Best strategy or process for storing photos?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Sagnet, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Sagnet macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hi guys! I have a MacBook Pro with a 500 GB SSD. It's filling up quickly, and I am looking at getting a NAS (Synology or QNAP), and moving all my photos over there. However, I understand that linking the Photos app to a NAS library doesn't always work seamlessly, and can mess up things in the long run. So what's the best strategy for storing and working with photos, when you don't have room for them all in the internal hard drive?

    Do you keep a small library locally on the Mac, and move pictures back an forth? Do you keep the local library empty, and only use it for importing photos, and when you're done editing, you move them to the NAS? Or do you use an other processs? Please share! :)

    (Oh, by the way, I have an external 1TB hard drive which I use for Time Machine backups. I also have a cloud service with unlimited space, that I'm backing up the photos folder on the mac to.)

    Oh, and one more thing: If you store the photos on the NAS as a Photos library, are you able to watch and navigate the photos from other devices, like an iPhone or a Windows PC?
  2. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    Probably best to keep the Photos Library file on the external drive. If you keep Library files on both I can imagine it would get confusing remembering what's where.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Does your MBPro have an SD card slot?

    There is at least one company (sorry, I don't recall the name at the moment) that offers a VERY fast (at least for the SD card reader) card/carrier combo that fits nearly flush into the SD card reader.

    It's meant to be "left there" to operate as an auxiliary drive. Once inserted, you hardly notice that it's there.

    Could make a good repository for your Photos library.

    Another option:
    Something like this?
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    First, you've got a backup issue too. While that 1TB TM drive might have worked up until now, it's gonna be inadequate when you start storing photos externally pretty soon.

    Second, are you making use of iCloud Photo Library? You could reference photos instead of storing them in a managed Photos library. You could even use more than one Photos library. But these options mess with iPL. So the idea that you can "watch" them on other devices may be affected, depending on how you share them.

    Third, why NAS? You might be better off with an external, or even thumbdrive or card as noted elsewhere. At least in the short term. And use NAS for backup. Some NAS setups can also be shared over the internet; that might solve your remote access problem.

    Fourth, you might be outgrowing Photos. Lightroom has more flexibility in storage; people often keep some photos local, some on NAS or externals, and the catalog on the boot drive. You can take smart previews with you on the laptop to edit the images you left behind at home on the NAS or external; they take up less space and work just as well for editing, adjusting, etc. Or Mylio, which lets you sync different sizes of images from thumbnail to full copy across all sorts of devices, from PCs to NAS to mobile devices and so on. And there are others; Photos is sorta designed for a narrower use range and especially for those that use iCloud and iOS devices.
  5. jasnw macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2013
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    Second the question as to why a NAS? Don't go that route unless you need access to the entire library by a network of computers within your house, and only if you really want to fuss with a NAS. Just hang some external storage on your computer and put the photos out there, and don't forget the backs (and not NOT just TM!). I've got six iPhoto libraries on external USB drives attached to a Mac Mini server, and that works for me. Could just have easily put them on my main house computer (an iMac), but I wanted to play around with a Mac Mini server for other purposes anyway.
  6. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2009
    Well, I want the NAS, so I can access the photos (view them or download a copy) when I am on another computer, or an iPad. Instead of buying several external hard drives, and have them laying around, having to label them or plug them in if I want to know what's on them, I figure that a central storage like a NAS will be a more convenient and future proof solution. That way, I can also store photos, even if I'm out and about, and don't have any of the drives with me. I would also like to store all my music and a few video files there as well.

    As to backup, I can still make backups of the NAS folders of my choice to the cloud service. They accept one NAS as a source for backups. It has to be done through the cloud client on my Mac, though, so it can't happen automatically.

    So I am stilling wondering if I should keep most of the photos in a managed library on my Mac, and sync the library file to a folder on the NAS. Or if I should keep all the photos somewhere on the NAS, and reference them if I need to open them with the Photos app on my Mac.

    As to Lightroom, I am not that interested in paying a lot for such software. I rarely do any advanced editing, but I need to be able to organize my photos in a sensible way.
  7. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2009
    So, I think I have decided on a process. Any comments to this?

    1. Import photos to laptop (Photos library)
    2. Sync laptop to cloud
    3. Edit photos
    4. Export photos to NAS
    5. Sync NAS to cloud
    6. Sync laptop to cloud
    7. Delete photos from laptop (Photos library)
    (8. Do Time machine backup of laptop)
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    This isn't enough detail to give you much advice.

    First, Photos? If you wanna go that route, why all the fuss with a NAS since using iCloud Photo Library will seem to get you access via your iOS device and Mac, and store in the cloud, and while you are "out and about." A NAS is gonna run about $500 minimum, and that doesn't even include any cloud storage (maybe they give you some freebie storage if you're will to use it). And iCloud Photo Library can optimize storage to save you space, your original problem.

    Second if you do use Photos you'd have to use referenced images, which could be on the NAS. But the Photos library can't or shouldn't be on a NAS, and of course not a managed Photos library. And using a referenced Photos library I think still precludes you from using iCloud Photo Library.

    Third, that's a lotta work to end up with an exported photo on your laptop. Why not import to the NAS, edit, and then just export as needed to the laptop? The whole point of PIE type programs like Photos, Lightroom, etc is that they save the adjustments for the original and you can always go back and export some JPEGs for use in a gallery on your laptop or iPhone or whatever. Of course something like Lr makes this easier, since you can have published collections that you can easily update as the images or collection changes.

    Fourth, take a look at Mylio. It could sync from a NAS to your laptop, using either thumbnails, previews, or full sized images, and you can selectively decide which to use, and which photos to sync, unlike with Photos.
  9. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2009
    Well, first of all, I want to have at least one local copy of my photos. I don't trust cloud services enough to only store my photos there. That being said, I have free unlimited space on a cloud service called Jottacloud. So I use that for backing up all my important data (like photos). So I feel I don't need iCloud, which I will have to pay for. But I do need the NAS for keeping local copies.

    The concept here is that whenever I have taken new photos, I import them to my laptop for editing. When I am done editing, I remove them from my laptop and store them on the NAS (with backups to the cloud). So I am only keeping one library for the Photos app, which is a local library on my laptop. I will not be referencing the NAS from Photos. That means that I will have to delete the photos from the Photos app after they are moved to the NAS.

    That is a great suggestion, I will definitely check it out!

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8 September 16, 2016