Week 2 / Project 2
Photography FRESH START
Week 2 / Project 2
Welcome to our second week of Fresh Start 2022…
Your Action Item for this Week:
- Leave a comment on what backup strategy has worked for you.
- Links for this week…
- B&H Photo for Hard Drives (Click Here)
- BackBlaze Cloud Backup (Click Here)
- Carbon Copy Clone Mac (Click Here)
- Macrium PC (Click Here)
- Acronis PC (Click Here)
- IDrive PC (Click Here)
Week #2 / Project #2 – Backup
Let’s make backup as simple as possible. Spend a little time now, and reap the rewards for having a good backup system all year long.
Because of all the family photos we’ve collected, we use BackBlaze (as our cloud solution) and SuperDuper for the computer hard drive and external drives, and TimeMachine just in case I need versions.
I recently had to make a couple of hardware decisions because of a failing C: drive. Of course, that lead to secondary hardware decisions to accommodate routine backup operations. I have the hardware that I need but my backup organizing and backup plan are not complete but coming along. The key thing in my mind is an easy backup plan so that it can be repeated routinely. Keep up the good work, Matt.
I have a desktop with 4 internal hard drives. c drive has only the operating system (plus a few things my computer decides to place there). D drive only my personal data, another drive with only my photos on it with the LR catalog and pics in a separate folder, last internal drive is just one folder each for a backup of the pictures drive and another for the data drive. I have 8 external HD’s 2 with full backups of the C drive – using Acronis, 2 solid state drives with a clone of the C drive, 1 full backup of the data drive, 2 external drives with a backup of my pictures. I only update the external drives once a week so at any given time I have 1 current backup of the c drive, 1 that is a week old and one that is 2 weeks old + 2 ssd drives that are drive clones of c, 1 current external drive that is current with the data and one that is a week old, 1 external drive with a backup of the internal drive that has backups of my data and pictures. Wow, now that I put this into writing it sounds way too complicated, might have to rethink this plan.
Well, I always say I need to go to my files and get rid of photos that are not so special. I mostly have ‘travel’ photos so we won’t be back to those places anytime soon to get something if I deleted it by mistake. I keep everything on my external drive; and, started keeping ‘vacations only’ on a flash drive. Also, have specific flashes for specific ‘topics’. This was very interesting; and, always did realize I needed to go through and get rid of ‘dups’.
I have 2 backup hard drives + Backblaze because I’m paranoid. Macrium clones on 1 local backup, and FreeFileSync on the other local backup. Both local backups aren’t really necessary, but they make me feel better. I 100% agree about not bothering with RAID or NAS – I know what they are and how they work, and I’ve never needed them at home. Why would I? Those are designed for businesses that need continuous up time. Even professional photographers should be fine if one hard drive fails and they have to switch over manually to a copy.
My whole system is backing up to BackBlaze thanks to you Matt!
Thanks, Matt. Great topic and needed for me as I migrate to a new Mac and am consolidating my storage away from my work PC (job move), etc. I use a combination of cloud drives (Adobe, iCloud & DropBox) and hard drives. I really like the idea of moving to BackBlaze for Mac and HD backups, with weekly scheduled cloning. The upfront culling of never to be used photos needs to become something I do as part of my overall backup strategy. I have targeted this as my big “to-do” over the next couple of weeks.
Thanks Matt for this great lecture again . You Rock!!!
I am using CHRONOSYNC to clone my main external Hard Drive . All my RAW and Edited files are located in my main external Hard drive ( LaCie 6TB) and they are cloned in a second HD ( La Cie 6TB back up) . Both ext HD are backed up in the clould using Backblaze .
Now I noticed that I have to disconnect my external HD when i use Time machine . I use another hard drive ( Rugged La Cie 1 TB) only dedicated to time machine . Does anyone encounter the same thing with Time machine ?
I have a very simple backup system. I have an internal hard-drive (D:) on which I have installed Dropbox. My entire lightroom catalog and all my photos reside in Dropbox. It functions like a normal hard drive but is backed up to the Cloud constantly. It couldn’t be easier. Cost is $120/yr and I don’t have to worry about hard drives failing.
wow – tons of great information! As a fairly new photographer and new to LR there is a lot of great information to digest and I’m happy to be able to start organizing from the beginning. I currently have no back up other than the ‘cloud’ so I have some organizing to do!
Thanks for the tips on cleanup and why organizing our Lr catalog is essential. As far as backup goes, I have a pretty simple system, and I *hope* it is effective. I have a Seagate external hard drive (4TB) and I back up my PC and external using Carbonite. I have restored my PC on a couple of occasions, and it is relatively fast and efficient, and all my files were there. I have not yet had to restore my external, but it is frightening to think about what happens if.
I have been wanting cloud backup that is simple to use and reliable. I clicked on the BackBlase link and have downloaded the trial. The first few minutes of backing up and already I am impressed. I think I will be subscribing to this service. Thank you Matt.
PS The reason I have been slow in working through these videos is because of my terrible Internet speed. Today I have a decent connection, so trying to catch up. 🙂
I handle my Lightroom Catalogs (around 60.000 pictures) in my iMac 21.5″ SSD drive and my pictures in an external 2 TB SSD. I back up my computer internal SSD drive with Apple’s Time Machine to an external 2 TB HDD drive permanently. Plus, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my pictures SSD to an off-line 2 TB HDD once a week. I also back up the Lightroom Catalogs and pictures to the cloud using iDrive with their Personal Plan.
By the way, I have not needed yet to recover anything from these backups, except when I change my main computer.
The cloud back up runs three times a week.
FIrst edit, remove all un-wanted photos to a subfolder, name it ‘Outs’. After 1 yr, delete the outs folder.
A few years ago I had a failure while my one and only RAID array was rebuilding. ALL my files were lost. My backup was bad… It was a gut punch – I’m in IT and know better. Thanks to some Linux tools I was able to salvage the files from one of the drives. Now I do a monthly backup to 3 external hard drives. One goes in a safe deposit box in my bank. The second goes to my office (offsite). The 3rd stays in my drive array. When I have another failure (it’s always WHEN, not IF) I have 2 verified copies offsite. At the most, I should only lose < 30 days worth of images. I'm ok with that risk.
Macrium Reflect is my tool of choice.
Local copy on 2nd hard drive in PC which is mirrored weekly to a local Storage Array where Disk A is mirrored to Disk B within it.
Essentially a 3 copy mirror backup system
Forgot to mention the backup / cloning software used – I use SYNCBACK which only copies changed files so is pretty quick.
I store all my photos on 2 external WD drives. One does not back up the other, I have 2 because I ran out of room on the first one. I backup my entire system using Backblaze, including the 2 external drives. My LR catalog is stored on the local C: drive and is backedup regularly to the external drive, which in turn Backblaze backs up to the Cloud. I’ve never had to recover anything from Backblaze, but it’s there if I ever have to.
Great video, Matt. Many “cyber” types suggest a 3-backup scheme: one copy on your main “disk” ( either in your computer, or an external hard drive); a hard drive backup for that primary drive, and one backup in the cloud. I keep most of my photos on a SDD, back that up to a HDD, and then upload to iDrive as my cloud backup
I also back up any photos I happen to be working on on my C:/ drive to File History (windows) which is then also backed up to iDrive. Why do that? I have a subset of photos which I do keep on my C: drive which are “portable” – meanng I’m working on them or storing jpegs for a class. Those then also have 3 copies: one on my C: drive, one in File history, and ultimatly a backup into iDrive.
This is of course similar to what you’ve taught in your class! Once it’s set up, it’s pretty low maintanence for redundant storage.
I use SyncToy 2.1 for a running photo backup on external drive and have just subscribed to Backblaze, thanks to this post. I’ve used so many backup tools over the years and somehow they all fade or fail. Hopefully this will be good for a long while. P.S. – What spurred me to do the Backblaze sub today is that my husband’s computer has a major glitch and most likely the OS wil need to be installed with data lost. And he has no backup at all. At least I had an aged one. 🙂 Now I will be current.
Great video, once again, Matt. Thanks for the info. I have been using a number of Western Digital back up hard drives so I copy my photo folder from one hard drive to the next after editing. Mind you, the idea of cloning software or the Back Blaze Cloud back-ups seems better so you have copies off site and then automatically have copies of any edits made. I must look into that.
Two local backups; one online and one ‘near-line’ (USB Disconnected after backup). One cloud backup to Backblaze with manual date checks to ensure backups are complete. Simple and it works!
Very Helpful! I’ve been doing the 2 ext hdds plus i cloud for both mac and photos. I am going to look further into the options you highlighted. I don’t have a whole lot of storage on my new i mac so do not want to keep my photo library on it.
GoodSync for local backup and iDrive for remote cloud backup.
I just bought a new 16 inch
MacBook Pro. It has 3 Thunderbolt Type 4 ports. Does any company make a remote hard drive that has a integral cable that can be directly connected though to the Thunderbolt ports. I want to avoid using adapters.
I echo Lawrie’s comment
Seagate back-up drives have this TOOLKIT function and it works beautifully
Add stuff to one of your main drives and TOOLKIT adds it automatically to your Back-up provided it is a Seagate drive.
My back up scheme reflects my previous occupation…I am a retired IT professional. For my primary photo storage, I use a G-Drive that supports RAID configuration. It contains two 4 TB hard drives that facilitate hot-swapping. The drive is configured for RAID 1 which means one drive mirrors the second drive in the enclosure. I’ve had the system for approximately 3 years. At one point, the mirror drive failed. I simply ordered a new drive, popped the dead drive out and inserted the new drive. The system automatically repopulated the mirror drive (over about 24 hours). I also use BackBlaze to backup up everything to the cloud. Additionally, I use GoodSync to back up all my drives locally to an 8TB external USB drive.
Seagate offers a free mirroring software for Seagate drives called Toolkit which checks for changes every time I log into my Mac. Very seamless.
I’m looking to buy Carbon Copy Cloner. Can I do a simple setup to copy my internal and external drives onto a large external drive once per day? TIA
Thanks to the video and comments, I realized the need to modify my backup strategy to incorporate the 3-2-1 concept: 3 file versions that are saved between 2 local drives and 1 cloud location. Now, my photos are initially saved to both the Lightroom cloud and a local hard drive. That hard drive is then cloned to a second hard drive using Carbon Copy. Thanks to Matt and all those who commented for the helpful suggestions!
Like several here, I’ve used Backblaze for several years for my online, off-site backup. For the in-house, I like to keep it as simple as possible and use Time Machine to back up my MBP to an external hard drive. This “set it and forget it” system seems to work well for m.
Thanks again, Matt. Really good info. I’ve actually been using Backblaze for years from one of your other videos that I watched and you had recommended Backblaze. I love it – I trust it – I don’t ever even worry about it! I have all of my photos on an external hard drive and I have another external hard drive that my TimeMachine backs up to as well. I’m knocking on wood right now that I’ve never lost anything that needed to be retrieved.
Thanks again, Matt. Really good info. I’ve actually been using Backblaze for years from one of your other videos that I watched and you had recommended Backblaze. I love it – I trust it – I don’t ever even worry about it! I have all of my photos on an external hard drive and I have another external hard drive that my TimeMachine backs up to as well. I’m knocking on wood right now that I’ve never needed to retrieve anything that got lost.
I set up a backup scheme several years ago. It backs up the 2 drives in the computer to one external hard drive and a second external hard drive with all of my photos is backed up to third external hard drive. The 2 drives in the computer and the photo external hard drive are also backed up to the cloud with Backblaze. Since this is all automatic, I had not checked in a while to make sure everything was working properly. I found the photo back up to the 2nd hard drive had misfunctioned for the last several months with no backups occurring. Corrected the problem and deleted some historical backups that were no longer needed. Thanks for bringing this up so I was able to fix the issue.
I needed a simpler backup plan and the video really helps.
I’m late replying to this, but I’ve read lots of the responses and watched the video. I use Time Machine, backed up to an external disc. I also export “important” photos to a folder that is also backed up on it’s own drive each month manually by me. I have some photos in Drive and do allow LR to sync to the cloud. My big goal after watching the video is to clean out files and to take a look at Back Blaze. Thanks to everyone for commenting and to Matt for the video. This is making me take action!
I am slightly organized with my photos. On my hard drive, I keep them by year. There is a “RAW” file in each year and several category files, such as “Bison,” “Glacier NP,” etc. While I do copy all the raw photos into the RAW folder, I then go through and note which ones I want to move to Lightroom and I only move the ones I’m going to edit.
Thanks for all the tips about backing up. I do occasionally back up my hard drive and need to do it much more often. I’m thinking about using two different hard drives – one specifically for photos and the other for the whole system.
Several years ago I had my never backed up drive die…talk about heart-wrenching! I don’t like the nickel-and-diming of all these cloud and/or subscription services so prefer keeping everything at home. And before anyone warns about some possible disasters, am not a pro…if a disaster was to hit I would likely have bigger issues to worry about. My at home solution is a program called ‘SuperDuper!’ which I really like…set it up and forget about it. It will update a full copy of my drives (..my system has two drives…) daily on separate drives…have it set for once a day near the time I typically shut the computer down. Also, once per month (…more if doing lots of work..) will make an additional copy of the drives on another set of external drives. This gives me two sets of backups with worst case being the loss of up to a month. I would also suggest installing a drive health app or program that may give you a heads-up if your drives are starting to fail. Oh, and by the way, about possible disasters…periodically we will have our most cherished photos (..family, loved ones etc..) printed and add them to an actual photo albums. This may be old school thinking but I believe when it comes time to pass those photos along a physical photo album will be seen more often (..even if it is years between views..) and perhaps cherished longer then images on an sd card or computer…and won’t be accidentally over-written.
I’m very satisfied with syncing app Synkron that I’ve been using for several years. It’s free, it’s multiplatform and very straightforward. It allows you to define your own syncing pre-sets, folders that shouldn’t be synchronised etc.
Here is link:
I use two G-drive externals and a program called Chronosync to clone them. I also use Backblaze per Matt’s earlier recommendation and feel I am well covered.
Thanks, Matt. The video was just what I needed to develop a plan for starting a new system. The multiple hard drives and haphazard schedule for backing up was not working for me. Thanks for the recommendations for products to use.
I’ve been using Backblaze for a couple of years. I tried out several different cloud solutions but found Backblaze to be the easiest to set up and use. I’m not currently using a local hard drive for backup.
I am a bit late watching this video, but thank goodness I did! Thanks for making this so clear, Matt, though your video has left me feeling decidedly sick. My current backup approach is very haphazard and I am only using local EHDs – my current one is over 5 years old and is not itself backed up anywhere. I live in Australia, so I don’t think BackBlaze is an option for me, but will definitely look into an encrypted local cloud storage provider. Also need to cull old photos, but I think I will do a back up of what I have first in case something goes wrong during my review of years of photos.
Matt, I use two G Tech drives for external backup and a LaCie Rugged Portable drive that is kept away from the house for use in the field and as a fail safe approach to all of the above. Great to hear your perspective on Super Duper as I have had my concerns and have been looking for a change. Deleting images from the disk was learned the hard way when I would sync the images and create a reemergence of thousands of files I thought I deleted when I just removed them from LR. Despite your history of cautions, I enjoy the challenge of knowing more about backups and cataloguing because, IMHO. the Cloud, privacy and security are an anomaly trifecta I can’t find a way to trust with any accountability.
A wildfire that came within 1/4 mile of my house in 2003 when I was out of town (and my backup drive was next to my PC) made me a believer in online backup. I use CrashPlan to back up photos and other important files. I store photos on an EHD and use GoodSync to back them and documents up to a powered EHD on my desk.
For me, systems need to be fairly automatic! I tried the swap-out-the-backup-disk system for a while, but it is a no-go for me.
I have an external hard-drive for all my raw files, including all the edited ones. My final photos are on my computer. I’ve used backblaze for several years and I’m fine with it.
Thanks for the tutorial on backup. I really appreciate the time you take for your clients.
I do, however, think you have unnecessarily condemned RAID as a backup process. I believe RAID can be much simpler than what you described with standalone cloning or backup software.
I have a CRU RTX223-QR3 enclosure (there are many alternatives such as Western Digital) that has two slots for HHD drives. This enclosure is the external drive where I store ALL of my photos as well as the Lightroom Catalog backup. I have it set to RAID 1 which means it automatically copies whatever is on HDD #1 (the drive that shows up on your desktop) onto HDD #2. This called mirroring. That’s it.
New photos are imported through Lightroom onto HDD #1 and the RAID enclosure automatically copies everything onto HDD #2. Nothing could be simpler.
This enclosure also allows “hot swapping” so that I can remove HDD #2, while the enclosure is running, put the old HDD into a home safe or safe deposit box for added security. I just replace HDD #2 with another HDD and the enclosure automatically copies what is on HDD #1 onto the new HDD #2. I will do this hot swap procedure about once a month so if the house burns down, I always have a copy that copy is not more than a month old. If HDD #1 dies, I always have HDD #2 immediately available sitting in the enclosure.
I personally do NOT like or employ cloud storage as that requires an internet connection AND I do worry about the site going down or being hacked. I prefer to have my backups local and in a safe deposit box.
I use one primary external hard drives and two backups, one of which I keep offsite. I keep one backup current, then switch with the offsite one and get it caught up. I use Carbonite to back up my whole computer. I subscribe to the plan that will also back up one external hard drive, so it backs up my primary photo drive as well. Carbonite plans don’t limit the size of your backup which works well for me because I’m a “cyberhoarder,” so it is backing up my 6.8T system. Their tech support is very helpful. Thanks, Matt, for the info about cloning. That’s my new next step.
If you are on a MAC, look at Sync Folders Pro, Simple way to backup your images (or any other folder you like) to a second hard drive. You can set a schedule and just let it do its thing.
Thanks for kicking me into action! I’m still working on backups, my Lightroom Catalog 2-2-V10-11 previews.lrdata is 69.3 GB! Is there anything I can do to reduce the size?? Thanks for any help!!
Thanks, Matt for this information, it’s helpful.
I’ve been using SECOND COPY for more than a decade; it has more features than I need. I use the “sync” function to keep my drives organized. I have four Seagate 5TB USB drives; two on my desktop, one in a different part of my home, and one at work.
Thanks again, God bless.
Really useful discussion and suggestions. Have a backup system but it’s a bit haphazard. I now have a plan to organise systematically, easily and safely. So nightmares deleted.
Thanks for this easy to understand video. I load all photos into LR and add them to my first external drive. Then I manually copy my files from one to the second external drive. What I am realizing is that I am not backing up photos that I edit.
I wish LR had a better format for the making a second copy option.
I’m also wondering if I should not be going straight to LR, but only put the best from the shoot from the external drive?
I use Intego BackUp Manager Pro … and have never seen anyone else using it!
I have a very OCD approach to photo backup. For the current year I carry 2 external portable drives of about 2 terabytes and transfer images to drives daily as taken. Each drive is a clone of the other. I use chronosynch to make the clones. Each year has a folder for the year with subfolders for month and then each month has a folder for days with images and days with processed images. I don’t delete too many photos – the main exception being images from a multiple image sequence of wildlife in motion.
I also use large NAS drives to keep a cumulative copy of photos with a folder for each year that is synched with the per year external drives. I also keep a NAS at a second site that has copies of all the files.
Part of each year is a subfolder for projects where I keep jpegs of images of travel and other special projects.
I haven’t lost images due to drive failure as far as I know. I do worry about the overhead of remembering where images are if I can’t remember the year or month I took them.
Photomechanic has an appealing DAM system and of course Lightroom – I have used multiple Lightroom catalogs but think I’ll change that.
Over the years I have tried every backup solution there was/is for Macs. I like ChronoSync. You can clone one drive or all and/or make a bootable drive. To me it seemed simpler than CCC or SuperDuper. I used to have to keep two computers’ internal hard drives in sync which is more complicated than cloning an external drive. I’ve had it for about 15 years and there has never been an upgrade fee. You have to think about how it works when you use it because it’s odd. Now days I have all my Lightroom stuff, catalog and photos on an external drive. Another external drive is for archives (basically a bunch of junk I throw on there because I might want it later…hahahahah), and my computer and those two external drives are backed up with time machine on a bigger external (USB and slow) drive. When I watched a MattK video on Backblaze last year, I signed up immediately. I don’t think I would have if I hadn’t seen that video. It backs up all the drives and my computer. I think it took a month to create the first backup in the sky of my stuff but it is very painless. Some time in 2021 they converted to a public company (I think) and they sent out instructions for saving your backups and changing to the new system and I did it all wrong. Months later when I discovered that I had cancelled a year of backups and purchased a new plan which I wasn’t supposed to need, they helped me get everything back to normal, bent over backwards keeping in touch to make sure I was all set. Great customer service in other words. As long as there’s a cloud at all I’ll use BackBlaze. (Way too chatty.)
My experience with BackBlaze has been good. Set it up once and just let it do its stuff. When I’ve had to restore that’s also been dead easy. I also clone my LR catalog once a week using the Acronis Clone Disk option. I’m not fussed about what is or what isn’t worth backing up – all I’m worried about is “do I have a backup?”
I have been using BackBlaze for a few years and am very happy with it. I tried to use I-Drive, didn’t have much luck with the initial backup so I switched. Learned about BackBlaze from Matt in another video tutorial. I also have a separate backup drive that I run time machine on as well. I have a IMac 27′ and a MacBook Pro and I do the same process on both machines. I have different files on the two machines. IMac 27″ is a 2010 so I don’t do much with LR on it anymore for any new photos. Will wait until it dies before I replace.
