Resolved How much hard drive space do you recommend for a noob photographer?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 100Teraflops, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. 100Teraflops, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011

    100Teraflops macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #1
    I am debating the purchase of a Mac Pro. I will buy three drives in addtion to the stock 1 TB. Furthermore, I like to take pictures with my point and shoot. Curently, I have around 10-12 GB of photos and less than one GB of videos. The plan is to buy an entry level dslr later this year, which leads to my question.

    How large of a hard drive should I buy? Will 500-750 GB suffice? I will SHARE the hard drive with other saved data too. Is this a problem?

    I know this question is subjective, but bare with me! I figure filling up a 320 GB drive than buying another drive will get old fast. Of course, assuming I take that many photos. Maybe the 320 is a good option? Nonetheless, all suggestions are appreciated.
     
  2. SR20DETDOG macrumors regular

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    #2
    I wouldn't be able to say how much capacity you need, however, large hard drives are pretty cheap so I'd probably get a bit more than you think you need. Remember there's no need for a fast HDD, maybe something like a WD caviar green?
     
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #3
    I store an archive of my RAW files as DMG images of my memory cards on a large 1TB drive.

    I keep a subset of those (keepers) as my working images in my Aperture Library on my system drive.

    For 2010...

    My RAW file archives consumed about 300GB, which is shooting an average of 1000 pictures per month or so (25MB per RAW image).

    My Aperture Library consumed 138GB, which as you can see, is a little less than half of the pictures I took.

    If I was you, I would plan on using an External drive to archive your RAW images to, and selectively importing only the ones you feel are "keepers" into your desired photo management application on your system drive. Even if you import all the photos from a shoot to your management app on the system drive, you can later prune it down to keep the size of your working library reasonable.

    Periodically, you can also archive your photo management library to an external drive and start a new one on your system drive when it starts to get full.

    The bottom line is that with some proper image management, and a large external drive, you can essentially get by with nearly any size of drive on your laptop... it's size will merely dictate how often you need to archive things to your external, which of course, also depends on how much you shoot.
     
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #4
    Good advice so far.

    One other thing. Photoshop needs a scratch disk. Dedicate the first partition (I think about 50GB?) of one of your fast internal disks as the scratch disk. The drive should not be the one that has your applications, or OS on it. I use the same drive that has my image library. Basically you want the disk to be available only to PS when it needs it.

    Good Luck.

    If you go with a current Mac Pro, and if you put images on an external drive, make sure it's FW 800 drive. The speed increase over USB is well worth it. Unless it's your back up drive, 'cause nobody cares how long the backup takes at 3am.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy a Mac Pro (unless I absolutely needed to) unto the just released Thunder Bolt technology made it into the Mac Pros. The current best info is that TB will not be an add-in card into current Mac Pros.

    If the new Mac Pros with TB are too pricey, the older (now the current versions) Mac Pros will be discounted. I think a lot of professionals are going to hold off buying a new Mac Pro until the TB enabled ones come out. Apple is going to need to clear the old stock.

    all of this imho, of course.... and worth every penny you paid for it...
     
  5. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #5
    Thanks, I was thinking speed instead of storage. :cool:
     
  6. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #6
    Thanks VirtualRain! That makes a lot of sense using an external drive. As of now, my photos are the same size, but I do not know the size, but I have to enlarge them in order to see detail etc... I will have to think about 'segregating' my photos, as I do not do that currently. However, there is nothing wrong with it, as you point out it is "photo management." :cool:

    Also, I was wondering whether the size of the pix utilized more GB, thanks for clarifying this!
     
  7. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

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    #7
    Storage is truly a subjective matter. From a long term perspective, it will all depend on your needs & how many images you shoot/ expect to shoot. Anything you do, should have a redundancy back-up, whether it be a duplicate HDD, DVD's or storage online. However, as has also been pointed out, there is no need for Black's/ 7200 drives, when it comes to archiving. Green's/ 5900's are quite sufficient.

