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Best way to set up storage?

James Rickert

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Hello,

My wife is a professional photographer (and the LR user!), whereas I am a point-n-shoot guy who is in to technology and networking.

We have reached a point where she no longer has space on her local machine for her work. Actually, we reached that point a while ago, and she's been shuffling photos from one drive to the next and back to local as a workaround.

I was going to purchase a Synology DS416 to solve the issue, but in reading some threads on here, it seems like that is not the right solution. Is there a good tutorial (or thread I wasn't able to find) that shows the best way to store a ~1TB library and catalog?

Part of the requirement is that she is able to work on photos here in the home studio, as well as in the client sites.

We'd prefer the one-time cost of a physical device + cloud backup, rather than a full-cloud solution.
She'd prefer not to carry around an external drive, but if that was the best solution, she would.
The NAS would be ideal as it could be used for other projects of mine and hers. But if it doesn't work well for LR, it no longer makes sense.
Would a 1TB SD card or USB drive permanently loaded in to the machine work?

She is on a 2016 Macbook with 256gb of storage, using the latest CC version. We have a good wired network at home (10Gb). She currently backs up to both GoogleDrive and BitCasa for redundancy, but would go down to one if we had a solid local solution.

Thanks in advance for any tips.

-Rick
 
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Welcome to the forum.
Let's begin by breaking down the term "storage"as it applies to LR.
  1. There is the Catalog file and associated previews. This needs to be on a locally attached drive (not a file server)
  2. The master image files. They should be for the exclusive use of LR and the location (path) will be referenced in the LR Catalog file. The Can be on a Locally attached drive (even the same one hosting the catalog file and previews) OR a Networked drive (NAS file Server) Since these will be unedited originals, that should not be accessed by other computer users or other apps. Always create Export derivative files for those that need to be shared.
  3. A system wide backup that will provide version control and redundancy for the Catalog file and the master original copies. This can be a locally attached drive, network volume or a dedicated cloud backup service like CrashPlan, Carbonite or BackBlaze. I recommend both a local solution AND a cloud service. The Local backup provides relatively quick restoration in the event of the eventual disk failure or the unanticipated "stupid user mistake". I recommend TimeMachine and Crashplan for local backup. Both are free, but Time Machine is a MacOS only solution. The Cloud Solution will provide a recovery path for a catastrophic event (Fire, Flood, tornado, pestilence etc.) Google Drive is not backup but simply a mirrored view of data files. Delete a file on the local Google drive and it is gone everywhere. It is also expensive with large storage needs (I have almost 400GB of data store in the Crashplan cloud)
After you have developed a solution that covers the three storage types listed above, we can address the "home studio, as well as in the client sites" requirements. With the LR catalog stored locally on the 256GBSSD you can take advantage of the Smart Previews stored with the catalog file and leave the master image copies on some removable hard Drive or NAS solution. With a mobile catalog file, a viable backup solution is imperative. Laptops get stolen or more easily damages in transit.
 

Ian.B

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as usual the guru above has cover most of it
moving the older work to an external hard drive will free up the lappy h/drive
deleting the unwanted files will also free up space; however it can take time if some tagging/keywording/filing hasn't been done when the photos were taken /edited .
PSD and TIFF files can take up a lot of space; especially when the large pro gear is used and files have layers . To get around that I now save (export back to folder) psd files as a dng although I feel I should be saving as jpg --- but don't forget to delete the psd/tiff files

I would not trust cloud alone so external storage is the only other option

It's important IMO to have a system in place so all the best of the best files are retained and the rejects and maybes are removed now or later . I'm getting back to a folder system of date/job folder with a few sub folders for picks/edited/working on and the like so I can use it outside LR if need be later. That worked pre-LR so no reason it will not work now
 

James Rickert

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Clee-

Thanks so much for taking the time to write the detailed reply!

So it seems that the NAS will work for the master images, but the catalog should be kept on the local machine. Then we back up both catalog and master images in one (or preferably two) backup locations. This all makes sense.

