Tell me about your photo storage/back up process

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by creativedogmedia, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. creativedogmedia macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2011
    I am blowing through HD space pretty quickly on my late 2014 MBP..I have a 1TB external drive that I back up to via TimeMachine which is fine for that purpose but I'd like to keep large files off of my laptop so I dont get to zero storage by April. I do aerial imaging from a quadcopter w/GoPro Hero 4 and shoot stills with (as of today) a Nikon D750. What should I add/replace in order to keep space open on my MBP? My MBP is my work and personal laptop but I do travel with it and would like to have access to all files while on the road. How do you handle copies of backups in case a drive is lost/stolen?
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    LR library on iMac internal drive. Backed up every hour using Timemachine on 2TB TimeCapsule.
    Also backed up using Carbon Copy Clone to external drive every few weeks.
  3. creativedogmedia thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2011
    Right, but every aerial shoot I do results in about 5-8gb used between vids and stills. At that rate, I will be done with my MBP HD in no time.
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I have no process. I am very unorderly and my photo storage/backup follows that principle.
    I usually have the final jpegs, but if I try to find a raw file it's a wild search through SD cards, different macs, internal and external harddrives, clouds and thumb drives.
  5. FrakkinShip macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2010
    I shoot less photos on site now, which makes backup easier. I recently ordered a 2TB USB 3.0 drive which I'll use mostly for backups of my work. I also upload my photos to Flickr and I'll be using iCloud for the JPEGs just in case something happens. I'll save my best work on both the SSD and the external HDD.
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Another tip, is just save your best. Delete the rest. Easier to do it as you go along. Be ruthless. (Btw, I need to be better at this! :))
  7. the-oz-man macrumors 6502


    Jun 24, 2009
    I totally agree with Apple Fanboy here. Deletion is a natural step of the editing process. Keep the good shots and trash the rest. Do this especially if they are shot in RAW.
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    There are a lot of small portable externals out there; use those to lug around stuff but be selective with that. Realistically, how much do you have to have at hand? I use my MBP and a subset catalog from my desktop LR catalog, and associated photos on either a 2.5" USB or even a faster USB 3 64GB thumbdrive.

    I also have complete backups in the cloud.

    And I use a Plugable USB 3 caddy. I swap 3TB drives in and out for TM backups, so I always have one off site.
  9. Chuck Rodent macrumors regular

    Chuck Rodent

    Jan 9, 2014
    I run a 4 TB WD Thunderbolt Duo as my main external storage. CF cards get uploaded to a new folder using Nikon Transfer. Nikon transfer simultaneously uploads to a backup drive, in my case I use a NAS in RAID 5 config. When the Duo gets full the folders are archived to an external bare drive and put in the closet, then deleted on the working drive. I just gave my first copy of an archive drive to a friend for offsite storage if the house burns down.

    Photos get edited on the Duo and work files are stored in the same folder as the raw files. When a photo is complete the Photoshop project gets saved so the layers and settings are available. Panoramas in PTGui also get saved as a project so work is saved.

    The final edited photos get moved to a folder called Gallery on the internal drive so I don't have to go searching through the raw files for edited photos. The Gallery folder is backed up on Time Machine.

    This system has at least two copies of the raw files protected from hard drive failure, and the projects saved for recent work. I am backed up on the final versions in two places plus offsite. I don't trust the cloud.

    Another weakness is writing to the SD/CF cards. If you can, save to double cards in the camera.

    I don't run Lightroom since all photos get edited in Photoshop and the archived folders are numbered sequentially so it is not too hard to track down photos from a specific time frame. When the Gallery reaches 5,000 photos maybe I'll have to go to a catalog system.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It should be obvious that you can't keep al the data on the Macbok's internal drive. OK you can for a short while. Import the files there and do the first round of editing/deleting. Then you get home and transfer to some big external storage. I would buy external stage large enough to hold all the work you want to keep over a 3 to 4 year period.

    Next you need a different storage system for Time Machine. The TM storage needs to be larger because it will hold multiple versions of these files.

