To keep my precious images safe, I use:
4 External Hard Drives – Equates to 4 copies of my original images (RAW files)
Lightroom 4.2 – I use Lr to import, export, move files around and edit
You may be asking yourself, why on earth does she need 4 external hard drives?!?! Well I want to minimize any loss of my images; original RAW files. So I have 3 on my desk, 1 always unplugged in case I need to “get out” in a hurry and 1 is offsite. Keeping 4 EXHDDs up to date takes a little added work, but if that means ensuring I won’t lose any or very little of my images it’s worth it! Oh and in case you’re wondering, I have well over 60,000 original RAW files. At some point I will be doing an article on edits; what I keep, how I keep them and why.
My external hard drive of choice is Western Digital. I have 7 of their products (500MB – 3GB of storage) and haven’t had 1 issue with any of them over the past decade or more. The only thing I didn’t like about them to begin with was their software that comes with each EXHDD. I found it to be a pain in the butt and don’t use it anymore. I plug in the EXHDD and I’m ready to add folders if need be or just copy things over. Easy peasy! I would suggest when copying over files to do a small amount at a time; less strain on computer and less chance of bogging down your other work.
Sidebar: I never ever put any of my original files on my computer’s internal drive! Editing software take quite a bit of resources and to keep a computer running fast, it’s best to have as much free space as you can. On my 27″ iMac, there is 900GB of free space on the 1TB internal drive, as I only put necessary applications on the internal drive. No bling, no images, nothing. In over 20 years, I’ve never had a hard drive crash nor have I ever formatted a computers HDD. I’ve replace only 2 internal drives: one for a recall, the other I knew was going out
First I’d like to state, that my workflow fits me to a tee and each has to figure out what works for them. Feel free to use my method, change it up or don’t use it at all. :) Ok now let’s do this.
I do absolutely everything related to images and folders of images using Lightroom. If I mess up and don’t use Lr to say move a folder around on my EXHDD, Lr will tell me it can’t find the work I want. Again that’s for another article, but suffice to say, use Lr to make your work easier. In my humble opinion Lr is the best thing a photographer can own, yet you may like something else.