I have downloaded my photos and converted them to dng. Now I have all my photos downloaded
In cr2 and dng. Should I delete one of the formats and if so which one would you suggest
External drive, Amazon Photos, and Google Photos are my backup strategy.
I use two external drives for all my files, and a third external drive for an additional back-up of my Lightroom catalogue. It’s worked pretty well, and has enabled me to restore things when a drive went down. Thanks for the cloning software tips!
Thank you for this video. It is relevant to one of my problem issues.
I am in the midst of the process of deleting unnecessary images. This has taught me to cull images at the time of cataloguing new images into LR. Although tedious I am learning about the improvement in my photography over the years.
My computer is backed up on The Machine. It is necessary for me to review my image backups. I like your method rather than the system I have from the person who set it up for me. It is likely best for me to complete the task of purging unnecessary images before I convert to a new system.
Question: Does Time Machine back up Lightroom? I’ve never had an answer to that question. Of course I realize it would just be backing up the thumbnails, but would it also back up my presets?
I’m on the road a lot, and I carry 4 EHD (external hard drives) with me. One is my current one that I use to plug in to work on my photos. Another is dedicated to TimeMachine. A third one I use to back up with Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC), and a 4th one, my latest – is a 5 TB Seagate that will become my main EHD when I notice that my main one is failing and is also backed up using CCC.
Plus, I back up LRC very often to my Pictures folder on my computer and to another folder on my main EHD. And whenever I finish a gallery, I send the completed pictures to my archive file on my website at SmugMug.
I have used only Seagate EHDs. So far they have treated me well. I run out of space before they fail me. My current one I started in 2016, and I’m holding my breath as it ages….but I’m prepared to have another take over.
I treat my EHDs with utmost care like I do my computer and they each have their own protective case. I think I have been extremely lucky so far, but I do my best to stay back up and to keep my images culled.
Sounds like you have a pretty good system, and I don’t want to be the fly in the ointment but keep in mind that EHD’s can be stolen or lost. Might be worth investigating one of the systems Matt suggested.
Thanks Matt for a clear and simple video. I use twin external hard drives and store all my photos on one, and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone to the second one. I back up my LR library/catalogue (.lrcat file) to my Mac hard drive each time I quit LR (and delete old backups as they take up so much space) and instruct LR to make a second back up to the external drive.
I have been doing this for years, so my old hard drives start at 500GB and, as they filled, I purchased new pairs, and I have recently purchased two 4 TB drives to start storing photos shot from Jan 1, 2022. I’m more comfortable with the photos spread across a number of smaller drives than all in one place. I need to investigate cloud storage as you suggest! AND I need to delete all those old files!
**Question: how often do you suggest replacing drives? IE do they eventually die? I heard that they may have a life expectancy of five years. That’s scary! Do you keep ALL your photos together or spread them across a number of (paired) drives? Thanks!
Hi Kerry. I’ve always been a fan of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” 🙂
Does anyone have a recommendation for the best backup company to use in the UK? One suggestion I’ve had was for Acronis as it has offices in London. Seemed to think based in the UK had advantages. Does where the company is based actually matter?
Photos from my camera are uploaded directly to an external HDD and copied to LR at the same time. Any edits I make are exported back to the same HDD. I also ‘copy’ these files and photos from the HDD to a second HDD. My Lightroom catalogue backs up to my Mac and I make a copy of this to my external HDD just in case. I am now, after your very well explained video thank you Matt, setting about getting a further HDD to back up my Mac using Time machine, although there is hardly anything on the Mac, as it’s main purpose in life is purely photography and as I say, that is all on the 2 external drives. When I started photography 3 years ago I was extremely fortunate in having a few lessons from a professional and part of the tuition was showing me how to set up the import and collation of my photos to LR into years, quarters and filed by dates which keeps everything neat and tidy and more importantly easy to find. I think my back up is probably the most simplistic on this forum by a mile but I can understand it and hopefully it is enough for my (simple ) needs.
thanks for your info,
I must admit I have not gone through my photos and deleted any, I am one who thinks I just may need that one. I plan to put time in reviewing my collection.
As for storage it’s very simple I download my photos from my camera onto external hard drive using On1 which allows me to send a backup copy of each photo to another storage which is dropbox. (which is set up to sync my internal hard drive for general documents)
when I finish editing a photo On1 gives me several choices of where I can export the photo so I send one to my hard drive to a folder of edited photos plus a copy to dropbox.
Thanks, another good Prompt session,
I have external hard drives, but not back up ones so I need to look at that! Also, I’ve just purchased your Crash Course in Light room and I’m currently “Lightening” my load of images that I’ve not really ever gone through properly so thanks for that. A must do before looking at Lightroom!!! 🙂
Thanks Matt for another informative video. I upload images to an external SSD attached to my MacBook Pro. I use Time Machine on another external drive as a backup for both the Mac internal drive and the external image SSD drive. I swap out the Time Machine every month with another stored offsite.
I will look in to Back Blaze for online storage. I’ve never had much luck with iCloud. I’m not really sure why Carbon Copy Cloner is used, and am worried I’m missing something crucial?? I would find a simple backup flow diagram very helpful.
Would also be interested to know what others do to backup SD cards when travelling without a laptop. I load onto my iPad for some security, realising this is not ideal if a SD card went missing.
Firstly appreciate your efforts in educating us all.
I use 2 x LaCie 2TB External Hard Drives.
1 has my Raw Files + Processed Images the other has a copy of my Processed Images.
I have recently done an audit and cleared out images that I feel no longer fit my current ideas on what I should keep, some of course are from overseas trips that I have kept as you cannot just easily go back there.
Thank you for this weeks tips- I especially appreciate the reminder to give myself permission to delete junk i will never use or look at! I have a 12 T Promise Pegasus RAID system I have used for years, and little 1 or 2 T LaCie Rugged hard drives that i have fallen in love with! In the past I have used a number of little WD 500- 1T hard drives but i have found them not fast- (and unreliable if i accidentally get them too full) the LaCie’s come with thunderbolt connections so they transfer really fast! But mostly what i got out of this week is how to clean up my Lightroom catalogs and do mass deletions!
A very timely topic and video for me with lots of food for thought as I evaluate and adjust my current processes during this Fresh Start program.
I currently copy my photo files to my internal hard drive and then to my external hard drive as well. This is before any post-processing. Before I edit the images, I copy the files on my internal hard drive to a separate folder and then I edit those images in the new folder. Once complete, I backup that folder of post-processed images to my external hard drive. This gives me two copies of all photos in unedited and edited formats. That may be too much and I also need to think about deleting photos I never need to see again.
Further areas of opportunity for exploration include automating some of the backup processing as it is all manual currently. In addition, I need to figure out backing up configuration and catalog/album files.
I currently have 2 LaCie Rugged SSD external drive. One is my photo storage and other other is a backup. Backing up is a bit of a pain so I will reformat the backup drive and then use Macrium PC to handle the backups into the future. Thanks for setting up the link.
This video was very helpful. I have not been backing up my photos beyond iCloud and it prompted me to review my iCloud files (which appear intact) and pursue more redundancy. I am going to explore Carbon Copy Cloner.
I back up my MacBook Pro with time machine alternating between two back up hard drives. I use a hard drive also to store the bulk of my photos which I am often editing and use Carbon Copy Clone to back up, again alternating between two back up hard drives.
Two years ago my MBPro was stolen from my home and I was so relieved to have a cloned back up to restore every single file and all my settings to my replacement MBPro. A life saver!
I used to back up my photos on a Seagate 1TB “Back-up Plus Portable Drive”. I can’t remember now what the back up mechanism was. I got a new MacBook Pro and stopped doing any back-up. After this video, I guess I had better get back to doing it!! I made the initial back up of my Lightroom photos very simple. I used the Lightrtoom feature “Make a second copy to” every time I loaded photos into Lightroom.
I have two portable drives that are not in sync. I need the backup software and some cloud storage. Good reminders of stuff I just need to do.
Lost many photos once and have learned the hard way to back up. Backblaze for me and two 2TB WD Passports for local in-house storage. Its a focus this year to clean up and organize the files.
I have one external hard drive and then I transfer all my photos from one external hard drive to another, but as you mentioned, this does take time. So, I will look into getting Carbon Copy Cloner as this will definitely make my life easier. I also have iCloud backup but I will look into Backblaze as well. Thank you for this very helpful information.
A couple of years ago, I took my lightroom catalog from over 200,000 images to 70,000. I then made collections to organize all of the photos. I use Good Sync for syncing my Windows PC to a backup drive. I sync once a month. I can do this monthly because I usually review my images on my laptop in LR. I then export them as a catalog to a portable hard drive, and then import them as from another catalog into my desktop. I therefore have them temporarily on the portable hard drive for several months in addition to the backup and desktop drive.
I use two portable hard drives. I backup by making a second copy to my backup drive while importing files to Lightroom.
Oh boy, I almost didn’t even watch this video because I dislike the whole topic so much. I try to keep it under control by deleting all but the VERY best photos I have. After that my picks are on my computer hard drive and fairly soon thereafter on my external hard drive. I doubt I’ll ever change this. I honestly think I can just take more pictures if something awful happens. I put my jpegs on Dropbox (a service that I detest due to its very poor user interface). That’s it! Now I have to go outside to take pictures. LOL
I have a Mac and just purchased a portable SSD. Does that take care of photos in the cloud and LR?
I have photos on my iPad and android phone. How do I back them up. Thank you.
Just before I saw this video I redid my backup system to make it simpler and more reliable. When I download my photos in Lightroom they are copied to a HD, which gets it power from the mains rather than the USB connection. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to create a backup from this HD to a portable HD. CCC has an option to choose the frequency of backups and I chose the option to backup whenever there is a change in the main backup drive. I also make another back up regularly on another portable HD, which I store at another location just in case something catastrophic happens in my office. In this case I set CCC to backup the main HD whenever this third HD is attached to my iMAC.
I already use your backup system from a previous course, except for Backblaze. But what I loved in the video is the bit about deleted photos we won’t do anything with. I have a hard time with this and keep way too many files. I like reminiscing sometimes looking back at old photos even those without artistic value, but too much is too much. You have given me a kick in the photo drive. I am now selecting photos to delete while listening to music. My weekly new Zen exercise!
hear hear! totally agree! I am eager to delete!
Thanks for all of this, Matt. I have been meaning to improve my back-up situation (sound familiar?). Now I feel like I have all the info I need and simple enough not to be intimidating!
Thank you, Matt. This is always a timely topic and it has been also very interesting and educational to hear about fellow photographers’ approaches. From my SD drives photos are automatically backed up by Dropbox online and thru Lightroom Classic catalog to my computer. Periodically, I back up photos from my computer to two hard drives. I like to break them into monthly units and color code years. iPhone photos are also backed up by Dropbox. In addition, they also reside in iCloud. Periodically I back them up in two hard drives monthly , and color code each year. ‘Presentable’ pictures I keep in Flckr.
Thanks Matt. Very timely for me. I know that I’m on borrowed time with my nine-year old Drobo. I’ll replace that with a big, albeit, non SS drive. My working drive is SS. My LRCat is backed up to my computer with a copy on my SS working drive. I’ll check out Backblaze.
Using Carbonite to backup various files (including photos) works for me
Thank you for your videos, I always learn a lot. I used to backup only once in a while and resisted using the cloud, now I see it is simpler than I thought.
I clone my iMac about once a month but also use Time Machine in between in case I delete a file and want it back more easily. I’ve stuck with SuperDuper! and now it’s all caught up again. My images are on two external G-Drives (thanks for the mention that they no longer make them). I have two clones of the iMac and each of the G-Drives, one for my closet and another stored in a relative’s basement. I also clone my laptop and use Time Machine on it, but there’s little on there that is all that important.
Thanks for an excellent overview, Matt! I like your approach of keeping it simple and not get wound up in all the technical details.
I would however add the idea of having a second off-site backup! Either use two simple external backup drives and store one at a friends house (I do that and swap it with my at-home drive every few weeks). You can also do the cloud backup (or if you are paranoid, both). I can recommend the backblaze solution here as well. Just remember: If you have a lot of data and not the super-fastest internet provider, the initial backup can take quite a while.
Thanks for a great review of the backup process and the catalyst to go and purge a bit before I do a major backup overhaul. At least in the meantime I feel like I’m secure in what I have in place.
I have been using a real simple backup system up until now… portable hard drives. I normally buy 2 every year and carry them both with me when I travel and use the simple copy/drop functions. However, after the number of drives has grown to be too many and being the computer geek I am now setting up a NAS
I have a 2 computer system and actually 3 computers which is over kill for sure. I use and iMac desktop and a MacBook Pro laptop. When I go on a shoot, I down load to each computer and its respective drive. This way I have 2 copies. I also then can view at any time the photos on each computer or both at the same time if I want. The laptop always goes with me on location. I use to have a cloud option also but now I download to my 2nd desktop which is a PC version that I use for storage and video edit, if it is a job in which I have a client and want to make sure it is backed up. I also store a copy of important jobs on a drive at a remote site. This is a little excessive but it makes me feel better.
Thanks Matt, the clone software was new to me, sounds great. I always have 2 external data drives and the backing up is time consuming, I do it by saving in both drives as I work, so the clone software sounds like a good idea for me. Projects eg photo books, AVs, collages etc I save on a second internal drive and in Pictures on the C drive of my PC, as well as Adobe CC storage.
Informative video. Things learned will make my life easier. Thanks.
Great, helpful video. I definitely need to delete old photos, from external hard drives & LR, as have many photos I don’t need or particularly like but have kept ‘just in case’. If I got rid of these, especially ones on my laptop my backups would be much smaller & quicker.
My most recent photos (past 2 years & special ones) are on my laptop which get backed up with file history & I also do a western digital backup to 2 different external hard drives. I also recently did a backup copy of my photos to an external hard drive using file sync & will once a month or so update it. My LR catalogue is backed up regularly to an external hard drive.
I have thought about cloud storage/backup but the cost and the slow internet we have puts me off.
This video has reminded me again that I need to do a bit of cleaning/clearing out and to check & keep up to date with my backups.
This was a really helpful video. Id love to show it to every member of our local photo club.
I’ve used Carbon Copy cloner for quite a while. (I also used to use Super Duper and can’t remember why I switched.) I keep three backups — one inside my MacPro (updated daily) and two that I swap back and forth between the house and a workshop 200′ away. We are covered for everything except a forest fire that could sweep through the property and take out both buildings.
I have two external hard drives at home and I upload all my ‘keepers’ to Smugmug in case my house gets burglarized or destroyed by a natural disaster. However, after watching your video, I now know that I need a cloning software to make my life easier. I didn’t even know about those! Thanks for covering that, Matt!
Thanks again for eye opening information. I did not know about cloning s/w for back ups.
I use Time Machine, plus another back up whose name I forget at the moment while in the mountains. Also use the cloud for backing up photos.
I clean up new photos, and the have cleaned out the oldest ones…..it’s the chunk in the middle, mostly travel, where I get bogged down and quit, losing my place. Will vow to take them trip by trip and clean up some each week. Thanks for the push, and the new information.
I use iCloud to back up my iMac and all photos. I have an external drive with Time Machine for the computer itself, and another one as an extra backup for photo files. I’m very interested in looking into Carbon Copy Cloner to make it more automatic. I didn’t have good luck with BackBlaze; while it appeared to be backup up my external drive (with all my photos), on closer investigation it wasn’t backing up that drive at all. The company was very helpful, but after a week, we were unable to solve the puzzle of why Backblaze could see the drive, but couldn’t back it up.
I have two internal drives, a Program drive and a Data drive. I only backup my data drive. I backup to the cloud using Carbonite. I backup to an external hard drive using GoodSync.
I transfer my pictures from my memory cards to my internal Data drive. Then I make a copy of the RAW files to an external drive. After I have edited the selected (good) pictures, I delete the RAW files from the internal Data drive. The memory cards are formatted and reused as needed.
On my PC, I use BackBlaze, which backs up my files and programs to the cloud. It is all automatic, and I don’t have to think about it. My photos are on an external hard drive hooked up to my Mac. For photo backup I use Carbon Copy Clone to back up to a separate hard drive once per week. Once per month I backup to a NAS.
Thanks for this video, Matt! I upload images from my camera card directly to an external hard drive. It is organized by year, month, then clients name in a folder named RAW. I then go to Lightroom Classic and create a new catalog and open the clients name. I then create another folder named Catalog. I cull images by flagging the photos that I want to edit. I use the develop mode and edit. Then I create another folder under client’s name with the client’s name – by – then use my photography website name. After which I upload the final images to Cloudspot.io for my clients to download, look at, and order the prints they want. So that website is my offsite storage in a way.
I can go to my hard drive to open the catalog, so that I don’t have to have hundreds of catalogs in Lightroom. I could, which I should pick all the photos that are unflagged and put them in a DELETE folder. Then after a few month, go delete that folder from my hard drive.
I also use iCloud storage.
I’ll def be checking into Back Blaze!
I do go through my photos about once a month and get rid of the non-keepers. What I have found from time to time is that I have marked a bunch for reject, and then gotten distracted and never went back and deleted them. I store my photos on an external HD, and use Back Blaze with continual backup for both the internal HD and programs, and the external HD. Maybe I should get another external hD and set it up to cloneclone, but I’ll have to think about that.
I use Google Photo for all my photo storage no matter if it’s Jpeg or RAW. I bought the 100GB storage and so far it’s working great and I can access my photos on any computer that is internet-connected. My issue is the downloading of my Google stored photos into LR or Photoshop. I have spent many a frustrating time trying to upload photos into LR or Photoshop so I can do some edits. Does anyone have the same issues or have any ideas on how to make this work quicker?? Also, when done with editing the photo sending it back to google photo without any hassle..Thanks…
I have couple of LaCie 5TB hard drives that work great. Also, nice that there small enough to take on a travel shoot with my MacBook.
I have been using IDrive for years. Have been happy until lately. I had an external hard drive that I realized was going to fail, so purchased a second external hard drive. The initial hard drive did fail and also corrupted many of my photo files. I was able to restore many files from IDrive, however, there were folders with 0 bytes (backed up corrupted files from initial hard drive?). Long process comparing IDrive files to second external hard drive to make sure I was not restoring 0 byte folders.
That being said, backups are very important! Think I will try Backblaze. Thank you.
I have a three-part backup system. I have a Mac that is backed every ten minutes using Time Machine. It backs up to an 8 tb Western Digital on my desk. I have a separate 4 tb Western Digital hard drive that backs up my internal Mac hard drive every month. I do this manually. I also back up this drive when I upgrade operating software. This drive is kept offsite. Its only purpose is to recover my system if I have a fire that destroys my computer and backup drive. I also have seven external drives, all Western Digital that are connected to my computer. These are backed up daily using Back Blaze. The system works well and is all automatic except the drive that is kept offsite. I find Western Digital to be a superior drive to Seagate. I’ve had too many failures with Seagate a few with Western Digital.
Thanks again Matt….this video affirmed by back-up process is correct. I use Carbon Copy Cloner with 2 drives and it is seamless. What I learned from this week’s “Fresh Start” is I need to review my library and consider deleting photos that don’t need to be backed up. This is now a “to do” each week for 30 minutes to evaluate my photos.
I just backup to a portable hard drive when I exit Lightroom. But does that keep all the data? thanks. I just upgraded my mac a few years ago and my LR folders are a bit different. I used to just drag the folder over to the card drive prior to the upgrade.
Perfect timing. This weekend is backup weekend and file cleanup – I do it every so often and especially after travel. But, I had a big learning today. 2 years ago I got a new computer. I use Backblaze and updated it for my new computer. I did not realize that my external hard drive needed to be added again and I had not been backing it up. THAT is where all my photos live, not on my laptop. YIKES. So, lucky I did not have any hard drive issues. Needless to say, it is being backed up right now!
I do need to start removing stuff from the catalog that I never look at. hmmm.
Thanks for the video. I have been very happy with backblaze for my offsite backup. I have been using Time Machine for my onsite backup but have not been very happy with it. I’m going to give Carbon Copy Clone.
Matt, Thanks again for a great video. Considering that my (unbacked up) external hard drive with all of my years of LR photos crashed just last month, I needed this information more than you can imagine… I need to not just back up my data but review my workflow with LR so that I am correctly organized and backed up, both photos as well as the edits. Great information.
I like Mike’s suggestion to convert the G Raid from redundancy to plain backup. Double the space. Done. Later today. Though not ideal, I use Flickr to auto upload from certain folders. Everything is converted to jpeg, but at least I have a copy just in case. I’ll look at the other cloud systems. Matt, thanks for the survey and recommendations. Two things: 1. I will start culling. 2. I will contribute to dinner for you and wife at B&H.
I believe my backup plan gives me a relatively good feeling about not having to worry about losing files. My original images and LR backups are located on HDs attached to and off my computer at home. In addition these files are stored at my son’s house and off site via iDrive. Depending on the image, backups to these devices may occur daily, weekly or monthly.
What concerns me most is my LR catalogs (yes multiple) are a mess. I made the mistake early on about creating different catalogs for different photos. And in some cases images are buried deep in a system of folders. And moving to a new desktop, things got worse. I’m regretting that decision, but I’m now in the process of correcting these poor decisions. Such fun….
I live in an area with regular wildfires. I highly, highly recommend using Backblaze or something like it for peace of mind.
