Tip!: The automatic tagging of photos requires an active Plex Pass subscription for the Plex Media Server account.
Most people are familiar with the concept of “tagging” photos, whether you do it by adding keywords in the Photos app on your Mac, let Flickr automatically add tags, or use some other method or tool. As a premium feature for our Plex Pass subscribers, your Plex Media Server can automatically add tags to your photographs in your Photo library, too. Once your photos are tagged you’ll be able to find your photos quickly with search, as well as discover existing related photos as you go through your newest snaps.
Tip!: Auto Tagging is part of Premium Photo libraries and requires an active Plex Pass subscription. You also need to be running Plex Media Server version 1.3 or newer.
The following Plex apps currently support browsing and searching based on Auto Tagging.
- Android (mobile)
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Plex Web App
- Windows / Windows Phone
How Automatic Tagging Works
Broadly speaking, this is pretty simple:
- We generate a small (~25 KB) thumbnail of the photo
- The thumbnail is temporarily uploaded to a trusted third-party service provider (Imagga)
- The thumbnail is analyzed, returning a wide range of tags about the content of the photo to us (shortly after the analysis is completed, the service provider removes the thumbnail on their side)
- Those tags are stored in your Plex Media Server for each photo
The real magic, though, is in the sophisticated, state-of-the-art machine-learning that is used to analyze the photo thumbnail. This can give you really compelling information for your photos with tags ranging from very broad to very specific or nuanced. For instance, photos might contain tags such as:
wine bottle, or many more.
Shortly after being analyzed, the thumbnail will be removed by the service provider.
Tip!: Your original photo is not modified or altered by the tagging process. The tags are stored in your Plex Media Server.
Enable Automatic Tagging for a Photo Library
Plex Pass subscribers can have tags automatically added to any of their Photo libraries, whether they already have one set up or will be creating a new one.
Create a New Photo Library
If you’re creating a new Photo library, you’ll have a choice to include the automatic tagging as part of the normal library creation flow.
- Click the Add Library button in the sidebar of Plex Web App
- Select Photos as the library type, enter a name, choose a language, and click Next
- Add the folder location where your photos are stored, then click Next
- Choose the Automatically tag my photos! option to create a premium Photo library
- Finish adding the library
Tags will then automatically be added as the content is added to your library.
Tip!: Be sure that you choose the appropriate Language when creating your library. The language you select will affect the tags that are added for your photos.
Note: Depending on the size of your photo library, processing all the photos for tagging could take anywhere from minutes to many hours. If you attempt to process more than 25,000 photos in a week, the remainder will be throttled until the next week.
Edit an Existing Photo Library
If you already have a Photo library, it’s easy to switch it over so that tags are automatically added for your content.
- Click the Edit Library button in the sidebar of Plex Web App
- In the General tab, select the Language for your library (this is very important!)
- Switch to the Options tab
- Choose the Automatically tag my photos! option to switch to a premium Photo library
- Save the changes to the library
Tip!: Be sure that you choose the appropriate Language in step 2 above. The language you select will affect the tags that are added for your photos.
After you save the library changes, your Plex Media Server will begin adding tags to the existing library content. There is no progress indication for this; it will simply happen in the background.
Note: Depending on the size of your photo library, processing all the photos for tagging could take anywhere from minutes to many hours.
How to use tags
There are currently a few ways you can make use of the tagging in your Photo library.
Info on Photos
When viewing photos on a supported Plex app, you can open up an info or collections view via a button on the photo.
This will then show you available collections based on some of the tags of the photo.
Using the mobile Android app here, you can see that there are 5 other “produce” photos available as well as 7 more “fruit” photos.
When searching, results can also be returned based on tags that your photos possess.
Above, several photos that were tagged as “produce” are returned when searching.