Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Storage changes

For the new year, I've decided to switch up my workflow/storage technique just a little bit. Nothing huge or life-changing (like switching software), but a tweak significant enough I figure I'll share it with you.

FYI - the pictures in this post are from *old* folders I was cruising through while auditing my backups...

First irrelevant picture...

If you haven't already, check out my last workflow post that goes into great nauseating depth about how I do things.

For 2011, I've decided that I wont be keeping any photos on my Macbook Pro's internal HDD. Everything will be stored on USB drives. This makes my life much much much easier when I need to swap out Aperture libraries. I'm getting ahead of my self.

At the rate that I currently shoot, I end up with 500gb of pictures per year. These are pictures that I think are worth keeping - I shoot about 1.5 TB of images in any given year. The 500gb represents the final edits that don't hurt to look at.

In order for this whole photography thing to be sustainable, I need to be able to keep track of where all my images are. In the past, I've moved pictures from the internal HDD on my laptop to an external drive, then re-referenced them in Aperture. This process is time-consuming and leaves LOTS of room for user error. Being the moron that I am, I invariably make many such errors.

Another photo that has nothing to do with anything...

In order to avoid making all those errors, I'm cutting myself out of the process. From now on, all my photographs will be stored on external hard drives. The Aperture library that belongs to those photos will live on the drive with the photos. This way I don't have to worry about misplacing file references or whatever - the computer will automatically use the correct Aperture library when it's plugged into a certain set of drives.

Set of drives? Yup. I'm just a *little* paranoid about losing my photos, so every photo is copied into 3 places.

The first copy is instant and does not require me to use my brain at all. I have 2 Seagate 500gb portable USB drives. They are set up as a RAID 1 Array, which means that they are exact copies of each other. Should one drive fail, I simply buy another, plug it in, and the computer will restore everything for me. The instant I upload my photos, I have each photo in 2 places.

Another picture that is completely irrelevant...

Next, I keep another 500gb drive that is a backup of the RAID. This hard drive lives in a fireproof, waterproof, locked safe. I *should* store this off-site, but I figure the safe will cover me in the event of theft or pyromaniac roommate an act of God. I do have to use my brain for this one - which means copies aren't instant and if shit hits the fan, I might lose a day or two worth of photos.

There you go! That's the system as it currently stands.

I've had great luck with Seagate portable hard drives in the past. Less so with Western Digital.

This also frees up a lot of space on my laptop's hard drive, leaving more room for music, movies, documents, etc.

Every couple months, I add photos to The Archive. It is also in three places at any given time: one in the safe, one in a different city, and one plugged into the computer so I can access all my old files.