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Running PhotoPrism with Docker

We recommend using Docker Compose as it is easier to start with for beginners and provides more comfort than the pure Docker command-line interface.

You're welcome to ask for help in our community chat. Sponsors receive direct technical support via email.

Step 1: Start the server

Open a terminal and run this command to start the app after replacing ~/Pictures with the folder containing your pictures:

docker run -d \
  --name photoprism \
  --security-opt seccomp=unconfined \
  --security-opt apparmor=unconfined \
  -p 2342:2342 \
  -v /photoprism/storage \
  -v ~/Pictures:/photoprism/originals \

The server port and app config options may be changed as needed. If you provide no database server credentials, a SQLite database file will be created in the storage folder.

Always change PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD so that the app starts with a secure initial password. Never use easy-to-guess passwords or default values like insecure on publicly accessible servers. There is no default in case no password was provided. A minimum length of 4 characters is required.

Commands on Linux may have to be prefixed with sudo when not running as root. Note that this will point the home directory placeholder ~ to /root in volume mounts. Kernel security modules such as AppArmor and SELinux have been reported to cause issues.

When the app has been started, open the Web UI by navigating to http://localhost:2342/. You should see a login screen. Sign in with the user admin and the password configured via PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD. You may change it on the account settings page. Enabling public mode will disable authentication.

If you can't connect, try starting the app without -d. This keeps it in the foreground and shows log messages for troubleshooting. Should the server already be running, or you see no errors, you may have started it on a different host and/or port. There could also be an issue with your browser, ad blocker, or firewall settings.

It is not possible to change the password via PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD after the app has been started for the first time. You may run docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism passwd in a terminal to change an existing password. You can also reset your database for a clean start.


Since the app is running inside a container, you have to explicitly mount the host folders you want to use. PhotoPrism won't be able to see folders that have not been mounted. That's an important security feature.


The originals folder contains your original photo and video files. They are mounted from ~/Pictures in the example above, where ~ is a placeholder for your home directory. Other folders accessible from the host may be mounted instead, including network drives.

Multiple folders can be made accessible by mounting them as subfolders:

-v ~/Example:/photoprism/originals/Example

When you enable read-only mode, all features that require write permission to the originals folder are disabled, in particular import, upload, and delete. Run the app with -e PHOTOPRISM_READONLY="true" for this. You can mount a folder with the :ro flag to make Docker block write operations as well.


Cache, session, thumbnail, and sidecar files will be created the storage folder, which is mounted as an anonymous volume in our example. You may want to mount a specific host folder instead. Never remove the volume completely so that you don't lose these files after restarting or upgrading the container. We recommend placing the storage folder on a local SSD drive for best performance.


You may optionally mount an import folder from which files can be transferred to the originals folder in a structured way that avoids duplicates. Imported files receive a canonical filename and will be organized by year and month.

You can safely skip this. Adding files via Web Upload and WebDAV remains possible, unless read-only mode is enabled or the features have been disabled.

Step 2: Index your library

Ensure there is enough disk space available for creating thumbnails and verify file system permissions before starting to index: Files in the originals folder must be readable, while the storage folder including all subdirectories must be readable and writeable.

Open the Web UI, go to Library and click Start to start indexing your pictures.

While indexing, JPEG sidecar files may be created for originals in other formats such as RAW and HEIF. This is required for image classification, facial recognition, and for displaying them in a Web browser. Sidecar and thumbnail files will be added to the storage folder, so that your originals folder won't be modified.

Your photos and videos will successively become visible in search results and other parts of the user interface. Open the Logs tab in Library to watch the indexer working.

Of course, you can continue using your favorite tools for processing RAW files, editing metadata, or importing new shots. Go to Library and click Start to update the index after files have been changed, added, or removed. This can also be automated using CLI commands and a scheduler.

Easy, isn't it?

If you're running out of memory - or other system resources - while indexing, try reducing the number of workers by setting PHOTOPRISM_WORKERS to a reasonably small value (depending on the performance of the server). Also make sure your server has at least 4 GB of swap configured so that indexing doesn't cause restarts when there are memory usage spikes. Especially the conversion of RAW images and the transcoding of videos are very demanding. As a measure of last resort, you may disable using TensorFlow for image classification and facial recognition.

Step 3: When you're done...

You can stop PhotoPrism and start it again using the following commands:

docker stop photoprism
docker start photoprism

To remove the container completely:

docker rm -f photoprism

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Command-Line Interface

photoprism help lists all commands and config options available in the current version:

docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism help

Use the --help flag to see a detailed command description, for example:

docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism backup --help

Prefixing commands with docker exec -ti [container name] runs them inside an app container. If this fails with no container found, make sure the app has been started and its container has the same name.

PhotoPrism's command-line interface is well suited for job automation using a scheduler.


Action Command
Start App docker start photoprism
Stop App docker stop photoprism
Update Container Image docker pull photoprism/photoprism:latest
Uninstall docker rm -f photoprism
Show Server Logs docker logs --tail=100 -f photoprism
Show Config Values docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism config
Reset Database docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism reset
Backup Database docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism backup -a -i
Restore Database docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism restore -a -i
Change Admin Password docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism passwd
Show User Management Commands docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism users help
Show Facial Recognition Commands docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism faces help
Index Faces docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism faces index
Reset People & Faces docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism faces reset -f
Transcode Videos to AVC docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism convert
Regenerate Thumbnails docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism thumbs -f
Update Index docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism index --cleanup
Import Files docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism import [path]

Complete Rescan

docker exec -ti photoprism photoprism index -f rescans all originals, including already indexed and unchanged files. This may be necessary after major upgrades.