Hey all! I'm hoping that you might be able to help me figure out the best online storage option.
Here is my situation:
My computer does not have a ton of internal storage so whenever I import photos into Lightroom and move them off the SD card I have them set up to import onto my external hard drive. When I work with Lightroom I just keep my external harddrive plugged in.
I'm looking to make the switch to cloud storage. What I'm looking for is a program that basically replaces my external harddrive in the import process. I want to be able to open Lightroom and have it pull from the cloud backup without having the original files on my harddrive.
After doing some brief research Backblaze seems like a really affordable option but I'm not sure if Lightroom would be able to automatically access the files. Does anyone know of any storage options that would solve this?
What version of Lightroom are you on? It sounds like you are probably on a very old version.
Lightroom now comes in two versions. One is a cloud based version which does exactly what you are envisioning and is what is now simply called Lightroom (we usually call it Lightroom Cloudy on this forum to distinguish and poke fun at it). It is a good option if you NEVER print, do not really share much to social websites, etc. etc. but it has all the features in Develop and the syncing works well. It stores all your originals in the cloud and downloads on demand. The second version is called Lightroom Classic which is the evolution of what I am guessing you are using now. It has all the features including printing and such, but needs to store its originals locally.
So in the safe universe there are two options. One a full Lightroom experience with Classic but you run into storage issues as all files have to be local. The second option is in the cloud with Lightroom Cloudy but the program misses many many features. It works well and syncs between computers and devices very well though so if you can live without many of those features it might be an option.
If you want to live dangerously you can indeed store your images in the classic Lightroom on a cloud service drive and have them downloaded on demand. This is quite dangerous and can lead to catalog corruption if your network connection is not always on and you try to access an image that can't be downloaded quick enough. People have reported reasonable success here doing it with dropbox which has an on-demand download option called smart sync). Never heard of somebody doing it with backblaze but no a priori reason it wouldn't work with the caveats above.
My approach is to make sure my main machine has enough internal storage to store a few 100 gigs of recent images (never get a laptop with less than 1TB of SSD!) and offload my older images to a RAID array. I backup all these images locally to a network drive on my local network and to a cloud service. I can't live without the full features of Lightroom Classic. On travel (wonder when we can travel again), I take one of these tiny SSD drives that you can plug in a usb-c port. You can buy these in 1TB sizes at costco or online and they are fantastic to backup images or have more storage available. You can also use these as easy extra storage. Just double-side tape them to the back of your laptop screen and keep them plugged in (they are tiny).
I found this thread because I was searching for a way to host my Lightroom files on PCloud and was wondering why it wasn't working when I had been storing my files in BackBlaze for some time successfully. Here's the thing about BackBlaze - at least as far as i was able to figure out, you need a tool to access the files as if they're on your computer because BackBlaze is more designed for web and application storage than person file storage. And the only tools I found that would allow that also required my library to be synched with my Mac, as well as the underlying photos, meaning they were still taking up space on my Mac if I wanted to use them. I could archive them back to cloud only afterwards, but when you're talking about huge numbers of photos, the downloading and uploading can be somewhat costly but also just time consuming. That's why I was attempting with PCloud because it's the only solution I've found that allows you to interact with your files as if they are on your Mac while never downloading them. Anyway - just thought I would let you know that BackBlaze does technically work, but it's not ideal for freeing up space. If you figure out a different way, let me know, because it's far cheaper than any of the alternatives.