort them all out
Once you have duplicates off your Mac, it’s time to take a look at similars. To find similar photos look right next to the duplicates in your left-hand menu.
What are those? Similar images are the ones that have one or two things different about them: it could be size, date modified, slightly different editions, slightly different angle/movement in the picture.
For instance, here are two pictures with and without editing, in the same folder. Gemini will find them for you and mark as similar.
Or here are three pictures that were taken a second apart. You definitely don’t need all three, unless you’re going for an art-housy installation on majestic horse breathing.
Dealing with similars is pretty rewarding in terms of disk space, they usually take up even more than duplicates (unless you keep copypasting folders like crazy). Plus, even if Gemini doesn’t mark every similar shot as such, it usually gives you a pretty good insight into where to look for them. After you find similar images it's easy to organize your whole gallery and leave only those pictures that you’ll actually use.
Final word on finding duplicate pictures
We all know that euphoric state in which you return home with an SD-card full of new pictures. We’ve all been there, editing feverishly to get them done and publish or print, or submit to galleries. It’s ok to be a little messy in that moment, but months later you notice that your whole Mac is a mess.
Don’t let those useless files eat up the drive space you need for future beauties. There’s nothing more frustrating than the “Startup Disk is almost full” alert when you’re uploading new pictures. It’s best to deal with space wasters with Gemini 2 long before that happens.
Have a good day and may the Photoshop be with you.