I don’t clone to an external drive, I just copy specific folders over on a regular basis for a local external backup and that works fine for archiving.
Regarding culling old photos — I took up photography around 2014, and this year I’ve been slowly going through old photos and deleting photos I don’t want. One unexpected but great benefit is I’m getting really clear on how much I’ve improved over the years, both in technique but in choosing what to shoot.
I generally back up my photos to a series of external hard drives. As one fills, I get another. Unfortunately I have had some of the older hard drives fail over time and all those early photos have been lost. My son set up a NAS system and I have a drive in that system that I can use as backup. Being at a remote site from me it does take time to transfer files.
Worked with Clifford Pickett and he set me up on Lightroom, external hard drive, Backblaze and Acronis. Have no idea how any of this works but know my photos are backed up and protected.
Now just do what I like best…take photos. Am starting to like editing more with the help of Matt’s courses. Keeping it simple and not worrying about perfection (at least for today) has made a world of difference.
Danke, Matt, für deine Hinweise – und für die schöne Darstellung im Video (so mag ich es: du erzählst und zeigst gleichzeitig). Ich bin kein Foto-Profi, habe aber dennoch etwa 30.000 Fotos. Diese sind in LR6 gespeichert sowie in separaten Ordner auf dem PC. Bisher sichere ich alle meine PC-Laufwerke (intern und extern. Fotos und anderes) einmal pro Woche mittels Ashampoo Backup Pro 15 auf einer zusätzlichen Festplatte. Das funktioniert automatisch und läuft super. Ich kann auf Backups von mehreren Wochen zugreifen und nach Bedarf wiederherstellen – sogar einzrelne Dateien.
Nach deinem Vortrag überlege ich aber, ob ich nicht zusätzlich eine Cloud-Speicherung dieser Backups machen sollte – auch diese Backup-Festplatte könnte ja mal ausfallen…
ich nutze auch Ashampoo und seit zwei Jahren Backblaze.
Melde dich direkt bei mir, dann kann ich dir ein paar Tipps geben.
Gruß aus Hamburg
Matt, hello. Already somewhat recovered from Covid10-Ömicrom. He told him that I use several 1T Toshiba external drives as a storage method. For me very easy transportation and speed. Please any suggestion. Thank you for your excellent and very professional teaching.
When I upgraded my hard drive to SSD (which I 100% recommend for performance) I started using the existing drive as a synchronized internal backup. I also have a a cloud-based synchronized backup up with OneDrive.
I supplement this with a monthly onsite external backup and a six-monthly offsite external backup.
I have two internal drives and two external drives (4Tb and 6Tb). As 98% of my storage is photographs I subscribe to Flickr. These protect my enhanced images off-site and allows me to share with family, friends and the public using privacy filters. Some of my documents I keep in Dropbox, which is free below 5Gb of data.
Great thoughts. I probably need to delete old images that I don’t care about – or at least get those out of the folders that go into the backup. But I need to make sure to keep the relatively few images that I definitely want to keep from all the old stuff.
When I remove all the unnecessary photos, my archive, NAS and cloud backup strategy will work much better.
Good tip about deleting the unnecessary bracketed exposures from the Grid view. I have thousands of brackets that I don’t need.
I did not understand the purpose of cloning software, or how to use it with backup drives and cloud storage.
Carbon copy cloner can be a like saver. For some reason my Mac drive corrupted. With a cloned copy you can turn that into a boot drive and then boot from that drive until you can get the corrupted drive replaced. You can’t boot from a backup. I always make a clone when I install a new operating system in case there is a problem since you can’t go backwards.
I’ve just been using one external hard drive that I clone to a second hard drive when I think of it. I’ve used iDrive in the past but found it was unbearably slow to upload anything and would often drop out because I’m in a rural area with slow internet. It’s something I know I need to fix. Maybe the best step would be to cull and only do a cloud backup for the shortlisted photos?
I don’t have a good backup system, but I’m going to. First, Im going to delete the junk ones that I don’t want.
I’m on a Mac and use two Time Machine external drives to back up my hard drive, which is where my photos live. (Time Machine alternates its backups between the two external drives, which protects me in case of drive failure.) I also use Backblaze for offsite backups of my hard drive. (I used SuperDuper in the past but, as Matt noted, the software wasn’t updated regularly enough to keep up with MacOS updates.)
My photos are on a single scandisk 4T backup drive after being merged from several 1T drives. I culled folders and photos when I did that.
I use a new scansafe 4T backup drive at the start of a new year. The old drives are in a safe. I am now split between a PC and an IMAC for my photo/video/drone work. I have an older thunderbolt on the IMAC. I need to look into backblaze as a cloud backup for both machines. thanks for the knowledge share.
I have a back up drive and a working drive. I only shoot RAW so I filter the RAW files first on the working drive in Photoshop, then upload them to the back up. Then I edit the photos on the working drive and save them as TIFF or JPEG. I upload the best photos to the back up. I only keep the edited photos on the working drive. Finished in no time.
I recently installed Get Backup on my iMac and Macbook Pro and think it’s a great software cloning solution. It has a simple interface, easy-to-read manual, and can do backup and clone. At $19.95 it was the best value, I could find.
I am a big fan of BackBlaze, I tad a flood and lost my external HD with 3 years of photos. I went to my BB account and they send me a HD with all my photos on it, up to my most recent downloads
I guess I’m a geek because I love my QNAP NAS and was able to set it up with 4 drives and a RAID array without too much difficulty. That system includes backup software that allows me to backup to Amazon’s AWS service on whatever schedule I want. I also have Time Machine backing up my MacBook to an external hard drive and NAS. I had one of my drives go bad one time and was able to just hot swap it and not lose a thing.
Good advice on the culling of photos and the tip about NOT needing to keep everything in LR. I’ve got my work cut out for me there!
Thanks Matt for this informative video. I’m happy that you suggest keeping things simple. I use a Seagate external hard drive for my images and for the images I really like (not that many) I store them on Google cloud. I will look into the cloning software and Backblaze.
Thanks again Matt for another useful video. I store all my Lightroom photos on an external SSD drive, and then use iDrive to do multiple backups. iDrive is useful because I can use it to backup that SSD drive to another local HD as well as to the cloud. So I effectively have three copies of my photos, and I feel reasonably secure about that.
One extra thing I do do though, which you might like to emphasise to your audience in the future,
is that I have a reminder set to check my backups every month. It is quite possible for automated backups to go awry for any number of reasons, so it is a good idea to just pop in there to make sure that your most recent files have been backed up correctly. Nothing worse than thinking you’ve got a great backup system in place only to discover that something has gone wrong and you’ve lost months of photos!
So I store all of my photos on a Synology NAS five disk drive with the Synology’s proprietary Raid system. Super simple to set up, just used YouTube. Means that my wife and I can share documents on our property business.
I have a mirror back up plus a second daily. Third back up is every couple of weeks and I keep that offsite. Key data and photos are back up in real-time by the NAS to my OneDrive account.
For Windows back up I use Bvckup (the v is there). Super cheap, super simple and reliable.
Tried Idrive I did not work.
Watch out for external drives as they fail and are very sensitive to electricity variations.
One thing Matt did not mention is put your sensitive computer kit on a UPS battery. This protects against surges, blips and cuts in the electricity supply.
Lost thousands of pictures years ago. I now backup on 2 Samsung T7s and 3 separate cloud locations.
Hello, Backup For My Photography has grown. I used 1 external and 1 internal 2TB drive then software to backup the external to my internal 2TB drive this worked for a while but it’s time to move on when they filled up. I am now using a G-Technology 12TB RAID external drive with 2 6TB drives inside. The drives are set up in RAID 1 mirroring which is easy to configure with their software. My computer only sees 1 a 6TB drive. Every time something is placed on the 6TB external the RAID technology mirrors it onto the other drive automatically as a backup. If one drive fails you replace it and rebuild the data back to the newly inserted drive. It’s not complicated or for supercomputer users. It just takes some getting used to. The RAID mirroring happens in the background every time you place a file on one disk.
Thanks, Matt. this has been a relevant and useful discussion. The emphasis on simplicity and consistency is a good guide. I use duplicated external drives and will reexamine my system keeping your principles in mind. Thanks again
I use 2 Seagate hard drives for my backup. And I use Second Copy to backup my main hard drive to the other. It does a good job but is VERY slow – I have two 4TB hard drives that are a little more than half-full & it takes several hours each time I run Second Copy. I’m definitely going to look at some of the other programs you suggested, Matt to see if they’re faster.
Time Machine and Backblaze is perfect. One local backup and one cloud. Both automatic. I can’t see anything that would cause me to go further.
This is really helpful, Matt! I was so glad to see that we’re going to talk about backing up because I had just decided to organize my system better. My photos are on my laptop and backed up onto 2 separate external hard drives. Adobe Photo, Google Photo, and One Drive all back up some of them automatically, but not all photos are covered. I need a better system that will capture changes and back up all photos to the cloud. From Matt’s video and the comments here, I have plenty of suggestions that will help me get this organized.
For culling photos. I currently upload them all to Lightroom, pick out the ones to keep, and delete the rest from the hard drive. As I work with them, I might remove more from Lightroom but not delete them from the drive. I’m going to give the viewer a try to see whether it makes this faster and easier.
It is very important to backup, probably an understatement, as many have said. Back up your photos and also the LrC catalogs. If you are using LrC, when you exit the program, it will ask you if you want to back up the catalog (These are all the editing changes!) You can send it when you want in catalog settings. I send the catalog folder to my desk top and then to DropBox. You only need to keep the most recent and discard the earlier catalogs to save space on your computer.
James, I agree about keeping back up catalogues. Since I do catalogue backup several times a week they pile up so every few weeks I delete all but last 5 – Some time ago I read something recommending keeping last 5 – don’t remember where but sees reasonable –
Oh my gosh this was a great reminder! I use the old fashioned click and drag for backup and haven’t been keeping up. I will start today!
I have been using a digital camera since 2015, and have never looked into “backing up my images!” I put them in a little folder on my computer, and I’m off on the next shoot. Thank you so much for explaining how to back up images, culling the unwanted ones and keeping only the ones I care about or have special meaning. Thank you also for providing names of back up drives to explore. I know I have my work cut out for me!! LOL
This session was very helpful to me. I have wrestled with the whole backup thing a lot and still am not sure I’m doing enough.
I use two external hard drives which I off-load my images to out of camera. The first hard drive is the one I work off of when I edit my files. The second is just the unedited files as they came from my camera. After watching your video, I think I need to change my ways so that both are synced.
One question that I have is what happens when you fill up a set of hard drives, say after 5 years. When you replace them, do you start adding just the new images you take and if you want to go back to your old images, do you then plug in the old hard drive if you want to view or access them for some reason. I guess if you were using the cloud this wouldn’t be an issue, you could just pay for more storage.
I appreciated the list of cloning software, exactly what I have been looking for – just made the mistake of looking for archiving software. I have an external hard drive with backup photos, but since I’ve been doing it manually, it’s never up to date. Vacation and family photos get special treatment. They’re also stored on flash drives or a small (1T, 2T) external hard drive.
I tried Carbonite for a year and hated it. We live out in the country and there’s no fast internet connection. It’s normally good enough to stream and download, but Carbonite used so much bandwidth everything else slowed to a crawl. It took months to upload everything.
My Mac backs up to two hard drives on an alternate basis multiple times per day. I also back up to iCloud. I had a hard drive crash on a previous Mac and I lost none of my photos.
I use Backup Drive/s for photos and two Backup Drives – one with the photos that I have processed thru LR, the other a backup of the original. I can delete without concern that I’m gong to delete something I want. I put my LR finished photos in Amazon Prime – it’s free with membership and they don’t drill down the photo size. The photos have been there when I’ve checked. B & H Photo and Nat Geo indicated that IF you want the photo PRINT it! I’m currently printing my travel journals and photos. My daughter teaches school and the children love to see schools in other countries. I was using an Amazon Fire Tablet as a photo frame since it worked with Amazon Photos however I’m considering using my old travel iPad. I found that looking at the photos once a week while I was doing chores – made me notice things I didn’t see before. I was using Super Duper however found it to be too slow and I’d have to check it – so will be looking for another cloning software to use. All my Photos and Doc’s are in Colored File Folders and I use Tags on the Mac to go with the Folders. Thank you for the suggestions.
Once upon a time, I had no backup plan, had a catastrophic hard failure, lost at least 5 years of photos, including never recoverable images of my son’s track meets and school plays. I now have a Mac desktop and a solid backup plan where that will never happen again One external drive for storage of everything except the operating system, most apps and desktop items. From my PC days a second external drive, used as my Time Machine drive which also has my Lightroom catalog backup. And, two drives from a raid system I could never seem to get working properly. With these, I use a dual backup system. One former raid drive backs up my primary storage external drive, the other the Time Machine drive. Back up the primary external drive with Carbon Copy and have set up Time Machine to alternate between the two TM drives. I back up the primary drive at least once a week, which takes about one minute of my time, a couple of clicks in Carbon Copy and I go back to work. Finally, I have two portable drives I swap back and forth and back up to every so often. The most recent portable is stored off site at my daughter’s place. The primary drive is getting along in years and I plan on replacing it sometime this year with a larger capacity drive. Redundant backup, very simple. Total cost, since I already had most of the drives just sitting around, maybe $500, including the raid drives. Time involved first time out, a lot. Now on a weekly basis, maybe 10 minutes of actual time. Photos, catalog and necessary documents, never more than a week out of date.
“One former raid drive backs up my primary storage external drive, the other the Time Machine drive. Great idea. Thanks
I keep all of the original and copies of my photos on an external USB drive. I have NAS that backs up twice a week for all of my computer files. I also transfer all of my finished photos to Flickr. Having Flickr allows me to share photos with friends and family. It also helped when my hard drive failed. Flickr allowed me to have copies of my hard drive. Since then I purchased a NAS as a backup.
Very useful session Matt. I tend to never delete anything from my LR catalog which is ridiculous and you’ve motivated me to starting deleting stuff.
As for backup, I sync my photos from my iMac to my external drive using Get Backup3 Pro on a schedule. Also, I have Backblaze which has come in handy. Once, my hard drive with photos failed and I had Backup send me a hard drive with all my photos, then returned the drive so all I paid was the cost of shipping in 1 direction – well worth it. I also have a server running FreeNAS and sync my photos to that as well as my external HD. Finally, for my Mac backup, I have an external drive Time Machine and I have Carbon Copy Cloner. So, I have a lot of redundancy in backup.
I was looking forward to this discussion! Currently I store all images on my external SSD drive. For several years, I’ve know that I need to back up those images somewhere else. It sounds like it would also be a good idea to back up my hard drive. Several people recommended Back Blaze to do this. So thank you! I have just added that to my To-Do list! This is a great time to figure out how to do it get everything backed up!
I have to admit when I saw the subject for this video, I got some anxiety. Usually this subject is full of very technical stuff that I don’t get, which makes me worry I’m doing something wrong…so then I just ignore it.
I use 2 external hard drives, one for the originals and one for the backups. I’m pretty good about throwing away the photos I won’t use, but after using LR since 2008 Im sure I have lots of stuff to get rid of. It’s like cleaning the back corners of the dark closet.
I see I should use something like BackBlaze also. I don’t keep any photos on my computer hard drive, only the LR catalog. This video really helps, Im sure I’ll watch it a few more times.
Hi Matt. Great information as usual. I am Mac user so everything is done through the Mac OS. I have the Adobe apps on the main frame, (PS/Bridge/ARC) and all new photos to be edited start there.I edit and cull right away as a first pass. Finished photos are saved as Tiffs to an external 4TB G drive into folders by subject category. Backups are handled by another G Drive though Time Machine which is free with the Mac. Back ups are hourly and include the mainframe as well.You are right on the mark about culling. Years ago I saved everything, Bracketed photos,Raw files, even at times additional jpegs to the Raw files. I found I rarely if ever went back to these so I deleted them and freed up 20% of my hard drive. I currently have 50,000 files which I am always culling. The one thing I am missing is another off site hard drive or cloud solution. and I am looking into that.
Thanks for very simple, efficient ideas. Been following your two drive plan with super duper. Will look into carbon copy. Have not ventured into cloud backup, as I seem to be a bit of a pack rat with slow weeding skills. Want to declutter more before going into cloud
I have local backups to my Drobos. Been doing it for years and it has saved me many times. I use the Drobos because I have many Terabytes of files and it’s very easy to do. The backup software is Carbon Copy Cloner. Very easy software to use. All my files are scheduled to backup regularly. I really don’t have to do anything once they are scheduled. Restoring files is as easy as copying the files from the Drobo back to your working drive.
In addition to the local backups I also have used Backblaze for the last few years and love it. I schedule the cloud backup to occur every night from midnight to 7:00am. It happens automatically. Restoring files is very simple from their website. However, can be time consuming depending on your internet speeds. They will also send you a drive with your files for a price and if you send the drive back they will refund the amount back to you. Very very easy and cost effective.
Great tips on backing up photos! I just use two Seagate external hard drives and manually back up. The cloning software
sounds like a real time saver and also Backblaze to the Cloud.
I use Photoshop and have my own system of organizing my photos personal and photography. I know many photographers who use Lightroom for its cataloging system but I just never got into using that software.
I take so many pictures at one time, I wouldn’t want to have all my images imported into Lightroom like some people I know. I usually go through my photos after a shoot and decide which ones to bring into Photoshop for post processing so I don’t have a lot of culling to do.
I use SyncToy that is included with windows. I make two copies of my photos along with the catalogue. With SyncToy you can create as many actions as you need for all your drives and you can Synchronize, Echo or Contribute. Echo works best for the way I work.
I’m a firm believer in deleting the redundant and useless and cull my photo’s after taken for that purpose. Then I’m done! I won’t go back and delete anymore (unless I happen on some real “crap” when I’m going thru stuff).
My question though is what to do with the extra copies of the catalogue itself that Adobe/LR seems to create whenever a new version of LR issues. Do you just delete the old catalogue? (I’m kind of afraid to do that, lest I somehow delete all my photo’s from the catalogue and will then have to restore everything from the backup drive!! Ouch! And if should just delete the old catalogue, do I need to back that up as a catalogue somewhere first (so that I’m not just restoring the photo’s if the catalogue and its pictures are “gone”, but so I can have the catalogue itself back)?
I’m a retired IT professional with 40+ years experience. I use an external hard drive and two 2TB portable drives for backup. I backup all data including photos and Lightroom catalogs. I have DOS scripts that I wrote for backup. I backup all data to my external hard drive every Tuesday. I backup all data to one of the portable drives every Friday. I periodically rotate the portable drives and put one offsite in my bank safe deposit box. It’s critical to keep a backup offsite so if your house burns down you still have a backup. Cloud storage can take the place of the portable hard drives. I tried cloud storage using Dell Data Safe when it first came out years ago but at that time it was too slow and very unreliable. Cloud storage should now be much better.
I have been using a NAS 4TB (2 – 2TB drives in a Raid 1 configuration) for backup. I also have 2 1TB ruggedized external hard drives for backup of just my photo stuff. I keep one of those drives in my briefcase and one of them in a remote location. I am thinking that I can simplify my life by using cloud storage. I am going to look at the software that you were talking about to see if there is a way to automate the backups that I have been doing manually.
As retards going through old photo files to get rid of the “junk”, that’s a great idea.
Thanks Matt, great information on backups. My Lightroom catalog is about 1.2tb and I am wondering if I should trim it down a bit. I do a quarterly complete clone of the computer on a portable drive which then goes into the bank safety deposit box. I also make a monthly clone of the LR catalog on another portable drive which I keep on site.
Good sensible information and food for future thought.
I have been using a similar strategy using 2 x 8Tb external drives for Master/Backup data. I keep the LR Catalog on these drives also. I am using SuperDuper to synchronize those drives and would be interested in comments on why that may not be an appropriate piece of software.
I also use Backblaze as my cloud backup
Old school manual backups for me, but I’m not a big volume user. Around 30,000 files in my catalog, but I need to cull more.
My working masters and catalog are on a portable SSD which is plugged into either iMac or Macbook Pro, depending on where I am. Because I swap between computers, automatic cloning would get complicated. Files are stored in folders by month.
Each month, or when I’ve added a lot, I copy the previous month’s folder of images, and the Lr Catalog to two backup drives. If I’ve done much editing of previous months’ work I’ll copy those too. The Lr catalog backups automatically upload to Google Drive using backup and sync.
Every few months I’ll copy/replace a batch of folders to update for deletions.
Finalised exported output goes full size to Amazon Photos, reduced size (2000pix longest) to Google Photos for backup/sharing.
It works for my circumstances, and doesn’t take too long. I’ve not yet had a HDD fail on me, but I did have a catalog and image folder corruption following an unsuccessful attempt to migrate from Lr to On1. Recovery was pretty simple; I reformatted the corrupted drive and restored file copies from the backup.
Thanks, Matt. As usual, good information. I regularly cull my photos and use two external hard drives and Time Machine as manual backup. I will now look into cloning software and cloud storage.
My questions, how to backup lightroom itself. I regularly backup the catalog, but if the hard drive where my primary lightroom software is located fails I would lose the whole cataloging system. Do you have a previous video regarding this or could you do one in the future? I have searched for this online and it is confusing.
I copy the Lr catalog onto the backup drives along with the images. Copy back if needed.
I moved the Lr catalog system to my data drive where all photos reside, and then it is regularly backed up with all of them. Be careful when moving the catalog as it can be tricky but certainly doable.
