The NAS Backup Workflow – How Pros Backup Photos

28 min

NAS Backup Photos

The entire information to how we use a NAS backup workflow to guard our photographs and movies.

NAS Backup Photos

The sorts of photographs you don’t need to lose! Learn on to listen to how we use a NAS backup in our workflow.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Synology and Seagate offered us the NAS system and exhausting drives in an effort to enhance our workflow and discuss our outcomes with our viewers. They didn’t pay us to advertise them, and so they have had no management or enter over the content material on this article. All ideas, opinions and our new workflow are totally our personal.

Again in 2014 we purchased ourselves somewhat point-and-shoot digicam to doc our most formidable journey to this point: Travelling from Thailand to South Africa with out flying.

We knew nothing about pictures, however over time it began to show right into a little bit of a interest of ours. From a interest it changed into a ardour, and shortly sufficient from a ardour right into a job.

Quick ahead to 2019 and we now work as skilled journey photographers, and have over 50 terabytes of photographs and movies from greater than 70 international locations in our digital media assortment.

Through the years the necessity to preserve this digital media protected has grow to be an ever-growing concern for us, particularly as we tackle increasingly more shoppers who contract us for creating photographs and movies.

Past the work facet, these photos and movies are additionally our reminiscences of journey, holding moments in time the place we’ve met unimaginable folks, explored outstanding areas and achieved unbelievable feats.

To lose this might be tragic not only for our enterprise, however for private causes as nicely.

However despite the fact that we realise simply how helpful our digital media is, it isn’t till very lately that we truly established a correct workflow to again these up utilizing a NAS backup system.

At the moment we need to share with you what we used to do, and what we do now, to professionally again up our photographs and movies.

How We Backup Pictures – From No Methodology to Professional Workflow

After we took our first trip to Antarctica in 2017, we captured over 2TB of photographs and movies in 11 days. That’s quite a lot of footage.

There’s two causes we took shot and filmed a lot. The primary was that it was Antarctica, a spot so stunning that phrases don’t do it justice.

The second is that it was a piece journey, and we have been making an attempt to get one of the best content material attainable for our consumer. And as such this digital media was extraordinarily essential for all events concerned.

Shedding it wasn’t an possibility.

Sadly we’re additionally full-time travellers, and after we disembarked from the ship in Ushuaia, we spent the subsequent four months wandering round Patagonia and the remainder of Chile, with two exhausting drives full of our Most worthy content material ever.

Importing it to the cloud wasn’t an possibility. Web was barely ok to submit a photograph to Instagram half the time, so making an attempt to place 4K video footage and 1000’s of RAW recordsdata right into a cloud storage system would by no means have labored.

If we had have misplaced these exhausting drives, had them stolen, or if they simply turned corrupted, we’d have had quite a lot of explaining to do to our consumer…

Fortunately nothing occurred, and after we lastly settled into an AirBnB for a few weeks with a strong web connection we managed to get a very powerful media into the cloud.

Ever since then although we’ve realised that our workflow of backing up photographs and movies was simply horrendous, and it’s been a sluggish journey looking for the right methodology.

Lastly, after years of trial and error, now we have it found out, and with our NAS storage for house and a redundant backup resolution we’re feeling assured with our media.

We’ll be the primary to confess that our previous workflow of backing up photographs was fairly dangerous to say the least.

Right here’s what we used to do:

NAS Backup Antarctica

Regardless of capturing hundreds of thousands of lovely pictures over time, we didn’t actually again them up significantly.

First, Take a Million Pictures and Movies

We aren’t very conservative on the subject of the variety of photographs and movies we seize.

With two of us strolling round with full-frame cameras round our necks capturing in RAW, a GoPro every videoing 4K footage and our telephones taking fast pics and movies for social media, it’s not remarkable for us to finish up with over 100gb of footage in a single single day.

Particularly if we’re on an project someplace stunning like South Georgia, our cameras are consistently firing, and we’re all the time filling up SD playing cards.

After we stuffed one up, we’d put it into our digicam bag and substitute it with an empty one, then repeat the method.

