Tagged : ‘backups’
Image by humedini
(Updated 7/12/2012:) Comments disabled on this post as it has been blasted by spam. Contact me directly for any discussions
(Updated 1/23/2011)My backup procedures are not perfect, but they work for me. They can be improved, so if you have comments
I use a Macbook Pro laptop. My external drive is a Drobo HD enclosure with four 2TB drives. I use Lightroom and Photoshop.
First let’s recap how Lightroom works: Lightroom never edits your files! If you make a change to a photo in Lightroom, all it does is record that step in a single Catalog file that handles all the photos in that Catalog. The original photo files remain unchanged. So to backup photos from Lightroom, you just need to copy the original files, plus the one Catalog file which records all your edits. If you ever lose the Catalog file, you still have original unedited source files.
I have three main sources for image files, but all of them end up in Lightroom: 1) Digital camera, 2) scanned negatives, and other 3) miscellaneous projects like files downloaded off the Web.
1) At the end of a digital shoot, I import all the files off my memory card right into Lightroom.
2) After I develop a roll of negatives, I scan them with Scangear and save the scanned files as TIFFs. I use exiftool to tag them with EXIF data. Then I import those TIFFs into Lightroom. Note that Lightroom reads the EXIF from the TIFFs as keywords, so I don’t need to retag files when I import them. (I have Lightroom copy the files into the same folders as my digital files. This means I delete the scanned TIFF files from where Scangear puts them periodically)
3) Miscellaneous files, even if I’m just working on them in Photoshop, I still import them into Lightroom first so that it’s copied into the catalog.
So from there everything is in Lightroom, which keeps all the files in handy folders organized by date. I tag anything I import with keywords to help make it easy to find.
I keep the current Lightroom Catalog and about a months worth of working files stored right on my laptop. I do my editing from there to keep things snappy. Every month or so I send everything older than a month to a backup external drive; That’s my Drobo.
That means I need to backup two things: The Lightroom catalog file, as well as all the original image files. I do this with a powerful command line utility called rsync that is already part of OSX’s utilities.
Again, I’ve set Lightroom to organize all my files by Date. This is extremely handy. I plug in my external drive. Then I open up Terminal and navigate to where I’ve told Lightroom to keep all my original files. Easily for me that’s Pictures/2009/ and then Lightroom creates folders for each day. rsync will navigate down into all the subfolders for me. So this is what I type into Terminal:
rsync -avru Pictures/2009/ /Volumes/Main/Lightroom/main_catalog/2009/
(The trailing slash can be important to tell rsync that both places are folders) What does this line do?
rsync is the command
-avru is a list of flags.
• ‘a’ means it’s in archive mode.
• ‘v’ means it will tell me what its doing (verbose)
• ‘r’ means it will go down into subfolders (recurse)
• ‘u’ means it will only update with new files
Pictures/2009/ = where my photos are now.
/Volumes/Main/Lightroom/main_catalog/2009/ is the location of the backup folder on my external drive. In this case it’s named “Main”
rsync compares the the folder on my external drive and the folder on my Macbook and sends any files that aren’t backed up to the external. I could have rsync delete the local files once they are copied, but I’m paranoid. So after rsync is done, I take a peek at the external; drive in Finder. Once I confirm the files are on the backup, I delete them from my Macbook.
I also copy the Catalog file itself to the External drive. I continue working from that same Catalog file after the backup. If I need to get to a photo that’s on the external drive, I connect the drive. Then I have Lightroom re-link that file to the current working Catalog. (Here is a page on how to do that) Working on a file on an external drive is somewhat slower than working on a local file, but it’s definitely useable. Note: I can even open an old file in Photoshop, and Lightroom creates the PSD right on the external. So, that is slower too, but it has the advantage of being already backed up on the external.
Eventually, the local Catalog file will get too big on my local Macbook drive. Then I just close out that Catalog and start a new one. As of right now, I can basically keep one Catalog per calendar year. I could develop a more sophisticated Catalog flow at some point, but for now this works for me.
So to recap my basic steps:
1. Keep the current month’s files and catalog on my Macbook.
2. Use rsync to send original files older than a month to an external drive.
3. Keep the working Catalog on the Macbook, but copy it periodically.
4. Access archived files through my working local Lightroom catalog.
If you have any followups or questions, lemme know and I will do my best to help you.