Backup Phone Photos To Nas

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The consummate guide to how nosotros use a NAS backup workflow to protect our photos and videos, and what system we apply.

The kinds of photos you lot don’t want to lose! Read on to hear how we utilize a NAS backup in our workflow.

Total DISCLOSURE: Synology and Seagate provided us the NAS system and difficult drives in order to improve our workflow and talk nearly our results with our audition. They did not pay united states of america to promote them, and they take had no control or input over the content in this article. All thoughts, opinions and our new workflow are entirely our own.

Back in 2014 we bought ourselves a niggling point-and-shoot camera to document our nigh ambitious adventure to date: Travelling from Thailand to South Africa without flying.

We knew nothing about photography, just over the years it started to plough into a bit of a hobby of ours. From a hobby it turned into a passion, and soon plenty from a passion into a job.

Fast frontwards to 2019 and we now work as professional person travel photographers, and have over 50 terabytes of photos and videos from more than 70 countries in our digital media collection.

Over the years the demand to keep this digital media safe has become an ever-growing concern for us, especially as nosotros take on more than and more clients who contract us for creating photos and videos.

Beyond the work aspect, these pictures and videos are also our memories of travel, holding moments in time where we’ve met incredible people, explored remarkable areas and achieved unbelievable feats.

To lose this would be tragic not just for our business organization, but for personal reasons likewise.

But fifty-fifty though we realise just how valuable our digital media is, it isn’t until very recently that we actually established a proper workflow to dorsum these upwardly using a NAS fill-in system.

Today nosotros want to share with you lot what we used to exercise, and what we do at present, to professionally dorsum up our photos and videos.

READ MORE – Check out our detailed guide for the best travel photography tips.

Table of Contents

  • How We Backup Photos – From No Method to Pro Workflow
    • First, Take a 1000000 Photos and Videos
    • Dorsum Up to a USB Hard Drive
    • Edit
      • Automated Dropbox Sync for Edited Photos
      • Client Media
    • Pray
    • Going Home – Bulk Fill-in
  • Improving Our Workflow – Introduction of a NAS Backup Organisation
    • Synology DS1618+ NAS
    • Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS Difficult Drives
  • How We Backup Photos Now – A Professional person Lensman’southward Workflow
    • Copying and Importing Using Adobe Lightroom
      • Videos
    • Backing Upward to the NAS
    • Coming Dwelling – The Final Fill-in
    • Syncing to the Deject
    • Pros of This Workflow
    • Cons of this Workflow
  • Last Thoughts – Is the NAS Backup System Worth Information technology?

How Nosotros Backup Photos – From No Method to Pro Workflow

When nosotros took our starting time trip to Antarctica in 2017, we captured over 2TB of photos and videos in 11 days. That’southward a lot of footage.

In that location’s ii reasons we took shot and filmed and then much. The first was that it was Antarctica, a identify so beautiful that words don’t do it justice.

The second is that it was a piece of work trip, and we were trying to get the best content possible for our client. And as such this digital media was extremely of import for all parties involved.

Losing it wasn’t an selection.

Unfortunately we’re also full-fourth dimension travellers, and later on we disembarked from the ship in Ushuaia, nosotros spent the adjacent 4 months wandering effectually Patagonia and the rest of Chile, with two hard drives filled with our virtually valuable content ever.

Uploading it to the cloud wasn’t an option. Cyberspace was barely good enough to post a photo to Instagram half the fourth dimension, then trying to put 4K video footage and thousands of RAW files into a cloud storage system would never have worked.

If we had have lost those hard drives, had them stolen, or if they just became corrupted, we’d accept had a lot of explaining to practice to our client…

Luckily null happened, and when we finally settled into an AirBnB for a couple of weeks with a solid internet connexion we managed to go the about important media into the cloud.

Ever since and then though we’ve realised that our workflow of backing up photos and videos was just horrendous, and it’south been a tedious journey trying to find the perfect method.

Finally, later years of trial and error, we have it figured out, and with our NAS storage for home and a redundant backup solution we’re feeling confident with our media.

Nosotros’ll exist the first to acknowledge that our old workflow of backing upward photos was pretty bad to say the least.

Here’due south what we used to do:

Nas Backup Antarctica
Despite capturing millions of beautiful images over the years, nosotros didn’t really dorsum them upwards seriously.

First, Take a 1000000 Photos and Videos

We aren’t very conservative when it comes to the number of photos and videos we capture.

With two of united states of america walking around with full-frame cameras effectually our necks shooting in RAW, a GoPro each videoing 4K footage and our phones taking quick pics and videos for social media, it’southward not unheard of for united states to end upward with over 100gb of footage in one single 24-hour interval.

Specially if we’re on an assignment somewhere beautiful like Due south Georgia, our cameras are constantly firing, and we’re always filling upwardly SD cards.

When we filled one upwardly, we’d put it into our camera handbag and supersede information technology with an empty one, then echo the procedure.

Dorsum Up to a USB Hard Bulldoze

Once we filled up all of our SD cards (which could take anywhere from a 24-hour interval to a calendar week, depending on where we are), we’d finally empty them onto a portable USB difficult drive.

Annotation – Nosotros used to utilise WD MyPassport 4TB hard drives, but we take now switched to LaCie Rugged 4TB difficult drives

Often we’d exist tired or in a rush to go out for dinner or do some more than shooting, so this would be a quick-and-dirty method.

Our organization wasn’t
(we’d accept two difficult drives, 1 for photo and one for video, and we’d sort the folders out similar this: Country > City > Solar day), but it would quite literally only be a copy and paste thing. This meant we’d end up with hundreds of thousands of files chosen DSC*******, where the stars are just a number series.

When we had the content backed upwards, we’d then format the SD card in-photographic camera, ready for the adjacent full twenty-four hour period of shooting.

Tongariki Sunrise Nas Backup
When somebody emailed us wanting to buy this motion-picture show for a tourism brandish, it took us more than 30 minutes to notice the original RAW file, because nosotros had no organisation workflow in place.


If we had some fourth dimension we’d edit a couple of photos for social media, consign them at 2048 pixels broad to the laptop, and so share them online.

We wouldn’t get through every photo though. Information technology would just be a quick edit of the one or two photos that we thought were the all-time from that 24-hour interval, so we’d motion on with our life.

Every at present and then we’d sit down to write a blog post, or put together a collection for a customer, and only then would we go back and find the photos that we’d need for that detail chore.

We’d edit and export them at low-res, uploading to them to this site, or high-res and endeavor to get them to the deject.

Automated Dropbox Sync for Edited Photos

This is quite literally the only time we uploaded anything to the cloud, due to ever having crappy cyberspace wherever we travelled.

Our binder of edited photos on the laptop had an auto-sync to Dropbox connected. Whenever nosotros ended upwards somewhere with a decent cyberspace connection, we’d sync the folder to Dropbox.

All of our other RAW files and video clips though would go along to alive on the hard drive forever.

Client Media

If we had a number of images or videos nosotros’d have to evangelize to a client, nosotros’d edit those by the deadline then upload them to a shared folder on Dropbox. Simply that was the extent of our cloud storage solutions.

Hang Son Doong
One of the photographs we captured on an consignment to the world’s biggest cave. One client was Oxalis, the company that runs expeditions through the cave. The other was BBC. Losing these images would take been a costly mistake.


Later on the photos were backed upwardly to an external difficult drive, and so nosotros would literally echo the process every mean solar day or calendar week, praying that the drives didn’t neglect us or become stolen.

Nosotros’d travel around the world, taking photos, shooting videos, and just collecting portable hard drives. These would fill upward, then nosotros’d buy another one, stashing the full bulldoze into 1 of our day packs.

Nosotros rarely fabricated double copies of any digital media, unless information technology was a particularly important shoot for a client. But even and so nosotros’d simply have the same content on two hard drives, or make a binder of ‘best photos’ that lived with u.s. at all times.

This wouldn’t be a huge issue if we simply travelled for a week at a time. But that’s non how we travel. For nigh five years we were completely nomadic, moving around between different countries with just the gear on our backs, gathering more and more than hard drives.

READ More than – Don’t miss our list of the all-time travel cameras for any upkeep.

Going Domicile – Bulk Backup

Every at present and and then we’d come back to Australia to come across family, and when nosotros did we would go out and buy a couple of larger desktop hard drives, with capacities effectually 6TB or 8TB.

We’d take our portable hard drives and copy all of the media straight beyond to these new larger desktop drives. Then we would take that large bulldoze, put information technology into a drawer at a family member’s house, and go travelling over again.

Afterward nosotros’d do one of two things with our full portable difficult drives – nosotros’d either retire them, placing them in a drawer full of whatever media was already on at that place, or nosotros’d take them with usa on the road if we thought nosotros’d need the media from a particular destination at some indicate shortly
(if we wanted to write a blog postal service in the hereafter for example).

This is pretty much how nosotros operated for years, and we know we were gambling with our content the entire fourth dimension. If a hard bulldoze got corrupted or stolen while we were on the route, all of those pictures and video would be gone forever.