Like you mentioned, finding the path from 2 locations (home, client site) will be the only issue to address. The NAS has the ability to set up remote access, but I'm sure the path will look very different from on and off site.

Thanks again for your help. I will update here when we have the NAS set up and let you know how it worked.

-Rick
 
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Like you mentioned, finding the path from 2 locations (home, client site) will be the only issue to address.
Actually, it is not an issue at all and doesn't enter into the problem solution since you do not need the Master images to use the Catalog file remotely on the laptop with Smart Previews available. Smart Previews can be carried in the same folder as the LR catalog file. You can develop, tag, etc when you only have the Smart Previews and the Original image files are back at home. There are only a few operations that require the original. These are printing and exporting (although you can do these to produce slightly diminished quality images.
 

tboydva

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The option I use is to put my lightroom catalog (with smart previews) on a fast RAID0 SSD array. I sync that using Dropbox (and I encrypt for additional security - I like Boxcryptor). Then on my laptop, I have the same Dropbox:Boxcryptor folder system. As Cletus says, you can "see" and work with photos via the smart previews on the laptop. I store my photos locally on an SSD (for recent ones), then move to my RAID NAS sequentially (and do real-time sync from local drive to the NAS). NAS backs up to crashplan. This way, you have catalog history (should something get corrupted). It's fast, and all your lightroom assets (catalog, photos, etc) are backed up in multiple locations (we actually had a fire in our house last year, so it can happen!).
 

djf3rd

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Hi All,

After years of Elements, I decided to try Lightroom. I’m retired and traveling full time in a small RV since January 12th and have started everything fresh: Lightroom CC, late 2016 MacBook Pro (all previous photos are stored on my old Mac), 2 TB My Passport EHD, Canon 80D DSLR. I shoot large JPEG’s (don’t judge) so the files are 8MB or so and my biggest problem has always been running out of storage space. I am hopeful that Smart Previews will help alleviate this problem or at least delay its eventual arrival. I currently have a Catalog of about 8,000 images taking up 100GB of my 256 GB HD.

Yesterday I took my first small step and experimented with one file from my catalog, plugged in my EHD (partitioned half to Time Machine backup and half empty) and instructed LR to create a Smart Preview. It accomplished that because the right panel in LR indicates that an original as well as a SP exist, but they both apparently exist on my Mac HD. When I eject the EHD, LR says both are still available. I guess I thought LR would find the EHD and transfer the original file there. I have since learned that LR is ignoring the EHD because it does not contain any files that are LR appropriate (the two EHD partitions appear accurately in Finder but no external drive is present in LR).

I believe I need to instruct LR to transfer the Master file to the EHD and somehow give it a file path to follow. Can someone assist me in these beginning steps, if my assumption is correct?

Thanks much, in advance!

Dave
 
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I believe I need to instruct LR to transfer the Master file to the EHD and somehow give it a file path to follow. Can someone assist me in these beginning steps, if my assumption is correct?
Yes, you need to instruct Lightroom to move the master image to the EHD. How else is Lightroom supposed to know that? The path is automatically created in the catalog, because the catalog only contains paths to images, not the images themselves. You may want to create a top folder on the EHD first (in Windows Explorer), all your image folders will go inside that folder. Then, at the top of the Folder Panel in Lightroom, click on the plus icon and choose 'Add Folder'. Navigate to the top folder you just created and select it. That will add this folder to the Lightroom folder panel. In the same way, you can now add subfolders to that top folder. Then all you have to is select the images you want to move, and drag and drop them onto one of those subfolders. Alternatively, you can move entire folders by dragging and dropping them.
 

djf3rd

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Johan,

Thanks for your response! I took your advise and created a top level folder as well as 2 subfolders in Finder (I’m on a Mac) with naming consistent with the names in my LR Catalog: “Pictures”, “2016” and “2017”. I added an additional sub within 2017, 2017-05-27, the location of the test photo that had a SP. I then clicked on the + icon in the Folder Panel bringing up an Import window and navigated to these folders. However LR would not allow import as it found no appropriate files within. I then Moved the one test file from my laptop HD to the 2017-05-27 folder (the description in Grid view changed from Original + Smart Preview to just Smart Preview) and attempted to import again. This time I received the message that the image was a duplicate of an existing file, I clicked on override and the image as well as the top level and two sub folders (2017 & 2017-05-27) appeared. In Grid view I now have one test image labelled Smart Preview and a second labelled Original. Test edits done in the develop mode on the SP had no affect on the Original, obviously they were not linked!

