Hello from a new Mac, Lightroom and forum user!

paul.howard27

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Good afternoon and a happy Christmas to you all.

About me:
My name's Paul, I'm 34 years old living in tier 4 London, UK. I picked up a Sony A6000 just over 4 years ago now when I found myself wanting to shoot the surrounding landscape when I lived in North Wales. Fast forward to now and I have amassed a little less than 100gb of photos from various countries, trips, hikes, streets etc. I'm also a little lighter in the wallet with a few additional lenses in my pack as well as now (poorly) dabbling in the world of film photography! My camera has become a constant companion.

My 'workflow' from 2016 - current:
Shoot 99% .jpg and 1% .jpg+raw when I thought I'd want to play with proper editing tools. I'd upload to my phone what I wanted to share to social media (with free Lightroom mobile editing) and then I'd periodically save all to an external HDD and then doubly saved (copy+paste) to an additional external HDD.

Why I'm here:
Like a lot of people, I found myself on furlough for a lot of time this year. Summer was fine as I like to cycle but with the winter months looming, I thought it was a great time to invest in a more robust photo managing/editing workflow than just uploading to my phone and learn to finally use Lightroom.
A good friend of mine offered me his old Macbook which is now my current machine. Specs are as follows: Macbook Pro Retina 13" (Early 2015), 2.7 GHz i5, 16gb ram, 256gb SSD. I've never owned a Macbook before, let alone had a good laptop so this thing is bloody lovely to use despite its age.
Whilst trying this machine out, I setup a Lightroom (Cloud based) trial after much research on the differences between Classic and Lr. I've uploaded approx. 10gb of photos to get me going. So far I've enjoyed the layout as well the subtle hints and tips on the sliders. I've calibrated the screen within the Apple monitor settings and have since had printed a photo with (what I think) is good success. I'm following Victoria's star rating method and setting up folders/keywords. It's also extremely easy to open my phone, find my photos in the Lr app, export and upload to social media. All in all, I'm enjoying the editing process.

But now I'm finding myself diving down a rabbit hole with regard to backing up photos/data. I just don't know where to start! Which after a few hours of reading has made me question whether I want to switch to Lr Classic and utilise my SSD storage! My brain is officially scrambled.

Questions:
What best do I do with; 256gb of internal SSD storage, 1 Tb of external HDD and 2Tb of external HDD storage and then 1Tb of Adobe cloud storage?
Can I utilise Time Machine to backup one HDD to the other or am I fine to just copy and paste manually? The latter doesn't really feel like a robust method and I definitely put off doing so.
Is there any third party backup methods people would recommend instead of/along side Time Machine? I've loosely read about Carbon Copy Cloner and various others.
All of the above considered with the cloud based Lightroom, am I right in thinking I'd never have a backup of the edited images unless exported from Lightroom?

I guess I'm trying to make sure I hit the ground running before I find myself in far too deep with a very clunky method!

If anyone can offer any help or even just words of wisdom/confidence boosting then it'd be much appreciated. I'm also a first time forum user so I'm already battling my anxious thoughts to post (which may also be contributing to how scrambled I'm feeling about backups!)

Thanks so much if you've made it this far!

Paul
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
12,839
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Questions:
What best do I do with; 256gb of internal SSD storage, 1 Tb of external HDD and 2Tb of external HDD storage and then 1Tb of Adobe cloud storage?
Can I utilise Time Machine to backup one HDD to the other or am I fine to just copy and paste manually? The latter doesn't really feel like a robust method and I definitely put off doing so.
Is there any third party backup methods people would recommend instead of/along side Time Machine? I've loosely read about Carbon Copy Cloner and various others.
All of the above considered with the cloud based Lightroom, am I right in thinking I'd never have a backup of the edited images unless exported from Lightroom?

I guess I'm trying to make sure I hit the ground running before I find myself in far too deep with a very clunky method!

If anyone can offer any help or even just words of wisdom/confidence boosting then it'd be much appreciated. I'm also a first time forum user so I'm already battling my anxious thoughts to post (which may also be contributing to how scrambled I'm feeling about backups!)

Thanks so much if you've made it this far!

Paul
Hi Paul, welcome to the forum.

I'll do my best to answer your questions, though ultimately it's your decision as to which version of Lightroom you decide to use.

1. Using Time Machine: you can only have one active TM backup drive, though I believe it can backup data from multiple drives. But if you're thinking of using TM to "backup a backup", you might simply be better off using a third-party backup utility as well as TM. That's basically what I do, using TM to backup critical data continuously and then run weekly (or more frequent) backups to multiple external drives (some of which are cycled off-site). I use Chronosync for those additional backups, though there are other utilities pobably just as good (CCC being one of them). Manual "copy and paste" backups really are very inefficient.

2. Regarding having a backup of edited images....actually with a non-destructive editor (which both versions of Lightroom are) the images are not ever directly edited. So a backup strategy requires a backup of the original images, plus a backup of all the changes that you might have made (not just edits, but also any metadata such as keywords, ratings, titles, captions, etc.)....and therein lies a fundamental difference between LrClassic and the cloud-based Lightroom. With Classic, all that additional data is stored in the local catalog database, so a good backup strategy would see both original images AND the catalog backed up. It's also possible to have a lot of that additional catalog data (though not all) "saved to XMP"....that means for propritary raw files a small XMP "sidecar" file containing all the metadata is created alongside the original raw file. For all other files types, the data would be stored directly inside the XMP portion of the file's header.

The benefit of saving that metadata to XMP is that it's possible then to recreate 95% of your catalog if you lose the existing catalog completely, i.e. by importing all the images into a new catalog which would read and apply the data stored in XMP. Some users do that additional "save to XMP", others don't bother if they are confident in their images and catalog backup routine.

The cloud-based Lightroom is different. Yes, there is a local catalog, though the master catalog is stored in the cloud (and there is no catalog backup option like there is in LrC). Yes, it's possible to backup the local catalog yourself, e.g. using TM or CCC or similar, but I'm not sure there's any point to that. The local catalog is sub-servient to the master catalog in the cloud, so will always be updated to reflect the state of the master catalog. I've not yet been able to find a way to spoof the master catalog into syncing changes from an earlier (different) restored local catalog. Also, local image backup with the cloud version means that you have to find a way to do that before importing into Lightroom. You could of course use the "Store a local copy of all originals" option, then include that local copy in your system backup strategy, but you still don't have a backup of the edits and other added metadata. Yes, you could export as "Original + Settings" (which gives you the same outcome as if you'd saved to XMP in Classic), but that's a tiresome manual method which is very prone to error.

Ultimately, with a cloud-only decision, you are basically putting your trust in Adobe to not have an accidental loss of your data (images and catalog). I have no doubt that everything is being backed up by Adobe, but I don't know how secure those servers are to external threats.

