Friday, February 4, 2011

Keeping up with my Photo Library, and Aperture 3 (part 1)

I have been taking a lot of photos lately, though mostly of family so I haven't posted much here. I have however been fighting a disk space battle on my computer and was in need of a new process and more organization.

Cracks in my current process have been showing up for a while and came to a head about a month ago.

Previously, I would keep as many images on my local drive as I could and offload the rest to a USB drive on the network.  I was using Picasa for organization and Capture NX2 for editing.  This all worked well but last year I found I was only able to keep a few months worth of images on my local drive and access to the older files was painful.  Picasa is not meant for USB or networked drives and wifi networks are not meant for large file organizing.

While trying to figure out the most cost-effective and flexible setup I found lots of good information if you worked on a dedicated computer with dedicated storage within a single product suite (Adobe, say).

What I didn't find was specific info that was above consumer grade but not photo studio level.

So I decided to write a short series of posts on what I want, what I found, and what I do in hopes that others in a similar situation can benefit from my trials or at least decide that this is a crazy way to do things. Hopefully it helps either way.  Here begins the series of posts on the subject.

  • My setup (this post)
  • What I want out of my process and tools
  • Workflow and organization
  • Backup, Redundancy and Disaster Recovery
  • Editing and Sharing

My Current Setup:

Computer: Macbook Pro 13" w/ 250 GB drive. Portable, powerful, up to 8 hours of battery. Good for home good for travel.

Minimum Required

  • 1 TB portable USB drive for full image masters library
  • 250 GB local drive for Aperture 3 library file and current month working images.
  • 1 TB desktop USB drive for image masters library backup.
Nice to Have
  • 500 GB portable USB drive with: 200 GB Files partition for syncing local photos and 300 GB TimeMachine partition for local drive backup (excludes synced photos).
  • 1 TB desktop USB drive for offsite backup (just because I already have it. Could use the other desktop 1TB drive for offsite).

Sharing: Flickr and iPad.


  • Nikon Transfer2 for transferring images from card to computer.
  • Aperture 3 for organization and sometimes editing.
  • Capture NX2 for most editing.
  • Sync2Folders for backing up images
  • TimeMachine for local drive backup.

Useful numbers:

  • About 60,000 images   (yes this is too much, I need better editing)
  • Nearly 600 GB
  • Aperture Library 24.5 GB on local drive. 
    •  (Referenced Library with 1200x1200(ish) preview size limit and Faces turned off.)

Please read the following parts of this series where I explain why I'm setup this way.  It is a work in progress but is covering most of the basics.

P.S.  Here is a pic for no related reason.
(not quite) Macro butterfly

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