How The Pros Store And Manage Their Travel PhotosPosted on Jan 31, 2012 | 28 comments
Travel photography is not my strength. Not only am I an inexperienced photographer, I'm terrible at securing and managing the good images I actually capture. I'm just unorganized. I lose stuff. The few wonderful pictures I have taken over the years are gone to the world.
I realize that as we set off to travel the world, my poor photography skills just aren't going to cut it - I need help. So I asked 5 travel photographers to get me started on the right track by sharing their methods for storing and managing photos. They were kind enough to help me out, and I must admit that I was enlightened by their responses. I truly had no idea what I was doing.
So if you're like me and can't seem to keep those precious photos of yours in order, then this post is definitely for you.
Iain's an adventurer/photographer/writer who manages to capture images of the most obscure locations (see below). He's got a great blog going, and his photo essays are a definitely worth a visit.
Images are a photographer's most prized possessions and protecting them is of paramount importance. I use several methods to protect my photographs. Initially I only use small capacity SD cards no larger than 4Gb. This means that as I take RAW images there are never more than 150 images on a card before it needs changing. If I lose a card or it gets damaged it is preferable to lose just 150 images rather than the 600 on a 16Gb card.
I travel with two hard drives, backing up images to both and when I return home they are transferred to a 1Tb drive and after editing using Adobe LightRoom burnt to DVD. This enables me to have all images backed up twice regardless of where I am. I am now also beginning to experiment with an online storage system, which will hopefully negate the need for DVD storage in future.
"As soon as I was healthy enough, I left my job, strapped on a backpack, and traveled solo around the world . . ."
That's from Barbara's site, and this photo is from her travels to Mexico - and I'm going here!
I travel with a MacBook Pro that has a 500 Gb Hard Drive. At the end of each day I transfer my photos from the SDHD card to my laptop, organize them into folders that are labeled with the name of the place/attraction. I then back up to one of two external 1 Tb external hard drives that I travel with. Once I have them on my laptop's hard drive and the external hard drive, I format the SDHD card and start fresh the next day. When I get to a place where I have access to fast, reliable wifi, I upload all my photos and video to SmugMug, an online service that provides me with unlimited storage capacity for $60 per year.
SmugMug has additional benefits as well, such as allowing me to set my galleries as private to protect against people swiping my images, the ability to create slide shows that I can embed in my blog, rather than using the more limited storage capacity of my host server, etc. As I complete my blog posts about a particular destination, and after those photos are safely uploaded to the SmugMug cloud, I wipe them off my laptop hard drive to make room for more.
I currently use iPhoto to import, organize and edit my photos. I am considering moving to Lightroom which is recommended by so many photographers, but I find iPhoto really quick and easy to use. I create "events" for each destination so I can easily find photos, and add keywords such as "Japan food" for when I am writing food posts etc. I export photos from iPhoto (and re-size them) into a photo folder where I keep the best photos to use for blog posts.
We back up all our photos onto a Western Digital My Passport hard drive, which is really small and light. Time Machine on a Mac makes backing up really easy - we just plug in the drive and it does it automatically. I don't shoot RAW so one hard drive is enough for backing up all our data. As an additional back up the "best photos" folder is synced into the cloud using Sugarsync.
I've written in more detail about how we back up all our data HERE.
Samuel's been pretty much everywhere and he still has plenty of world to see. He just started a fantastic new photo blog: Smiling Faces Travel Photos.
When backpacking or travelling somewhere it's important to consider methods of safely storing your photos. Unfortunately, just having them on your computer hard-drive or camera memory card is not a very secure way of ensuring they're safe from corruption, damage or theft. When I travel I always carry two small portable hard-drives with me (500 gb each). Every week, I add new photos that I've been storing on my computer to the two hard-drives. I make sure to keep these hard-drives separate from one another. For example, I have one in my day pack and another in my main backpack.
Additionally, I use both Flickr and Smug Mug to store my photos on-line. Not only do these two services safeguard my photos, but they also provide means for me to share them with a larger audience. In my opinion, having both external backups and on-line storage solutions provides for a very effective way of keeping your photos safely stored. Although it does take a bit of effort, it's well worth it.
The Solars take pictures I can only dream of taking, and I love their philosophy on life. They are planning a long, European tour in the near future and I can't wait to see the images from that adventure!
We download the images onto Josh’s iMac and put them into a folder called Personal Pictures. (When we are traveling, we use our MacBook Pro instead of the iMac). We create a new folder inside the Personal Pictures folder that includes the date and a short description. For example, if we took pictures at Max’s soccer game on July 30, 2011, the folder description would be 20110730 – Max’s soccer game (four digit year, 2 digit month, 2 digit day).
We use Adobe Lightroom to color correct our images and Adobe PhotoShop to edit the ones we share on our blogs. After Josh processes the images, we will back them up on our external hard drive. We have all our personal pictures sorted in similar fashion. They are sorted into folders sorted by years, then into folders sorted by month. Then we back up the original folder from the iMac with the now processed images into the corresponding month folder.
We use an online backup service called Backblaze that automatically backs up all of the files on our computer and hard drives. It has a very low monthly fee and doesn’t take any work from you once you set it up. One drawback is that it only keeps files online that are STILL on your computer/hard drive. So, once you delete the images, Backblaze will delete them (after 30 days).
There’s another online backup service called iCloud that might work better for travelers. It’s call iCloud and you choose which files you want to back up. Once you back them up, they stay there until YOU delete them. It’s pricier than Backblaze, but also a quicker solution since you are only choosing the files you want to back up, instead of every file on your computer.
We haven’t done any extended travel (yet!) where we’ve been concerned about losing our images, but when we do, we will probably use a combination of Backblaze or iCloud, as well as a couple of other options. We’ll bring a spindle of blank DVD’s and burn all our images to disc and mail them home every week. We’ll also bring along a portable mini hard drive like this one to backup images on and then store it in a separate place from the laptop.
When we travel, we’ll bring our MacBook Pro and the portable hard drive. We do have iPad that we bring, but that’s specifically for blog writing and not used for storing or sharing images. We share all of our images through our blogs, but Facebook and Flickr are great options for travelers who don’t have a blog.
I want to thank all our contributors for their photography advice. Honestly, I didn't know half of this stuff, but I am glad I learned. This info will definitely help us to keep our images safe and accessible as we travel.
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