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Implementing a new workflow and backup system

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Hali MacLaren

New Member
Mar 17, 2017
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Hi all!

I am relatively new to the forum but have been using lightroom since 2012 and I fear I have developed some VERY bad habits! I was taught to work off an external hard drive while in school so my Catalogue was always stored on there rather than my laptop. I tried a few years ago to have a main Cat on my laptop but I had trouble syncing the two existing Cats and so I had image multiples on one drive and I was missing some in another.. then I started running out of memory across the board.. It's a cluster-fluff. I believe I am currently using 1Tb, 5400rpm USB 3 EHDs, one for my old macbook's time machine backups, another for my current macbook's time machine and two working EHDs that I would like to clean up somehow.

I have a jewelry business (product photography) and I also work as a freelancer (interior/real estate) and want to separate my photos of each company into two different catalogues or drives (or three for personal photos). Would you recommend this since I have so many images dating from 2012? I guess the other option would be having one main Cat possibly on my Mac but with all images saved to the drives separately ? Where then should my original image backups live? Maybe a 4th EHD combining all Photos? Or would you tell me to have a separate backup drive PER working drive. 2 for Freelance, 2 for Jewelry, 2 for Personal use? I read another few posts on here about Internal vs External, and RPM and connection differences but I still don't know what would be best for me.

Thank you for any advice you may have to offer!
First question is when doing Jewelry business do you need images from freelance or personal? Or any combination thereof?
If no, then three separate catalogs is viable. If only rarely then three separate catalogs is viable. If yes, then combined catalogs is the better way to go.
Next, if you combine catalogs, consider how you are going to divide the images. I would suggest a keyword.

After this, it becomes a matter of money and hardware. If you can afford it, two single large drives are the best solution. A primary drive with a folder containing images per catalog. Depending on the space available on the laptop, you could keep the catalog(s) on the internal drive. If not sufficient space, collocate the catalog with its associated images.
The second drive is for backups. This is just your local backup. Make sure you also consider an offsite backup solution.

Now to fix the disorganization, we need some of the others on this forum to help, they are really good at it.

Good luck,
If not sufficient space, collocate the catalog with its associated images.
The second drive is for backups. This is just your local backup. Make sure you also consider an offsite backup solution.
So for example one EHD will have the jewelry images and jewelry catalogue then I'll have a second EHD for Jewelry image backups + cat backups ?
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