If somebody contacted u.s. and wanted to buy a high-resolution photo from a few years dorsum, we just had to apologise and say we didn’t have admission to it. This happened fashion too many times, costing united states business.

We put this horrible workflow downwardly to iii factors:

  1. We were e’er travelling
  2. Nosotros rarely had adept internet
  3. We didn’t know any ameliorate

Luckily this workflow is a thing of the past, and we’ve at present improved our systems with a NAS backup to ensure we’re no longer gambling with our media.

Galapagos Islands Work Assignment
Shooting wildlife in the Galapagos Islands on a piece of work assignment.

Improving Our Workflow – Introduction of a NAS Backup Organization

This has all inverse in 2019 as we finally step up our horrible method of backing upwardly and introduce a professional workflow, doing everything we can to ensure nosotros tin’t lose our media, and so nosotros tin have admission to information technology at all times from anywhere in the world.

The very get-go affair we did was innovate a NAS (Network Admission Storage) backup organisation into our workflow. If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry – nosotros didn’t have a clue either until we started heavily researching how to best support our photos.

Without getting likewise technical, basically a NAS is a series of hard drives placed in one unit, working together and connected to a network. These are known as RAIDs, or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.

This entire system of drives can then be accessed on your dwelling house or office network, or if you have it connected to an cyberspace router, accessed online as well.

Sounds fancy, and peradventure it is compared to how we used to work, but in terms of data storage information technology’due south actually pretty standard, and many huge offices employ similar setups on a larger scale.

Imagine having all of your photos and videos you lot’ve always taken sitting on a few massive hard drives at home, and so being able to access those hard drives while you’re overseas as if they were plugged directly into your laptop.

That’s basically how we look at our NAS unit of measurement.

We have our NAS installed at our grandparent’s house in Sydney, Australia. This is where we temporarily call home whenever nosotros’re dorsum in the land, and as of this year it finally has a stable internet connection (internet in Australia has always been in the dark ages).

A NAS is made upward of ii parts – the unit itself, and the hard drives that install inside information technology. You can’t accept ane without the other.

These are the brands and models that we use in our NAS photo backup system.

Synology Ds1618+ Nas
The Synology DS1618+ NAS system that we now use to backup our photos and videos in our home office.

Synology DS1618+ NAS

The brand and model of NAS we use is a Synology DS1618+. Synology are one of the best makers of NAS systems in the world, with high quality products and a fantastic support squad in place, and so if we ever take any questions, we tin get an answer almost immediately.

They also have years of research and development backside them, and accept constantly been innovating the industry at a consumer level, so nosotros know that their products are upwards to scratch.

The DS1618+ is a half dozen-bay NAS, meaning we can install half dozen difficult drives into it. It tin also connect directly to the internet using an ethernet cablevision.

Once it’southward all set up and connected, which does take a few hours intially, we can access the bodily NAS by using Synology’s user interface, which tin can be done through the network function on our computers, or remotely using a defended and password-secured IP address and login.

Where this Synology system really stands out for us though is the apply of their great software and applications, allowing us to interact, monitor and control the NAS without needing to know any technical skills.

These do things like automatically sync the media on our NAS to our cloud storage of selection, lets us rearrange all of our files, monitor its wellness, share folders with clients and fifty-fifty access files from our phones.

It also has a bunch of technical features, such as quad-cadre CPUs, 4GB of RAM (expandable upwardly to 32GB), optional SSD cache, the possibility to install a 10gbE network carte, etc.

But we’ll be honest, well-nigh of this goes straight over our heads. All we care nearly is if information technology works well and improves our professional photography workflow.  And it definitely does.

Synology Ds1618+ Nas Back
The dorsum of the Synology DS1618+. Photo courtesy of Synology.

Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS Difficult Drives

The Synology DS1618+ is the unit that we install the difficult drives into, but it doesn’t come with the hard drives themselves. We had to get these separately.

Afterwards chatting directly to the team at Synology they recommended Seagate IronWolf hard drives. We checked out the reviews and they definitely seemed like the all-time option.

We ended up getting 6x Seagate IronWolf 6TB NAS hard drives to install into our system. This would give u.s. a full of 36TB of storage in a basic RAID setup.

However we didn’t use a bones setup. After some more enquiry and recommendations from the two teams at Synology and Seagate, nosotros ended up using a double-drive-redundancy setup.

Basically what this means is four hard drives are in normal use, while the other two are used as spare backup drives.