Additionally I selected a small folder containing 8 files, created SP’s, then moved the folder and files from my HD to the EHD, again in Finder. The remaining images in grid view are identified as Smart Previews. I assume that if I imported this folder into LR I would end up with 16 images, 8 SP and 8 originals.

Obviously, I’m missing some pretty basic step in the process of getting the HD Smart Preview files linked to the EHD Originals! If you think you can clarify further, it would be much appreciated!

Dave
 
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Johan's advice was very simple, but unfortunately you don't appear to have followed it. In order to move an existing file from one drive to another (which is what we both understood you were trying to achieve) then you do NOT attempt to re-import it....instead you simply drag and drop the file (or files, or folders) using the Folders Panel in Lightroom. In your situation the steps should have been:

1. Create the folder/sub-folder structure on the EHD using the Folders Panel so that they now appear in the Folders Panel.
2. In the Grid view, select the file(s) that you want to move to the EHD and drag from the centre (not the border) of the image (or any one of the selected images if moving multiples), and "drop" it on the desired sub-folder on the EHD in the Folders Panel.

And that's it, the image(s) is/are moved by Lightroom and the Folders count will be updated to reflect that. Then you can take the EHD offline, and you should see LR using the SP only.
 

happycranker

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James, I use a Synology DS414 NAS for many years with no problems at all, so it is a good solution for storing all your pictures. I am gradually updating the HD's for 4 TB versions, as space requires.
 

djf3rd

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Jim,
Thanks for your clarification. The process as you and Johan have described is now working perfectly for me and I’m creating Smart Previews of my Catalog, folder by folder. I’m not sure what I was doing but it was bringing up an Import window, which I tried to follow. It’s obvious to me now that that was the incorrect route. Please excuse my ignorance!!

Thanks again to both of you.
Dave
 

James Rickert

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Hi All-

Original poster here. We have set up our Synology DS416 and are pretty happy with it. All my wifes images are on there, and the catalog is on her machine. The two remaining issues we have are:

1. She mapped a drive to the NAS, but each time she powers down and powers back up, Lightroom no longer sees that drive. It's still visible on the desktop, she can reconnect to it, but it doesn't reconnect automatically when she opens Lightroom. Should it?
2. When she is off-site at a client site, she can see the images on the Synology through the Synology web portal, but she has not found a way to access those images through Lightroom. It looks as though the fix mentioned by others is just to use Smart Previews. Is there any other way to accomplish this, as she does not use smart previews (yet). I'm guessing that by using Smart Previews, those files are stored on the local machine, correct?

-Rick
 

yieldhog

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May 24, 2020
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The option I use is to put my lightroom catalog (with smart previews) on a fast RAID0 SSD array. I sync that using Dropbox (and I encrypt for additional security - I like Boxcryptor). Then on my laptop, I have the same Dropbox:Boxcryptor folder system. As Cletus says, you can "see" and work with photos via the smart previews on the laptop. I store my photos locally on an SSD (for recent ones), then move to my RAID NAS sequentially (and do real-time sync from local drive to the NAS). NAS backs up to crashplan. This way, you have catalog history (should something get corrupted). It's fast, and all your lightroom assets (catalog, photos, etc) are backed up in multiple locations (we actually had a fire in our house last year, so it can happen!).
I too have Boxcryptor, but when I elect to import photos from the X: directory, they are pulled into Lightroom as though they came from the original DropBox directory (in my case D:). My understanding of Boxcryptor is that you are encouraged to work from the X: directory to maintain proper syncing. Not sure if this is a Boxcryptor or Lightroom question, but thought you might know.
 
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