Handling backups, and editing older pictures from backups

Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Messages
848
Location
College Park, MD
Real Name
Kristin Rutkowski
Hi all,

I have a technical / editing / minutia question.

How does everyone handle their backups and editing? What do you do when you want to edit old photos? And how do you use Lightroom for this?

This is the first year I've used LR for a catalog. I'm also trying to have a firm handle on my entire backup and editing workflows.

My current (work-in-progress) workflow:
(1) After a shoot, I download the pictures to my laptop, importing into LR, and back up to two different external hard drives (let's call them drive A and drive B).
(2) I then edit the files on my laptop, mainly using LR.
(3) I periodically rsync my laptop to the backup drives, so everything is in the same state. (but I don't 'remove' obsolete files from the backup drives, I only bring over new files and changes to files. Perhaps I'll change this and actually delete obsolete copies? But then it doesn't feel like a true backup, as in "crap I deleted a photo a month ago but now I wish I had it")
(4) I keep only the current calendar year on my laptop; in January, I remove the previous year from my laptop. I suppose I should do this with LR, so that LR knows the catalog location has moved.

Question: Now I want to edit photos from two years ago, and I'm trying to come up with the best way to do it, in terms of my backups. Do I just designate one backup as the "editing" backup? Say drive A (if I have migrated my LR catalog to drive A). So I'll plug in drive A, and LR will know that this is a correct location for that directory. Then I edit. Then rsync over to drive B.

Does this seem like a good plan? How do you all handle this?

Kristin
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
19,114
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
Does this seem like a good plan?
Whatever works consistently well for you is a good plan.

My decisions about this stuff are based on whether I keep the version made a couple years ago. If I keep only the newly edited version, I save that file to write over the old version. If I keep both versions, I'll change the filename of the old and new versions to reflect that they are different versions of the same capture. In both cases, I always make onsite and offsite backups.

I don't use Lightroom, which explains why I didn't offer any information about that.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,709
Location
Central Ohio
Real Name
Andrew
My backup is an exact duplicate of my main LR catalog. If I needed to, all I would have to do is swap out the master drive to the backup and everything is there. Same folder structure and all.

I've done this before when I used to have an external HDD as the main for images and it started going out. I just made sure that the backup was up to date and swapped it out. If it is a different drive letter, and Lightroom balks that it cannot find the images, just point to the new drive and Lightroom will correct all the old drive letters with the new. Done.

I backup the master drive after every major job or once a month. This is an incremental backup as well, not a full. All 120,000+ images are on the same drive and I just grab what I want using the Lightroom filters or collections or a combination of the 2.

For instance, if I want images from the Arnold Sports Expo, I pull up all the images in the Arnold Collection sets, then use filters to cull by camera, lens, focal length, date and/or keywords. Easy peasy. Not sure if I would like having to go through older images in another location. I do not operate that way.

The good thing about Lightroom is that the modifications are non-destructive and are stored as metadata that are applied to the images each time you access them. So, no worries about botched images. I also have the catalog backed up and stored in a secondary location. While not as precious as the images themselves, it is nice to not have to re-keyword or re-edit already edited images.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Messages
848
Location
College Park, MD
Real Name
Kristin Rutkowski
Thanks for the feedback, Mike and Andrew. I like hearing how other people handle these situations, especially as I'm settling into my own workflows. And you guys had great points.
I try to use tags well, but haven't fully utilized collections.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,181
Location
New York State
The following doesn't really answer your questions but is an alternative work-flow which has worked very efficiently for me over many years.

I do all the editing to my RAW images in Bridge-hosted ACR and copy the metadata (which contains those edits) to all of my back-up drives.

I save all of my raw NEFs and those ACR edits but I only make fully finished photographs (PSDs and JPGs using Ps) of those images for which I have an immediate need for publication.

I do Keyword every shot and those keywords are far more useful to me than a Lr Catalogue would be when I need to search for particular images.

I only use Lr to load and store copies of my previously-processed files in the Creative Cloud so that I can view and download any of my photographs from wherever I may happen to be at that moment — always assuming that that place happens to have fairly decent access to the internet.
 
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
1,030
I backup to Lacie drives.
16tb each. That way I don't need to delete any photos. Unless they're crap of course.

Cabin
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,938
Location
UK
My backup is an exact duplicate of my main LR catalog. If I needed to, all I would have to do is swap out the master drive to the backup and everything is there. Same folder structure and all.

I've done this before when I used to have an external HDD as the main for images and it started going out. I just made sure that the backup was up to date and swapped it out. If it is a different drive letter, and Lightroom balks that it cannot find the images, just point to the new drive and Lightroom will correct all the old drive letters with the new. Done.

I backup the master drive after every major job or once a month. This is an incremental backup as well, not a full. All 120,000+ images are on the same drive and I just grab what I want using the Lightroom filters or collections or a combination of the 2.

For instance, if I want images from the Arnold Sports Expo, I pull up all the images in the Arnold Collection sets, then use filters to cull by camera, lens, focal length, date and/or keywords. Easy peasy. Not sure if I would like having to go through older images in another location. I do not operate that way.