My LR Catalog is on my laptop with my recent image files – and in my Dropbox folder. My LR Catalog backup is on my external drive. Both the laptop and external drives are backed up physically and via BackBlaze.
I highly recommend Crash Plan. https://www.crashplan.com/en-us/
#1 I resisted cloud storage for a long time because I realized it was going to take weeks to complete the process. But eventually I realized that the backup time might improve as technology improved but it still was going to take a long time if you have a lot of photos. So I signed up for Backblaze. The first backup took weeks but it’s happening in the background and doesn’t interfere with working on the computer. I have gone in a couple times to make sure it’s doing what its supposed to be doing. It’s about as simple as can be.
#2 I really need to cull more photos from my hard drives! It’s always a work in progress. I agree with Matt, you can’t do it for hours and hours, it’s just too tedious. It has to be done in smaller chunks of time. I’ve had to develop a new mindset with the Z9 and its high speed shooting with wildlife. I have to reconcile/force myself to delete more, once I find the ‘best of the bunch’.
I suggest that after you have your backup procedure finalized you test that procedure. You should verify your procedure is functioning correctly and that all of your date is actually backed up. You should also be familiar with the steps that must be taken to recover your data.
I have more questions than comments.
1- I have seen only a few people mention NOT using cloud storage. Doesn’t anyone worry about those sites getting hacked?
2- I hear regularly that hard disks fail eventually. Do they fail from repeated use or just from sitting around and getting old (like me ha!)? The latter would mean using them for archiving would be a poor idea unless you changed them out periodically.
3- a few people have commented that they store and backup jpg’s separately so that others can view them easily. I would like to do that but haven’t figured out a good way. Would any of you who do that elaborate on their system, including file naming?
Sue, spinning hard disks do not deteriorate with age. Solid State Drives (SSD) loose their charge with inactivity and also with higher temperatures. This about SSDs from an engineer from Seagate – a major make for both kinds of drives.
As far as combining an archive AND a display function goes, it can be done. Take a look at Flickr. Its free BTW up to a certain amount of storage.
Sue: Backblaze encrypts your files before sending them to their server and then stores them encrypted.
The hard drives that failed on me, except for one, failed for no discernable reason. The exception was an old laptop with very limited internal memory (RAM) and so Windows frequently had to move parts of memory to its special place on the hard drive. That laptop was really old and overworked.
I can offer one usable solution for question #3. I use an IBI drive (from sands.com) It is a network drive (must be hooked to wifi, no other choice). It has its own operating system which is very easy to use with a bit of practice. I keep all raw files in LRC. I pick and edit the photos I like the most. These I export as Jpeg to share with friends from the IBI drive. IBI software allows me to create albums from folders. I save the phoss into separate folders and create albums as I wish in any combination.
A 1TB IBI drive costs less than $100.00 and it comes with its software. Sandisk keeps the software updated on a 3-month schedule, I think.
I don’t yet have a backup solution for my IBI drive other than having flagged the photos in LRC. im looking at cloning SW now.
I KNOW backup is important: I once lost a harddrive that wasn’t backed up, and lost 2 years of my photography 🙁 So, after that I became more aware of the need for backups. For harddrives fail! It’s not IF they fail, it’s WHEN they fail.
So, finally I got myself a Drobo system (4 drives acting as one, with some fancy built-in software that makes sure that if one drive fails, nothing is lost).
I also have used BackBlaze and loved it, but after I emigrated to France, that no longer was an option: the internet connection here is way too slow for that! (Downloading 2 GB of data, such as an update for Photoshop, takes about 4 – 6 hours!)
So now, I still rely on the Drobo, but some day I’ll have to do something like CCC with a big enough harddrive(s)…
I have a question not answered in the Video. When doing a set of 3 bracketed images, LRC creates a merged image, which I then “tweak” and crop in Lightroom Develop module.
IS IT NECESSARY TO KEEP THE 3 ORIGINAL IMAGES, OR ONLY THE SINGLE MERGED& CROPPED IMAGE?
I live in the country (with lots of trees) so I keep a backup of all my computer files (including photos) in my safety deposit box at my bank. The backup drive (using Time Machine) behind my computer does me no good if the entire house burns down.
Keith, keeping the 3 parent image is optional. The bigger issue may be if you keep the images that are not “Final Selects”. There’s probably more of those.
This video was extremely helpful. Not only do I need to cull some if my photos to reduce the size of my folders but I have been using double hard drives and I am not happy with this solution. The cloud backup sounds an excellent plan and so I will be investigating this. Thanks Matt for a very helpful and clear video.
I don’t agree with taking time to delete photos. There is no problem with LrC referencing even a half million or more photos without problems! Good organization is better than taking time to delete. I am surprised to see MattK’s LrC library screen that does not use good organization to reduce all the clutter.
The better approach is to organize LrC Collections so they collapse into Collection Sets. I have sets called ‘2019’. ‘2020’, and so on. Within each year there are collections as needed. So I would not worry about deleting photos from 2011, because the ‘2011’ collection set takes up only a single line in my Collections panel in LrC. EHD space is cheap, so I don’t care if I have extra photos on it.
Another point is that I only import into LrC photos that have potential. Rather than importing every raw file, I use the Loupe view (E) to check only the photos that I might want to Develop, so I don’t import the unneeded files in the first place.
Another point is that I Stack images in LrC. I move the best photo to the top (left) of each stack, then only Develop that one photo. The others are there if I need them, or something from one of them. But they are conveniently out of view unless I click to open the stack. Stacking is also important when using external editing software – LrC automatically puts that new file at the top of the stack, so it is the only photo that shows in the Library (Grid) view.
On the subject of large LrC catalogs I attended a session at Adobe MAX in October with some of the technicians who work on LrC. One mentioned seeing a catalog with over 18 million photos.
I couldn’t agree with this more. Organization within Lr is the real key rather than laboriously culling out old photos. Either make intelligent use of collections (smart or otherwise), keywords and/or metadata to get at the photos you’re looking for. Equally important, be judicious during import and maybe not import everything on your camera and also assign those you do to a collection or keyword them for finding later.
I’ve used BackBlaze Cloud Backup and it has save my cookies three times. One day my old desktop had a glitch and decided that I needed to reload Windows as though it was a new installation. Everything was essentially lost. I restored all my files from Backblaze. The second was when my new laptop fell out of a defective camera bag and wouldn’t restart. The third was when the hard drive in my replacement laptop failed (over my career I’ve had several hard drives fail).
Each time I was able to restore my files from Backblaze. For large restores they will send you a 1TB drive with your files for $189 but if you return the drive within 30 days they completely refund the $189.
By the by Black Blaze has an app that runs in the background and only updates files as they are created or changed while you work so you’re always backed up.
I use hard drives but it was mentioned to me to use a desk top computer for my photos. I recently lost two hard drives and I was not too worried.
I also had them on other smaller hard drives. I am a retired computer operations manager.
Being an IT professional, I’ll not get too technical, but I use two internal drives for images, a 1TB SSD for current images and a 2TB normal HDD for archived images. The SSD also contains my LR catalog and backups.
These are cloned to external USB disks and a NAS using Free File Sync (https://freefilesync.org/) on windows. These are then backed up to offsite storage overnight, every night. These backups also allow me to restore to any point over the last year.
The entire process is automated, and I never have to worry.
One thing I have learned over the years, test your backups every now and again. It all might look ok, but you’ll never know unless you try and restore from it. You don’t want to be doing that for first time when you have a HDD fail.
What do you mean by “test your backups”?
In my life it means go and perform an actual restore every once in a while. I learned this lesson the hard way: I use Acronis to back up automatically every night to an external HD, which told me faithfully each morning that the backup was successful and verified. I once had a corruption event on my internal HD , which I then reformatted and reloaded Windows and all other programs from scratch. However when I tried to restore my files from the Acronis backup, it simply told me it did not recognize the backup. Luckily I had some month before done a Drag & Drop backup of most of my folders to another external HD, so did not lose too much. Now every so often I just go and restore a couple of file or folders to make sure everything is working.
Another great video – thank you! My need to delete more is the most important message for me from this video. As for file management, I have about 30K image files from Lightroom on my laptop. I used Time Machine for total laptop backup. I also have 2 external SSD drives that I use to back up my photo files separately. I love the speed of them. I bought a NAS and use it, but it was a mistake for the reasons Matt described. Too much work for a non-techie. I’ve not had good luck finding in cloud backups critical files I’ve accidentally lost on hard drives. I’m evaluating cloud backups – without doing too much research – to have something in the unlikely event my house burns down,
I have been using Lightroom for several years. When I started I neglected to think through a data strategy. So, I have photos on my C drive, a back uo drive and a second backup drive. File management within Lightroom is difficult to use. Do you have a recommended approach for migrating photos to one drive? I have 64,000+ photos. I do use Backblaze and have been very happy with it.
Appreciate the thoughts on deleting from catalog, too. Good info.
I use iDrive for both my main hard drive plus my backup hard drive which holds all my data and pictures. I also have portable drives that I use for copying my photos only.
Another informative video from Matt. Here is the process I use to backup my photos. I use Photo Mechanic to ingest my photos from the memory card to the hard disk of my iMac. I use a multi-pass culling process to identify the photos I like and intend to keep and delete all the others. I organize my folders by year, then date. I then manually copy the RAW files to an external SSD drive (Drive 1). Next, I use either SuperDuper!, or more recently Carbon Copy Cloner, to clone all the files from external Drive 1 to a second external SSD drive (Drive 2). Finally, I clone Drive 1 to a cloud storage service (iDrive). I purchase all my external drives from OWC.
I use SyncBackPro to backup my photo library, which exists on an external hard drive, to a Synology NAS and to another external hard drive. I also use BackBlaze to backup my photo library to the cloud, so I have an offsite copy in case there is a fire, theft, etc. that causes my local drives to be lost or unusable. I use Macrium Reflect to backup my PC to my Synology NAS, which provides an extra backup of my Lightroom catalog, and I also use BackBlaze to backup my PC to the cloud.
I converted from Acronis to Macrium Reflect this year. I had used Acronis for about ten years, but recently they shifted their focus to cyber protection and away from backups. They also switched to a subscription program, and I don’t need to upgrade and pay for backup software on a yearly basis.
Another very informative session from Matt. I back up my photos as part of a larger scheme to regularly backup entire data drives and, on a less frequent basis, the entire system including the OS. The latter scheme is just in case the complete system falls over and I want to rebuild it quickly. Thankfully I haven’t had to face this scenario and hope I never have to test it. I use a Synology NAS, a second directly attached 2-drive RAID, and periodically store a third drive off site in case the house burns down! I use Acronis True Image to manage all this. Perhaps to some this seems to be overkill and maybe it is but I have it to a point where the backup stuff is a no-brainer and taken care of behind the scenes. I never worry about it.
Thanks for another great session Matt!
Simple & seamless. I use my iMac’s internal drive for everything; including my photos. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to automatically (i.e. daily) to back up everything to 2 external drives. Redundant? Maybe so.But if one drive fails, I still have another bootable drive. Whenever I am away from home for an extended period of time, one of the external drives in stashed in my fireproof safe.
I’m a big believer in deletion, so after I get home I go through the images and delete the ones I don’t need or want right away. No one wants to see my out of focus images and neither do I.
For my back up strategy I have a multi prong approach. I have an external drive attached to my pc and use genie timeline to back up my data in real time. I have a subscription to microsoft office which includes 1tb or included storage using onedrive so the images are backed up there. I also use the cloud backup idrive for added protection. I have a plex media server with an attached hard drive so periodically I will backup my images to that using free file sync.
Is there a backup program that will copy and eliminate the folders and files that I have eliminated since the last time I backed up?
Hi Kathleen. That is what the cloning programs do.
I have 200,000 photos spread across 4 hard drives .. 2 main drives .. 2 backups …the drives are approaching 10 years old. I have started the task of deleting photos as you demonstrated .. I am finding that I am deleting about 95 – 98% of the image content in folders. I now realize I should have been managing this on the front end not as I am doing now. I have spent way too much time on worying about storage and back-up when the time should have been spent on managing what actually ended up in LR in the first place. Great video for people just starting down this path .. again .. well done!
Thanks Matt! I currently have 20,000+ images in my library. I use Lightroom Classic. And mostly shoot birds, wildlife, flowers, nature, etc. Here’s my process:
1. I star-rate all my images after a shoot. Anything that is not rated gets deleted.
2. All images 2 stars and above get backed up to the cloud (Raw, DNG, Tif to Norton Cloud, Jpegs to Amazon Photos). I usually do this piecemeal as I’m editing.
3. Once or twice a month I backup the latest folders of photos and older ones that I edited to another external hard drive.
4. I also leave the the images on the camera’s CF or SD cards until I need the space.
Another excellent topic – id do back regularly to a portable hard drive and also clear out folders on a regulate basis. I was interested in the mention of cloning (Carbon Copy). I will have to research to see if there is an equivalent organisation/company in the UK.
Again many thanks
Having looked at Carbon Copy I see that they do supply the UK so it maybe all systems go
I am definitely a stickler for backups. I have my entire family history in pictures dating back to the 1800’s and it would be devastating to lose them so I have multiple layers of backups. I can’t count the number of times that has saved me. I try to use completely automated backups requiring no manual intervention. I have been using Visa-Versa to synchronize my local files to offline storage and Carbonite for off-site cloud backup. I have been using both for years.
I use Backblaze for a cloud/remote backup and 2 Western Digital external drives for local backups. I use WD’s backup software and manually do the local backups every 2-4 weeks depending on the volume of work that I have been doing.
Recently, I have been running into an infrequent Lightroom error on startup regarding unavailability of the catalog. The Lr error points to a Backblaze executable (Lr names the file that I then Googled it that IDed BB as the source program – I can’t recall the filename). Usually I can either Exit the LR startup wait for a few minutes and restart Lightroom, or restart my Windows 10 computer to successfully launch Lr. Since this started, I have been backing up my catalog on an external SSD every time that I exit Lightroom, the active Lr catalog lives on my internal SSD. I’ve never lost the functionality or content of my catalog, but this has been an inconvenience. I’m thinking that the BB process is querying my internal SSD for changes and grabs control until it can sort out what is new to then backup. I shut down my computer most every night. I need to consult BB support to figure this out. I’d be interest to learn if anyone else has experienced this situation.
Thanks Matt, I have thousands of photos in LR rejected with an ‘X’ but haven’t deleted them permanently. I haven’t even thought about most of them in many years. I think I’ll review at them and push the delete button on some. Also, I never thought of deleting unwanted bracketed sets not needed. Clean-up is necessary.
As for back-up, I have two external drives, neither are SSD. One is used to store my photos and the second to back-up. I use Good Sync for back-up to the second drive. Also, I store photos in the cloud using the free service provided with Amazon Prime membership. Not all my photos are on Amazon photos, but many are. I upload selected photos manually to albums and use them as screen savers on my fire tv. It’s fun to see places and family pop up now and then.
What you said in your talk was great.
Not that it matters, but an old Learning Theory maxim, “Experience precedes analysis”, definitely supports the main point of your Practice First suggestions.
In trying to learn my camera settings for exposure in different lighting I did an exercise suggested in something I read.
*Set camera up by a window looking out into the woods.
*Then took a shot focused on the same scene at different set times over several days.
*Fiddled with settings till I could get consistent results no matter the changes in natural light of scene.
I use Back Blaze and time machine and external drive for my backup.
I do clean up my extrenal hard drive with unwanted pictures, and I back up my photos. My problem with my 15″ MacBook Pro is that the external hard drives are always disconnecting. Trying to troubleshoot that problem. Thanks for the tip on Backup Blaze. Going to check into that.
I have a Macbook Pro and I use TimeMachine and have been using it for over 10 years. It has saved me more than once. My LR catalog goes straight to one external drive and is backed up to another with my Mac hard drive by Time Machine so I have two external drives. I also have LR in the Cloud and back up there. I pay Adobe $20 a month for the extra storage. My published photos are in a folder organized by month and year on my hard drive(they are also in LR and Photos since I used to use Apple’s Aperture for my organization, but not organized separately there. They are still in their original “shoot” photos). That is backed up to the Time Machine Drive. I also have 2TB of ICLOUD Storage that backs up my published folders along with my other Hard Drive items.
I have hourly back ups to Time Machine and if I am in LR, once a day it asks me to back up. If you are a Mac user, not using Time Machine for back ups is a mistake. It is easy. I still have external drives, but Time Machine is part of the Mac package and works.
I have to do very little.
I also forgot to mention. 2020 was my year of major culling. I went through over 40,000 photos going back to 2010 over a 4 month period-in 2021 I found some additional folders hidden on my hard drive and did the same. That was my big project. I got rid of 20,000 photos. Now I cull each shoot and have a better workflow. Zoom meetings and videos like Matt’s helped me change a lot in 2020.
Whoa, first off External storage is cheap. I, like many who’ve commented, cull out photos as part of the Lightroom workflow. there may be a few I could have deleted, but again Storage is cheap.
I use 2 External drives for back-up, keeping one active and rotate the drives about every 45-60 days. For backup, I use Mac’s Time Machine, it backs up both my Mac HD and my Photos external drive. This keeps all my files backed up continuously. I back-up my Lightroom catalog weekly and that is backed up by Time Machine.
I use a 5T LaCie external drive for my photos. Simple and cheap.
Storage may be cheap but the clutter and disorganized feeling we get from 1000’s of un-needed photos that will never see the light of day, is not 😉
Having an HDD die, with an entire years worth of photos on it, makes you a believer in back-ups. At some considerable expense, I was able I retrieve the data from the disk. I now have over 20 years of photos backed up and archived on individual HDD’s, from 2-5 TB each, to hold up to 2 years worth of output. These drives, in-turn are backed up to Backblaze. I also archive everything on my Sinology NAS 24 TB raid setup media server. I keep the recent images I took, to be culled and edited in a 1 TB SSD “working images” drive, also backed up to Backblaze. Once those shoots are complete, I move them to their designated HDD and clone them to the NAS server. It may seam a bit overboard, but after the near loss of a years work, I was scared strait.
My photos are on external drives, generally 1tb each. They are named photo drive 1, 2, 3
Lrcat backed up every week
I use Acronis to backup to a large external drive – which keeps reminding me is full and needs attention – thanks for the reminder
There are 2 backups – when I have them working…and store one in a fireproof safe in the house
I use Smugmug for any of the images that I really want to keep
Will be going through and culling old useless photos
Thank you for the spray can option…going to give that a try
Oh dear! Everyone sounds SO much more sophisticated on this topic than me. I have some work and research to do. I’ll start with the culling process.
A word of caution: I use a laptop and have all my photos on a My Passport WD USB HDD. One day I was using a USB hub that I also had a USB light for my zoom meeting plugged into; all of a sudden my photos on the HDD started to do weird stuff, missing photos causing my computer to flicker. I freaked out but did not panic, because I have a backup and had not cleared the most recent photos from my camera card. I thought I am going to take the My Passport WD HDD drive to work and see if it does the same thing , it worked fine. The end of the story do not use your USB HDD and you zoom light at the same time. I am still using that HDD today but do backup and I do not remove photos from my camera card until I have backed up my main HDD.
Interesting. I do exactly as you do. I have skipped all my raid drives. Instead I bought two 10 GB WD-drives Copied all old my drives on to one of the WD-drive. On regular intervals I run Carbon Copy Cloner to the second WD-drive. The primary WD-drive is also connected to BackBlaze. When these two WD-drives are full, I just buy two new ones. 🙂
I have a Windows 10 PC with 3 discs: a smallish SSD holding the operating system plus installed software and 2 much larger normal discs, one as my active working drive and the other as a backup. My Lightroom catalogues (yes, I have more than one) are held on the SSD for faster access, and backed-up to the main drive each day, while this in turn is backed-up to the backup drive every few days. Also, all photography files are periodically copied to an external hard drive and all jpg files resulting from the developing of my raw files and uploaded to Google Photos so that they can readily be viewed on my tablet wherever I am. My method of backing up is manual, using a number of batch files run in “cmd” windows, and using the (ancient) MSDOS XCopy command with switches to copy new/changed files in the current directory and any sub-directories, and to create these (sub)directories if they do not already exist. This might seem antiquated and inefficient but I have used this method for years and it works, so see no need to change it.
I think you used a poor example in suggesting you should have a programme of deleting stuff you don’t need. For me, deletion starts the day I upload the photos into Lightroom. I rate them, and label them and delete the ones I don’t want. I noted before that you don’t seem to rate management of your photos too much. I think this comes through into the video by your choice of images that you now want to delete. IMHO.
Now lets’s turn to backup. I now use a MacBook Pro with an iCloud account. The images for the current year are uploaded to a folder on my iCloud drive which is of course local as well. As they are Imported I save a copy to a local folder off iCloud [probably not necessary, but well … just in case]. I use Time Machine, who with a Mac wouldn’t – the best backup software around. That captures the Backup Import folder, but not the iCloud drive – no need!! At the end of the year (last week in fact), I aggregate last years images onto an external (G-Drive – I agree, great Thunderbolt drives) which is visible in Lightroom as well. I then clone that disk onto another external disk and place it in my son’s house – just in case!! You can’t do too much in back-ups (I used to work in IT btw).That’s it. Works for me. Cheers.