Again As much as a USB Exhausting Drive

As soon as we stuffed up all of our SD playing cards (which may take anyplace from a day to every week, relying on the place we’re), we’d lastly empty them onto a transportable USB exhausting drive. 

Usually we’d be drained or in a rush to exit for dinner or do some extra capturing, so this might be a quick-and-dirty methodology.

Our organisation wasn’t too dangerous (we’d have two exhausting drives, one for picture and one for video, and we’d kind the folders out like this: Nation > Metropolis > Day), however it could fairly actually simply be a replica and paste affair. This meant we’d find yourself with a whole bunch of 1000’s of recordsdata referred to as DSC*******, the place the celebs are only a quantity sequence. 

After we had the content material backed up, we’d then format the SD card in-camera, prepared for the subsequent full day of capturing.

Tongariki Sunrise NAS Backup

When someone emailed us wanting to purchase this image for a tourism show, it took us greater than 30 minutes to search out the unique RAW file, as a result of we had no organisation workflow in place.


If we had a while we’d edit a few photographs for social media, export them at 2048 pixels broad to the laptop computer, then share them on-line.

We wouldn’t undergo each picture although. It could simply be a fast edit of the one or two photographs that we thought have been one of the best from that day, then we’d transfer on with our life.

From time to time we’d sit down to jot down a weblog submit, or put collectively a group for a consumer, and solely then would we return and discover the photographs that we’d want for that specific job.

We’d edit and export them at low-res, importing to them to this web site, or high-res and attempt to get them to the cloud.

Automated Dropbox Sync for Edited Pictures

That is fairly actually the one time we uploaded something to the cloud, as a result of all the time having crappy web wherever we travelled.

Our folder of edited photographs on the laptop computer had an auto-sync to Dropbox related. Each time we ended up someplace with an honest web connection, we’d sync the folder to Dropbox.

All of our different RAW recordsdata and video clips although would proceed to dwell on the exhausting drive endlessly.

Consumer Media

If we had a lot of pictures or movies we’d should ship to a consumer, we’d edit these by the deadline then add them to a shared folder on Dropbox. However that was the extent of our cloud storage options.

Hang Son Doong

One of many pictures we captured on an project to the world’s greatest cave. One consumer was Oxalis, the corporate that runs expeditions by means of the cave. The opposite was BBC. Shedding these pictures would have been a pricey mistake.


After the photographs have been backed as much as an exterior exhausting drive, then we might actually repeat the method daily or week, praying that the drives didn’t fail us or get stolen.

We’d journey around the globe, taking photographs, capturing movies, and simply gathering transportable exhausting drives. These would refill, then we’d purchase one other one, stashing the total drive into certainly one of our day packs.

We hardly ever made double copies of any digital media, except it was a very essential shoot for a consumer. However even then we’d simply have the identical content material on two exhausting drives, or make a folder of ‘greatest photographs’ that lived with us always.

This wouldn’t be an enormous subject if we solely travelled for every week at a time. However that’s not how we journey. For practically 5 years we have been fully nomadic, shifting round between totally different international locations with simply the gear on our backs, gathering increasingly more exhausting drives.

Going Residence – Bulk Backup

From time to time we’d come again to Australia to see household, and after we did we might exit and purchase a few bigger desktop exhausting drives, with capacities round 6TB or 8TB.

We’d take our transportable exhausting drives and replica all the media straight throughout to those new bigger desktop drives. Then we might take that large drive, put it right into a drawer at a member of the family’s home, and go travelling once more.

Afterwards we’d do certainly one of two issues with our full transportable exhausting drives – we’d both retire them, putting them in a drawer filled with no matter media was already on there, or we’d take them with us on the street if we thought we’d want the media from a specific vacation spot at some point (if we needed to jot down a weblog submit sooner or later for instance).

That is just about how we operated for years, and we all know we have been playing with our content material all the time. If a tough drive obtained corrupted or stolen whereas we have been on the street, all of these photos and video can be gone endlessly.

If someone contacted us and needed to purchase a high-resolution picture from a couple of years again, we simply needed to apologise and say we didn’t have entry to it. This occurred means too many instances, costing us enterprise.

