I’ve been working on this issue for the last 2-3 weeks. I have not yet found a suitable solution, though I have a Rube Goldberg patchjob.
First issue: The number of photos in my Google Photos folder in Google Drive was MUCH less than the number of photos I got when I used Google Takeout to retrieve my photos. Google Takeout had more than 5,000 photos extra, so this is not a minor rounding error. Something to be aware about. (also, empty Google Photos trash before using Google Takeout).
Second issue: Rebuilding your photo collection from Google Takeout is a nightmare. It’s possible, but boy do I not want to do this again.
Third issue: I’ve chosen to manage my photos on my hard drive, and simply upload the tagged photos to a cloud solution. This way, I can have a backup of my photos with their tag information that is not trapped in a cloud provider. If you tag photos in cloud providers like Google Photos and Flickr (I think), the tags are not part of the photo metadata when you download the photo, but are in a separate json file which for amateurs like me is useless.
I’m using Windows Essentials Photo 2012 as my photo management and it is still VERY good. I’d recommend it. It has good face recognition, the ability to create EXIF and XMP tags, and easy to make changes to dates in photos. And it’s the easiest of the photo management pieces of software to use. (A caveat: the Windows Essentials Photos face recognition data does not carry over to any other piece of software).
Fourth issue: Google Photos ignores your EXIF / XMP tags. So you can’t tag a photo on your computer, upload the photo, and then search for the photo on Google Photos using those tags. (SmugMug seems to be able to do this though)
This is a real issue - you have to tag your photos twice - on your computer and on Google Photos, which creates for a nightmare workflow.
Fifth issue: Managing on your photos on your computer with Insync running tends to slow Insync and your hard drive to a crawl. From what I’ve found, there is no problem with Insync (kudos to you developers), but the sheer volume of files overwhelms everything. I’ve had to turn off Insync when I’m managing my 35,000 photos.
I have NO final solution yet. My current system is a hodgepodge that isn’t working terribly well. So far all I’ve learned is that Google Photos is not a very good photo organiser, and that it’s not a solution if you want backups of your photos with the metadata kept intact. I’m still exploring solutions.
Software I’ve been using:
Windows Essentials Photo Gallery 2012
ExifPilot (the free version so I can read Exif / XMP / IPTC metadata)
EXIF Date Changer - very handy with updating the date taken metadata.
Duplicate Cleaner Pro - to deduplicate the file collection
If anyone has had any other ideas / questions, please post here for the rest us. thanks.