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Requesting feedback on my Lightroom strategy for backing up my image files and LR catalogue

New Here ,
Mar 24, 2020

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I'm a relative novice/hobbyist photographer, not a professional photographer, graphic designer, or illustrator.  I have recently read numerous posts about the varied and complex ways that photographers using Lightroom Classic backup their image files and also backup their catalogue using software to mirror/clone the hardrive containing their primary image library to a secondary/backup drive.  I'm beginning to wonder if the way I do my backing up is bad or incorrect, and was hoping to get some feedback.  Basically, i'm using LR Classic via the creative cloud platform. Here's what i've been doing:

 

1. I have all my image files in folders on one 4TB Lacie external hard drive (call it Lacie#1). My lightroom folders in the Folders Panel point to their corresponding folders and images and Lacie#1. Whenever i'm using LR Classic on my Desktop, I simply plug in Lacie#1 and LR finds the images on Lacie#1.

 

2. When I exit LR, my Catalogue saves to a folder on my MAC's harddrive.

 

3. I own 2 other Lacie HDs, Lacie#2 and #3.  To back up my primary images stored on Lacie#1, every month or so I simply plug Lacie#1 and Lacie #2 into my MAC, copy the Image Folder that contains all of my images, then paste that large file onto Lacie#2.  When that is complete, I do the same for Lacie#3.  It takes a couple of hours for the image folders to transfer, but its not a big deal. When complete, I have 2 backups of my images.

 

4. Then, intermittently, I go into LR Classic, and change the directory location where LR saves the Catalogue. First I redirect LR to save the Catologue to a designated folder on Lacie#1, then Lacie#2, then Lacie#3.  This way I have a relatively recent backup of the Catalogue on each Lacie HD. Then, I redirect LR to return to saving my Catalogue backup to my MAC's hardrive.   

 

In my mind, this way I have at least 2 backups of my actual images files, and 2-3 backups of a relatively recent LR Catalogue.  Am I fooling myself?  Am I doing this completely wrong?

 

Thanks, in advance.

 

Best,

Jeff

 

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Requesting feedback on my Lightroom strategy for backing up my image files and LR catalogue

New Here ,
Mar 24, 2020

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I'm a relative novice/hobbyist photographer, not a professional photographer, graphic designer, or illustrator.  I have recently read numerous posts about the varied and complex ways that photographers using Lightroom Classic backup their image files and also backup their catalogue using software to mirror/clone the hardrive containing their primary image library to a secondary/backup drive.  I'm beginning to wonder if the way I do my backing up is bad or incorrect, and was hoping to get some feedback.  Basically, i'm using LR Classic via the creative cloud platform. Here's what i've been doing:

 

1. I have all my image files in folders on one 4TB Lacie external hard drive (call it Lacie#1). My lightroom folders in the Folders Panel point to their corresponding folders and images and Lacie#1. Whenever i'm using LR Classic on my Desktop, I simply plug in Lacie#1 and LR finds the images on Lacie#1.

 

2. When I exit LR, my Catalogue saves to a folder on my MAC's harddrive.

 

3. I own 2 other Lacie HDs, Lacie#2 and #3.  To back up my primary images stored on Lacie#1, every month or so I simply plug Lacie#1 and Lacie #2 into my MAC, copy the Image Folder that contains all of my images, then paste that large file onto Lacie#2.  When that is complete, I do the same for Lacie#3.  It takes a couple of hours for the image folders to transfer, but its not a big deal. When complete, I have 2 backups of my images.

 

4. Then, intermittently, I go into LR Classic, and change the directory location where LR saves the Catalogue. First I redirect LR to save the Catologue to a designated folder on Lacie#1, then Lacie#2, then Lacie#3.  This way I have a relatively recent backup of the Catalogue on each Lacie HD. Then, I redirect LR to return to saving my Catalogue backup to my MAC's hardrive.   

 

In my mind, this way I have at least 2 backups of my actual images files, and 2-3 backups of a relatively recent LR Catalogue.  Am I fooling myself?  Am I doing this completely wrong?

 

Thanks, in advance.

 

Best,

Jeff

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 24, 2020

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This seems reasonable. I've always kept three copies myself, and it has saved me on a couple of occasions.