    The following is my own experience with how I needed to adjust for future growth:

    When I switched to Digital SLR's in 2006, I invested in a pair of 500GB Seagate Free Agent External HDD's, to back up my images to. In 2008, I added a pair of 1TB Seagates in an External Enclosure, and configured them in RAID 1. This device is connected via FW800, and is blazing fast, where as the USB driven Free Agent's, seem to move at a snails pace, though they are USB 2. Up to this point my DSLR's only shot on avg an 8-10MB Raw File, so I wasn't burning through storage, all that fast. However, as newer tech has come out, larger files were inevitable. During the Spring of 2010, I added (4) 2TB Caviar Green's in a Gigabit Network Array (NAS), and configured them in RAID 10 (1+0), thus giving me 4TB's of Storage, that I can access from anywhere. During the Fall of 2010, I added the 5DMKII to my gear line-up, and well 25MB+ Raw Files, are consuming storage much faster than I had previously. I have since filled up almost 2TB's on the NAS. Aside from all the Storage Arrays, I also have a Mac Pro, and have 3 1TB HDD's in it. Two are linked together in an OSX Raid 1 Config, the other 1TB is purely a scratch disk for CS5/ FCP, with my other non 1TB being my OS.

    Based on my experience, and knowing that I will be needing more storage space, more than likely by the Fall of 2011, I will be adding 3TB drives to the Mac Pro, and expanding the storage capability of the External Enclosures, with 3TB Drives. Relatively speaking storage is cheap, and its better to have too much storage, than not enough.
     
  8. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #8
    Thanks for explaining how to create a scratch disc and answering my question that one's photo library drive is not dedicated.

    I have followed the MBP release and I wondered when rather than if, the Mac Pro will be refreshed. Thanks for reiterating my concern since the MBP release.

    Also, your "wait and buy" plan is sound! I waited a few months thus far. I hope the new Mac Pro is annouced this month! Nonetheless, thanks for sharing your thoughts kind Sir! :cool:
     
  9. 100Teraflops, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #9

    Thanks James, aka Eaton Photos. I cannot believe how many hard drives you have filled in a modest amount of time! It appears that I need to modify my HDD setup and backup plan, as I did not "factor in" a massive expansion when contemplating my HDD setup and backup plan. I thought I was being overzealous planning the use of one HDD.

    You must have tens of thousands of photos, but your point being that one's photo library can grow extensively in a fairly limited amount of time and one should plan accordingly, noted!

    I am reading about the different RAID arrays and which one's purpose is required for certain situations. I thought RAID was overkill for my needs, but I may be mistaken. Thank you Sir for sharing your knowledge! The photographers are quick to share knowledge and provide advice. :cool:

    Well, I have learned a ton and I have to modify my plan in order to build the system I have envisioned.
     
  10. Designer Dale, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #10
    Keep in mind that Mr. Eaton is a professional. He shoots with a full frame camera that yields large file size images. Think about what you are going to be doing with photography before you jump into all this. The setup you are thinking of buying - the Mac Pro - is easily expandable. If you start with two drives, you still have room for two more. I have a MBP that came with a 250Gb drive. That was good for a year before I upgraded it to a 500 Gb one. The old drive is in an external enclosure and serves as a photo backup of my Aperture file vault. I have a 1TB external drive for Time Machine, and that backs up everything on my system. This is my hobby and I probably shoot around 200 images in an average month, more during good weather. I have a Canon XSi and will move to a 7D in a year or so.

    Just my 2k worth.

    Edit: My advice is to not configure your setup as an end all right out of the gate. Storage technology is rapidly evolving, and what you dump all that money on may be obsolete in two years. Thunder Bolt will lead to fiber optics being standard and solid state drives will replace disc drives before you know it.

    Dale
     
  11. 100Teraflops, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011

    100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #11
    Thanks Dale. I did not know Mr. Eaton is a professional, but he has a point about storage space. I am thinking about a 500 GB-750 GB HDD for photos and scratch disc. I have a point and shoot camera right now. I mess around with the provided software. I am an entry level photographer. :)

    My modified original plan is for a Mac Pro:
    1. 120 SSD for my boot drive, including OS and software: bay 1
    2. 320 GB- 500 GB to backup the boot drive: bay 2.
    3. 500 GB-750GB drive for photo storage and scratch disc: bay 3
    4. the OEM 1 TB to backup the photo/scratch disc drive: bay 4.