We put this horrible workflow down to a few components:

  1. We have been all the time travelling
  2. We hardly ever had good web
  3. We didn’t know any higher

Fortunately this workflow is a factor of the previous, and we’ve now improved our programs with a NAS backup to make sure we’re not playing with our media.

Galapagos Islands Work Assignment

Capturing wildlife within the Galapagos Islands on a piece project.

Enhancing Our Workflow – Introduction of a NAS Backup System

This has all modified in 2019 as we lastly step up our horrible methodology of backing up and introduce knowledgeable workflow, doing every thing we will to make sure we will’t lose our media, and so we will have entry to it always from anyplace on the planet.

The very very first thing we did was introduce a NAS (Network Access Storage) backup system into our workflow. Should you don’t know what that is, don’t fear – we didn’t have a clue both till we began closely researching the way to greatest again up our photographs.

With out getting too technical, mainly a NAS is a sequence of exhausting drives positioned in a single unit, working collectively and related to a community. These are often called RAIDs, or Redundant Array of Cheap Disks.

This whole system of drives can then be accessed on your own home or workplace community, or in case you have it related to an web router, accessed on-line as nicely.

Sounds fancy, and maybe it’s in comparison with how we used to work, however when it comes to information storage it’s truly fairly commonplace, and plenty of enormous workplaces use related setups on a bigger scale.

Think about having your whole photographs and movies you’ve ever taken sitting on a couple of large exhausting drives at house, after which with the ability to entry these exhausting drives whilst you’re abroad as in the event that they have been plugged immediately into your laptop computer.

That’s mainly how we take a look at our NAS unit.

We now have our NAS put in at our grandparent’s home in Sydney, Australia. That is the place we briefly name house every time we’re again within the nation, and as of this yr it lastly has a steady web connection (web in Australia has all the time been at midnight ages).

A NAS is made up of two elements – the unit itself, and the exhausting drives that set up inside it. You possibly can’t have one with out the opposite.

These are the manufacturers and fashions that we use in our NAS picture backup system.

Synology DS1618+ NAS

The Synology DS1618+ NAS system that we now use to backup our photographs and movies in our house workplace.

Synology DS1618+ NAS

The model and mannequin of NAS we use is a Synology DS1618+. Synology are probably the greatest makers of NAS programs on the planet, with prime quality merchandise and a improbable assist crew in place, so if we ever have any questions, we will get a solution nearly instantly.

In addition they have years of analysis and improvement behind them, and have consistently been innovating the trade at a shopper stage, so we all know that their merchandise are as much as scratch.

The DS1618+ is a 6-bay NAS, which means we will set up 6 exhausting drives into it. It will possibly additionally join on to the web utilizing an ethernet cable.

As soon as it’s all arrange and related, which does take a couple of hours intially, we will entry the precise NAS by utilizing Synology’s consumer interface, which will be achieved by means of the community perform on our computer systems, or remotely utilizing a devoted and password-secured IP tackle and login.

The place this Synology system actually stands out for us although is the usage of their nice software program and functions, permitting us to work together, monitor and management the NAS with no need to know any technical expertise.

These do issues like robotically sync the media on our NAS to our cloud storage of selection, lets us rearrange all of our recordsdata, monitor its well being, share folders with shoppers and even entry recordsdata from our telephones.

It additionally has a bunch of technical options, similar to quad-core CPUs, 4GB of RAM (expandable as much as 32GB), non-compulsory SSD cache, the chance to put in a 10gbE community card, and so forth.

However we’ll be sincere, most of this goes straight over our heads. All we care about is that if it really works nicely and improves our skilled pictures workflow.  And it undoubtedly does.

Synology DS1618+ NAS Back

The again of the Synology DS1618+. Picture courtesy of Synology.

Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS Exhausting Drives

The Synology DS1618+ is the unit that we set up the exhausting drives into, however it doesn’t include the exhausting drives themselves. We needed to get these individually.

After chatting on to the crew at Synology they really useful Seagate IronWolf hard drives. We checked out the opinions and so they undoubtedly appeared like the best choice.