Considering the Synology DS1618+ is constantly monitoring the health of both the system and the hard drives, it can instantly pick upwards if something seems to be going incorrect, such as a difficult drive malfunctioning.

If it picks upwards that a drive is starting to play upward, it automatically starts copying over all of the contents of that bulldoze to 1 of the spare ones. When it’southward done, it deactivates the faulty drive and so we tin can accept it out and replace it, keeping everything safe on the spare drive.

The double-drive-back-up adds an extra spare bulldoze in case something goes wrong before we get a take a chance to replace the faulty drive, or if another drive fails while one is backing upwards to the other.

Information technology might seem like overkill, but the thing is it’s non a matter of if a difficult drive fails, merely when. Plus with our piece of work schedule seeing us always overseas, the chances of one drive failing while we’re somewhere remote like Central Asia is pretty high.

After years or running the gauntlet, nosotros don’t want to take any more chances.

Seagate Ironwolf Nas Hard Drives
The Seagate IronWolf serial of NAS difficult drives are the nearly recommended. Nosotros take the 6TB versions. Photo courtesy of Seagate.

How We Backup Photos Now – A Professional person Photographer’south Workflow

At present that nosotros have a NAS system set up in our home function, we accept fabricated it a point to make our workflow as professional, seamless and awesome equally possible. Information technology took a bit of practice and field of study, but we’ve finally managed to achieve this.

Copying and Importing Using Adobe Lightroom

Nosotros still accept a million photos and videos, just now we’ve made it a point to properly back these upward at every run a risk we become with updated organisational tools.

The outset modify we’ve made is we now back up our SD cards to ii divide difficult drives the second nosotros get back to our laptops, fifty-fifty if it’south between shoots.

No more than waiting until we’ve run out of SD cards to finally dorsum them up!

For our photos we at present organise and import them to external difficult drives through Adobe Lightroom. Hither’s how.

Buy the Creative Cloud Suite of Adobe products, including Lightroom and Photoshop, here.

Start we open upward the import tool on Lightroom, choose ‘Copy’, and check all the photos. We’ll then go through each photo super quickly and uncheck whatever shots that are plain useless (out of focus, bad composition, etc).

On a full 64gb card shooting that’southward most 1500 compressed RAW photos from our Sony A7Riii, simply going through them all takes less than x minutes. That’s how fast we move.

Remember, this is the import and backup stage, not the editing phase.

Then we change the directory that it’s getting copied to in the aforementioned manner we always have washed. That is straight onto a difficult drive, using the folder structure:
Country > City > Activity or Day.

Of course that folder construction will be different for everybody. We are total-time travel photographers, so having everything sorted past countries and cities works for us, but practise whatsoever feels best to y’all.

Next nosotros choose the pick to rename our files to something obvious from that item shoot. Nosotros do this with
‘Custom Name – Sequence’
. That fashion we aren’t left with thousands of DSC files followed by random numbers.

For example we might change the file name to: “Right Whale Bay A7Riii – 1”, with the i being the sequence number. Nosotros likewise add in the camera that it was shot on, every bit we currently use a Sony A7iii and a Sony A7Riii.

In addition we add it them to a collection (usually the main destination nosotros’re in, such every bit South Georgia) and add keywords to brand searching for images quicker and easier in the Lightroom Catalogue.

At that place’s also an option to add images to a subfolder using dates in the ‘Destination’ tab of Lightroom’s import feature, but we don’t ever use this unless we feel it’s important.

Striking import, and all the images will re-create over to the new hard drive.

One time it’s all backed up, nosotros then plug in another hard drive and copy those picture folders direct across from the first hard drive to the 2nd. This manner we have an exact duplicate of everything nosotros’ve merely captured.

Finally nosotros double check that both hard drives have the same content as the SD card, and we do this by comparing binder size and making certain the numbers match exactly. So it’s time to format the cards and get ready to shoot again.


Y’all can apply the same way of copying and importing videos from your SD card to your hard drive using Lightroom, simply we currently don’t apply this every bit nosotros don’t like having videos in our Lightroom catalogue.

Instead we copy these from the SD cards into folders using the aforementioned construction, merely with the parent directory existence ‘Video’.

Four Humpback Whales Nas Backup
4 humpback whales breach at the same time in Antarctica. This is the kind of media we want to go on forever.

Bankroll Up to the NAS

This phase completely depends on whether or not we are somewhere with decent internet. If we’re somewhere like Patagonia or Central Asia, this isn’t probable. But if we’re in a large city staying in an AirBnB with great cyberspace, we then follow this stride.

At night before we get to bed we connect to our Synology NAS system using their remote connection method. Then we open upwardly the File Station application.