    You then need some kind of redundant backup that is off-site. Back blaze, CrashPlan or just a pair of big USB drives that you rotate to some place could work for this.

    This is the dead-minimum (TM plus an off site backup) if the data is really important you need at least one more copy. Maybe you fillip hard disks and keep them in a fire safe?

    You have to commit to buying storage every year. Always the Newest and largest disk or RAID is used for Time Machine. The second biggest is the on-line storage. Keep the old disks in the fire safe.

    Every so often I have to upgrade the TM disk. It is best to do this BEFORE it gets old. Add a second disk to TM and Mac OS X will use both swapping drives every hour. Let this run until you are sure the new drive is working then disconnect the old one put it in the safe.

    You never want all your backups plugged into AC power at the same time. Lightening will take out everything in the house that is plugged in. Text of the equipment is a problem as well.
  11. brentmore macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2002
    I store the RAWs on my NAS and keep the processed ones in iPhoto.
  12. xMacFeinx macrumors newbie


    Dec 21, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    After shooting, I use my camera SD to dump onto an external 500GB G Drive. From there I import to LR, edit as necessary, and export the edited photos to a newer 'Proofed' shots drive thats a Seagate 1TB. I leave all the originals on the G Drive with the slimmed down and edited ones on the 1TB drive.

    Rarely do I keep any photos on my actual computer HD, but occasionally depending on quality it happens. I'm looking into a Time Capsule or something of the sort.
  13. tcphoto macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    Madison, GA
    I am a Freelance Photographer and I keep RAW files and edited images on hand for my own use, Stock and in case my clients need them. I will go through them after the shoot and keep the selects on matching external drives plus another drive using Time Machine and only then will I delete from the MBP. Memory cards are rather inexpensive so I don't format until the card is needed. If you do not have multiple drives, you can always burn DVD's and label them with Client or subjects name.
  14. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I keep current projects on my Air and older project on an external drive, all managed with LightRoom. Both the Air and the external drive are backed up to one drive with Time Machine and another drive with Carbon Copy Cloner.
  15. Xteec, Dec 28, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014

    Xteec macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2012
    Just some background, I am a photo and video nut (more photos though). I shoot 20meg RAW files, I shoot iPhone jpegs, I shoot with random cameras etc etc. I've shot a wedding, engagement, I have thousands of photos.

    I keep current work on my main computer in a mixture of Lightroom and iPhoto.
    - Backed up hourly to time machine.
    - Cloned daily to attached drive.
    - In rotation:
    - Backed up every week to time machine kept at home.
    - Backed up every other week to time machine kept offsite.

    I archive all old projects to a big drive at home:
    - In rotation:
    - Cloned every week to time machine kept at home.
    - Cloned every other week to time machine kept offsite.

    Once a year, I export full JPEGs of all 3 star and above photos to dropbox on top of all this. I would like a more complete cloud based backup solution, but don't have the upload bandwidth.

    My livelihood does not depend on my photos. I'm just a nerd and paranoid.

    P.S. When shooting to SD/CF cards, I never delete the photos until I have too. I have aa system that let's me know when a card is good to overwrite and only when I need it do I format it for re-use.
  16. needfx macrumors 68040


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    huge separate drives (both internal & external) with sub-directories in them
    photos, workfiles, archive etc etc
  17. stillcrazyman macrumors 68000