We ended up getting 6x Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS exhausting drives to put in into our system. This may give us a complete of 36TB of storage in a primary RAID setup.

Nonetheless we didn’t use a primary setup. After some extra analysis and proposals from the 2 groups at Synology and Seagate, we ended up utilizing a double-drive-redundancy setup.

Principally what this implies is four exhausting drives are in regular use, whereas the opposite two are used as spare backup drives.

As a result of the Synology DS1618+ is continually monitoring the well being of each the system and the exhausting drives, it may immediately decide up if one thing appears to be going incorrect, similar to a tough drive malfunctioning.

If it picks up {that a} drive is beginning to play up, it robotically begins copying over all the contents of that drive to one of many spare ones. When it’s achieved, it deactivates the defective drive so we will take it out and substitute it, preserving every thing protected on the spare drive.

The double-drive-redundancy provides an additional spare drive in case one thing goes incorrect earlier than we get an opportunity to interchange the defective drive, or if one other drive fails whereas one is backing as much as the opposite.

It’d seem to be overkill, however the factor is it’s not a matter of if a tough drive fails, however when. Plus with our work schedule seeing us all the time abroad, the probabilities of one drive failing whereas we’re someplace distant like Central Asia is fairly excessive.

After years or working the gauntlet, we don’t need to take any extra possibilities.

Seagate IronWolf NAS Hard Drives

The Seagate IronWolf sequence of NAS exhausting drives are essentially the most really useful. We now have the 6TB variations. Picture courtesy of Seagate.

How We Backup Pictures Now – A Skilled Photographer’s Workflow

Now that now we have a NAS system arrange in our house workplace, now we have made it some extent to make our workflow as skilled, seamless and superior as attainable. It took a little bit of follow and self-discipline, however we’ve lastly managed to attain this.

Copying and Importing Utilizing Adobe Lightroom

We nonetheless take 1,000,000 photographs and movies, however now we’ve made it some extent to correctly again these up at each likelihood we get with up to date organisational instruments.

The primary change we’ve made is we now again up our SD playing cards to 2 separate exhausting drives the second we get again to our laptops, even when it’s between shoots.

No extra ready till we’ve run out of SD playing cards to lastly again them up!

For our photographs we now organise and import them to exterior exhausting drives by means of Adobe Lightroom. Right here’s how.

Buy the Inventive Cloud Suite of Adobe merchandise, together with Lightroom and Photoshop, here.

First we open up the import device on Lightroom, select ‘Copy’, and test all of the photographs. We’ll then undergo every picture tremendous shortly and uncheck any photographs which can be clearly ineffective (out of focus, dangerous composition, and so forth).

On a full 64gb card capturing that’s about 1500 compressed RAW photographs from our Sony A7Riii, however going by means of all of them takes lower than 10 minutes. That’s how briskly we transfer.

Keep in mind, that is the import and backup stage, not the modifying stage.

Then we modify the listing that it’s getting copied to in the identical means we all the time have achieved. That’s immediately onto a tough drive, utilizing the folder construction: Nation > Metropolis > Exercise or Day.

After all that folder construction might be totally different for everyone. We’re full-time journey photographers, so having every thing sorted by international locations and cities works for us, however do no matter feels greatest to you.

Subsequent we select the choice to rename our recordsdata to one thing apparent from that specific shoot. We do that with ‘Customized Title – Sequence’. That means we aren’t left with 1000’s of DSC recordsdata adopted by random numbers.

For instance we’d change the file title to: “Proper Whale Bay A7Riii – 1”, with the 1 being the sequence quantity. We additionally add within the digicam that it was shot on, as we at the moment use a Sony A7iii and a Sony A7Riii.

As well as we add it them to a group (often the principle vacation spot we’re in, similar to South Georgia) and add key phrases to make looking for pictures faster and simpler within the Lightroom Catalogue.

There’s additionally an possibility so as to add pictures to a subfolder utilizing dates within the ‘Vacation spot’ tab of Lightroom’s import function, however we don’t all the time use this except we really feel it’s essential.