Whoops! I forgot what I do, and just checked. I store the images and catalogues on the MacBook Pro’s hard disk (ie local) and it’s the Imports that are stored on the iCloud drive – silly mistake I made in relying on memory. This way the Time Machine takes a constant backup of Images and Catalogs, which is what I want of course. Apologies for slip.
I used Livedrive for a number of years as my cloud storage, but backups began to take too long and effect my computer response time. Following Matt’s recommendation, a few months ago I signed for Backblaze. It took me a long time to initially back everything up, like 4 days. I think this could be due to how they back things up in the background so not to effect your computer response times. I have carried some simple tests on recovering files and it works really well. The software continuously backs up my files so i don’t have to think about it and there is no effect on my computer response times
Don’t forget that Amazon Prime includes free unlimited cloud backup for photographs. Well worth including in your safety setup!
I’m a Prime member and didn’t know about this. Thanks!
I use Netgear Nas… but I am sure I have “duplicate photos” on my drive. How do I find them and delete??
Thanks for this. I think I mainly need to clean up and delete a lot. I have an external hard drive that I rely on but is a mystery to me. Thankfully I’ve never had to find anything there but I really need to figure out if it’s doing what I think it is. This did just prompt me to go into Pictures on Finder (Mac) and try to see how it matches up with what is in the LR catalog. I need to understand that better. Everything goes into LR but you’re right–I could get rid of a lot of it.
I am just frustrated that I think there are photos somewhere that I used to access through iPhoto way back when and I can’t find them now.
If I keep an image it goes to an external hard drive. No cloud – internet connections are not always available to me. Works great with a backup hard drive. I have a third HD for silly stuff like videos and stuff I can loose .
I have a G-Series drive that is my main drive linked to Lightroom. I then have a Synology 2-drive that will automatically save changes from my G-Series drive. So I load photos onto G-Series, and it is automatically backed up twice on the NAS. The last piece is Backblaze which backs up my whole computer including the G-Series drive as well. One point that Matt didn’t make that I think is key — it’s not enough to have all of your backups on-site at your house, etc. While that may allow you to recover from a hard drive failure, a fire, flood, theft, etc. could potentially destroy or take all of your on-site backups. Having an off-site copy by using something like Backblaze is crucial. And cheap at $7 a month!
I have random back ups all over the place, this is a timely reminder to organize my backups. Great ideas here on how to get this organized. Thank you
Photography is just a hobby for me. I couldn’t afford external drive storage.
I have started to delete photos from my computer. They were slowing down startup. I’m just keeping ones I have edited.
Thanks for the tip to “delete from disk” in LR.
I do have some cloud storage through Google. I will look into others you have mentioned.
Thanks Matt for the video. Per your first suggestion, yes I do need to get busy culling the garbage. I’m not at all a techie and still figuring out the logistics. I am PC based. I have all my photos downloaded onto an external drive first. Then I add them into LR. That external drive also has my LR catelogue etc. I have a WD easystore drive and run a backup of both the C drive and external drive weekly but I don’t like that I can’t look at each file (compressed etc) but I have it running. I recently started with Backblaze per your recommendation and so far it seems to be working, took over a week to upload; I will need to figure out how to look at it online as you mentioned to verify the data is there. I also purchased GoodSync and just started using it to copy my external photo drive to a second WD drive (I’m still figuring out the sync options) but I really like that I can look at the files. My plan is to store the sync copy is a location not connected to the computer except to run the sync.
I use a very simple system. When I come home from a shoot I put the camera card in my computer & make a folder of that day’s shoot with date & location. I plug in a LaCie portable HD & copy the folder to it. That’s my backup. I then plug in a Western Digital HD & copy the folder to that one. That’s my working HD that I link Lightroom to. The whole process takes maybe 20 mins. The original folder gos in a year folder on my laptop. The copied folders are a year folder on the individual HD’s. When the LaCie gets full I get another one & put the full one on top of a stack of La Cie’s in the safe. At the beginning of a given year I start another WD Passport. Yes I have a stack of prior year’s working HD’s, when I want to look at a previous year I unplug the current year Passport & put in the one from the appropriate year… I have a Flickr’ account so finding a photo on those pages will tell me what year’ HD to check out. it’s a little cumbersome, but it works. (Now if you want to find an old slide.. good luck.)
so many pictures… I have 7 individual 1TB hard drives and 1 8TB drive that I was trying to consolidate to. I definitely have to go through them – probably don’t really care about 60% of them. I don’t know how many different Lightroom catalogs I have.
So it sounds like I need to identify the ones I don’t care about, get rid of the folders, find the appropriate LR folder, whack them then try to put the catalogs back together (those that are still compatible…) for the things I care about. Maybe I’ll try to clear a drive every couple months….
All photos are stored on an external USB drive which is always connected to my PC. After a shoot I download all the photos from my SD card to the USB drive. Then I temporarily plug in a second backup drive and copy the files to that drive as well. I initiate an immediate online backup using Backblaze, and only after that is completed will I reformat my SD card (in-camera).
After I complete editing a set of photos I will export the JPEG’s to a subfolder in that shoot and then copy that subfolder to the 2nd backup drive. Backblaze updates the online backup with my edited photos in the background.
I guess I could use mirroring software as you mentioned, but I’m always afraid that maybe something might happen to prevent that from working correctly, or that I accidentally delete some photos and then they get deleted from the backup as well. By manually copying the photos to my backup drive I get immediate confirmation that the files were indeed backed up.
[Matt – I never realized I could “paint on” flags in Lightroom Classic. That was a bonus for me today 🙂 ]
Thanks Matt! I’m using Seagate USB External drives to back up my computer hard drive. Also, I have been using Backblaze for about two years to back up computer and attached external drives
I’ve been backing up via folder copy to an external SSD when I remember. But I’ve been concerned about loss due to fire or flood. Been thinking about cloud backup, but never got around to investigating. Appreciate the suggestions!
Photos stored on two identical external hard drives (using Carbon Copy Cloner). Lightroom catalog on iMac and backed up to the two external hard drives when LR closes. Need to add a cloud solution for offsite backup. Thanks for the Backblaze idea. Last year I used your teaching from Mastering LR Catalogs to consolidate my many LR catalogs and many external drives of photos so now are all in one place and backed up. Thanks for that!
I use a PC and have NovaBackup do a full backup of my PC once a week with nightly backups that only add new items. Carbonite is my offsite backup. Photos are stored on the computer hard drive. I’ve spent the last year or so culling photos and working at processing and rating my digital photos. Then there is is the slide collection that isn’t digital!
Great review, Matt!
I have been using BackBlaze for years and recently had to recover a bunch of website development stuff that was stored on a WD MyPassport drive that became inaccessible. I literally had to go online, identify the material that I wanted to recover, and create a zip recovery file. It took a few minutes to create the file and then I downloaded and restored it to a replacement external drive.
I know your comments about NAS (Synology) but I have found it a real advantage to automate the backup process with my photos and videos being automatically backed-up on the NAS and then backing up the NAS, also automatically, to BackBlaze B2 (the business version of Backblaze that has to be used for a NAS).
My total monthly cost is about $20 BUT it is all automated so that I don’t have to worry about remembering to clone disks etc. And no I am not a super tech, but even a senior citizen can learn to do this stuff with a lot of help from YouTube.
I was drowning in external hard drives so I bought a 20TB (two 10TB) RAID system – I’m not at ALL techie, and it was incredibly simple to set up as RAID 2. Once I had consolidated all the hard drives, I had used just over 4 TB, so room for growth(!)
I than signed up to Backblaze – simple to set up, but my internet is not the fastest in the world, so it initially took 6 weeks to do the first backup – can’t tell you how much time I spent just watching the numbers click click over… a bit like watching the little boxes on the “defrag drive” tool – does anybody still do that? So I now work on the 10TB drive, which has a clone copy on the second drive and backblaze just ticks along quietly and seamlessly in the background.
Hey Matt, great info. You asked about questions we have, so here is mine. I use LR and don’t know the mechanics of how to remove old folders to cut down on the clutter but still be able, in the future, to access them. Right now I have all my folders save to the internal drive on my computer. If I move the folders to backup storage and delete them on my computer, doesn’t that break the link for LR to find them at a future time? I have screwed up the path before and have missing folders in LR. Thanks for all your helpful info in this video.
I recently replaced iMac and moved photos to an external drive. Use Time Machine to backup to 2 external drives. I need to look into cloud options. I am not a tech guy, Time Machine was easy solution a few years back when I started backing up the internal drive.
I assume there is a functional benefit to using Carbon Copy compared to Time Machine?
Thanks for the advice Matt. I do need to get a cloning S/Ware in place as dragging folders from one drive to the next isn’t covering everything anymore so I’ll look into your suggestions.
As for cloud backup, I have used Carbonite https://www.carbonite.com/ for years now. Successfully used it to move all work files from an old to a new laptop. Had one catastrophe and their online help was fantastic and I got all the files back from the online backups with their assistance.
I use GoodSync (https://www.goodsync.com/) to backup data files and digital image files. On the computer I use separate hard drives for data files and image files. When GoodSync backups a data drive it first makes a complete duplicate of the drive. After that GoodSync performs an update synchronization, whereby it updates the backup drive with any changes that have been made on the master data drive so that the two drives have identical data structure and files. The backup drives I use are Seagate 5TB USB 3.0 drives. I purchase these from Costco when they are on sale for about $90 each (about every 3-4 months). Since they are not that expensive I have two backups for each master file drive. The incremental backups are quick and much easier to deal with than other backup programs I have tried (such as Acronis).
I have my Lightroom Catalogue on my computer and my images on a hard drive. I then have two back up drives which i rotate between my house and my son’s house. If anything happens at our house I always have an offsite copy.
Your video answered questions I’ve had. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and the links. Currently I have some older plug-in drives and a growing number of 4 or 5 TB Passports. Last week I purchased the WD 14 TB drive from B&H that you have in your links. I take lots – I mean lots of photos. I’ll take your advice and begin deleting the unwanted shots in 10–15-minute time frames a couple times each week, so I don’t get overwhelmed. Each of my hard drives and Passports have a label with beginning to ending dates as well as a number to indicate the order. Your video was extremely helpful. Thanks Matt!
I think my first step is to reduce my source files by at least half. I use two external hard drives, but at the moment I am backing up manually. I will be looking into software to automate this!
I use SSD external drives for image storage. My simply process is: when I make a change to a photo, I copy/paste it to the second drive. (may require a checksheet if you can’t remember to do it every time. … I double check the lists occasionally to see if I’ve missed anything. I don’t use Lightroom, and my catalogs were all created when I was using film, so I opted to keep that system.
note: Recently (past couple of years) is the first time since 198-something, that I’ve ever had a problem with a drive. During thess last 2 years, I have had problems with 1 USB, and 1 SSD. I have never had a problem with SD cards for the camera, and some of them are almost 20 years old. (I have new ones ready, just in case, of course.)
Starting using Backblaze a few months ago, super easy! Haven’t had to recover anything yet, but have heard nothing but good things about them.
Like your point about culling photos, I make annual photo books and usually cull during that time, but there’s still a ton I can go back and remove, need to make time to do that.
I have my images backed up on separate solid state hard drives, got away from a spinning drive when I had a failure. Tried a RAID but did not understand how to configure and get it to work properly, tried a dobro with the same end result. I need to have a way to record my edits of old image and create a catalog of edited images. Your last tip resonated with me. I need to go back through my images and do another critical edit. I keep too many images and I need to make the process easy.
I use Back Blaze and Super Duper. Have to get rid of photos that I won’t use, I have way too many.
From my own personal experience, I would highly recommend Backblaze as a backup solution after my computer crashed on two separate occasions. I was able to restore my Lightroom library.
I believe that you will send you a drive with your data and if you return the drive within 30 days they will refund your deposit for the drive. All I can say they are a great company!
Great advice about cleaning out my Lightroom catalogue. Thanks Matt
I am a retired IT consultant, so I have a “techie” network storage & backup (NAS with RAID). That said, I have used iDrive as my cloud backup for 3+ years, and love it. I have had occasion to need to get photos from the cloud backup, and it worked perfectly.
I started culling my Lightroom Catalog in 2020, but only got partway through. I need to start doing 10 min. a week, as you suggest. I use the color option on folders to denote which folders are complete.
I am on a Mac and use TimeMachine for one backup and Seagate’s Tool Kit for the other and it seems to work well for me.
Excellent presentation. As I am new to photography I have been wondering how to do this – so this was perfect timing. Currently I only have all my photos on an external drive – I have a second one but have not copied them over yet as was wondering how does one just update it – so the cloning software sounds perfect and will check that out tonight.
Thank you Matt!
I limit my storage needs by keeping very few photos. Only the very best get saved. The rest go in the bit bucket.
I keep my photos on my iMac, and back them up to the iCloud. It’s simple and easy. And so far that system works great for me.
Plain and simple I use BackBlaze and have for over a year. I have been very happy with it and knock wood have never had an issue. I hesitate to delete photos but I agree I do have some that are not so great and very boring. So I guess that will be my next thing to do.
I’ve just gone through several months of hell with back ups. I bought a new computer only to have it’s hard drive fail months later and one external HD fail also. Luckily I still had one HD remaining. I subscribed to idrive which worked well on backing up computer but when I tried to back up the ext. HD it timed out after taking 5 days to copy photos. I’ve never been able to understand the difference of a clone vs. copy. Right now I have photos on 2 ext. HD’s but would also like to have a back up on a cloud. I can’t figure out how to do this through my iDrive account. This stuff is incredibly frustrating.
Well…after 15 minutes of typing I made the mistake of clicking on “Submit Comment” before entering Name and Email. Sadly, my comments were lost. Not going to retype. 🙁
I have a large (1TB) drive in my iMac that I store all my photos on. I use TimeMachine for local back up and IDrive for the cloud backup (in case the house burns down). Haven’t had to think about it for years.
Going to try carbon clone to streamline my ehd backups because I get lackadaisical on updating the backup drive after processing, thanks Matt.
I keep the last couple of years on my macbook. And use sea gate external drives to back up.
Nice job Matt. I use two 8TB external hard drives, one as the working drive and one as the backup. I only keep photos on the drives. I have been thinking about cloud backup.
I use Backblaze and I have 3 duplicate SSD drives of all my work. Been doing this for several years.
Hi Matt: Great video. My back-up strategy is pretty simple. My LR Catalogue resides on my internal SSD and the Lr Cat files are backed-up to iCloud account. My images are located on an external WD drive (8tb) under a single directory (MasterImages). I have a second Seagate drive (8TB), and that clones my “MasterImages” file each night via Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) as an automated process at mid-night.
At the same time, I subscribe to BackBlaze (BB). Within my BB profile, I have it set up to copy my “MasterImages” folder from the WD Drive on a continual basis. I never turn my drives off so this runs seamlessly and I get a status email from BB periodically so I know everything is working.
This past summer, I had several issues with power outages in our area which for some reason caused my primary external drive and CCC drive to become corrupt so I couldn’t retrieve my images. The outage also caused my LR Catalogues to be come corrupt so nothing worked. I did have to request a full back-up from BB which was sent to me via a new external HD with all of my images. After attaching the drive I was able to open LR and get all of my images back. I did end-up keeping the HD vs. sending it back to BB for a refund. The cost was not significant given I had over 230,000 images on the drive.
As a final note, I never let my HD use go over 80% of the HD’s capacity. I am worried that there won’t be enough space on the drives if I go above 80% which for me is about 3-4 years of use. Based on my research, the risk of a HD failure goes up significantly in year 4 or about 80% of capacity.
If anyone has any questions, just let me know.
I use MacBook Pro for all my photo editing along with an external 4TB LaCie HD as my main photo drive. I back up the external drive with WD GoodSync to a 16 TB 2-Drive NAS RAID, and I back up my MacBook with Backblaze. It works for me! 😀
My main computer is a PC desktop with about 4TB internal storage. That is backed up nightly to an external drive using Syncbackfree. Its actually in a hot swappable port. I have a second drive that I rotate with it on a monthly basis. Additionally I back up to the cloud nightly using iDrive. At some point I may use iDrive for my local backups also. I just haven’t gotten around to looking at that yet. Having 2 local copies and an offsite copy I think I’m well covered. I recently purchased a laptop and need to create a backup scheme for that.
I keep all my images on one external HD, I use SyncBackFree and it “mirrors” (adding new, replacing modified, deleting deleted) images to an internal HD every night. Once a week the internal HD is mirrored to a second internal HD. It all runs automatically. I never have to think about it.
I use the two external drive system for back-up, but do the cloning of one to the other manually. Will now look for one of the clone software systems you suggested. For the heck of it, and because it has unlimited free photo storage with a Prime membership, I also keep a copy on Amazon pictures. I usually update there maybe once or twice a year.
Hi Matt, I use the 3-2-1 method being 3 Copies of photos on 2 formats with 1 offsite. So 1 copy of photos on separate 2TB hard-drive in my desktop, copied onto to two x 2TB external hard-drives with one 2TB hard-drive off site.
I back up my desktop 2TB hard-drive 1st of each moth on the external hard-drives and once complete delete photos from my camera (Leave photos on camera for the month until back up).
I use FreeFileSync to mirror my hard-drive so what ever is added or deleted from desktop hard-drive is replicated on external hard-drives.
Pretty happy with what I am doing ATM and never had an issue to date.
BTW only have operating system on SSD with 2TB hard-drive separate for what I want to save.
Thanks for the video much appreciated 😉
My first step is to cull the dud photos at the time of import ,it is really easy to get a few duds when shooting wildlife.
As for backup ,all I know is that about once a week lightroom offers me the option to back up ,so I click yes.
I do not have many thousands of photos , if I go somewhere to take photos and take more than fifty shots I consider that a lot.
With Adobe creative cloud I have the option of cloud storage .
I have never been a computer geek and only really use it now because photography has gone digital ,so I can say cloud storage but I can’t tell you what it is or how it works. I think I have two photos saved in the cloud and the rest are saved to my computer.
LR is backing up the LR catalog not your images. The catalog is the meta data about your images (tags, keywords, adjustments you did in LR, etc) the actual image files (RAW, jpg, tif, etc) are not backed up and if your disk crashes they will be gone.
Thank you for simplifying all this process for us Matt. I usually edit and have my LR catalog on a 2TB SSD Drive. For the last 3 years, I have been going through the process of cleaning and moving my photos from that SSD drive to another bigger capacity (4TB or 8TB) hard drive where I archive the photos. After that it’s just a matter of backing up that specific drive. Which I do manually for the most part.
I have been considering the cloud back up like you pointed, to kind of automate the process as well as to have an off site option.
I have a 2TB SSD in the laptop so I keep all recent photos in a Lightroom Photos folder on the internal SSD. When I copy the RAW files from my SD card I put them into a folder on an external drive. Then I import to the Lightroom Photo folder on the internal SSD.
I backup the internal SSD using both Time Machine and every 2 weeks I make an image of the SSD that is on a different external disk.
Current photos are in 4 places:
The RAW files on an external disk
The RAW (and processed) files on the SSD organized in Lightroom
A copy of the Lightroom files on an external disk backup
Every two weeks an image copy of the Lightroom files onto a separate external disk
No cloud option so I lack an offsite backup in case my house burns down with all of the computer setup.
To quickly view my images I use Fastone viewer. Macrium has been my backup software while SyncToy sync’s files between hard drives. Last year I migrated from my Nikon file format to using descriptive terms and re-catalogued my images using the Scott Kelby Lightroom concept. It was a challenging quest but paid off so far. I use 2 external 4tb drives for backing up both my computer and pictures. Thanks for sharing your ideas on this topic.
I use two WD drives as I store my photos on my hard drive (I do not use Lightroom). Once a month I back up everything. The first time took a while but now it doesn’t take long at all. As I work, I use the other WD drive to back up what I have just done. What I found the most helpful from this video is the section on getting rid of what I don’t need or want. I have worked on that but need to get back at it, a little bit at a time!
Great advice regarding getting rid of photos you don’t really want or need. I liked the spray can, I’ll have to figure that one out. I don’t have many images worth saving yet, so I only have two 1 Tb My Passports and an older Seagate that I only use for my laptop. I almost subscribed to Blackblaze at Christmas before their price went up, but I’ll probably do that soon as well.
You hit the nail on the head – I save too much stuff that I’m never ever going to use again. I know what I need to do. Thanks!!
I use 2 external WD hard drives for backup. To back things up I use FreeFileSync https://freefilesync.org/ It is a free program and works great for me. You can compare drives, mirror them, real time sync and more. I do a manual compare with computer to the first external and it shows what has been deleted on computer but still on external, what files on computer have changed compared to the ones on external etc. From there I mirror my computer drive to the external and it updates the changes and deletes what is not on the computer drive and adds new files. It shows what is going to happen when you proceed. I then mirror the 1st external to the 2nd. Sweet, free and easy to use.
Very timely information for me about cleaning up all the non-keepers.
I have been manually deleting photos as I find them, but it is time consuming. Your tips will speed up the process dramatically thank you.
I have been backing up and storing on 2 external hard drives that relies on me to remember to back up but it has worked to date. I will investigate further as I plan on updating my very old PC later in the year and backup needs will be high on the agenda.
Good video, Matt. I use Chronosync for Mac to backup my photo’s to an external drive. I also have my pictures in a Microsoft onedrive folder, so they are continuously backed up to the cloud. With Office 365 you get 1tb of storage free, and my catalog is much smaller than that, so there’s no need to pay for other online storage.
I use a a 5 Bay Orico HDD enclosure and SATA Hard Drives for it.
I have an iMac. All my files including photos are on an external LaCie 4 TB Rugged RAID HD that came from Apple. As you said in today’s video, I am not an IT guy. I have no idea how that works but, apparently, it creates a duplicate set of files. I use GoodSync to backup to another external drive but, I do not have a set schedule. Last summer, I added BackBlaze cloud backup which seems to work well.
Also not seeing the Week 2.2 video
I have 2 external hard drives connected to my desktop. I have all of my photos on one hard drive (Seagate Plus) which I use for Lightroom and Photoshop. The other hard drive (My Passport) contains a local backup archive. I use Crashplan to maintain a cloud archive as well as the local (My Passport) backup archive. I have configured Crashplan to back up every 24 hours. Crashplan takes care of file synchronization, block synchronization, file pruning, and data compaction on both the local archive and the cloud archive. I have a 3rd external hard drive (Seagate Backup Plus) which I use as another local copy of my photos files. I periodically copy the latest folders of my pictures to this drive which I store in a 90 minute fire rated safe.
Thanks so much Matt. I will check out BackBlaze next.
Hi Matt, great back up ideas. I download all photos ARW. files to a folder on my external hard drive. Then I open the folder in LR and select the photos I want to work on. When I am done I export the files back to the folder from where they came. Makes it so easy. I like the idea of the spray can. I clicked on it recently and couldn’t figure out what it was doing so just moved on. Earlier on I did not have a plan and got to a point that I could never find what I was looking for when I needed it. Have been enjoying the Fresh Start.
I use Time Machine to a hard drive on my desk-top unit as well as my laptop (to a 2 TB solid state drive), as well as continuous cloud backups. I also backup my laptop photos to two solid state drives, especially when on the road.
Great advice, Matt! I had too many hard drives. I realized that I they were not even close to being full so I just spent about a week organizing my catalog and consolidating all my images. I now have two 4T hard drives with still room on both of them. Then I subscribed to BackBlaze’s two year plan with auto-renew and I am finally comfortable with my organization and back up plans.
I use SyncBack (free version) that auto magically backs up to 2 separate external,hard drives on a set schedule. One is a straight copy and one compresses to a zip file. Easy and painless. I have Lightroom set to always prompt me about backing up the catalogs each time I exit Lightroom.
I’m a belt & suspenders guy. Carbonite saved my photos years ago when I simply kept my photos on the computer’s hard drive. I didn’t have that many photos back then, they were jpeg’s, and it took several days to download the backed up photos to the new computer. Slow or not, all my computers have Carbonite. I keep my referenced photos on. Drobo. I have Apple’s Time Machine on another Drobo. I periodically sync my Reference Photos to Dropbox. I also always shoot RAW plus jpeg, and my jpegs auto upload to Flickr. My catalog files go to my computer’s SSD, Dropbox and Time Machine and Carbonite. 1-2-3+
Thanks Matt, I use carbon copy cloner backing up 4gig ssd drive to 2 Lacie drives alternatoing drives. I hav a separated drive with I back up internal hd to.
I have an iMac and 2 external drives, one for my photos and one for my home videos. I use Apple’s back-up system (Time Machine) which ships with the iMac to back up the contents of my iMac and 2 external drives onto a 3rd external drive. It’s easy to set up and works automatically. For extra security, I have a 4th external drive (that i don’t keep near my iMac unless I’m using it) and I periodically use Carbon Copy Cloner to back up the contents of my iMac and 2 external drives (i.e. photos and videos) onto a 4th external drive. Its also easy to set up but I initiate the backups manually just ‘as and when’ I feel the need to. So, I have 2 different backup strategies and end up with 3 copies (original + 2 copies) of everything. All 4 external drives are different. I should probably keep the 4th drive away from my house, but it is locked away. Here’s the catch………..everything was pretty easy to set up and taking the backups works seamlessly. BUT……….I’ve never had to use any of the backups to retrieve anything (& hope it stays that way) so I can’t really say how successful it all is. Oh, and Carbon Copy Cloner have just told me I have to pay for an upgrade which I wasn’t expecting to have to do
I use Time Machine to back up my iMac and MacBook Pro but I didn’t realize that it can back up external drives as well. I will look in to that. Thanks!
I have been using IDrive for about two years and it is working well. I bought their IDrive 5TB personal plan at $59.62 for the first year, $79.50 per year after that. I am able to back up our 3TB external drive and two computers as well as two iPhones. To start I used their IDrive Express service to backup the external drive. They sent me a 5TB hard drive, I backed up to that then returned the drive to IDrive. You can do this for free once each year. IDrive pays the shipping both ways. Depending how much you are backing up, this process, including shipping time, could take about two weeks. After that initial backup you can do incremental backups at an interval you choose to either the cloud, another local drive, or both. It’s a good solution for me and is worth looking at.
One thing caused me concern but it was just a lack of understanding terminology, not an actual backup problem. IDrive will send backup report emails whenever a backup has occurred. I started receiving “backup failed” emails and thought something was wrong. What actually happened is that I had deleted some files on my hard drive but didn’t tell IDrive. So, when it attempted to back them up they weren’t found which, in backup terms, is a failure even though everything else backed up just fine. It’s very easy to modifiy what is being backed up so now I don’t get those emails any more.
I know how important backing up is but my eyes(and mind) cloud over whenever this topic is discussed.
But guess I need to talk to some of my camera club friends to check if what I have is sufficient.
Your comments have spurred me on to delete, delete, delete.
I am wondering why there were so many people commenting on Project 1 but the number of comments has dwindled.
My system is probably overkill, but I’ve really internalized the concept of redundancy. I import my photos to an external hard drive and make a copy of those imports to a second external hard drive, which is also where I keep my catalogue backups. For cloud storage I use BackBlaze, have been using it for several years with no problems. I also use CarbonCopyCloner, but primarily to back up my operating system.
I use Second Copy to back up my user files; Br, Lr & Ps configuration files. It is very flexible & allows some unusual options.
I have been purging photos that I don’t need or have not looked at for years, but it is tedious so thanks for the spray can trick, so much easier and faster, excellent tip
My backup plan is exactly like Matt’s minus the two video drives. I want to know if my main external drive fails, would Lightroom recognize the cloned version?
No data files on my laptop – I run everything from a (new) SSD external. This external is backed up to another external, via RoboCopy (which I had a computer guy code for me). It mirrors the first to the 2nd with a click of a button. I will have another look into Back Blaze – I looked into it several years ago and went with Arq but I could never successfully backup as it kept crashing. Thanks for putting the cloud storage back on the radar Matt
I have only ever used time machine on my mac for backup to external HHD drives. Now I’m second guessing if I should look into any of these other options. I would like to know if you prefer SSD over HDD drives? Some say HHD drives don’t last as long because they have a spinning wheel in them. Thanks for the info!
Again you are 1000% correct. I wish I could have heard this advice 2 months ago. My 4TB Hard-Drive was almost full so I decided to buy a NAS (Synology). It works but it is SO COMPLICATED. I should have just purchased 2 larger HDs and called it a day. Keep it Simple!!
For a cloud backup solution I used Backblaze for about 5 years. A few months ago, Backblaze was for all intents and purposes making my iMac unusable. Whenever it ran, it dominated my system to the extent that I had to shut Backblaze down whenever I edited my photos in Photoshop and Lightroom. After several weeks of experimentation, two support reps were unable to figure out what the problem was. I decided to cancel my subscription and they offered to reimburse my remaining subscription fee, which they never did. My experience with them is that they now seem to focus more on business backups than personal backup solutions. For now, I back up my important files to a couple of hard drives using Carbon Copy Cloner. I also use Time Machine to back up my hard drive. I am considering using iDrive, but I am going to first try to avoid the potential issues with cloud backup solutions. If any of you have had a good experience with a solution other than Backblaze, I would appreciate learning about it.
I am not a computer guru. In fact I struggle with technology. My backup system is very simple. First, I store all of my photos on a 2-TB LaCie external hard drive, so I don’t take up so much space on my computer’s internal hard drive. Every 10 days, I receive a reminder that it is time to back up everything. I use Time Machine and back up my internal and external hard drives onto another 2-TB LaCie hard drive. I keep this hard drive in a small fireproof (?) safe in my house.
Thinning out my pictures bit by bit is a great and simple practice. I will use a $1 minute timer to be sure I do not get carried away.
My pictures are all on one external HDD, backed up to two other similar drives using Allway Sync. I chose this software to get plain unencrypted copies. I will investigate cloud backup as well.
Matt, this is now a great reference library on the subject!!
Just brilliant. This stuff will make my photo files safe but what I want is, as you say, to make my photos better! so make this simple and making it work is critical and this videos tells you how.One thing I find confusing is to have a simple protocol for naming folders and files so photos are easier to mange and find. Does anyone have any advice?
Kevin, a simple protocol for files and folders that works for me in LR is: each year gets a new folder then make folders that go inside the year for location of where the photos were taken. If you go to certain locations multiple times throughout the year make a new folder with the date and a couple words to describe what you shot.
Example: 2022>Disney World>1/1/2022 New Year family fun
Hope this spurred some inspiration for your file management.
Kevin, I have found that when I look for old folders/photos I always remember the location of the shoot but not the date etc. I have now organized my folders by state ( I live in Australia) or country visited, then location of the shoot and finally the date of the shoot. When importing photos into Lightroom I always name the shoot something specific e.g. family gathering, sunrise or sunset whatever has meaning for me.
Locally I have my data (mostly images) on external hard drives. Those are backed up to large external drive. Then I have all drives backed up to Backblaze. Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.
Thanks for the timely video. I’m a Mac user and have my most current photos on my hard drive, with all else on my 3TB LaCie external drive (old, kinda slow, and needs replacing). I’ve used iDrive for cloud backup of both the hard drive & external drive (as well as my wife’s Macbook hard drive). I HAD been using Time Machine to back up locally to a 3TB Apple Time Capsule, but with my new Macbook (just got it 3 weeks ago), Time Machine hasn’t worked at all. So this video and others’ comments are very useful, as I need to make some changes! Thanks.
I use GoodSync and Acronis and found them very good. Acronis backs up based on the time you set every day while the computer is on. You can specify which hard drives you want to be backed up. I also use GoodSync in a manual basis and you can also specify which hard drives you want to backup. TimeMachine is also good, at least for Apple Mac users to back up the whole MAC computer.
I have Two 2TB drives. One for all my photos and the second is a clone of the first.
I did by an extra two think I would fill the first one up quickly and I would probably need to start a new set each year but so far I have not filled up the first. Getting more picky about what I keep so I’m not gobbling up space like I use to.
I found a software called “AOMEI”, it was fairly inexpensive (don’t remember how much) it is set up to automatically Clone Drive one to drive two each night, so I don’t even have to think about it.
The only down fall is it doesn’t load automatically on startup so I need to start the software, when ever I do a re-start.
I have all my images on an 8TB internal drive. That drive is then backed up to an external Western Digital drive using GoodSynch software (I now have 2 full copies). Then my back-up drive is backed up to another WD (now I have 3 full copies) and everything is then backed up to the cloud – Amazon Prime. Now I have 4 full copies. I backup my internal drive and external drives every time I use Lightroom. I may be paranoid but, I’ve had too many hard drive failures.
I love backblaze, got a free year and haven’t left since. I back up to an external drive but we did get a nas just for extra safety. To be honest that is the biggest pain as the PCs don’t always see it. I do the back ups to the hard drive manually because that is what works for me, tried cloning stuff but that was a while ago.
My C: drive for programs is a 2TB Firecuda SSD. My D: drive for Lightroom data is another 2TB Firecuda SSD. I have two 4TB SAN drives in my system that are mirrored that I back up to periodically.
I use 3 other external drives for backup as well as iDrive for cloud backup (which I absolutely love – and is worth every penny).
I use an external hard drive as a working drive for Lightroom and Photoshop. This drive is backed up, and most of the photos are also on my hard drive. I have an iMac with a 4T drive, so space is not a problem. I also keep a separate ssd which is only connected to the computer when I am backing up files. Here I store large JPEG versions of my photos that relatives can access if anything happens to me. Also I can access important photos, although not complete Photoshop files.
I have 2 (4 TB) USB 3.0 external hard drives. Photos are stored on one; the other does an auto backup of the first every night at about 10 PM. It’s set to only back up what is new, or changed, since the last backup. This was easy to set up with the included Western Digital software.
Any photos that I process and really want to keep were previously uploaded (manually) to Google Photos. Beginning in 2021, I started uploading my processed stuff to Amazon Photos, because Google Photos was no longer offering free unlimited storage and I get that with Amazon as a perk of being a Prime member. I am a lazy culler and have tons of photos to get rid of. I am slowly working my way back through my folders and deleting the crap photos. Once I get everything cleaned up, I’ll likely make the jump to Backblaze. No sense doing it now, when there are so many non-keepers to toss.
As an aside, I am also getting more diligent about taking the photos in the first place. I am not working for National Geographic; I don’t need 100 photos of the same bird or 20 photos of the same scene where I never move my feet, just to get one good one. I’m thinking I might adopt the practice of getting 2 new additional EHD every other year or so, putting the “old” ones away in storage.
I use Novastor for backup. I have setup three backup jobs, one to backup my active external USB 3.0 connected drive on which I keep all my image files once a week to a 6 Tb external drive. A second backup job will backup changes to all image files from the previous 24 hours. This job also backups to the same 6 Tb external drive. A third backup job has been defined to backup my documents once a week to a 2 Tb external USB 3.0 drive. My Lightroom Classic catalogs (3) have a backup made every time I exit Lightroom. This catalog backup is sent to a folder I maintain on Onedrive.
I don’t see any thoughts on Adobe Creative Cloud. I just subscribed. simply want to work ‘from the cloud’ with my photo files in LR Classic and Photoshop… upload files initially from my RAID drive… hoping to work thru my LR catalog, sync file etc… i.e. mirror files on RAID and Creative Cloud… I may have made a mistake going this route…
That is something I wonder too. I resently uploaded my pictures to the cloud and the cloud downloaded them to an external hard dive. It wasn’t easy though. Lots of problems.
I’m one of those former IT folk. With too much time on my hands during the pandemic, I set up a NAS. The NAS is backed up to an old external drive, and to the cloud (iDrive). For awhile I imported raw files directly onto the NAS, but editing is too slow over the network. Now I keep my LR library on external drives, and back them up to the NAS, and the NAS goes to the cloud.
With all that, I regularly worry I’m missing something and that I’ll lose something important one day. I should seek professional help (not the technology kind….).
Thanks for your very informative video. It got be thinking about my storage. Currently I go cheap and simple and time consuming. I use external hard drives for storage and backup of photos/videos. I use a 5T Seagate for storing all photos before adding to Lightroom. After editing, I copy them (JPGs) to my computer and subsequently copy them to several hard drives for storage and backup. One HD is kept for quick access and a second one for long term storage (bank lock box – that sounded old school). I currently do not back up the 5T Seagate drive and that is a little risky and I need to develop a plan for that… probably another 5T hard drive. No cloud storage or cloning but your video got me thinking I need to do something like that to keep photos / video files stored off site instead at my bank.. which is a pain to retrieve. I really appreciate the other comments to see how other people manage their libraries. Thank you all !
I have a portable backup hard drive which I use whenever I upload photos onto my computer. Once a month at least, I have an off-site hard drive which backs up everything on my computer. When I decide to remove old photo folders from my computer, I make sure they are on the off-site hard drive for sure. This system seems to be working for me and I’m okay with it.
I could cull some of my folders and remove the photos that are really not very good. Alas, I have put that off for another time.
I put all my photos onto an external drive and make a copy to a second drive. I then have a third drive that I update every few months and take offline. Any photos that I work on and am totally happy with and want to make sure I keep get copied to Dropbox. I also copy my catalogue file to an external drive.
I’ve used BackBlaze for several years now and I’m confident that it will cover me in the event that one of my storage or backup drives or the MacBook fail. All photos are on external drives, Lightroom catalogue on the MacBook and I also use Time Machine.
Hi Matt, I have been using Backblaze to backup all my data for about seven years, and I’m happy with the service. Weekly, I copy to an external drive the files I changed. I don’t use cloning software since the number of files I change over the week is minimal and easy to track. Every six months, I copy the local drive into another external hard drive that I keep in a different location.
External hard drive for photos, backed up to another hard drive which is in a fireproof box and online backup is Carbonite. Everything seems to work well for me.
I have used Backblaze for several years and have been very happy with it. It especially was helpful when my hard drive on my I-mac crashed! The other habit I have developed is that I review last year’s photos starting at the New Year and delete the ones I will never use. In January, I do January. In February, I review February, and on and on. I usually know which ones I want to keep and those that I will never revisit. It doesn’t feel overwhelming when I do it this way, and it keeps my catalog from growing exponentially.
I am a Widows 10 user. I utilize the two backup functions available in Windows 10. First all my important files and images live on a RAID 1 drive – this gives me two copies. Then I have another external drive that is dedicated to the File History function. It archives any changes to existing files or any new files every hour. Restoring files from this archive is trivial!. Then I have the ultimate-safety backup which is a drive that is my monthly backed up that lives at my friend’s home. I use the Windows 7 Backup/Restore Function in the Control Panel. I fetch the drive from my friend monthly, perform the incremental back up (maybe takes an hour) then take it back to my friend. That way if I lose the RAID + the Archive in a house fire, I will still have one more copy for the future.
I keep my photos on a Sandisk SSD solid state hard drive because it’s fast. I use Carbon Copy to backup along with TimeMachine. I clone onto hard drives from WD that don’t need to be fast. I’ve been meaning to use BackBlaze for a long time and haven’t got to it, so I think this the time to do it is after I send this message.
I’m replying to myself! Ha! I did start Back Blaze and it’s backing up as I’m writing this. Thanks Matt for the inspiration.
My photo library is held on the internal hard drive of my iMac, for speed purposes. This is regularly (weekly) backed up to a LaCie, powered external drive, using Chronosync, which in turn is regularly backed up to the cloud via Back Blaze. I have experienced some disconnect problems with the LaCie so my photo Library is also backed up with Time Machine running in the background to another USB external drive. I tried a NAS box on my wireless network but found it way too slow.
Here’s my backup plan: I keep my photos on an external 4TB HD in a single folder named “Photos.” Creative, huh? I use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone that drive to a second identical HD. Carbon Copy Cloner does this automatically – perfect for me because I’d forget. I use Time Machine to backup my computer hard drive but I don’t keep photos on the computer hard drive. Storing photos on an external hard drive probably slows down the loading of photos into Lightroom or Photoshop but it hasn’t honestly been a problem. I have an extra 2 seconds most days. I also use Backblaze and love it. The first upload might have taken 3 weeks but Backblaze can start and stop and start to get that done. Now it’s seamless and I don’t even notice that it’s done.
I can see that my next step is to clear out my catalog of photos that I don’t care about. It just seems so permanent to dump those but I know I’ll never use many of them. So that’s on my to-do list for 2022. Good reminder, Matt! Thanks.
Thanks for the talk. It is probably time for me to re-organize my back-up. I import everything through LR with main storage on external G technology SSD, with back-up to larger G drive. Then TimeMachine backs up my computer and SSD weekly.
I need to replace my cloud back-up. I use iCloud and it syncs my photos that I have on iPhone and main computer, but I don’t think I am backing up my hard drives in the cloud. On my list to do this week.
I am also in the process of moving from one iMac to a newer one. What inspired me, but I did not transfer everything. Using selective transfer is definitely taking more time than I anticipated. Hope it is worth it. LR catalog is next the move.
I use Backblaze as my offsite backup and I have a Lacie Rugged 2TB and a SanDisk 2TB as backups to the computer HD. If something happens the real fall back will be Backblaze as the other 2 external HD’s may be messed up like the computer HD as they are always attached.
Used Acroinis for my PC for years to back up photos on my internal drive to an external drive as well as Backblaze for the entire machine to the cloud. And every 3 months I copy all new images to an archive on an 8TB WD Workbook which I then disconnect and I bury in a waterproof Pelican case in the backyard. I think I’ve got it all safe!
I use Drobo to backup photos and LR catalogs. Use Acronis True Image on our PCs for the actual backups. I like the redundancy with the Drobos. Every 6 months I store copies at my sister’s house, just a few miles away.
PS. The Drobo includes five 10TB drives.
I watch a weekly broadcast with Scott Kelby and he was discussing that Drobo may be out of business as there has been no response for several month. Just FYI…
I’m using 4 5TB external drives, 2 contain photos and the other 2 are backups of the photos. I’m using Lacie drives and replace every 5 years. I’m using CCC software for backup. Very easy to use. Have another external 5 TB Lacie HD that I use Time Machine to backup everything on my iMac hard drive.
I’ll check out back blaze for remote storage.
I recently signed up for BackBlaze and have always used Time Machine. I have an external hard drive that backs up LR and I import my pictures to store on a separate external hard drive then copy to LR catalog.
I use Syncback Free on my Pc. It schedules my back ups at various times( some daily some at various intervals) overnight so I simply put my computer to sleep rather than turn off overnight. I also have a third copy kept off sight which I back up about once a month. My drives are ether LaCie or Western Digital and both seem ok. All pictures are kept on external hard drives. So far so good
I use Syncback Free as well. It has worked well for me.
I am an amateur so I don’t have huge photo shoots but I am an active shooter. I’ve never had much success with backup programs so I created my own workflow. I have 40-50k photos on an external hard drive. I kept filling up my computer drive so it was cheaper to do this rather than buying a new computer. I have 2 portable 1TB backup drives (about $50 each), one is Seagate and one is WD. I backup my photos by year. I do this by creating a smart collection then exporting it to each of the backup drives. Using a smart collection allows me to change the dates so I can backup however often I care to, instead of all at once. The photos cover 2000-2021. The drives are pretty full now so I just bought the next 2 drives (2TB) and will start with 2022. I also use Backblaze to backup to the cloud.
I need to I’ll – a few minutes a day. I need help in simple language to learn how to combine my LR catalogs. I use 2 5 TB external drives for back up. I bought CCC not that long ago and now they want more money to update.
Thanks Matt for the video. I keep all my pictures on an external hard drive (10tb). I use Backblaze to backup my computer and hard drive. I also use a second hard drive with time machine. I also put tape on my external hard drives with the year I bought it. I replace at 3 years if it lasts that long!
Lost a significant amount when my electricity blew and my powered Seagate 4TB drive crashed. I had it plugged into a powersurge protector and still it fried. Totally shattered. From now on I’ll have everything backed up with the 2 hard drives plugged into the computer for added protection!!
I have an external hard drive for all my photos. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to automatically back those up to another external hard drive. Time Machine backs up my computer locally and then I use Backblaze for my online backup, which includes my primary external hard drive with my photos on it.
So I have my Primary Photo Storage, my photo backup and an online backup of my Primary Photo Storage.
I just use Lightroom to make a backup on an external hard drive and any really important pictures I back up individually using dropbox. Of course, I am not a professional photographer so if I lose the pictures that I have not uploaded to dropbox it is not a big deal.
I have just recently started to use Backblaze. I have way too many hard drives and I have found they tend to fail or are not recognized by the computer and I have to reformat them. Its times to shred the excess pics. Thanks’
My hubby and I are both electrical engineers. We have a NAS that we use for all important stuff which we have backups both on and off site. But I wouldn’t recommend it for the general population!
My photos are all stored on an external 4 TB HD. I back up with Time machine each month. I also copy new photos onto a second external drive and copy the LR back up as well.
I recently purchased Carbon Clone Copier.
I used to have 2 WD drives set up as RAID – they both fried. The local computer store recovered the data and suggested I get a Synology NAS – I wish I had seen this video first, as Matt is correct – I am not techie and just use it as back up.
Next up Back Blaze – belt and braces. Memories are too precious to lose.
I used dropbox in the past, but I have too many files to save there. I currently use an external hard drive for my photos and have a back up external hard drive for that first external hard drive. I really need to invest in a larger computer with multiple drives to help keep everything a little more manageable. However, reading some of the comments on here and looking at the links you’ve posted…maybe I need to rethink this whole process.
I use two external hard drives with GoodSync to periodically sync them together and Backblaze as the third location. Have been using this system for about five years; so far so good.
Local backup is to a Western Digital 4 TB drive using Arq Backup. Cloud backup is using iDrive which lets me back up my photography computer and attached drives plus my wife and daughter’s computers. iDrive can do the local backup but I prefer to have different backup programs for local and cloud – that way if the backup program fails I don’t miss both backups (that happened to me once). Backups run every night at 1 am. Most days something happens on my computer which is worth backing up.
Good advice on thinning the pictures to be backed up! I need to develop a routine of doing this.
I disagree on not keeping all pictures in Lightroom. I pay Adobe a monthly fee for the features Lightroom has – why not use them. I am currently scanning old family pictures and putting them in Lightroom for ease of searching, adding keywords, etc.
When I return from a photo shoot I unload my images to an external Western Digital USB drive where I store all my images. I import into Lightroom and immediately cull the images and delete those I don’t want. I have another on-site external USB drive that I copy images to monthly or after an important shoot. I back up that on-site drive to an off-site drive once a year or so–should probably do that more often! I’ve used Syncback free in the past but now I typically just use window copy/paste. I didn’t always do this so I do have a lot of images from years gone by that I need to delete to delay purchase of 3 more disks!
I store all of my photos on an external hard drive and have a duplicate drive as well. I also back up my computer drive and one external drive to the cloud via Backblaze.
I’m keeping my backups old school. I only bring into LR the pictures I want to edit so practice shots are not included. I copy the files to an external HD and then copy those to another external HD that I keep at the office. Because file are getting larger and I’m taking more pictures the amount of years I can keep on one HD is reduced but when I want to go back to a particular year not on the current one, I just get that HD and search from there.
Now that I read about the different options of backup software may have to spend some time researching and updating the way I keep my files.
I am using a scheme that has proved very reliable in the event of disk or PC failure. 15 years ago I invested in a Microsoft Home Sever that makes non-redundant disk sector copies from selected folders on multiple selected computers and allows simple file retrievals from backups. My procedure is to use LR to import from camera SD cards & smart phone USB links into a Year/Month/Day file structure on working external hard drive and automatically save a second copy to a temporary local folder on the PC. When the import is finished, I do a changed file copy from my working external hard drive to a USB stick for the year involved. These are then put back in a fire box. This has required little effort on my part. LR catalog is backed up when I exit. Then without further effort, Home Server makes a daily backup of the folders in which I placed image backups and LR catalog backups. The non-redundancy structure of Home Server lets me keep backups for the last week, the following 3 Sundays, the first days of the 3 following months. On or about Dec 31st of each year I mark a back-up as non-erasable. If I stick to my procedure, I can erase the temporary backup the next time I do a LR import. Because these are all stored on premise, I do need to add an off site copy of what is in my firebox. The sad thing is what continues to work so well for me is no longer available.
I already had the G-drives recommended in a previous course from Matt – Thank you, they work great. I really needed the cloud backup and also the cloning. Just downloaded BackBlaze and Carbon Copy Clone and set them up…..super easy. One less thing to worry about. 🙂
I use Acronis to clone my Hard Drives (2). Another piece of software that I have used is Synctoy. It was freeware from Microsoft; but I don’t believe it is currently available.
Vince Lupoi , Synctoy from Microsoft is still available in 32 and 64 bit options. I use it for many tasks 🙂
It works really well in the “echo ” mode – only adding new images and files ,and deleting any files that are on your main LR drive. You can always preview the changes and deletes before running.
For everyone else as far as my LR Library :
Start with a cleaned up library with a logical folde /subfolder tree method that works best for you. Good stuff in = good stuff out.
My Lightroom Catalog is on a separate drive than my OS, but inside my PC showing as a Drive letter. I don’t use cloning software because I’m not backing up an operating system,boot files, or applications – just the Lightroom catalog with all files including LR’s own backup sets, presets,and user preferences.
It can be copied to my external drive as an exact copy without any problem or time making shadow copies like cloning does.I don’t do any cloud backup because that adds internet dependency ,especially when traveling and trying to connect with slow upload speeds from other ISP’s.
I meant – t works really well in the “echo ” mode – only adding new images and files ,and deleting any files that HAVE BEEN DELETED on your main LR drive. 😜 Sorry about that !
I haven’t yet tried any cloud backup. I have 2 x 5T seagate drives, one for Lightroom, one for Photoshop. Both of these are backed up to a third 10T drive. My LR catalogue is on my internal drive, and backs up to the Seagate. When I travel (it used to happen, lol) I take a seperate small hard drive and create a new LR catalogue which I can merge when I get home. I have way, way too much in my LR library! My system is a bit labour intensive, but I like to know where things are.
Matt, the simplest I’ve found is all images on a 10TB G-Tech, backed up weekly to an external 10TB WD drive — Carbon Copy backs up all images and catalog to the backup drive weekly and also weekly or sooner my Mac and the Photo Drive is backed up to Backblaze. I’ve done with fussing about this stuff after many years of worrying about it. Never again. Now, I’m more focused on what makes my images better … thanx to people like you and Blake. Thanx.
I use TimeMachine but never look at it. I have BackBlaze and Carbonite as Clid backups, BackBlaze seems more reliable. I also have 2 external drives which I will backup to a larger external once I clean out a lot of the photos which, as Matt points out, I haven’t looked at in forever. This is a great video and I will do a lot of housecleaning on a regular basis. Thanks, Matt
Thank you for the chat out Matt, I am an IT professional and I agree with you no need for NAS, RAID, etc.
I will start by saying that I am a Windows user.
I only keep the pictures I am currently working on, on my local hard drive, but I back up all my pictures to 2 external USB drives.
After testing many different solutions, including two different NAS solutions, this is what I ended up with:
Two 1 TB SSD USB III external drivers (these were the fastest media I found at the time I got it all setup, in the future whenever I need more storage, I will go to USB C or whatever is the fastest media at that time)
I used to use a simple bat file that copy all my pictures from the computer to both drivers.
Now I use FreeFileSync (www.freefilesync.org) because I can create an unattended schedule for the backup.
When I travel, I take a smaller drive with me, so I can back my new pictures.
My backup strategy stems from my day job as an IT Executive and seeing too many failures to plan.
Backup to my NAS, then a second external drive. Backblaze for cloud and a backup periodically goes offsite to a shared location at my parents where my Dad retains. Gives me 5 copies with 4 automated on and off site. I use GoodSynch for my automated backups and the best I have found for a MAC; FreeSync was my choice on Windows or RSync on Linux.
And DropBox for my most important client files
I have time machine on my mac and back up external drive with that. I also have backblaze and think i am covered though I don’t have all the other backups many of you mentioned!
I use the Time Machine feature on my Mac and a pair of external hard drives that mirror each other. If I lose the Mac and one external HD, I still have a second store in a remote location.
Thanks, I have a partitioned RAID system with two identical Seagate hard drives. I use Time Machine. I don’t really trust cloud systems;but you got me thinking about an additional single hard drive. I read an interesting article that discussed that with changing technology, i.e. drives, cables, software, etc.that the best ultimate storage mechanism is a physical print. When you think about it they have stood the test of time. How long will a CD, or DVD be readable?
I have been using Time Machine for about, well as long as I can remember on a external drive . I also use Backblaze which is awesome. I try to keep it very simple
Thanks, Matt! A lot of useful info there. I have been using backblaze and it worked great when I had to get a new hard drive for my Mac. How often would you say we replace our external hard drives? I have too many and am trying to consolidate. Thank you!
I use Norton back up to alternate 1 TB drives always have one stored off site. I try to keep the volume of photos to the ones I want to keep. I regularly go through my photos and remove the marginal ones.
I have successfully used mirrored external hard drives for a long time & it works well
Edited photos and current LR catalogs (1 for photos, 1 for testing) are on two 4tb internal drives backed up to 2 external drives using Robocopy ( old school, done with bat file). External hard drives hold original raw files — 2 copies of each. Don’t use cloud at this point.
I store all my photos locally on my Synology NAS. Those are then backed up to Backblaze. Getting the backup in place was easy. Finding a workflow that didn’t take a performance hit by doing my edits from the NAS was more of the challenge. A year ago, I modified my workflow to transfer the RAW’s to local SSD first, do my edits in LR, then within LR move the finished photos over to my NAS. This gives me the best local disk performance and LR keeps it’s links straight by performing the folder ‘move’ within LR.
I have a LaCie and a Western Digital hard drive (5TB each) and use BackBlaze for a Cloud backup of my computer and the hard drive. All of my photo library is on the external drive.
In ten years, have lost one HD, when I dropped it on the ground on a camping trip. Hard lesson, but didn’t lose much (one day of shooting) since there was a second HD waiting at home. Also have Carbon Copy for coning the hard drives.
I highly recommend GoodSync. It runs in the background and backs up as many disks as you need. At times you designate. Once you set it up it is no maintenance. It was recommended years ago by another photographer.
Take Matt’s suggestion to remove unwanted files carefully, but completely. You want to avoid backing up many files that you may never use.
Having a backup/backups is/are essential if you care about your files. Like Matt suggests, I have two external hard drives and I backup all of my LR photos onto each. I only keep my five or six latest LR projects on my internal hard drive. I move older folders to the external drives, through the LR interface, where they are copied regularly as part of the backup protocol.
Super Duper is my Mac backup software. I find it good enough for what I need.
I also us Backblaze and they have introductory offers from time-time so you can watch out for that. This is the Cloud backup to which Matt was referring. There have been times when I inadvertently overwrote a file or lost one somehow and I have been able to go to Backblaze and retrieve it. They have an option to keep all of your files for a year even if they no longer reside on the hard drive because of deletions, etc. and I selected that just as a “safety” valve in the event I delete a file that I later want to retrieve.
Thanks Matt — good advice.
I photograph specific parts of the natural world, so file them on iCloud and on an external drive in folders by name–fungi–brackets–stereum–specific species. It works for me provided I can keep up with it. Then I can find everything easily. I do personal photos by year again in folders by name of person, animal, place etc. Perhaps this is old fashioned? However, I like the carbon copy cloner and plan to get that.
I tried to backup to the cloud but it took way to long (Spectrum fiber-optic) so I switched to just using a raid mirror backup. I use Mac and can create the raid using their disk utility very easily. This works for me very well. Now I really need to cull my old images to remove the junk (500 images of a cardinal to get 1 that I like but I kept them all!)
I reorganized my photo files according to Matt’s Lightroom Course. I now use two external hard drives for storage and backup. I have used Acronis for 9 months now, however I ran into a problem when it alerted me that my destination external drive did not have enough space on it. I was puzzled as the two external drives are of the same capacity. My main beef is the user interface for Acronis. I do not believe that have done user experience testing as their instructional copy is very geeky. If they did, it probably was at Q.A. Testing and were using other techies to review. I may switch to Backblaze, if that user interface is intuitive and written in Simple English.
I backup my Mac system drive using time machine.
All my data including all photos resides on external 4T usb drive
I use Carbon Copy for all other backups.
External data drive is backed up weekly to and old original 4 drive Drobo array (very slow but still works)
Drobo is backed up, rotated to 3 different external usb hard drives
These are encrypted, 1 onsite, 1 in trunk of my car, and 1 in safe deposit at my bank.
Rotation schedule depends on how much shooting I do.
As a former IT guy, I know you can never have enough backups.
It is only a matter of time until you loose data.
Also from time to time verify your backups, I know people that have accidentally erased a disk then copied that to all their backups
This is super timely for me as I have only ever used my computer for storing my photos with the occasional copying my pictures folder onto a backup drive. It is time to up my game in the backup and storage of my photos as I am moving from hobbyist to more serious photo projects. Thank you Matt!
Having done computer support for people that did not follow recommendations to backup I am paranoid. I have all my images on a Synology NAS RAID1. That is backed up nightly to the Synology Cloud so I have an offsite backup that I can recover from anywhere. I also have an external hard drive connected to my NAS for an additional backup. While I keep my Lightroom catalog on my internal SSD the Lightroom catalog is backed up to the NAS. so I can recover if I lose my internal SSD.
Twice I lost data like documents and photos because the backup companies when they improved over the years did not allow for backward compartibility. After these experiences I decided that I will never again have encrypted backups.
My photos are spread over several external drives. Two larger drives are dedicated as “archives.” When I copy the photos to the archive drives, I always leave the originals on the external drives where they originated from. If needed, I can always go back to the old drives to find them. My old drives are disconnected when i do not need them which, hopefully, will extend their life. Photos I work on are on my computer’s second hard drive which is dedicated just to photography.
As to cloud storage, I remember when Adobe closed their Photoshop.com library and everyone had to download their photos. I can’t remember the details but some photos could be transferred to another Adoble website. If I am not mistaken, then Adobe came up with yet another option, Revel, and photos were put there. All the work I had done to sort and organize my photos was messed up during these changes. Did I reorganize them again? NO. I decided to not deal with cloud storage again.
My backup strategy:
I use a cloning software (Allway Sync) to clone part of my system drive (only user files) as well as the hard drives I use for photos. The clone is kept updated on an attached USB-drive, the synchronization starts automatic, based on changes on the drives. The clone keep copies of deleted and changed files for 100 days.
In addition to that scheme, I do a full system and disk backup to another USB-drive regular (app. each week). This starts with a fresh full backup every 3 month, and every week an incremental. Every 3 month the external drive is switched with a 2-cd copy, the 1. Copy is then stored remotely until next switch. To safeguard me somewhat, I only torn this drive on during backup, the rest of the time this drive is not connected (but the drive is staying at my computer).
Finally I export all photos to flicker, either as public photos or private. This does not save my raw photos, but a decent jpg version.
When I am out on trips (several dayes), I do manual backup of the raw photos and of my laptop to different usb-drives.
I use SyncBackPro, (there is also a free version, SyncBack) to back up to an external hard drive. I also use it to backup to the cloud with Microsoft One Drive. I recently had an external hard drive fail so now I use an external unit with two drives in raid configuration so they act as a single drive, with everything copied to two discs in case one fails. I do mirror images of the files so I can restore individual files if required.
Over a weekly cycle at 11am every day part of my PC is backed up to the cloud, so everything is backed up weekly. And at 6pm every day all my important stuff is backed up to my external drives.
I have always backed up and have had several hard drives fail over the years but I still have some files that have survived many PC upgrades and are well over 20 years old.
If you don’t backup sooner or later you WILL lose stuff.
My back up plan is very simple. I have two back up hard drives. One resides at home and the other in a bank safe deposit box and each month I swap the locations. When I bring the second drive home I do an immediate backup and them typically once a week or after a large photo shoot. Since I back up financial information as well as photos I do not use any cloud storage. By not using the cloud I do not worry about my information being part of a large hack.
My back up software is Microsoft SyncToy, it is simple to use and reliable. It does not compress the data and I can retrieve a file quickly and easily.
Sadly, Synctoy 2.1 official download was discontinued in January 2021.
I lost 500gb drive once…about 6mos of photos. Was a sad day. Since then I’ve been a backup nut. Sometimes too much. LOL. Right now I use BackBlaze for general Mac backup to the cloud. Been using it for 10+ years and it’s saved me a few times. Additionally, I use Carbon Copy to regularly back up my HD to two seperate 8TB desktop externals. I also do a periodic backup of all photos/videos to a 4tb portable drive that I keep in my bag.
I went through the process of organizing photos in 2020 and have never regretted it. The G-drives worked great. I hope the Sandisk’s versions are as reliable. Super Duper has worked well too. I don’t have to think about where to find pics which is very helpful!!
This is my backup strategy. After a photo shoot I initially copy all of my photos from my camera to my local drive where I mark the photos I don’t want and move them to a deleted subfolder. I then move all of my accepted photos to my external hard drive. ALL of my editing is done from the external drive so the photos & their sidecar files are located together for ease of backup. I have been using CrashPlan for Mac for the past 4 years as my backup software ($10.79/month). I like it because once you configure the backup, the backup is done automatically for me. I don’t have to remember to run a backup. The CrashPlan software runs continuously in the background on my Mac. I have configured it to check the folder on my photo external drive every 30 minutes to see if there are any files that need to be backed up whether they are new or have been modified. It then automatically backs them up to my local external backup drive AND backs them up to my CrashPlan cloud storage. I love the fact that I don’t have to remember to do anything to protect my photos.
I’m not a techy person. When I do a shoot, all the files go into a folder which indicates the Venue, date and lens. I do my own cataloging and do not do it through PS or LR. I keep a folder for “working on” into which each individual project files are kept: nef, psd, jpg, When completed, that folder gets put on my external drirve (at present its a Seagate 5tb drive). I now realize I need a new back up drive. I currently move inactive or completed folders to this drive. Current projects remain on the hard drive in the PC. I use Carbonite at present for cloud storage and they back up both the PC hard drive and the Seagate external drive. I may change that to Backblaze now. I cull through images from a shoot – usually within a few days of the shoot. Then again a month later and get rid of rejects immediately. I keep everything organized always.
Backblaze is terrific, and it’s Matt that I heard about it from! Other than that, I have 2 external HDs and it’s one of those that gets uploaded to Backblaze. I am still using the tedious process of manually copying files and folders from my primary external HD to the other one, though. I wonder if I would like Carbon Copy Cloner for this? I think I will check it out! I used Time Machine in the past, and just happened to discover one day that it was skipping files, so I definitely would not recommend it, unfortunately.
As a retired IT professional I know CONOPS (continued operations) importance; a robust back up is essential. The main issue is identifying relative importance versus implementation cost. I retired from a huge financial firm where CONOPS was a large portion of our budget. On the other side of this spectrum is my photography HOBBY where a loss is not monetary but rather emotional in nature.
My solution: editing software automatically makes a copy of imported image files to an external hard drive; 2) nightly a the external hard drive is backed up to a NAS (network accessible storage) on my home network accessible only via my secure wifi. This solution results in multiple automatic copies of image files: 1) SD card, 2) local SSD, 3) local HDD, & 4) NAS.
I work on a PC with 2 internal hard drives. I do not store any photos on either of those drives, but my LR catalog is stored on one and backed up to the other. Photos are stored on an external drive (Western Digital 4 TB My Passport) that is backed up weekly to an identical external drive. I use Acronis to control the backup operation. Every few months I add recent folders to a third hard drive (Seagate 3 TB) that I store offsite. I don’t back up to the cloud because I work from a satellite Internet connection that is either too slow or intermittently interrupted. I also back up My Documents from C to D weekly and to an offsite drive every 3 months. My backup strategy was greatly influenced and simplified by Matt’s suggestions in one of his courses.
I was taught a method referred to as 3 – 2 – 1. Three copies, two locations, each image. Download my image files to a SSD. Use Lightroom to bring selected images to a G-Raid setup (easy enough even for an old guy to configure). One copy of the original, two copies of any edited files. That keeps the volume down. Like you Matt, I have files from many years ago. At the beginning of the year I go back into the originals and cull them much like you described.
