Back in early September, I wrote up an article on my storage setup while my office was still at home, which you can see HERE. Just a few short months after writing that up, I packed everything up and moved into a studio in downtown Hammonton, NJ. Moving out of the house and into the studio made things a little easier for me to keep copies of everything in two separate locations, and because of that, I made a few changes to my storage workflow. Since I got such a great response from the first article, I wanted to share with everyone the changes I made and how my new setup looks.
As I mentioned in the article from September, I made the decision last year to invest in the storage products made by G-Technology. I did a lot of research and decided to invest in two 12TB G-Tech Studio Thunderbolt Storage Systems. The advantage to using the G-Tech drives was the automation of backing up all my files, using RAID1, from one internal drive to the other. I added the 2nd Studio to completely mirror the 1st, backing it up in case something catastrophic was to happen (knock on wood) and the entire 1st Studio fails. This makes a total of two G-tech Studios mirroring each other, each with two drives, making a total of 4 identical drives. This only gives me a total of 6TB usable storage, which is plenty for the way I use them. Hopefully that makes sense.
I use the two G-Tech Studios for one full year of weddings. At the end of 2015, I moved everything onto a single 4TB Western Digital external drive and it sits in a fireproof safe at my house. All of the delivered images are online, so the WD drive holds the RAW files and Lightroom catalogs. For online storage and gallery delivery I use CloudSpot. With the 2016 wedding images and Lightroom catalogs, I copy everything to a new 4TB WD external drive as a disaster recovery copy which goes home with me and is kept in the fireproof safe.
Something I didn't cover in the previous article was my file setup and how I organize everything. There are a few different ways you can organize your files, and as long as you have a system in place that works for you, that's all that matters. There really is no right or wrong way to do this, so it's completely cool if you are one of those photogs that load up a single LR catalog with years worth of images. I just have no clue how you do it :)
Some photographers choose to have one large Lightroom Catalog until it gets so filled up that it starts bogging down, while others have a Lightroom catalog for each year and categorize everything within LR using collections. I choose to give each and every wedding client their own LR catalog, which is stored in their own folder. I also store the client's RAW files and blog images in the folder as well. This has been my process for the past few years, and it just simply works for me. It makes it extremely easy for me to copy or move all of a client's images, both RAW and edited, from one location to another, as well as keep LR extremely clean and running nice and fast. You can see below an example of what it looks like:
Since I do a lot of personal work, as well as other shoots that aren't wedding related throughout the year, I have a separate setup in place for all of that as well. Unlike my wedding setup, where each client gets their own LR catalog and folder, I start a new LR catalog at the beginning of every year for all of my non-wedding work. At the end of 2015, I took my 2015 Personal LR catalog and folder, and moved it to two separate 4TB Western Digital drives that I use to store all of my old personal work and LR catalogs. I also added a 3TB G-Technology Thunderbolt Drive, the silver drive to the left of the 12TB Studios, and created a new LR catalog for 2016. This also gets backed up onto the 4TB WD drive that goes home with me from the studio. All of my edited images get backed up online as well, either on my Flickr account, or in a folder on a Zenfolio account.
Since I edit at home on my Macbook Pro as well as in the studio, I also have two mobile external drives, also made by G-Tech. I use the little silver 1TB mobile thunderbolt drive for when I want to bring a wedding client's LR catalog and RAW files home to edit. I use the awesome rugged G-Tech 1TB ev ATC drive with Thunderbolt, which is an SSD, as my main storage for anything I start editing at home on the MBP. I absolutely love this drive since its durable and I don't mind if my son takes it and drops it or throws it. I keep it at home most of the time and then make sure I unload everything off of it at the studio every few weeks when I remember to.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me and ask. I know this may be confusing to some of you, but hopefully I explained it good. I invested in G-Tech for a reason, and after a year now, I couldn't be happier with that decision. Their Thunderbolt drives are fast as hell and the Studio drives are nice and quiet, I forget that they are even running. If you haven't invested yet into a storage system, I highly recommend their products.
If you're in Vegas for WPPI, stop in at the Gtech booth #732 to see their products, that's where I was first introduced to them. Just be prepared, it will make you want to spend money on Gtech booth to see their products, that's where I was first introduced to them. Just be prepared, it will make you want to spend money on harddrives :)