Hit import, and all the photographs will copy over to the brand new exhausting drive.

As soon as it’s all backed up, we then plug in one other exhausting drive and replica these image folders immediately throughout from the primary exhausting drive to the second. This manner now we have an actual duplicate of every thing we’ve simply captured.

Lastly we double test that each exhausting drives have the identical content material because the SD card, and we do that by evaluating folder dimension and ensuring the numbers match precisely. Then it’s time to format the playing cards and prepare to shoot once more.


You should use the identical means of copying and importing movies out of your SD card to your exhausting drive utilizing Lightroom, however we at the moment don’t use this as we don’t like having movies in our Lightroom catalogue.

As a substitute we copy these from the SD playing cards into folders utilizing the identical construction, however with the dad or mum listing being ‘Video’.

Four Humpback Whales NAS Backup

4 humpback whales breach on the identical time in Antarctica. That is the type of media we need to preserve endlessly.

Backing As much as the NAS

This stage fully will depend on whether or not or not we’re someplace with first rate web. If we’re someplace like Patagonia or Central Asia, this isn’t doubtless. But when we’re in an enormous metropolis staying in an AirBnB with nice web, we then observe this step.

At evening earlier than we go to mattress we hook up with our Synology NAS system utilizing their distant connection methodology. Then we open up the File Station utility.

We plug in our essential transportable exhausting drive, then actually drag and drop the newest backup folders throughout to the File Station app.

We now have our NAS folder construction the very same as we again up on our transportable exhausting drives, so it’s simple for us to navigate.

Now it’s a matter of ready, and that is the place having web connection is essential. If we’re someplace with quick web, the folders which have been dragged throughout to the File Station will now start importing to the NAS remotely.

That is our third type of file backup, and this fashion if something occurs to 1 (or each) of our exhausting drives whereas we’re travelling, the recordsdata at the moment are on our Synology NAS DS1618+ again in Sydney, which will be accessed remotely.

It’s essential to notice right here that this actually does rely upon web connection, so earlier than we start this we all the time do an web pace check to see if it’s one thing we will even handle. 

Coming Residence – The Ultimate Backup

As soon as we’re again from a visit we head again to our short-term base in Sydney and join our laptops to our house community, the place the Synology NAS system resides.

We will simply entry the NAS utilizing Finder on our Macbooks. From right here we plugin our exterior exhausting drives into our laptop computer, then copy and paste (drag and drop) the folders of latest media from our final journey onto the NAS.

The NAS additionally has a couple of different apps like USB Copy which lets you plug the exhausting drive immediately into the NAS and arrange an import, however we’ve had points with this so don’t hassle doing it that means.

Our web connection at house is sort of quick for Australian requirements (95mbps obtain, 35mbps add), so importing the recordsdata to the NAS occurs surprisingly fast.

One essential observe – we don’t copy all the dad or mum folder over in a single go. We’ll do it little by little, solely importing one folder at a time, simply in case one thing occurs like now we have an influence outage or the community drops out.

That Wanaka Tree NAS Workflow

There’a a large reduction realizing that our pictures and photographs are safer now utilizing our NAS backup workflow.

Syncing to the Cloud

Now for the cream on prime! The Synology NAS DS1618+ has an awesome utility referred to as Cloud Sync. You put in it onto the NAS, then as soon as it’s all arrange you’ll be able to robotically sync whichever folders you’d prefer to your favorite cloud storage resolution.

For us personally now we have limitless cloud storage with Google Drive and G Suite, so now we have our NAS synced with that.

When you begin the sync it robotically uploads your recordsdata and folders to the cloud so long as it’s related to the web, which for us is 24/7 at house.

Now every thing on the NAS is duplicated on Google Drive, which we will additionally entry from anyplace on the planet.

This step can also be essential to us, as a result of on the finish of the day, one thing may occur to the NAS (home will get flooded, somebody breaks in and steals it, and so forth), and in that case all of our media would nonetheless be gone regardless of our greatest efforts to backup.

