External Hard Drives and Photo Processing

I’m putting all photos on external hard drives now.  Photos are so big that they take up a lot of space.  I am not putting photos on my laptop’s hard drive or my desktop’s hard drive. All photos are on external hard drive.

I’ve gone pretty extreme. My iMac is my main desktop computer. It has a 4TB hard drive attached that has photos, documents, etc.  All documents were moved off the iMac’s hard drive to the external hard drive.

My Macbook Pro has a 4TB hard drive that has the same.  I work on photos in the field and at home on the laptop.  No documents or photos are on the computer’s internal hard drive.

Once I am finished processing a folder of photos or all the photos from a trip, those photos get copied to a Drobo 15TB storage unit in a folder.  Those folders are numbered and named.  The folder might be “#1057 Costa Rica 2018 A_C”. 

The photos are then imported to my database (or Lightroom) for the catalogue.  This means that the only photos on the big 15TB storage device are finished photos.  The photos on my laptop or desktop hard drives are unfinished. 

I try to get photos off the desktop and laptop hard drives as soon as I can.  Doesn’t always work because some trips/outings take longer to process than others.  I try though.

I’m now using BackBlaze to put my photos in the cloud.  My MacBook Pro wants to put everything in the cloud so some photos are in iCloud. 

Applications like Photoshop, Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, Word, Excel, etc are on each computer’s hard drive. It’s faster to use software that resides on my computer. I also have the software where I can use it if we have a power failure, hurricane, or disruption to the internet like in Africa or Peru.

So – in a nutshell – each computer has an external hard drive.  Photos are processed and then moved to the Drobo 15TB storage unit.  Those photos are the master catalogue.

I’ve created Favorite folders that reside on the external hard drive. These are a nice way to get photos quickly to attach to an email or upload to social media.