Also use Carbon Copy Cloner at least each month on my internal HD.
MacHD > Time Machine Ext HD
Lightroom Images and Catalog on Ext HD > Chronosync > 2nd Ext HD
Everything also goes to cloud (Backblaze)
I edit on 2 different computers, any advice on where to store presets, plugins and external editors or just download to both computers. Thanks
I save my photos to a WD External HD (Elements) and that is backed up to a desktop HD. It is not automated, so I have to make a conscious effort to copy the new folders over. Not the best, but I’m a hobbyist so it works for me. Thx for these programs. Very helpful!
After taking one of Matt’s courses a few years ago I started cloning two external drives (G-Drives, now owned by Western Digital), one for photos and catalog, and the second for a clone. I am still using Super Duper (that was just upgraded for Monterey ). It is very simple to use and still works fine for me. No need to change to other software for me.
Like Matt, I live in Florida, and before Hurricane season each I copy my photo files to an Emergency SSD drive to go with me when I leave Florida.
I also back up my most important photo that I have published or printed to my iCloud storage.
This simple plan works for me.
I have a Windows computer with 1TB NVME SSD for System drive and Lightroom catalog. Also a 1 TB SSD drive for Lightroom photos. The rest is all on a 1TB hard drive. I backup photos and catalog and other data incrementally often during the day using BVCKUP (spelling is correct) to an external 2 TB hard drive) and nightly to iDrive. Has worked great for me for a number of years.
I subscribe to the 3-2-1 philosophy of backup. 3 total copies, 2 duplicate external drives at home, and 1 in the cloud at Backblaze. Pretty simple. I tried RAID arrays way back before multi-terabyte drives were available, and that was more trouble (and expense) than it was worth.
I see only one other person that’s mentioned Norton 360’s back up function. I have two Norton backups to portable hard drives: one with photos only; the other with all data files (spreadsheets, word docs, etc) and also including photos. No cloud backup that I know of.
Anything wrong with sticking with Norton?
I use an SSD for all images. The RAW images are converted to jpeg and uploaded to smug mug. The RAW images are kept in a separate file in smug mug.
I think it is more cumbersome to describe what my system entails than how It actually works. I copy my photos from the SSD card to a Photos folder on the internal storage of my Apple laptop. I then import the folder and photos into Lightroom, copying the folder to one of two external hard drives. In the process, the photos are renamed, preserving the original file name but also included a small description. The folder that contains folder has a descriptive name, not just the date of the photos. This folder has been copied into a folder of appropriate “styles” such as Architecture, Family, Travel, etc. The approach gives a structure to the physical storage of the photos. The primary drive is the location for the backups of the LR catalog. I drag copies of the Backup Catalog to my backup drive. I also copy each imported photo folder to the matching folder on the backup drive. While redundant, I also copy the folders of the initially copied folders to a separate drive(s) a very small 2TB SSD drive(s). In total I have a primary and secondary LR Photo storage option, I have a primary LR Catalog on my laptop, and a third photo backup. The approach has been developed using approaches from Scott Kelby’s SLIM system, and MattK’s Library management. A couple of years ago, my external drive that have both my primary photos and Library crashed. So everything had to be rebuilt. When I started down this digital management approach, I used Apple’s Aperture, which I found better and easier to use than Lightroom V1.
Images that are of some value (to me, not monetarily) are on my internal D: drive; these are also the images that I am processing, have processed or might process. All other images are on one of 3 external hard drives. However, all images are managed in a single Lr catalog. The D: drive, as it is my data drive, also contains all my other data, e.g., financial, personal, etc. I backup to two external hard drives (WD Elements), using NovaBackup. On one of the external drives NovaBackup copies files, both images and other data; on the other external drive NovaBackup backups up using its proprietary format, which compresses the files and speeds the backup. I also use two cloud services to backup images and other data, Crashplan for Small Business and Carbonite. The one gap that I can see in my plan is that both of the external drives used for backup reside in my house, as opposed to rotating them to an offsite storage location. But I hope that by having two cloud-based backups, I have covered the possibility of some catastrophe befalling my house.
When importing to LR I use the make duplicate copy option so have 2nd copys before reformatting SD Card. – Keep the duplicates for a few weeks then delete
Have Backblaze doing regular backups during day so have 3rd copy plus all edits.
My computer support person wrote a cloning program for me that I run every few days. makes up dated copy of selected folders – not everything -to a separate external drive ( my photos, Downloads, My files) These are folders with important stuff. Backblaze copies all drives – not just internal hard drive -so it is backing up the drive with LR Catalog back up, the drive with the duplicate imports and the drive with the cloned info.
So I have photos and important folders on internal drives, at least one external drive and in cloud
Years ago when internal drive was filling up I moved picture folders – by year – to an external drive – and off internal drive. That drive is kept in filing cabinet – my want to check out some events when my kids were growing up to show grandkids, or revisit a special event or vacation trip.
No external – likely a fault:) I use a 6tb drive for all my digital data files, a few programs and Macrium image of my boot/programs C drive. I then have another 6tb internal as a backup clone. Use very old program xxcopy /clone to clone my active drive to backup whenever I choose to. (On PC)
All photo images and LR catalog on an external: Samsung 8TB 870 QVO 2.5″ SATA III Internal SSD — BH #SAMZ77Q8T0B • MFR #MZ-77Q8T0B/AM — housed in an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini External Enclosure (USB 3.1 Gen 2 / eSATA) — BH #OWCMEPMTCES • MFR #OWCMEPMTCES — Doesn’t provide Thunderbolt3 speed but better than USB and adequate for all editing needs so far. This setup is duplicated and regularly cloned with CarbonCopyCloner. Additional a copy is backed up with Backblaze “just in case” there was a complete loss locally. One advantage of this setup is unplugging the 8TB from my desktop and plugging it into my laptop gives me all images (and more) for portability. When back at the desktop, this is cloned to the 2nd drive and everything is current and copied. FWIW — OWC has a newer external I’d probably choose at present, no change in performance, just a “little” less expensive. — https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-mercury-elite-pro-mini/usb-c
I have not used any special software to backup my photos. I have four external hardrives. I move the photos and LR databases from the computer to the attached external drive once a week. Once a month I move the files from EXt drive 1 to ext 2 and 3. Once a quarter I include drive 4 which is stored off site. That’s it. Everything not photograhy related gets auto backed up automatically every night to a Seagate backup+ drive using seagate software.
If I shot more I would proably have an automated process for my photos.
I have four external hard drives which I purchases at Costco. I use one drive for storage. I store nextcto nothing on my computer hard drive. The other three are back up drives. I simply copy what ever folder I am working on and paste ontobthe other hard drives. Thatcworks for me. I am not professional nor am I really elvolved computer wise. My system works for me.
I automatically back up photos and other important data to a Synology NAS. I have another HD for backing up the NAS.
I use Carbon Copy Cloner…Free for Mac users…I have used it for almost 15 years. I have three backups for my Primary Light room…When ever I finish processing images I just plug in my backup drives and it updates all my work…Each backup is named……Back up 1, Back up 2, Back up3. If my main external HD fails which is named Photos Go Here…I just plug in one of the backup drive and remade it to Photos Go Here and I am back in business.
One thing you didn’t mention for Mac users is Apple’s Time Machine. I have a 12TB drive that I use of Time Machine which backs up my computer every hour. I have only had to use it a few times but it is comforting to know that I can always backtrack if something goes wrong. I started using Backblaze a few months ago. Because I live in a rural area my internet connection is very slow. Running Backblaze all the time bogged down my computer. I finally discovered that I could set it up to only run at night between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am which solved the problem.
As part of the Setapp package of Mac apps, I use Get Backup Pro to clone my photos folder to an external hard drive. Works great as long as I remember to do it one a week or so.
Thanks for the tip about clearing old and unused photos from my Lightroom catalog. I’ll tackle that a little at a time.
Before I moved to Turkey from the US, I was using two external hard drives (non-SSD) plus Backblaze. One drive was where I stored my photos and the other was where I had a back of the photos. When I moved, I left those hard drives in the US.
In Turkey, I started a new Lightroom catalog and only have my new photos.
Since the internet is terrible in Turkey, I am not using any online backup service. I am using 2 Sandisk SSD Extreme portable drives with my laptop. One for photos and one for backups. I am using SSD drives now since we live in a small apartment and I already lost a non-SSD drive to a drop. Plus, I can carry the small drives back and forth between US and Turkey.
I manually move folders that I added or changed plus my LR catalog backup.
I also consider SmugMug as somewhat of a backup also.
Just finished the big upload to Backblaze, it took a long time but totally worth it. I had a drive failure this which occasioned a very expensive retrieval. Backup, back up and back up!
Such an important (if somewhat tedious) thing to consider as a photographer. I have two external hard drives, one with both Lightroom photos and catalogue. The other has a copy of both, which up to now I copied manually every now and again. After watching today’s video, however, I have downloaded a trial version of Carbon Copy Cloner which looks like it may well be worth paying for, so thanks for that.
I also use Backblaze for extra security as a cloud backup which is easy to use. My only problem is a poor Broadband connection which means it’s slow.
My link for it here: https://secure.backblaze.com/r/02wqiy
My laptop started out with only a 256GB SSD so I immediately added 2 4TB external drives. One is used as my main data drive which holds not only my ingested and processed photos but my normal folders as well (includes my software installation files). I use Photo Mechanic so when I ingest from my cards a copy automatically goes to the second external drive. Folders on my internal drives (now 2 1TB SSDs) and the main external 4TB drive are backed up daily to IDrive . IDrive was simple to install and works well – just took a VERY long time to initially load my files. They do have a ‘send in a drive’ option for those with less patience or bandwidth. An added touch is that I back up critical/special/favorite processed images to small usb 3 thumbdrives that are on my keyring; where I go, they go.
I use FreeFileSync to backup to external drives. I have two backups. One of them is stored offsite. I also use Backblaze for cloud backup. Just a few days ago my 6T hard drive failed. It was almost full. I removed the drive. Put in a new 8T drive. 15 minutes to swap out the drive.. Restored the backup overnight. No files lost. BACKUP YOUR FILES.
Use FreeFileSync too (And CrashPlan for online backup)
I try to keep things simple and use my laptop internal 500gb SSD drive for the OS and Lr. The other internal 2tb HD is used for personal business, junk, etc. My camera SD card opens in Lr and the photos are stored in a Sandisk 1tb SSD Ext HD. I use a 4tb WD Easystore for backup along with continuous Backblaze cloud backup. This seems to be working for me and have had no problems as we speak.
I use a Synology NAS backed up to a WD drive, but lately, starting to think about simplifying this to standalone bus powered 4tb drives with manual cloning. Couple of reasons (1) Power outages – its scary when the power goes and your NAS crashes. (2) Portability – you can take bus powered drives anywhere, my NAS could be configured for remote access but thats way too much hassle.
One final thought, a backup is of no use unless you can recover data from it, so whatever road you go with this, remember to test your backup….
My storage/backup is similar to what you outlined. All of my photo files are on a Toshiba, external 4 TB HDD. Both my internal Desktop HDD and external photo drive are backed up, weekly to an external, Samsung, 10 TB HDD. They are also backed up with Backblaze. I don’t back up my laptop internal HD.
Also, my LR catalog lives on my Desktop computer internal SSD and on my Laptop internal SSD. These are synced with Dropbox. I do this because my internal SSDs are faster than my external HDD. It has worked without a hitch for several years and since they are always in sync I never need to worry about which one is the latest.
My method is as follows:
1. I keep all of my photos on an SSD external drive. My Lightroom catalog looks exactly the same as folders there.
2. I have a second external drive (regular HDD) as my photography backup disk. Every now and then I use CCC to update the backup.
3. My computer system and files AS WELL AS my photo SSD are regularly backed up using Time Machine (I’m on a Mac) on a separate Time Machine HDD.
And that’s it!
My backup is simple. Photos on a external g-tech drive Matt mentioned a few years ago. On line to back blaze. Small sad for time machine for anything on computer drive. So I can see I should get another external drove and the cloning software . Easy to do.
What I found most interesting is the LR library clean up. I have quite a lot of stuff that hasn’t been looked at in forever and most of that like what Matt showed can be tossed. And now I understand about removing old stuff from the library and using that viewer when needed. Got it! Many thanks.
One thing that is kind of related to backup and storage is how to pass on your photo files to the kids or others when its time. I’ve got boxes of photo albums and negatives from parents and relatives. Not the same today. Matt maybe that’s a thought for a future video? Thanks – tim
I use a home-grown solution. My primary image storage is on an internal RAID on our Linux server. This makes the images accessible from any computer/tablet on our home network. First backup, done right after uploading images, is to an external hard drive (using the Linux rsync utility). Second backup goes to a NAS located in a different part of the house. Then, about every 4-6 months, the NAS drive gets taken out and moved to a safe-deposit box at the bank. I hold to the adage that it’s not a question of if a drive will fail, only a question of when. If I need to access images while traveling I can drill a hole in the firewall before leaving home.
I’ve developed a “system” that I’m happy with. Photos are stored on an external SSD, backed up (two copies) nightly to less expensive HDD drives in a multi-bay enclosure from OWC. I use Carbon Copy Cloner for all my backup needs (photos as well as entire systems). I’ve used this product for over 20 years. Aside from its reliability and ease of use, I also like that it sends me an email when the backup has completed to let me know it was finished as expected, or if something went wrong, I can immediately attend to it.
Hello Matt and everybody out there. Just a word. I know Matt and a lot of you use BackBlaze. I tried it and found it to be bit tricky (maybe my own problem…). Just to say: I now use iDrive, cloud storage, very easy to use. Compatible with Mac.
I’ve subscribed to the Scott Kelby back up method two years ago and have stuck to it. I purchased 2, SSD, 2 TB external drives. They are labeled photo one and photo two. All my images after shoot are stored on Photo one. I immediately sync, using Sync Folders Pro, photo one to photo two. So photo two is always an exact replica a photo one with the exception of I don’t delete off of photo two. Then I back up photo one, which also includes my local drive to the cloud using Backblaze. The first time I used Backblaze I believe it took two or three days to finish. But now it’s just a matter of a few minutes every day. I suspect I’ll have to move to larger drives as my photo collection gets bigger. I also planned this year to do a major edit of my photos. I tend to keep photos that I know I will never print or use. It’s hard to take that step to delete. That would certainly reduce the volume. Lol.
I keep all my images on a RAID like system on my desktop computer. They are then backed up to Backblaze. If my house burns down I can have Backblaze send me the data back on hard drives so I don’t have to download everything. It’s pretty simple. All I have to do is put the images there in the first place. The rest is automatic.
This year though I might retire the Desktop and use a Synology NAS instead. If I do that I will have to use Backblaze B2 storage instead of the regular Backblaze backup.
I have been following a backup system, like you recommend, for a couple of years.
I use Mac and 3 external G-Technology HD’s. Apple Time Machine backs up my Mac SSD to one HD. The second HD is all data – documents, photos, ebooks, videos, etc. The third HD is a clone (Good Sync has worked well for me) of the data drive. I do the clone update once per week.
I do need to delete unwanted photos like you recommend. This will be my 2022 project!
This was a timely post. I have been using an external drive for my photos and I was looking at getting a back-up external drive. Now I feel comfortable moving forward with this plan.
I keep all my photos on one large external hard drive, which I back up with Carbonite. It had a technical glitch recently and stopped backing up for a week, but Carbonite tech support was great and got it working again quickly.
This is my process too. But after watching the video , I am wondering if a need a second hard drive as a back up as well.
Two 4TB drive synced and Backblaze for off-site
I have been using the WD Elements for a long long time. Due to space have had to update to a larger one about every 5 years but my work goes with it. Am now on a 14 TB drive. In anycase, I just have all my work in one folder and subfolders. Through the years, it grows. These include the orf, tiff, jpeg, watermarked jpeg for online and phone. In any case, the backup occurs through Norton 360 and is automatic weekly, updating the original backup. I am shocked as how easy it is to find and retrieve everything I have done for the past 10 years. Older stuff is in an archive folder, just because I want to keep them.
Amazon Photos, part of Amazon Prime, automatically backs up my photos from my computer and phone. I also use BackBlaze to back up my entire system, which includes the photos and LR catalogue. And lastly I use a NAS to backup my photos locally on a weekly basis.
I do a test restore from these a few times a year to make sure I know how and to verify they still work.
Yes, this is belts and suspenders and more belts, but several years ago I lost all of my work to malware. The cost and effort of implementing and using these backup approaches is nothing compared to what you go through if you were to lose all of your work.
I use Macrium and SynchbackFree. I have extensive backups of everything with data on 2 clones that are 6TB drives and then also everything on 2 mirrored NAS drives that hold everything on my system. All backups happen every night. I also use Dropbox. It acts as a backup and makes files available on all of my devices. I probably backup more than needed but it has worked for me for a good while.
I began using Backblaze about 9 months ago. Installation was easy and their support service has been responsive when needed. I like the fact that it is continuously backing up my files. I subscribed to the service in the event of a major failure in my computer and external hard drive which had occurred in prior times. I should note that I haven’t tested or experienced their recovery process as that need has not arisen which will be the acid test.
FYI. I keep an EHD in my vehicle in case of a fire at my house (or flooding for some).
I store all my photos on one external hard drive. I use Carbonite to back up that external hard drive. In addition, when importing photos, I copy them to another external hard drive.
I may overdue it a bit, but here is my strategy:
I have 5 hard drives in my desktop. I have 5 external hard drives. all are hooked to the computer at one time. I transfer photos from camera/memory card to an internal drive. i will review and delete photos as time prevails. this hard drive is backed up every night to an external drive. As I process the photos I will transfer them to a separate internal hard drive, which is also backed up every night. One of the internal hard drives is for my music which is eventually backed up if I add new music. A separate internal hard drive is my c drive which is strictly for programs.
I then select my best photos of those processed and copy to another, much larger, external hard drive. I back this hard drive up to another external hard drive which i then put in a fire proof safe. The other processed files and raw files are then transferred to a separate external drive by category. then those files are deleted. My best photos are on a separate hard drive which is saved in the safe. When this hard drive is full. it takes awhile, it is once again backed up and stored in the safe with the back up. I hope this way my best photos are preserved on two external hard drives. I use SyncBac free to back up my hard drives. most are backed up at night when i go to sleep.
I use Crashplan (https://www.crashplan.com/) for my cloud backup. Every month or two I also backup to a My Passport external hard drive, which I keep in a safe. I’ve restored files from both on a few occasions, never had any issues.
I use Crashplan too. Looks like they are getting rid of storing different versions of the same file. It’s a pity – it saved me several times!
I have all my photos on my Mac hard drive. I have an external hard drive connected and it continuously gets backed up with Time Machine. I have a second hard drive that I use to do the same thing and switch the two external drives on a weekly basis. I also keep the one not being backed up off site, out of my home, in case something happens to either site.
I have redundant backups, two external hard drives and my computer. And, when I get time, I back the backups onto my laptop. I also, copy LR catalogue backups also, making sure I have a fresh copy of the backup every couple of months. This is something I learned a while ago when my computer died the ‘blue death’, and I had to hurry and get copies of everything on it before it totally died.
I’m a backup maniac. I have a Synology NAS with four hard drives in it. If any one hard drive fails, I can replace it without losing any data. I backup my MAC to the Synology using TimeMachine and ChronoSync, and I also have all of my photos on the Synology unit. Secondly, my Synology unit and Mac are backed up to external hard drives. Finally, the Synology unit (which includes a backup of my Mac as well as all of my pictures) is backed up every night to Synology’s C2 cloud backup service.
What happens if your Synology electronics die? Are the drive formats proprietary so ONLY another Synology box can enable you to read the drives?
This is the reason I stopped using a RAID system, if/when my RAID system failed – then the drives were useless unless I could get an exact replacement.
A single NAS is only going to save you from drive failure. It is not a backup of your data. He has external drives to his NAS that would use non-proprietary formats and also sends data to the cloud. A NAS definitely brings it’s own overhead that you have to decide if it’s worth it for you or not based on what you would use it for. If photo storage were my only use case, I wouldn’t have a NAS, but I use it several other purposes as well.
I continuously used TimeMachine for backup of everything on my Mac. In addition I copy all photos to an external hard drive about twice a month, and to a second external drive about every 3 months. I also copy the automatic Lightroom catalogue back-up to the external drives.
Thanks again Matt for another succinct and thoughtful video. I use TimeMachine for my Macbook Pro and backup weekly. I store about 2 years of photos on my Macbook Pro hard drive and all the rest on an external SSD. The Macbook Pro hard drive is backed up continuously using Backblaze and the SSD is plugged in every week or two to ensure it is also part of the Backblaze backup. Backblaze is great and I sleep pretty easy knowing they’ve got my stuff covered.
I do keep most everything I shoot, other than iPhone photos, in my Lightroom catalog and have that pretty well organized. Still looking for an easy way to import the iphone stuff into LRC so that even those are in the catalog. I like the idea of having everything in one place.
I have the Lightroom app on my phone. There is an import setting that auto adds photos from your phone’s camera roll. It makes it very simple to get your iPhone pics into your catalog
I too use the auto import. It does take some discipline to clean out photos of no value – like the specific grocery store item I took a photo of doe my hubby to buy, but I’d rather do that than lose the perfect grandchild photo I took at the park.