The good thing about Lightroom is that the modifications are non-destructive and are stored as metadata that are applied to the images each time you access them. So, no worries about botched images. I also have the catalog backed up and stored in a secondary location. While not as precious as the images themselves, it is nice to not have to re-keyword or re-edit already edited images.
^^This is a good plan.

IMO there is really no point in having anything other than current full backups of your image data in its current state. Two years down the line you may find that your old edits do not hold up to your grown skills or new vision and you will likely revisit and edit those images to taste.

The fact that you are working on raw image data and not spawned image files will be of great benefit in saving space and time
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,709
Location
Central Ohio
Real Name
Andrew
^^This is a good plan.

IMO there is really no point in having anything other than current full backups of your image data in its current state. Two years down the line you may find that your old edits do not hold up to your grown skills or new vision and you will likely revisit and edit those images to taste.

The fact that you are working on raw image data and not spawned image files will be of great benefit in saving space and time
I also name the folders something meaningful as well as the file names. The folders get a date, shoot name, and then tack on the camera assigned filename at the end. looks like this: Original file name DSC_1234, then use the Lightroom rename during import to look like 04-18-2019_danielle_portrait_DSC_1234. They all then go into a folder with a name of 04-19-2019_danielle_portraits.

I do this to help future proof my system. If lightroom dies or the catalog gets corrupt, or if I decide to jump ship to a new post processing suite...I'm not going into the whole thing blind and have to look at every single image for re-catalog and keywording and such.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
829
Location
MN, USA
Although you don't mention it (Mike does above), a true back-up needs to be off-site. Environmental failures (water, wind, fire) are as much as factor as hardware failures in protecting data.
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Messages
848
Location
College Park, MD
Real Name
Kristin Rutkowski
I backup the master drive after every major job or once a month. This is an incremental backup as well, not a full. All 120,000+ images are on the same drive and I just grab what I want using the Lightroom filters or collections or a combination of the 2.
Andrew, why is it an increment backup, rather than a full backup? Is it because you know you don't make any changes to older files? If you edit an older file, I know the edit is non-destructive, but wouldn't you need to back up the updated side car file?

I save all of my raw NEFs and those ACR edits but I only make fully finished photographs (PSDs and JPGs using Ps) of those images for which I have an immediate need for publication.
...
I only use Lr to load and store copies of my previously-processed files in the Creative Cloud so that I can view and download any of my photographs from wherever I may happen to be at that moment — always assuming that that place happens to have fairly decent access to the internet.
Yeah, I do the same, only create the JPGs for finished images ready to deliver/use.
Good point about the cloud, I haven't used that, but I would be handy to have that constant access.

My laptop has a big enough HDD that I keep many years on it. Is there any reason you must remove last year's right away?
My laptop is not large enough. I have a 1TB drive in it. My 2018 pictures alone take up about 100GB. I do other stuff on my laptop also that takes up a lot of room.

I backup to Lacie drives.
16tb each. That way I don't need to delete any photos. Unless they're crap of course.
Cabin
16TB drives! wow. I've have a couple 4TB backups. I'm hoping the drive prices continue to come down before I need to purchase 16TB drives.

^^This is a good plan.

IMO there is really no point in having anything other than current full backups of your image data in its current state. Two years down the line you may find that your old edits do not hold up to your grown skills or new vision and you will likely revisit and edit those images to taste.

The fact that you are working on raw image data and not spawned image files will be of great benefit in saving space and time
Thanks for the input, Tony!

I also name the folders something meaningful as well as the file names. The folders get a date, shoot name, and then tack on the camera assigned filename at the end. looks like this: Original file name DSC_1234, then use the Lightroom rename during import to look like 04-18-2019_danielle_portrait_DSC_1234. They all then go into a folder with a name of 04-19-2019_danielle_portraits.

I do this to help future proof my system. If lightroom dies or the catalog gets corrupt, or if I decide to jump ship to a new post processing suite...I'm not going into the whole thing blind and have to look at every single image for re-catalog and keywording and such.
Yep, my images are named with date and name:
~/Pictures/20190112_Katie/20190112_0017.NEF

Why do you keep the original filename (DSC_1234)?

Although you don't mention it (Mike does above), a true back-up needs to be off-site. Environmental failures (water, wind, fire) are as much as factor as hardware failures in protecting data.
Yep, I keep one backup at work, and one at home.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,709
Location
Central Ohio
Real Name
Andrew
I don't do sidecar files, all edits are saved in the Lightroom catalog.

Incremental because I don't want to spend days each month backing up 120,000 + images each time.

I keep the original name because it is easy to do so, and I have instances where I need to map the file I shoot to people on location as I'm shooting. For instance, I shoot portraits for some school dances. I need to print and deliver the images to the school, but they need to go to the correct student/classroom the next day or 2. I have the parents write their name down on a list with their teachers name. After I take the portrait, I put the file number generated by the camera next to their line entry. Now, as I go back and get the prints, I have the lab put the file name on the back...I match up the prints with the list and done!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
777
Location
Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
If you are planning on integrating LR further into your workflow you may want to join the forum at Lightroom Queen (formally lightroomforums.net): Lightroom Queen Forums . This is a great forum and the people are quite friendly, not unlike here.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom