After sharing his multi-step process for storing his photos, a photographer who blogs asked the question of his readers: How do you store your photos? For some photographers, this is a very elaborate process. Not for me.
After a few false starts, I have distilled my photo storage into a three-step process — one that doesn’t tax the mind too much and makes my photos available whenever, wherever.
Here are the steps:
- I use 16GB cards. I treat each card as three rolls of film. It allows me to just keep them and never erase them. These days good quality 16GB cards are relatively cheap compared to those with higher volumes. I usually pay about $8 for one. And given that I am primarily a landscape photographer, I don’t have to shoot multiple frames a second, so their speed is sufficient for a sunset. So, that is copy No. 1.
- I import the photos using PhotoMechanic and re-label them so that they are easy to find when using a file management system. I copy them to an external drive — a 4 TB Western Digital Drive. It is backed by an online Backblaze account. That is copy No. 2.
- I then import all re-labeled photos to Lightroom CC. At present, I have a 2TB account, and it is the best money I spend. Previously, I was spending the money buying storage from Dropbox but decided to switch to Adobe Cloud. Since I already pay for the Adobe Photography Plan, it makes sense to use a photo-first cloud. Once I have uploaded to Lightroom CC/Adobe Cloud, I delete the originals from the desktop. And with that, I am done.
My editing process is such that I very rarely edit using Lightroom CC, especially on the desktop. I prefer Photoshop and Camera Raw. However, the Lightroom CC app for iPad is great to rank, sort and curate the photos. I have a virtual album for photos that are pending editing, and another with the final photoshop files. On the iPhone, Lightroom CC is too busy as an app. I prefer the Darkroom App.
Is my approach the cheapest? Probably not. I spend $400 on storage & backups every year. I just don’t like to think about it, and that is a small price to pay for all the photos I have in one place, including all PSD and TiFF files that are edited. I don’t have to think too much about networked storage at home. If anything, I could lose step #2, but it is just an old habit. And I do need to import photos to the desktop in order to upload them to the cloud. So, I keep doing it. And that is why I have a three-step system.
How do you store? Share in comments below.