PhotoStructure for Synology Docker Container Manager

Learn how to run an optimal installation and use PhotoStructure for Synology Docker containers, also known as Container Manager. This guide makes use of Docker, and takes into consideration the needs of a working professional and separating Photo Libraries, such as one for work and one for family photos.

Photostructure for synology docker
PhotoStucture running on the founder’s laptop

PhotoStructure is a self-hosted photo management program that provides cloud functionality while allowing you to keep data yours. It automatically organizes and deduplicates your photos utilizing lossless methods. System-agnostic, you can take your photo library and run it on Windows, Mac, Synology, Linux, or pretty much any other operating system you throw at it.

What You Need

I want photo organization, but need to separate my work from personal photos. On my Synology NAS, I already have two Volumes and Shared Folders setup, where I have placed photos of each purpose. I have Photos, which is for my personal media, and MK, which contains all of my work-related media.

The end result has 2 different PhotoStructure Docker containers running concurrently. Each can be accessed by changing the port, with 1787 being PhotoStructure’s default. 1788 isn’t used by any other service on my Synology, so I felt it safe to push the number up 1.

This method could easily be reproduced and adapted for additional Photo Libraries beyond the two.

Installing PhotoStructure in Container Manager

Open up Container Manager and click on the Registry tab. Type in PhotoStructure.

Photostructure for synology docker installing photostructure in container manager
Container Manager registry results for PhotoStructure

Double-click on the photostructure/server result. You can choose to either get the Latest tag, or if you’re adventurous and want to check out the newest photo management features, find the Alpha tag and get that.

Photostructure for synology docker install container manager alpha tag
Download the Alpha tag if you dare
Photostructure for synology docker install container manager downloading
Currently downloading PhotoStructure

After hitting Apply, you’ll know the Image is ready when there is a notification from Container Manager. and the blue Downloading text gets to 100% and disappears.

Download complete via Notification Center

Click on the Container Tab in the Container manager and Create a Container for PhotoStructure. These are my initial settings:

Photostructure for synology docker install container manager create container

Docker Settings

  • localhost:1787
  • localhost:1788

Before you dive in, it’d be a great idea to review the official documentation on installing PhotoStructure for Servers.

Advanced Settings Example:

PUID needtofindforyou
PGID 100

Volume Settings Example

File/Folder: /docker/photostructure Mount Path: /ps/library
File/Folder: /Photos Mount Path: /Photos

Shared Folder Settings

I discovered during a debugging session with the Photostructure developer that Shared Folders needed to have the specific user added to Permissions. Just having a group added to the Shared Folder may not be enough in a lot of use cases. Even if your user is the administrator.

From File Station, right click on the Shared Folder with your photo library and click Properties. Hit the Permissions Tab, and then the Create button to add yourself as a specific user.

Make sure Read and Write permissions are granted.

Photostructure for synology docker shared folder user settings

Hit Done on the Permission Editor Screen, hit the checkbox to Apply to all Folders/Subfolders/etc, then click Save. Wait for the permissions to be applied then move onto the next step.

Setting Up the First Container

Photostructure synology docker about page
The About Page for PhotoStructure – Photo Library
Photostructure synology docker advanced settings environment
Advanced Settings – Environment for the Docker Container

Add these Variables

Add Variables so PhotoStructure knows it is running as a Docker Container.
Photostructure synology docker volume settings mount path
Specify the Volume where the appropriate Photo Library is located.
Photostructure for synology docker ready to run
PhotoStructure is ready to run!

Setup the Second Container

There will be one minor difference as you setup the second Photo Library. Well, two. First, you will specify a different volume. The second is adding a variable to change the port.

Photostructure synology docker second library port setting

This additional setting is key: PS_HTTP_PORT 1788

The Volume settings are mapped to the second work Volume, so each Library and Docker files are on that particular volume. This allows me to totally separate Photo Libraries and settings, and quickly pick up and move around each one as needed. I can also access them from new systems without them ever interacting with one another.

Photostructure synology docker photos library example
PhotoStructure up and running!


One of the best things I did was move the .photostructure folder onto its own SSD drive on my Synology NAS. My combined libraries of around 200k+ photos and video take about 2TB of data, so I bought a 4TB SSD SATA drive and moved the libraries onto that. Huge performance gains in browsing and loading thumbnails. I highly recommend doing the same if your setup allows.

In watching how the two Docker containers perform, PhotoStucture does a great job in resource use and not overloading the server as it processes photos or video. I’ve noticed the two Libraries seem to go back and forth in using FFmpeg and other resources, with neither eating up everything at once.

I’ve been able to run everything else alongside PhotoStucture without any issues.

Sync is run every 24 hours. If you make lots of changes to the folder structure on your own, you may want to restart sync manually.

If you’re interested in more photography tips and tricks or your workflow, check out the article on Camera Accessories.


July 30 2023: Added Performance information on using SSD drives.

July 29 2023: Updated for Synology DSM 7.2.x and Container Manager.

April 22 2023: Guide last tested with Synology DSM 7.1.1.x Update 5.

April 5 2023: Guide last tested with Synology DSM 7.1.x and PhotoStucture 2.1.0-alpha.7.

April 2 2023: Updated Shared Folder settings.

February 16 2013: First published.

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