Fast, Easy Photography Backup Workflow

So now you’re producing 1,000s of images and photos with your new 42 megapixel camera and want to know how you can store them, back them up and access them when on the road.

In this guide I’ll look at solving all those issues with a cheap scale-able solution for storing and backing up your photography, using a system I use myself to keep my images secure and easy to access.

What You Need

First of all I will make some assumptions here, firstly you have your images stored inside Capture One sessions or the Lightroom equivalent and those are sitting on a local hard disk or USB drive that’s currently not being backed up.

Let’s get those images stored properly.

We need to get them moved onto a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, they come in all shapes and sizes but to work out what is best for you I would look at how many images you have and times that space by 4. You should have a number say in this case it’s 4Tb of space needed, you will need to buy at least two discs depending on your storage technology that you choose.

Let’s choose a NAS drive, as I said, lots to choose from, the cheapest kind are normally 2 drive systems, which mirror one disk to the other known as RAID 0, these are super cheap and only involves two drives although you are limited in space to the single drive. The downside is the performance of read/write is limited to the drive you have and the cache, which are normally small for the RAID 0 drive units.

The best kind for performance are those that support RAID 5 which is best for write operations to the disk, with photography and image editing you will be doing lot’s of that. Performance is much improved over “mirrored” or RAID 0. RAID 5 requires at least three disks operate so your investment is much higher in both discs and the NAS drive to support it. RAID 6 is as good without the small read penalty that RAID 5 has but again needs more disk drives to work, increasing your dollar over heads further, however the pay off is speed.

What is the benefit of RAID 5 or RAID 6 ? Well if you lose a disk drive (it will happen at some point) the data is kept is safely working away on the other disks without much of a performance hit. All you have to do is replace the faulty disk, add it to the array and you’re back to shoot another day. With RAID 0 you can lose either drive but needs to be replaced quickly, and the performance will be much less.

Remote Storage

Now you have your NAS drive attached and you moved all your Capture One and Lightroom catalogs or sessions over to the NAS drive which is on your network. Great.

Now we need to use the NAS software to sync your data in real time to your favorite cloud platform, this is where the cost can get out of control if you do not have a handle on what your needs are. Almost all of the Synology small office NAS drives have the ability to sync to Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Amazon. Pretty much all the big ones are covered, so if this is your first storage rodeo I suggest you look at Synology devices first.

With Google Drive though you have the advantage of getting unlimited storage with GSuite which is Googles business cloud solution. Dropbox and Box offer unlimited too but at the cost of around $50pm and do not come with all the other benefits of GSuite. If you wanted to go for one of the smaller plans Google offer 2 TB for $9.99 / month for a personal plan or Dropbox has 5 TB of space at around $12.50/user/month, starting at 3 users.

Google GSuite Plans

Remember no matter which you choose the big benefit here is that you can access your data anywhere ! So if you’re editing on the road, you can do all your work on a USB drive for example, upload it to your cloud storage and it’s downloaded to your home NAS automatically.

Another benefit is that almost every CRM works with at least one of these solutions, so if you’re a professional with clients you can be sure to share images fast without so much of exporting photography to the right folder on your network.

At this point you will have three copies, one local, one on your NAS and the other in the cloud. Rest easy your work here is done.

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