One of our favorite photography apps just became our all-time favorite. Google Photos is a free photo sharing and backup service that we've been using ever since its inception in May 2015. Besides giving us free, unlimited storage of images and videos, Google Photos has some amazing artificial intelligence that analyzes photos. It will automatically pick out and edit your best photo from an album (and it's often right at picking out the best), and it will even create short movies or GIFs of images that it detects are part of a series. This latter feature has always been a fun feature that recently came in super helpful when Google Photos essentially created a wedding video for us. Seriously--the video is below. Here's how it came together.
What is Google Photos?
When installed as a smartphone app or desktop app, Google Photos can be set to automatically backup photos or videos to the cloud. Every account has free, unlimited storage of media. But there's a catch. Google Photos only keeps photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. If you want to store higher resolution photos or even RAW files, you'll have to pay a monthly fee to do so. Still, Google Photos offers a pretty neat photo backup alternative.
We have Google Photos installed and active on our Android phones and Mac computers. It's astonishingly fast at uploading new content to the cloud. Once on the cloud, that content can be accessed across all of our devices. We also take advantage of shared albums so that we can contribute to the same album.
How Google Photos made us a wedding video
Our wedding photographer in Tuscany did the unexpected and sent us not only his edited image selects. He also sent us the full take of unedited images shot during our wedding, along with permission to choose and edit our own images to our liking. I'm not sure if he does that for all clients, or because he knew that both Martin and I are photographers. Either way, it's very special to be able to go through the extra images and make our own edits.
While copying the full take of photos to our hard drives, Google Photos automatically backed up all of those images to the cloud. It then started automatically generating GIFs for us. The first few were cute and entertaining, but before long, we had a total of 60 GIFs from Google. When going through the full take, it was easy to see how those GIFs got generated. Many photographers, myself included, will often take a series of 3-5 images at a time, just to make sure we capture the key moment as it unfolds. Our wedding photographer did this during our entire wedding ceremony, and thanks to Google Photos, we have a whole series of GIFs that recreate the whole evening.
After organizing the GIFs, it just took an hour of video editing in Final Cut Pro to make a full video. We also decided to meld some drone footage that we had captured ourselves during the ceremony.
Here's the video
This is the final video that we made. Due to the choppy nature of GIFs, it isn't completely smooth. But it does an excellent job of showcasing the day almost exactly as it happened.