    So bay 2 and 4 are backup drives, while bay 1 and 3 are productivity drives.

    I did not factor in any type of RAID or an external storage drive(s.) I learned that OS X has striping or a generic RAID built into the OS, which is beneficial for many people.

    Another question, SR20DETDOG stated I do not need a 7200 rpm drive for storage and that makes sense, but if I am using the drive as storage and scratch disc, then should I buy a 7200 rpm drive?

    I am neither belittling SR20DETDOG nor questioning his or her logic, but I think about getting more use from one drive is economical. Plus, I have posted my backup plan, so folks can view my intentions.

    I am pricing drives and I am disappointed that 250 GB-320 GB drives cost more or is equal to a 500 Gb drive. Again the 500 GB drives are priced within a $10.00 USD price range of a 750 GB drive. I though 250 GB and 320 GB drives would be cheaper, but what do I know? :confused:

    I cannot wait "... solid state drives will replace disc drives before you know it." I have to admit, I am not ready for Thunderbolt, as I am learning about eSATA, Firewire 400 and 800, and RAID.
     
  12. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #12
    I have about 20 TB of photos. The biggest advice I can give you that others have stated is from the beginning organize your photos in a very logical manner and edit the meta-data to reflect what they are. This is very very important for when you get very large collections of photos.

    Also unless you have a mac pro tower where you can put hard drives inside your best bet is an external for your pics.
     
  13. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    #13
    I won't offer any advice on size since that's a bit subjective but I will offer some advice on backup. When deciding what size and how many drives to buy spend most of your time thinking about your backup plan. Once you've settled on that then go get the drives.

    I recently lost the 500gb drive in my 07 iMac. That's where my Aperture library was. My advice on backup is to keep it simple and redundant. I don't archive SD cards nor save non-keepers. What I did though was let Time Machine backup my Aperture Library (I manage all photos in Aperture) and I kept Aperture vaults on two seperate external hardrives. (So there are 4 drives involved already...5 if you count the one I left at my parents over Christmas as an offsite). Moral of the story. I put a new HD in the iMac (1TB WD Cavier Green) and got back every single bit of data and every photo with no issues. Luckily I had updated the vaults and had not taken any new photos before the HD crash.

    BTW, I do the same for family home movies. They are all digital and the thought of loosing them is unfathomable.

    Personally I believe a backup strategy is priority one no matter if you are noob or a seasoned pro. Those shots mean something to you and if you loose them they are gone forever.
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #14
    We are quibbling details here.... but here are my thoughts about the HDD plan above.

    Put the scratch disk on a 7200rpm drive, if you getting one. Make sure it's the first partition (this puts it, according to the research I did, on the outside of the platter. Seek times are faster here.)

    You don't need to back up the scratch disk. It is populated when PS opens and you open files, then the contents are deleted when PS closes.

    Make sure you have off-site backups. Since you are not a professional, you can probably get away with swapping the off-site back up weekly or even monthly. However, also have on-site back-ups. They do two different things.

    The on-site back up should be updated at least daily. Get Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! (or similar) and let it run nightly. This creates a bootable backup. Plus, it's just automatic. You don't need to do anything once it's set up. Time machine also works well.

    What SD! and CCC do is create a clone of your HDDs. If a drive fails, you buy a new drive and do a "restore". If the computer fails, CCC and SD! can actually be used to "boot" a loaner computer.

    Time Machine is useful in that it keeps things up to date in 10 minute chunks (iirc) plus keeps versions of things so you can "undelete" files later on. I don't use TM myself.

    You are most likely to need to go back to an on-site daily backup. HDDs fail. Computers break. All the time. Daily backups should be painless and automatic. Also, daily backups are probably only needed to replace the contents of a single HDD that crashed.

    But.... occasionally there is the risk of a total system failure. Glass of water into system. Burst pipe in the room above you. (Water can 'run' really far... so the burst pipe can be in the bathroom above and over 3 rooms). Fire. Theft. Earthquake. Tree falling in a storm. This is when you want the offsite backup. You may lose everything you did since the last swap, but you haven't lost everything. I put mine in a safety deposit box. I've read about pro photographers who ship a HDD to friends off-continent.

