Photo storage/management

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HouseACA, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. HouseACA macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2011

    Firstly apologies, I know this has been covered many times, but I'm reading the forums and getting myself in knots.

    I'm a relatively new owner of a 128GB rmbp and a 2010 iMac.

    Before the rMbp came along, things were relatively simple. I took photos, imported to iPhoto, made basic edits etc and it was saved, and backed up to an external HDD via TimeMachine.

    But now that I have the rmbp, some photos are on a library on the iMac, others on the rmbp, and when I want to do a project, a photobook or similar, the pictures I want are in two locations. So I am looking for a way to have all photos together and somewhere that I can access regardless of what room I am in.

    I was looking into a wireless hard drive, such as WD My Cloud, then I started looking into Synology NAS setups, then thought about just trying to use the portable hard drive I currently use as a backup drive to store all photos.

    Then I wondered should I even be using iPhoto as a management tool if theres a new one coming out, but then I can't seem to find a lot of details on it. I thought I read somewhere that it would allow storing full sized files in the cloud and only retrieve the full size when I needed it, so thought that would solve my limited rmbp space.

    Any thoughts & advice appreciated.

  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    You have a few challenges here. However, the first step might be to consider a real DAM (digital asset management) software that can also handle edits that you are accustom to in iPhoto. Probably the most obvious choice would be Adobe Lightroom. For better or worse, Adobe has been going the way for the "pay to play" subscription service but you still can get Lightroom via direct purchase as a one time cost (though upgrades might not be forthcoming like the subscription model version).

    The next item is common storage. There are multiple ways to handle this and while I can't go through all of them here the two main ones to consider is a "common" location that is addressed via network (such as NAS) or possibly attach to your iMac an external drive and share it with your laptop via network. If you go to any sight that has forums for Lightroom, they might provide you ideas that would best suit the way you like to work.

    What Lightroom offers is the ability to create fully functional libraries (multiple) along with excellent editing tools that far surpass iPhoto. I know that Apple is releasing a new application to replace iPhoto and Aperture which may have value to you but not enough info is out there to tell as well as its real release date.
  3. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    As you suggest below, although we can't be sure, its very likely that Apple is going to solve this problem at least partially with Photos for the Mac using iCloud for shared storage of your finished photos amongst all your computers and devices.

    However, it's not clear to me at least, how that will help with shared storage/access to libraries of photos that are in post (WIP). I don't know about you, but I store a copy of every pic I take, I may cull that to 25% during sorting/rating and then do post on 10% which get published to Flickr. I can't imagine it's Apple's ambition to store anything but those 10% keepers in the cloud. So I expect we may still need to manage our offline photo storage as we always have, but no one knows if we will have libraries to work with or what.

    If you want to stick with the Apple ecosystem, at least until the details of Apples new Mac Photos strategy is revealed, I'd avoid any significant investment in new hardware or software for now.

    I would suggest using your existing external, and for convenience, you could share it via your iMac thus turning your iMac into a NAS for your laptop.

    In a few months, we should know what the Apple photo adjustment and management strategy is, and then you'll be in a better position to decide how to invest.
  4. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    If you can wait a bit Apple are about to release their new Photos app 'early next year'. It might have all the cloud sync features you want and I'm guessing it may even be free, but don't quote me on that part.

    It's worth waiting for if you are using multiple iPhoto libraries. I currently use Lightroom on two Macs - I have a rMBP as just 'somewhere to backup my photos to' when I'm on the road, but when I'm back home I have my main library on a nMP. I don't make any attempt to sync the two, I just import the photos a second time on the nMP. I could sync them with Adobe Cloud, but Adobe's storage is limited. I could also attempt to sync them with Dropbox, but it's not specifically designed to work with Lightroom and it could add complexity I don't want and potentially corrupt my catalogue. Having one main machine and one as a temporary location works for me, but if you want to keep them in Sync then Photos may help.

    As for storage I keep the Lightroom catalogue on the internal SSD and I keep my photos (i have a lot of them) on a Promise Pegasus 2 R4 thunderbolt array, which is backed up to Dropbox and a QNAP NAS. What I found with photo editing from a NAS is there is too much lag. If your budget is limited I would use a USB 3 disk and back this up to a NAS. If you have a bit more money the Pegasus 2 is very good, but costs around £1200. If you edit photos on both machines then maybe have a workflow that means you eventually export them from the laptop and import them to the desktop. It might make it easier for you to manage your photo collection rather than trying to sync between the two all the time - this assumes Apples Photo's app is no good, it might be brilliant.
  5. HouseACA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2011
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I think I might get an inexpensive portable hard drive and just keep photos on it in the meantime. I read somewhere about using LR and having a catalogue on the laptop with the library on the external. I'm starting to think I'll switch to LR- as much as I usually like Apple products, maybe best to use a company whose business is digital images?

    I tried to use the iMac as a shared computer, but sometimes the laptop didn't see it, which I assume is because the iMac went to sleep. And I don't know if I want the electricity being used up by having a computer on in another room which isn't being used in any case.

    I do try to be ruthless with what photos I keep. Quality over quantity. But its still amazes me how quickly space is used up. I only have a few saved on the laptop and it's telling me that 20gb of photos is used up already, and another 10gb in movies.
  6. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    This is what I do, and it works really well for me. I think LR is great for both organisation and editing, and with the external drive I never have to worry about storage.
  7. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    That was my thinking too. I am currently sorting out the mess that is my photo library using LR. Basically too many machines over the years has resulted in a lot of duplicates.

    I'm doing all of this on a rMBP which holds the main catalogue. Periodically I move the images to the main library which is on a NAS. All of this is backed up locally and also to Crash Plan.

    I’m going to change this approach slightly.

    The main catalogue will be moved to my home computer. On the rMBP I’ll create a mobile catalogue. That, along with the images, will sit in the Dropbox folder. When home I’ll move the images to the NAS and export to the main catalogue.

    I have a 10 hour flight coming up so hope to do plenty of tagging. Once I get on line all my efforts will also be stored in the cloud should anything happen to the rMBP.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    With the current price of hard disk storage at less then $50 per TB this means you 30GB of space costs $1.50 Not even two bucks.

    Well of course yo need to back this up a couple times but still it's under $5.00
  9. beejam macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    I'm doing something similar with almost the same hardware. I'm trying to work Chronosync into the workflow so I can do edits to the libraries and have them sync across my macs. Also looking into Lyn software as a possible iPhoto substitute because LR scares my wife.
  10. HouseACA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2011
    Well I picked up a wd passport ultra to use as a primary source to store photos on as I mainly use the rmbp, then I plan to hook it up to the iMac regularly to back it up to another hard drive using Time Machine. I think that should work anyway.

    I just need to consolidate the photos on iPhoto from iMac and rmbp, then get them all on to the hard drive, switching from a managed to referenced catalog.

    I've downloaded the trial of LR, but am debating whether to stick with iPhoto until the new Photos app comes out 'early 2015' and make a better decision then.

    Thanks for the advice guys.

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