 

You can make the image copy process a lot more streamlined with file synchronization software, which only copies new or modified files, leaving the rest. Then you can run it on a daily basis with a single click, and it doesn't take much time.

 

There are lots of paid solutions, not too expensive, but I've used a free Microsoft app which has worked splendidly. I'm sure there's something similar from Apple.

 

The catalog file could be included in this procedure, but it's probably safer to use Lightroom's native backup routine, set up in Edit > Catalog Settings. In any case, don't copy the associated previews/helper folders. They take a long time to copy, but will be regenerated as needed.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2020

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I prefer automated solutions, rather than solutions where you have to remember to do backups, and then take action. There are plenty of software available, some are commercial products and some are freeware or donationware, that can automate this process. My backups run on a regular basis, new or updated photo files are updated every night, and its impossible for me to forget or get lazy, because I'm not doing the backups. My catalog file is backed up weekly via the built-in Lightroom Catalog backup feature.

 

I also don't understand your catalog backup. If you are not using the built-in Lightroom Catalog backup method (which can be set to daily, or weekly, or monthly), with the option to "Test Integrity..." checked, then I don't think you are protected. If the integrity check were to fail, but you make your backups your manual way without performing this test, you have backed up a file that fails the integrity check, and that's as good as not having a backup at all.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 25, 2020

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Wher do you store away Lacie#2 and  Lacie#3? I assume Lacie#2 is in home put on a shelf or someting. Consider storing Lacie#3 off site, Point being to have a backup stored off site in case of:

 

Theft

Natural Disasters, Fire, Earth Quake, Storm

Unnatural Disasters

 

You could add Lacie#4, rotate Lacie#3 and Lacie#4 between your place and say a relative, preferably far enough away to not fall to the same Natural Disaster. 

 

And as for Lacie#2, not near the computer, think Theft, 

Just another Adobe customer; My Sys; APP: LRC 9.4, PS 21.2.1; CMP: WIN WS 16GB OS 10 v1909 (18363), mid 2015 MBPr 15” 16GB MACOS 10.15.6; 4K EXT DSPY; CAM: Canon 5D Mk III, Fuji X-T3

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New Here ,
Mar 25, 2020

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Thanks, everyone, for the comments/suggestions/discussion thus far... Here are some of my thoughts as I read your kind posts:

 

@D_Fosse: any ideas about which MAC synchronization software is good/popular?

 

@dj_paige: an automated backup workflow sounds great, I just have no idea how to go about doing that, particularly in a reasonably cost-conscious manner. May I ask what your backup flow consists of?  Also, thanks for your thoughts about the integrity of my catalogue backup. I think the integrity check IS part of my workflow. My LR software is currently set to the setting where it does an integrity check and then backup of the catalogue each time I close out of LR. I'll intermittently change the directory/path to which LR performs that integrity check + backup (for example, i'll point LR to do it onto Lacie #2, Lacie#3, etc).  Does that make any sense?

 

@davidg36166309 : At least i'm doing one thing well - Lacie#3 is usually kept at work, just in case!

 

Thanks everyone!

 

 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 26, 2020

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Automated backups: as I said, many programs exist that will perform these tasks for you. On Windows 10, I use WinZip Pro. If you need other suggestions, you'll have to search the internet as I have used WinZip for years and I don't remember other alternatives.

 

WinZip backs up all modified or brand new photos (and other files that have nothing to do with Lightroom) every night, automatically. Once a month, it makes a full backup of every single photo (and other files) whether they have changed or not. WinZip makes a backup of the backup of my catalog file nightly, if said backup of the catalog file has changed. Lightroom itself creates the backup of the catalog file.

 

I also use Carbonite for cloud backup.

 

So, in the end, I have my originals on drive #1, backups of everything updated nightly on drive #2, and cloud backup via Carbonite.

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New Here ,
Mar 26, 2020

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@dj_paige  - thanks again for your input. Much appreciated.

 

If anyone else reading this has experience with third party backup and sync products that work with MAC, please let me know your suggestions. I've done a limited internet search, and find numerous potential software products for this purpose, but many of the posts are several years old and have limited comparisons to other products. I'd feel better starting off with a product that, as of the year 2020, is known to be reliable, consistent, and from a company has decent support and that is likely to be around for a while.  Thanks!

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