    Last thought. No one here has the foggiest idea when Apple is going to release the next Mac Pro. Or even if there is going to be a next version. Remember that this is a "Rumours" site, not a "News" site. So read up on the buyer's guide. Read some threads about when the next Mac Pro will be released. Some of us have an educated guess - but it's just that - a guess. And the "educated" I just add to make myself feel better. :)
     
  15. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #15
    With that many photos, do you 'phase out' HDD after a period or time? Meaning: lets say you have three 1 TB HDD filled with photos, do you replace drives before they fail? Then, how long have your HDD lasted without being used? Thanks for the information as it is "food for thought."
     
  16. 100Teraflops, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011

    100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #16
    Right now, I have copied all of my photos and videos to cds and dvds, so I here ya that protecting one's 'family memories' are priority. However, with a vast collection, do photographers burn photos and videos to discs? I think a Blu-Ray player would help since they hold up to 25 GB and 48 GB or so respectfully. Can an individual burn non-HD content to Blu-Ray discs? I should research before I assume!

    Also, as of now, I save non-keepers, but I do not have a lot of photos. At least not yet. :D Although, I have deleted photos, but I still have some blurry photos and crappy videos.

    Thanks for reiterating the importance of a backup plan!
     
  17. 100Teraflops, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011

    100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #17
    Thank you for clarifying the scratch disc scenario, as I was in the dark. I will buy 7200 rpm drives at first. If I store photos etc, then I will consider 5400 rpm drives, as they are cheaper than 7200 rpm drives.

    I will research the off-site and on-site backup plans, as this is a good strategy, especially when my collection increases two fold etc..

    I plan to use Time Machine, Super Duper, or CCC. I spent a few miuntes researching CCC, but I have not researched Super Duper. I have read several threads regarding TM, which the information flows like wine in this forum! I like to have options and the off-site and on-site backup plans are worthy options to consider. Thanks again Sir!

    Also, I have decided to wait for the Mac Pro refresh. I hope "rumors" are circulated soon speculating when the new Mac Pros will arrive on scene. Furthermore, I need time to research aspects of my backup plan, decide which software to buy, and lastly decide which machine is right for me, not in this particular order. Ultimately, I have to decide whether I want an 8 core or a 6 core. Thunderbolt is a game changer, hence I had better wait. The downside is: I still require a new computer. I am looking to buy either the 2010 or the 2011 MacBook Pro to replace my current laptop 'beater.' The beater has served me well, even though it is a "window" of the evil empire. :)

    Again, I want to thank all of the 'Pro Photographers' on this forum who shared knowledge, backup plans, and general computer tid bits. You folks are first class! Your kind words, logical explanations are very helpful and are greatly appreciated, as I will use this thread as a future reference! :cool:
     
  18. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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  19. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    #19
    CDs and DVDs are certainly one way to do it. I know plenty of people still use them as another layer of backup and if you have the discipline and are shooting lots of pics it can be a good way to catalog shoots. I stopped using CDs and DVDs a few years back. Hard drives are just too inexpensive now and it was just too much of a hassle for me to burn sets of photos, store, and keep up with individual discs. With my job I move frequently and it's just another thing to loose. I opted for the simplicity of Time Machine (or similar program) and redundant backups and I'm happy with it. The simplicity and automation really make sure I actually do the backups which is the most important part ;).

    I stopped saving non-keepers a few years ago too and it cut down on my workflow a lot. There's nothing wrong with saving everything but I found that I was wasting a lot of time dealing with them and trying to save borderline images. The first thing I do know is go through several culling sessions when I download the camera and cut out everything that's not a "keeper" for me. I delete them and forget them. I find I'm not spending a lot of time on borderline shots and I'm only spending time in post processing on what I thought were the few best shots of the bunch. I do tend to keep more family pictures though because they are more about recording the moment. Hope all this helps.
     