By having them within the cloud on Google Drive, utilizing the identical folder construction we all know and love, there’s even much less likelihood of that taking place.

Now that now we have all of our media backed up on the NAS, and in addition synced to Google Drive, we take our two exhausting drives that we journey with and format them, able to go on the subsequent pictures journey.

And that’s how we now professionally backup all of our photographs and movies!

Professionals of This Workflow

We’re so glad that we lastly have this workflow for backing up our photographs and movies in our lives now. It’s taken away the stress we used to have of preserving our digital media protected.

We realise it’s not excellent, and there’s nonetheless some components we will high-quality tune to make it rock strong, however for now we’re very pleased.

Right here’s what we take into account among the advantages of utilizing the Synology DS1618+ NAS system and Seagate exhausting drives:

  • Organisation: Now that now we have a devoted workflow it retains all of our media clear and organised, making it simpler to search out in case a consumer wants entry to a few of our recordsdata (like if we promote a picture).
  • Redundancy: The Synology NAS system makes use of a redundancy drive in order that if one of many different exhausting drives fail, it’s going to robotically get well and backup the photographs onto the spare drive. That is golden!
  • Cloud Sync: The NAS robotically syncs all of our recordsdata to the cloud 24/7. Always remember to do it!
  • Helpful Functions: The Synology DS1618+ has an awesome assortment of functions put in on the system, making entry to our media painless.

Cons of this Workflow

Now after all it isn’t all roses, and there are few adverse features of this workflow.

  • A lot of Steps: This actually will depend on what you take into account ‘a number of steps’, however in an effort to backup our digital media correctly we do have a listing that we have to observe in a sure order. As soon as it’s been learnt although, it’s simple, however it may take a couple of instances to get within the rhythm of issues.
  • Previous Media Isn’t Organised Correctly: We may all the time return and reimport/backup our previous photographs and movies utilizing our new organisation system in Lightroom, however this might take quite a lot of time that we simply don’t have. For now we’re simply coping with our previous file and folder construction on the NAS from earlier years.
  • Want Good Web to Entry Remotely: Not simply at your own home base the place the NAS is related, but in addition if you journey if you wish to add recordsdata on the street or obtain some from the NAS. After all you’ll be able to nonetheless use a NAS with out a tremendous web connection similar to any exhausting drive backup resolution, and it’s far more safe than desktop exhausting drives.
  • Too Gradual to Work Straight From the NAS: This would possibly simply be the best way now we have our community setup, however in the mean time we haven’t discovered a quick strategy to work immediately with recordsdata from the NAS. For instance if we need to edit a video on Adobe Premier, we have to copy the recordsdata over to a transportable SSD drive fairly than entry them from the NAS. Fortunately it’s fast and simple to repeat them over.
NAS Backup Opera House

Enhancing our workflow with a NAS Backup system has been one of the best factor we’ve achieved in 5 years working as skilled photographers.

Ultimate Ideas – Is the NAS Backup System Value It?

A NAS system is an enormous funding, and relying on which means you go it may value anyplace from $1000 as much as $3000 or extra. It’s not an affordable backup resolution.

Nonetheless in case you work as knowledgeable photographer or videographer, or use enormous quantities of digital media in your life or enterprise, then the safety of getting your recordsdata protected on this method is invaluable.

Even in case you’re a hobbyist who loves pictures or videography, a NAS system is a good device to have in your workflow to guard the content material you shoot.

That being stated, they’re not for everyone.

In case you are a newbie photographer or don’t seize quite a lot of content material, your cash can be higher spent simply shopping for two transportable USB exhausting drives and backing up your media on there.

For us, as folks that seize quite a lot of content material and make a residing from doing so, a NAS system is now one thing we couldn’t think about not having in our pictures instruments.

After we refill the present system, we’ll exit and purchase one other one, that’s how a lot we like it.

Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We’re Alesha and Jarryd, the award profitable writers and photographers behind this weblog, and now we have been travelling the world collectively since 2008. Journey journey is our ardour, and thru our tales and pictures we promote thrilling off-the-beaten-path locations and interesting cultures as we go. Comply with our journey in actual time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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