    Oct 10, 2014
    In Exile
    Internal storage on my iMac 27", along with external TM backups to a 3TB drive. I also have CrashPlan which backs up almost immediately to an offsite server - costs about $60 per year. :cool:
  18. 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.
  19. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    I currently have a 2 TB G-Tech external HD and a 1TB Time Machine Express and I use Backblaze for off site automatic daily back up. I have a 1TB portable external HD as well that I keep off site. I am in the process of changing this set up primarily in that I will be getting a LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 2 6TB external drive to set up with 3TB at RAID 0 and 3TB at RAID1 since I recently got a rMBP with Thunderbolt 2 ports. I'll use my present 2TB G-Tech as my off site drive. I am using Aperture for now and like many waiting to see what Apple will release with Photos. Most of my photos are referenced but I will be making all of them referenced on the new LaCie HD when I get it just in case I decide to switch to Lr. On my external HD I also have a separate folder that holds all of my RAW photos. I plan on backing up all of my photos, the RAW files and the referenced files, on both external HDs as well was continuing to use both TM and Backblaze. Obviously, TM will only back up what is on my rMBP, but BB backs up all of the hard drives. When the off site External HD is attached, I'll do a Backblaze backup before taking it off site. Everyone's needs are different depending upon the volume of work they do and their primary computer HD space. I think that an external drive system with on site and off site HDs is essential and any off site program, Crash Plan, Backblaze, cloud system, etc should be SOP. You can not have enough redundancy IMO. But maybe I'm a little paranoid.
  20. nickditoro, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015

    nickditoro macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    My Photo Backup System

    I transfer RAW files (or jpegs when I occasionally shoot them) to sequential date-oriented folders on a dedicated internal 2-TB "Photos" hard drive on my 2008 Mac Pro, from where I edit them in Aperture (Nik / Photoshop). I maintain only the past two years' folders on this drive. Prior years' folders as well as downloaded and scanned jpegs are zipped on a separate 1TB external "Photo Archives" hard drive housed in a USB3.0 dock. Both "Photos" and "Photo Archives" are backed up nightly to a 2TB "Photo Backup" external hard drive using Chronosync. To protect myself against local disaster, I back up "Photos" and "Photo Archives" to CrashPlan, an external cloud subscription-based service.

    While my backup strategy is fine for still photos, the best of which are also uploaded to SmugMug and Flickr, it sucks for my video editing work (I like to create family history videos featuring stills that I've scanned, downloaded or shot), since it requires lots of extra time to locate and unzip them. To address this, I just purchased two 6TB SATA hard drives to replace "Photo Archives" and "Photo Backup." Once these drives are ready, I will unzip my archives so that RAW files and downloaded and scanned jpegs are always immediately available. Since I'm planning to buy a new Mac Pro sometime this year and will be using external Thunderbolt storage, I will, over time, move to RAID storage for working files (photo and video) and NAS/RAID storage for archiving and backup. I will continue my CrashPlan subscription, as it has no file limit.

    While deleting absolutely unusable RAW or jpegs is a good idea, I've found that there are images I've rejected in the past simply because I wasn't a good enough editor at the time to salvage them or because the technology to make them usable didn't yet exist (Photoshop's Shake Reduction, for example). It's good that I can revisit them at a later date. I'd rather spend the money on bigger hard drives than kick myself in the head for losing images.
  21. creativedogmedia thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2011
    Hi after thinking about a few options and reading through the advice on this forum, I think I am going to move from Carbonite to Crashplan, use my 1TB external drive for Time Machine backups and use an external 2TB drive for a backup of my Time Machine backup. I am torn between another drive for additional redundency between a 3TB Time Capsule or a 3TB WD My Cloud drive. Ideally, I dont want to have to physically do anything..when I am home and my laptop is plugged in I want it all to backup like I described above...Do I also need something like Carbon Copy Cloner?

    Thanks for the replies!
  22. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    Have a play with CrashPlan, you can use it to back up locally as well as offsite. You only need CCC if you want to clone.
  23. creativedogmedia thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2011
    Back up locally? Isn't the stuff I already have on my internal drive and external drives considered local? Can you expand?
  24. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    You mentioned you wanted to backup your TimeMachine backup to an external drive. You could use CrashPlan to do that rather than CCC.

    I haven't tested this myself, I'm only doing offsite, but that's what I understand from their documentation.
  25. creativedogmedia thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2011
    Ok, cool..I will check into that.

    Any suggestions on choosing between Time Capsule or WD My Cloud for my large backup for all drives in my home? I dont think i can use TC as a router as I use FiOS and they aren't overly friendly with using other equipment (from what I have heard)....taking that out of the mix, isn't TC a better use for Time Machine and My Cloud a better use for raw data backup/access?

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