  20. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #20
    I can understand how burning a lot of photos would become tedious! Well I learned that backing up one's HDD is just as important as being a good photographer. :) Ironically, I deleted a few photos tonight. They were horrible photos, very blurry and I could not make out what I was taking a picture of. I do not know why I kept them this long!

    Utilizing technology is a good thing, but sometimes technology is cumbersome. I will backup to blank media until I get sick of doing it. Sir, thanks for your contribution to my thread. You folks over here are good people, as I do not care what the video editing people think. ;) This thread is like a good women: a keeper! :D
     
  21. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #21
    100Teraflops sought to do it! ;)
     
  22. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #22
    On the topic of photo storage and editing, I ran across this blog post in an app on my iPad called Photoverse. It details how to use star ratings to thin out a shoot without dumping any photos.

    Chase Jarvis Photo Editing 101

    Dale
     
  23. Mr.Noisy, Mar 9, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011

    Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816

    Mr.Noisy

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    #23
    ok 100Teraflops I use a Mac Pro daily for Music and Photography, The Mac Pro is a good beastie but alone it cant do the job, it must be paired up to a good Monitor, IPS panel if possible, I did use apple's but found the Dell's re-produced colour better. When you purchase your DSLR will you shoot RAW or Jpeg, think about it, RAW may be bigger files, but you can keep producing a good quality image from just 1 RAW file, On the subject of a scratch disk try and dedicate a complete disk as scratch.
    my MP is set up as follows,
    bay 1 :500gb for OS & apps
    bay 2 :320gb as Scratch Disk
    bays 3 & 4 : both have 1tb hdd's in a raid 1 configuration for music and stuff
    All my RAW files & Aperture library are on a WD my book studio 4TB edition in a raid 1 via fw800 giving me 2TB to use, The system is simple and it works well. the big hdd's are all green WD drives. Hdd's are cheap now, but get the biggest you can afford (don't buy at the apple store), I find using Raid 1 I spend less time now backing up. The hardest part of photography is deleting images, you may take 100 shots and find only 2 of them are keepers, but getting rid of blurry, out of focus files will free up a lot of space,
    you have had some excellent advice on here so far, and it will be nice to hear how you finally set up your workflow, keep us posted :)
     
  24. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #24
    Just a couple of thoughts (background... I shoot a 5DII, have 750GB of images, and have a MacPro with 6.5TB of internal storage + external no-caddy drive bays for backups).

    Don't buy 350/500GB drives. They're older technology, and they're no longer the most cost effective in terms of GB/$.

    The sweet spot for GB/$ is in the larger disks - 1TB to 2TB - and these disks will also be faster, as the data is packed tighter on the disk surface. You'll read more bits off the platter for every disk revolution.

    Make sure you have a good backup strategy in place - and design that from the very beginning. Back up to external drives and try and keep a copy offsite. I also use an internal partition as a TimeMachine disk - just for my boot drive.

    Edit. Oh yes... one more thing. RAID IS NOT A BACKUP... and don't trust anyone who tells you it is. RAID will ONLY protect you against disk crashes, NOT against accidental deletion, theft, water damage, electrical glitches, virus action, fire, accidental damage which together are more likely than a disk crash. To be safe, you need three copies of data, one of which should be in a separate location.
     
  25. 100Teraflops thread starter macrumors 6502a

    100Teraflops

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    #25
    Thanks for sharing this app Dale! I have a lot of research to do! :)

    Thanks for recommending the specs of a quality monitor. Your Mac Pro HDD configuration is simple and easy to understand. Are you using striping from OS X or did you set you RAID 1 with only two drives? I agree that it is very hard deleting photos, as I do not delete photos after I take them. I wait a few days or longer, and then decide if they are keepers. However, I take photos of my family etc and occasionally automobiles and landscape. Also, you are right that I have received excellent advice from the forum members. You folks rule! :)

    I will keep you all posted. I am thinking that I should buy a Mac Pro soon! From what I have read on this forum, a new Mac Pro is not expected until 4Q 2011 or 2012. :eek: I do not want to wait that long for a stupid processor chipset. :D A few months is optimal, but 6-8 is not feasible. Thanks again for sharing knowledge and swapping ideas!
     

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