Complete Backup Solution

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tflint, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. tflint macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2009
    I am fairly new to digital photography and as such have been using a fairly simple backup solution. I am getting to the point now where I am running out of hard drive space on my Mac and need to come up with a better, longer term, solution for backing up my pictures and my Mac. I am shooting a lot of RAW and it eats up space fast. I figured this is probably a common problem and I could get some good advice here on the best direction to go.

    My current solution involves saving my pictures directly to the hard drive on my MacBook Pro (320G) and using Time Machine to backup to an external hard drive (1TB) and also backing up my MacBook Pro to the cloud using Crash Plan.

    I am looking for a solution that involves me moving my photography catalog to a new external hard drive and then hopefully still using Time Machine to back up my MacBook Pro AND this new external drive with my photos to my current Time Machine external drive. And then also backing up both my MacBook Pro hard drive and my photo catalog external drive to Crash Plan.

    I have been trying to find out if this solution is possible online with no luck. If possible, is this the right solution or is something else easier/better?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    TBH I would suggest you:

    Replace the 320GB internal with a 500GB internal - that will solve the internal space issue, if you are eating up a lot of RAW space (my Aperture library is 600GB), then consider jumping direct to a 1TB internal.

    Then use Time Machine to backup that drive as you do already - if necessary replace the current external with a 2TB as the internal fills up (you won't need to do that for a while).

    If you wish then use Crashplan as you do now to backup your MBP to their offsite.

    I always advise to keep backup (and therefore restoring), as simple as possible, if you have a drive fail it is nice to not have any confusion as to whether and where the backup is.
  3. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Crashplan can be configured to include external drives in the backup. I'm in the process of backing up a 2 TB media drive to crashplan. It's taking multiple months as I have a 300 gb bandwidth limit on my internet account.

    Your solution is good but I prefer having multiple time machine backup drives. You never know when a drive can fail or get corrupted.

    The suggestion about upgrading to a large SSD will,give you more space and a real boost in speed.
  4. AlaskaMoose, Oct 19, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    What I did was to buy a relatively inexpensive SATA drive dock, a "Plugable" that I connect to the USB port of a couple of Macs I use for photo editing, and then plug one of the several SATA drives I have for that purpose.

    I use a 1TB drive to backup the computer using SuperDuper or Time Machine, and the other hard drives (2 and 3TB drives) for photos. It's nice and simple, and since the SATA drives don't have enclosures I can stack them on top of each other out of the way when I don't need them.

    This is the one I have, but there are numerous USB-3 docks that work the same way. This one has its own power supply, and does not come with a hard drive. Hard drives cost very little, somewhere around $100.00 per 2TB, and even cheaper if you shop around.
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I'd say the first order of business is to replace the internal drive. Go for an SSD, that'll breathe new life into your machine and is going to be the most significant upgrade you can make. All other solutions are going to be significantly more complex, and probably also more expensive.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'd say +1 on the Plugable solution. Great for making backups for offsite storage; I rotate 3TB drives in and out weekly. And you can make use of it after you upgrade your internal to SSD as suggested; best upgrade you can do on any computer.

    But yeah, your solution looks good. You'll find that there are tons of photos you rarely even look at that can be offloaded to an external. Getting into doing this is something many of us do that use SSDs, even on desktop machines.

    Another factor is your photo management software. I moved to LR quite a while ago in part because it was so easy within LR to move folders of photos from one drive to another, yet still keep track of them. And that brings up TM. TM does versioning, which can be very helpful when you wanna roll back to a version of a file. But RAWs don't have versions. So they don't necessarily require something like TM; often just copying them suffices for archiving. The edits and other things you do to them can be stored in a DAM like LR, and then backed up separately. But if TM works for you, go for it. No backup solution is good if you don't find it easy to use.
  7. Zaqfalcon macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2010
    Time Machine can be setup to back up an internal drive and an external drive that is plugged in at the same time.

    Preferences > Time Machine > Options - if its in the exclusion list remove it and it will be backed up when plugged in and Time Machine runs.

    I believe the drive needs to be formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS+).

    I use a Time Capsule and don't know if this only works with one of these as your backup volume or any hard drive.

    Good luck.
  8. Robotti, Oct 25, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014

    Robotti macrumors regular


    Oct 16, 2014
    In my opinion, no matter what size hard drive you get, it will never be enough for your work. Relying only on Time Machine doesn't cut it for me, because it would end up deleting the old backups to free up space for new ones. So plan on using multiple drives from the beginning. This is how I do it (this is not optimal, and I am looking for alternative ways so I will be monitoring this thread closely):

    I download from camera to my rMBP and usually edit on the internal SSD. Then I move the photos (using Lightroom catalog) to a 2.5" USB3 drive where I can continue editing and store the photos. I always have a size-wise matching 3.5" drive for a backup, and I also use a simple dock where I can just drop the 3.5" drive and start copying. When my USB3 drive is full, I buy a new one and a matching 3.5" drive. The photos are chronologically stored in quite a few Usb3 drives and there's always a matching 3.5" drive for every one of them.

    Currently I'm making the backups manually with Beyond Compare, although there must be easier ways. However, it's not too difficult, since you just have to sync from the usb3 to the 3.5" once in a while. If the usb3 fails between my backup syncs, I can be sure that there's at least a few months' photos backed up by Time Machine along with the usual stuff inside my Mac. That's because I originally downloaded from the camera to the internal SSD, which is being time machined. Dodged that bullet.

    I tend not to go for the biggest drives, because you can fit a lot of photos in 1 TB and the smaller the drive, the less you lose in case of a total disaster. If I need to go back a few years, I just, well, go back a few drives.

    If you decide to do something like this, remember to check that all of the usb3 and 3.5" drives are working once in every few months. And also, think about the file format. I'm using dng with embedded raw and jpeg, and I'm hoping that it will be readable long after Adobe or any other company has been bought, turned around and sold twice over.

Share This Page