Backing Up Photos After Years of Skipping It?

Community Beginner ,
Jan 19, 2022 Jan 19, 2022

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I've been reluctant to back up my raw photos partly because I figure the backups will take up a lot of room on my 250 GB Macbook.  Will the backup photo in fact occupy as much space as the original?  If not, what percentage?

 

And...after years of not backing up, if I tell LR to back up now will it take days to do it?  I have over 100 GB of raw photos on my Macbook, and several TB on hard drives.  Or can you back up folder by folder?

 

Thanks....

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 20, 2022 Jan 20, 2022

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quote

Will the backup photo in fact occupy as much space as the original?  If not, what percentage?

By @Explore

 

If you mean the backup feature built into Lightroom Classic, that backs up only the catalog, not any of the photos or other settings files. The size of the catalog backup will be somewhat smaller than the catalog because Lightroom Classic compresses the catalog backup.

 

If you intend to back up the catalog and the photos, or just the photos, then you should use dedicated backup software.

 

quote

I've been reluctant to back up my raw photos partly because I figure the backups will take up a lot of room on my 250 GB Macbook.

By @Explore

 

If it is to be a true backup, then it will take up no new space on your MacBook, because a true backup should always be on a different storage device, never on the same storage as the data it’s backing up. If the backup is on the same storage as the original data, that means any single disaster or hardware failure could destroy both the original and the backup, so that you still end up with no backup.

 

The backup is best done to a separate storage device, that is used only for a backup.

 

quote

And...after years of not backing up, if I tell LR to back up now will it take days to do it?  I have over 100 GB of raw photos on my Macbook, and several TB on hard drives.  Or can you back up folder by folder?

By @Explore

 

Although it’s possible to back up by manually dragging folders to another drive, for long term maintenance of the backup it’s really best done using dedicated backup software that can automate it. The Time Machine backup feature that comes with every Mac is one way; if you let it back up your entire Mac to another drive, then of course you will get a backup copy of everything (catalog, photos, application settings). Or you can use a backup application that gives you more options and control such as Carbon Copy Cloner or Chronosync. These types of programs let you back up entire volumes, or specific folders, and can automatically and quickly update the backup as your originals change.

 

The speed is hard to predict, because it depends on several things: The amount of data to back up, the backup software you use (some are more efficient than others), the type of backup storage you connect, and the way you connect the external storage to your Mac. For example, if you use a hard drive connected by USB 2.0, it could take many hours (sometimes more than a day) to copy hundreds of gigabytes of photos and videos. If you use a SATA-type solid state drive (SSD) connected by USB 3 or 4, it might take only a few hours. If you use an expensive NVME SSD that you connect using Thunderbolt 3 or 4, then it might take much less than an hour.

 

A good general and affordable way to do it is buy a hard drive or a solid state drive that you connect using USB 3 or USB 4, and use that as the backup drive. It might not be the fastest way, but it will be the best balance between speed and affordability. The main point is to avoid using a hard drive, cable, or port that is limited to slow USB 2.0.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 20, 2022 Jan 20, 2022

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I've been reluctant to back up my raw photos partly because I figure the backups will take up a lot of room on my 250 GB Macbook. Will the backup photo in fact occupy as much space as the original? If not, what percentage?

 

The backup MUST be (in other words, this is not optional) to a different disk than where the originals are located. If you don't have a different disk with enough space, you should get more. Making backups is not optional either, you MUST do it, no excuses, and no sympathy in the future if your hard drive crashes and you lose your photos. If I were you, the length of time it takes is irrelevant, you MUST make backups, no matter how long it takes.

 

Just to be clear, you MUST make backups of your photos and you MUST make backups of your Lightroom Classic catalog file.

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 20, 2022 Jan 20, 2022

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The LightroomQueen Missing FAQ Book has a chapter on LrC and Photo backups.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 20, 2022 Jan 20, 2022

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Backup everything you can't afford to lose; your catalog, presets, and of course your raws.

LR will not do this, it's backup is kind of lame.

Get an external drive large enough to store all important data (LR or otherwise) and a good backup application for Mac like SuperDuper ($15) or for more control, something like Chronosync and do this daily, unattended as both will do this task while you sleep.

Yes, the first backup may take days; so what? After that, it goes quickly as only newer changes get backed up. The alternative, data loss is far, far worse.

The question isn't if your drive will fail, it is when. Ideally, back up to multiple drives and locations (and/or the cloud). DO NOT rely on anything from Adobe to do this for you.


Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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