Current workflow and file Back Up System

The glitz and glamour of covering Weddings and Events is exciting and delivers a great rush the day of...but after the cake has been eaten, the whiskey has been drunk and the thunderous DJ bass booms have gone quiet all that's left is the Photog and his full CF memory cards. What happens next is just as important as the moment you compose the frame and press the shutter. File management and more importantly the back up of the files can be pretty complex and expensive, but more on that later. I have read a lot of articles online and adopted a pretty simple straightforward system which has worked for me for the past 2 seasons. Thanks to all the folks who shared their knowledge online and I hope this post can help someone out there.

 

Here's a gear list of what I work with in terms of file storage.

Nikon D700s

Sandisk 16gb 60MB/s Cards (4) If I need more than this I have (4) 8gb 60MB/s Card

Lexar UDMA Card Reader

iMac 27" w/ 1TB Hard Drive and 16GB RAM

Vantec NexStar MX Dual External Enclosure

(2) 1.5TB 3.5" Hard Drives

Kingwin EZ-Dock 2

(2) 1TB 3.5" Hard Drives

Kingwin EZ-Dock

Western Digital My Book Live 1TB

PhotoMechanic

Lightroom 4 

Zenfolio (Use my Referral Code :^D : UJE-8PS-P8Z )

Carbon Copy Cloner

 

I currently cover between 50-60 jobs a year so I haven't needed a bigger setup than this. However, I think after this season I've outgrown it and have already found some solutions that will work when I update. This is a general and quick overview of what I use and what I do. I will make a more detailed breakdown if the masses request it :^D.

 

 

Here are some images of the enclosure when closed.

Vantec Nexstar MX Drive EnclosureStomped_001

 

Here's the enclosure open with 2 drives from 2011 that I removed. I installed new drives for 2012. Notice the Firewire 800 port. They don't seem to make this anymore. Weird. It's pretty fast but after this season I'm going Thunderbolt.

Vantec Nexstar MX Drive EnclosureStomped_002

 

The EZ-Dock 2 will house 2010 & 2011 drives. Their backup drives are already stored away and the files are all backup to cloud storage in case I lose both drives. This drive is USB 2.0. It's slower than FW800 but it's not my main working drive so it's OK.

Kingwin EZ-Dock2Stomped_003

 

I used to use this drive before I got the 2. I've regulated this one to 2.5" backup duty. 

Kingwin EZ-DockStomped_004

 

I picked up this nifty little NewerTech Storadrive Case from OWC. Pretty neat for keeping things organized on your desk.

External Drive StorageStomped_005

 

I use the WD My Book Live to back up my iMac w/ Time Machine. I set it up once and never touched it again. I got it because it's Ethernet connected and it's easy to transfer files from PC to Mac. I've ditched the PC though so now it's just a backup drive. It's cool because it backs up my main iMac drive and the space matches but I don't like that you can't partition the drive. I also backup my iMac to a cloud.

Western Digital My Book Live Stomped_006

 

Here's the full setup behind my iMac. Yes, there's 6 drives in total. The main drives are the most important to me now. I've gradually grown into this system but by the end of this year I'm getting a 6 Bay Thunderbolt Tower to house all the drives in 1 spot. They won't be RAID, they'll work as JBOD and 3 will mirror each other. 

iMac, Nexstar MX, WD My Book LIve, Kingwin EZ-Dock2Stomped_007

 

Looks kinda messy back there but the new iMac's keep everything neat in front. I can't wait until there are drives with no wires. 

iMac 27" Photographer setupStomped_008

 

 

So, here's the system I use after I get home from a gig. 

  1. The first thing I do is import the files from the cards to my external working drive labeled JPix 2012. In order to do this I use PhotoMechanic because it's FAST! I shoot in RAW so this is very important for me. The faster cards and reader help out. 
  2. I then cull the images in PM and delete the ones that didn't make it. This is BY FAR the best feature for me in PM. I zip through 1500-2000 images and don't wait for any images to render. It's awesome! Saves tons of time. 
  3. I do another quick cull and then highlight all the images and drag them into LR4.
  4. LR4 opens and I choose Add to Catalogue because the files are already in my main drive. No need to reimport. LR4 will then generate previews from the files. This is very quick. Saves much time from importing within LR4.
  5. Once I have the files in LR4. I open Carbon Copy Cloner and copy the files from my Main Drive to a Backup Drive labeled JPix 2012(Backup) It basically mirrors the main drive.
  6. As CCC does it's thing I begin making Global Adjustments & edits to the files in LR4. I try very hard to get it right in camera so I don't have to make wild time consuming edits in Post. This is just making sure all the exposures and WB match.
  7. Once that's done, I export all the basic edited files to Jpeg and upload them to Zenfolio for backup #3. Yeah, it's not the RAW files but I have 2 copies and like I said, I try to get it correct in camera so I don't really need them after the initial edit. That's just me. Feel free to upload 40-50GB of Data for backup if you'd like.
  8. I then create galleries for the client to view and from there they choose their favorite images for the Album or products. Zenfolio will take their selection and export me a file which LR4 can read and show me their selections in a collection. I can then edit those RAW files further and make them print ready.
  9. During this whole process Time Machine is making backups of my iMac so if I ever have a drive failure, I just put in a new one and I'm up and running again after Time Machine restores my system to the way it was before the crash. Luckily I've never had to do this but you can bet it will happen, all drives fail at some point.

 

I think that's pretty much it. I could go into further detail but that's a story for another day. As I said so far it's worked well and the combination of my backup drives and Zenfolio have already recovered some files for me. I'm anxious and curious to see how the Thunderbolt drives will work. I'm reading their gonna be super fast which means image rendering and transfers will be  faster. Speed = time & we know that time = money and sanity in in this world.

 

 

Thanks for reading this and let me know what you think of my system or if you have any questions.

 

John & JargaPix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

3.Bianca Valentim(non-registered)
John, can you explain this part a little more?
'Zenfolio will take their selection and export me a file which LR4 can read and show me their selections in a collection. I can then edit those RAW files further and make them print ready.'

I have Zenfolio but don't really know how to get this file from my clients selection that the LR4 can read.
I usually do it manually and it takes so much time.

Thank you so much!!!
2.Bianca Valentim(non-registered)
That's great info John!
Thank you so much for sharing! Helped me a lot as I was looking for ways to improve my backup system.
Awesome!!!
1.jp sevillano(non-registered)
Great info. Thx for sharing.
I will ask u more about Zenfio. I use it, but moat likely not to the fullest.
I like that it can take the clients selection in LR.
Sounds really good.

Later will ask u about ur xhoice of drives as its time for me to upgrade to bigger size drives.

Thx again!
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