Django Image and File Field Caveats

Everytime I work with Image or File fields in Django I forget some tiny detail that waste 10-20 minutes until I remember what was I missing, I always say I will remeber it next time but I never do! so I made a list of common errors I keep doing while working with Image/File fields:

For complete working project: https://github.com/rayed/dj-imagefield-example

Setting MEDIA_URL and MEDIA_ROOT

Make sure you set proper values for MEDIA_URL and MEDIA_ROOT in your settings.py, e.g. I use the following structure:

my_new_site/
    apps/
       apps/
          settings.py
       gallery/
       blog/
    www/
       media/
       static/
    requirements.txt


I would put the following settings (for both MEDIA and STATIC files):

STATIC_URL = '/static/'
STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, '..','www','static')
MEDIA_URL = '/media/'
MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, '..','www','media')

Make sure uploaded files are accessible in development server

Serving uploaded files (media) is the job of the web server and not Django, but to ease the development process I usually make Django serve it in debug mode.

This is done by adding the following at the end of your main urls.py:

from django.conf import settings
from django.conf.urls.static import static
if settings.DEBUG:
    urlpatterns += static(settings.MEDIA_URL, document_root=settings.MEDIA_ROOT)

HTML forms changes

Make sure you have enctype=”multipart/form-data” in your form tag, i.e.:

<form method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">


Instead of:

<form method="post">

Don’t forget request.FILES

I always forget to include “request.FILES” in my ModelForms, and I always get “This field is required” error message!

def author_create(request, template_name='author/form.html'):
    form = ImageForm(request.POST or None, request.FILES or None)
    if form.is_valid():
        form.save()
        return redirect('author:home')
    return render(request, template_name, {'form':form})    

ImageField requires Imaging library

If you want to use Django built in ImageField you have to install Pillow Imaging library! FileField doesn’t needed it though.

View the image

Just a reminder that you can access the image URL in your template like so:

<img src="{{ author.image.url }}"  />

3 thoughts on “Django Image and File Field Caveats”

  1. How can I do file upload without using django’s forms, instead use my html forms.

    Thanx alot, I always read your works
    (please mail me when answered)

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