How to store photos on your disks

As a photographer you collect many, many photos over the years. Back, in film days, there were prints, slides, mounted slides and developed films to store carefully. They had to be stored dark, dry and preferably dust-free.

Today, when we have digital photos, the problems changed a bit. We don’t need that large cabinets anymore, because a digital photo need much less space. But, because it’s so cheap to make a photo, we have much more of them.

In film days, we have had folders for the developed films and hand-written index sheets or card boxes for the slide trays. This was done carefully, to have chance to find a certain photo without much effort.

Today I want to introduce you to my digital filing system.

photo-development-workflowFirst of all, I have my SD card containing the photos. On trips I usually transfer them every evening from my card to my computer and check them. The check is for making sure there is no corrupt file. I also delete bad photos: unintentionally shutter releases, obvious mismatched focus or unrepairable over- or under-exposed photos. Then I make a second copy to an external USB disk and clear the SD cards for the next day.

I create a folder for the trip like: “20140629 – Iceland”
Below this folder I create separate folders for each part of the trip. (note: photowalks and roundtables usually don’t have this additional level)

20140629 – arrival
20140630 – 01 – Gullfoss
20140630 – 02 – Geysir
20140630 – 03 – Brúaráfoss
20140701 – 01 – Pseudo crate field
20140701 – 02 – Viking house
20140701 – 03 – Gjáin Foss

This scheme makes it much easier to find a certain photo later. (keywording is not subject to this post)

As I wrote in my last ‘tech‘ post, I’m a raw shooter. Thus, I have to do my developments, when I’m back at home (on a trip I only develop very few, but really fantastic, photos).

Therefore I create a sub-folder called “edit” inside the folder of certain trip part. Each developed photo is stored inside this edit folder. When I’m ready with all development of a folder, I start a batch process for exporting all developments to JPG-Files. Subsequently I start another batch job, that creates some further sub-folders for the original (printable) JPG and a watermarked file in web resolution.

photo-storageWhen I’m finished with a project, I move all JPGs to my file server, all developed files go to my NAS and all untouched raws to an external USB disk. On both storage devices, I have folders named by the year to hold the folders mentioned above. My file server and my NAS are backed up every day (night) to separate, independent USB disks. The external USB disk with all the raws isn’t backed up separately. Now, the pristine second copy isn’t needed anymore and thus cleared for a new use.

2014
 ⤷ 2014 – Iceland
    ⤷ 20140629 - arrival
       ⤷ big
       ⤷ org
       ⤷ web
    ⤷ 20140630 - 01 - Gullfoss
       ⤷ big
       ⤷ org
       ⤷ web
    ⤷ 20140630 - 02 – Geysir
       ⤷ big
       ⤷ org
       ⤷ web
    ⤷ 20140630 - 03 – Brúaráfoss
    ⤷ 20140701 - 01 - Pseudo crate field
    ⤷ 20140701 - 02 - Viking house
    ⤷ 20140701 - 03 - Gjáin Foss

Both, file server and NAS, are built from regular computer parts and set up with Linux. Thus, I’m able to adapt them easily, in case of new requirements.

My desktop computer is also backed up every night. All those backups are incremental backups. This is copying only the modified files, instead of the whole disk. Thus a backup is finished usually in less than half an hour, depending on the amount of modified files.

Take care for you valuable files. Have a backup!

Happy snapping 🙂

 

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