The other factor in making the decision is the functionality that they each offer. Obviously Classic has more tools (Print, Web, Book, Slideshow, etc.), but doesn't support the cloud in the same way (can't upload originals, can't sync keywords, location data, face recognition data, presets). Conversely, the Lightroom system has less tools but has a much richer set of cloud functionality. So what's most important to you?
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
1,092
Location
UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17,389
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Using Time Machine: you can only have one active TM backup drive, though I believe it can backup data from multiple drives.
This is not correct. You can backup your critical user data (from several volumes) to multiple backup volumes. Each Backup volume becomes a standalone backup volume that does not require the other volumes. TimeMachine will alternate/rotate between backup volumes every 60 minutes.
The only cautions about Time Machine Backups that I can give is to ensure that any backup volume is large enough to hold the number of volumes that is will be backing up . (IOW, if you are backing up 4 disk drives that have a total capacity of 12 TB, your one TimeMachine Backup volume needs to be at least 12TB. )
My iMac has three volumes that contain critical user data (Macintosh HD, and two volumes of Lightroom Photos). About 5TB of data. I Alternately back these up to a networked Time Capsule (6TB) and a separate Thunderbolt attached EHD (8TB)
You can only have one instance of TimeMachine running and it needs to encompass ALL of your critical user data in every backup. While there must likely be some limit to the number of Time Machine volumes that can be added , I don't know that Limit. I have had at times, 3 separate Time Machine volumes collecting backup of my user data. You can mount or unmount volumes in any order and TimeMachine will backup to the volumes that it finds mounted in turn.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17,389
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
What best do I do with; 256gb of internal SSD storage, 1 Tb of external HDD and 2Tb of external HDD storage and then 1Tb of Adobe cloud storage?
Can I utilise Time Machine to backup one HDD to the other or am I fine to just copy and paste manually?
Time Machine is an excellent system backup app. Every Mac user should be taking advantage of this free backup utility. The problem to be resolves is total backup capacity. You can backup the 256GB internal and the 1TB EHD to the 2TB EHD using Time Machine.
Out of the Box, Time Machine is set to do a system backup of the Primary disk drive. Other volumes are excluded initially but can be included using Time Machine Option Preferences.

As I stated earlier in my previous comment, I utilize several TM Backup disks. Each one provides a complete system backup of my primary disk drive and my volumes containing my image files. My reasoning for this is simple. All disk drives fail, even TimeMachine backup drives. By having two separate backups, I have the security of knowing that one of the TM Backups is available to restore if need be.

Your decision between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic is not to be considered lightly. If you go the Lightroom Classic route, you have the security and responsibility of have complete control over your master files. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are covered with sufficient backup files when the eventual disk failure occurs . Lightroom Classic offers some functionality not (yet) present in Lightroom (cloudy) This may be important to you or maybe not.
If you choose to go exclusively with Lightroom (cloudy), you are trusting your image data and work effort to the Adobe Cloud) While Adobe will keep your image files and your work on them, It is not a backup. Adobe has great redundancy built into their cloud but (your) human error can still interfere with the safety of your data. Deleted image file are only retained for 60(?) days. If you delete something by mistake, after that retention period expires, it is gone forever. Lightroom Cloudy does offer a local option to keep a copy of your images file locally. If local disk space is not a premium, then this would be one option to consider.
The decision between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic does not have to be either/or. There are some workflows that blend the two. The easiest of these is to use Lightroom Classic as a Primary source for your images and to sync important subsets (collections) to Lightroom Albums. This offers the ability to share your Lightroom Classic images on the web, and on mobile devices ( Phones, tablets).
 

paul.howard27

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Many, many thanks for your replies to my post. You've given me plenty of food for thought regarding to backing up my data.
I'll do my best to answer your questions
Hi Jim, thanks so much for the comprehensive reply. I am leaning toward a backup method much like your answer to my first question; utilising TM and a third party backup app across my two external HDD. I've been reading today about partitioning my 2Tb drive so as TM can indulge in 1Tb and I have 1Tb 'spare' then use the second HDD to 'clone' my computer via a third party app. Which leads me into Cletus' reply:
Out of the Box, Time Machine is set to do a system backup of the Primary disk drive. Other volumes are excluded initially but can be included using Time Machine Option Preferences.
Thanks for the reply Cletus. As I understand what you said, TM can back up to both HDD alternately providing me with two physical copies, which would solve the case of backing up my backup (so to speak). But I've read that TM will not create a bootable clone of my machine, is that correct? Can you say whether I have a requirement for a bootable clone? After all, this is a second hand, 5 year old machine (I did say I've dived down the proverbial rabbit hole!)

With all the above being said, I've since found both HDDs are formatted to Windows NTFS.. and both contain my only copies of my entire computing history along with a LOT of unorganised and undeleted photos and media. So I've stumbled into another problem for now.. Moving 500gb of data somewhere before formatting/partitioning HDD which would ensure I maintain a second copy of my data. My two options I can see so far:
  • Buy a third HDD, formatted for Mac. Drop files on there which frees up one HDD for re-formatting for TM backups. This feels like overkill but right now may be a good option to 'start over' with my file management!
  • Ingest photos folder by folder into my Mac and use ApolloOne to cull everything I don't need, giving me a much better ground to organise files and then upload to Lr. (So far, I've been culling within Lightroom; Import from SD card, pause sync, filter out photos for culling, delete said images, sync Lightroom with cloud. But this method doesn't remove them from my SD card.
I think I'm finding out very quickly the need for a more robust method of data storing, let alone backing up. And this reply doesn't even touch onto the Lr vs. Lightroom Classic debate, although I very much appreciate your responses in regard to that.

Cheers all,

Paul
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17,389
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Many, many thanks for your replies to my post. You've given me plenty of food for thought regarding to backing up my data.

Hi Jim, thanks so much for the comprehensive reply. I am leaning toward a backup method much like your answer to my first question; utilising TM and a third party backup app across my two external HDD. I've been reading today about partitioning my 2Tb drive so as TM can indulge in 1Tb and I have 1Tb 'spare' then use the second HDD to 'clone' my computer via a third party app. Which leads me into Cletus' reply:

Thanks for the reply Cletus. As I understand what you said, TM can back up to both HDD alternately providing me with two physical copies, which would solve the case of backing up my backup (so to speak). But I've read that TM will not create a bootable clone of my machine, is that correct? Can you say whether I have a requirement for a bootable clone? After all, this is a second hand, 5 year old machine (I did say I've dived down the proverbial rabbit hole!)

With all the above being said, I've since found both HDDs are formatted to Windows NTFS.. and both contain my only copies of my entire computing history along with a LOT of unorganised and undeleted photos and media. So I've stumbled into another problem for now.. Moving 500gb of data somewhere before formatting/partitioning HDD which would ensure I maintain a second copy of my data. My two options I can see so far:
  • Buy a third HDD, formatted for Mac. Drop files on there which frees up one HDD for re-formatting for TM backups. This feels like overkill but right now may be a good option to 'start over' with my file management!
  • Ingest photos folder by folder into my Mac and use ApolloOne to cull everything I don't need, giving me a much better ground to organise files and then upload to Lr. (So far, I've been culling within Lightroom; Import from SD card, pause sync, filter out photos for culling, delete said images, sync Lightroom with cloud. But this method doesn't remove them from my SD card.
I think I'm finding out very quickly the need for a more robust method of data storing, let alone backing up. And this reply doesn't even touch onto the Lr vs. Lightroom Classic debate, although I very much appreciate your responses in regard to that.

Cheers all,

Paul

Let me clarify. TM makes one file called a “sparsebundle” file. It contains a unique copy of every change made to files included in the backup. As you know, every mounted volume is represented by a folder on the root of the computer. The means that your external volume folders and your internal volume folders are represented in that singular sparse bundle file. You will not have a separate sparsebundle file for each volume. That is why the target backup volume needs to be larger enough to accommodate all the volumes in the TM backup.
If you have more than one backup target volume, TM will make (nearly) identical s”sparsebundle” files on each target backup volume.

Time Machine will not create a bootable clone. You don’t need a bootable clone. All Macintosh computers come with a MacOS Recovery mode. Your Mac can initialize a bare drive, format it and restore from a TimeMachine backup file. Boot your Mac while holding the {Cmd}{R} mode to bring up the Mac Recovery mode. It won’t hurt any thing to boot into recovery mode just to see the options available from Recovery mode.

NTFS is not a suitable format for a permanently attached EHD. Reformatting will lose data So you might want to clean off the 2TB drive before reformatting to APFS. TimeMachine will need to be of a volume formatted as APFS or HFS+.
I am of the opinion that you can’t have too many EHDs. I have 6TB, 8TB and 10TB EHDs. There is no benefit of partitioning a HDD. So keep the 2TB volume as large as possible


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

paul.howard27

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
I am of the opinion that you can’t have too many EHDs. I have 6TB, 8TB and 10TB EHDs. There is no benefit of partitioning a HDD. So keep the 2TB volume as large as possible
Thanks again Cletus. I think I'm slowly starting to unscramble my thoughts around this all.

I'm ordering a third EHD that I'll format to APFS/HFS+. Ingest everything from my 2Tb EHD onto it. Format the 2Tb EHD to APFSHFS+ and use it as my Time Machine backup device that I'm gathering can be used to look after both internal and external (the third EHD) volumes.
With regard to the current 1Tb EHD that is currently formatted to NTFS; I think I'm going to leave alone. It may be good to have one in this format that i can use on a Windows machine, should I need.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17,389
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
With regard to the current 1Tb EHD that is currently formatted to NTFS; I think I'm going to leave alone. It may be good to have one in this format that i can use on a Windows machine, should I need.
If you want a portable file format, NTFS is a poor choice. Without special intermediate software, you can not write to the NTFS filesystem from a Mac. The Windows OS is the only OS that can read and write to NTFS and then not before you the user claim ownership of the volume.
A portable filesystem that does not have the overlying file security is ExFAT or FAT32. This is the filesystem used for SD cards , thumbdrives etc.. Most Operating systems support drives up to 2TB using FAT32.
 

paul.howard27

New Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
4
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
If you want a portable file format, NTFS is a poor choice.
I definitely went with the 'plug and play' approach with EHDs as I never previously had a need to delve into the filesystem types. It's dully noted, thanks Cletus.
It's very likely then I'll format my 1Tb EHD (from Windows to ExFAT) once I'm organising files on my new EHD (via Mac) and setting up my existing 2Tb EHD to run TimeMachine.
It's only taken a few days to wrap my head around it! But I think I now have the beginnings of true redundancy in my data storage. Thanks all!
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
571
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Just wanted to throw in a little more info about alternate backups and bootable clones…

…or am I fine to just copy and paste manually? The latter doesn't really feel like a robust method and I definitely put off doing so.
Is there any third party backup methods people would recommend instead of/along side Time Machine? I've loosely read about Carbon Copy Cloner and various others.

You’re right, copy/paste is not a good way of doing backups. Copy/paste relies on you remembering exactly which files changed, it won’t catch hidden files, and it can’t maintain a trail of backup versions like Time Machine and others can. A good backup application notices every file that changed since the previous backup, so it doesn’t miss any files, and it can properly account for recreating arcane details to the backup volume such as hidden files, folder/file permissions (especially for restricted system files that can’t be copied/pasted), and extended attributes.

Some of the more popular and highly reliable Mac backup applications are Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper!, and ChronoSync. All can back up individual folders or an entire volume, and can also create a bootable Mac volume. It can take a little while to understand how to configure each of those options. These can be used to complement Time Machine, especially to create exact copies of volumes or folders in the normal format (as opposed to the special way Time Machine organizes its backups).

macOS has really tightened up security lately, and this has resulted in major changes to bootable backups that Mac users are still catching up with. In the past, you just told the backup software you wanted a full bootable backup of the entire system volume, and it would just do it. In macOS 10.11 Big Sur, there appear to be additional restrictions to get around because of how macOS now segregates, signs, and seals off the system separately from user data. Setting up a bootable clone is becoming complex enough that some Mac users might prefer to restore a Mac by wiping the drive, clean-installing the OS, and using their backup software to restore just the data.

I’ve been following the EclecticLight blog by Howard Oakley to keep up with the latest details, because things have changed so much that even veteran Mac users are finding that things are not working as they have for many years. It’s especially true for the new Apple Silicon Macs, as in the article Booting an M1 Mac from an external disk: it is possible. This is something new Mac users should be aware of: For macOS 10.11 Big Sur, and especially for the Apple Silicon Macs, some of the traditional advice about Macs not be true any more, so look for new information.
 
Top