We plug in our master portable hard drive, and so literally drag and drop the most recent fill-in folders beyond to the File Station app.

We have our NAS folder structure the verbal same as we back up on our portable hard drives, and then it’southward like shooting fish in a barrel for u.s. to navigate.

Now it’s a matter of waiting, and this is where having a practiced internet connection is of import. If we are somewhere with fast net, the folders that have been dragged across to the File Station will now begin uploading to the NAS remotely.

This is our third grade of file backup, and this manner if anything happens to one (or both) of our difficult drives while we are travelling, the files are now on our Synology NAS DS1618+ back in Sydney, which can be accessed remotely.

Information technology’southward important to note hither that this actually does depend on internet connectedness, so before we begin this nosotros always do an internet speed test to run into if it’s something nosotros tin can even manage.

READ MORE: Nosotros are speeding up our process now past adding a portable external monitor to our workflow. Bank check out our review of the Espresso Display to see what we retrieve.

Coming Home – The Final Fill-in

Once we’re dorsum from a trip nosotros caput back to our temporary base of operations in Sydney and connect our laptops to our home network, where the Synology NAS arrangement resides.

Nosotros tin easily access the NAS using Finder on our Macbooks. From hither nosotros plugin our external hard drives into our laptop, so copy and paste (elevate and driblet) the folders of new media from our last trip onto the NAS.

The NAS also has a few other apps like USB Re-create which allows you to plug the difficult drive straight into the NAS and gear up an import, merely we’ve had issues with this so don’t bother doing information technology that way.

Our internet connection at home is quite fast for Australian standards (95mbps download, 35mbps upload), so uploading the files to the NAS happens surprisingly quick.

One important note –
we don’t copy the unabridged parent binder over in one get. We’ll practise it bit past bit, but uploading one folder at a fourth dimension, simply in case something happens like we have a ability outage or the network drops out.

That Wanaka Tree Nas Workflow
There’a a massive relief knowing that our images and photos are more secure now using our NAS backup workflow.

Syncing to the Deject

At present for the cream on top! The Synology NAS DS1618+ has a great application called Deject Sync. You install information technology onto the NAS, so once information technology’due south all set yous tin automatically sync whichever folders you’d like to your favourite cloud storage solution.

For the states personally we accept unlimited cloud storage with Google Drive and G Suite, and then we accept our NAS synced with that.

Once you get-go the sync it automatically uploads your files and folders to the cloud every bit long as it’s continued to the internet, which for u.s.a. is 24/7 at home.

At present everything on the NAS is duplicated on Google Drive, which we tin too access from anywhere in the world.

This pace is also very important to us, because at the terminate of the day, something could happen to the NAS (house gets flooded, someone breaks in and steals information technology, etc), and in that instance all of our media would nevertheless be gone despite our best efforts to fill-in.

By having them in the cloud on Google Drive, using the same folder structure nosotros know and beloved, there’s even less chance of that happening.

Now that we have all of our media backed up on the NAS, and also synced to Google Drive, we take our two hard drives that nosotros travel with and format them, fix to continue the side by side photography hazard.

And that’s how nosotros now professionally backup all of our photos and videos!

Pros of This Workflow

Nosotros’re so glad that we finally have this workflow for backing upwardly our photos and videos in our lives now. It’southward taken abroad the stress nosotros used to accept of keeping our digital media safe.

We realise it’s non perfect, and there’s still some elements we can fine tune to make it rock solid, just for now we’re very happy.

Hither’s what nosotros consider some of the benefits of using the Synology DS1618+ NAS system and Seagate hard drives:

  • Organisation:Now that we take a defended workflow information technology keeps all of our media make clean and organised, making information technology easier to find in example a client needs access to some of our files (like if we sell an epitome).
  • Back-up:
    The Synology NAS system uses a redundancy drive then that if ane of the other hard drives fail, information technology will automatically recover and backup the images onto the spare drive. This is golden!
  • Cloud Sync:The NAS automatically syncs all of our files to the deject 24/vii. Never forget to do information technology!
  • Useful Applications:
    The Synology DS1618+ has a keen collection of applications installed on the system, making access to our media painless.

Cons of this Workflow

Now of course it isn’t all roses, and at that place are few negative aspects of this workflow.

  • Lots of Steps: This really depends on what you consider ‘lots of steps’, but in guild to backup our digital media properly we do have a list that we need to follow in a certain order. Once it’s been learnt though, information technology’s easy, but it can accept a few times to get in the rhythm of things.
  • Onetime Media Isn’t Organised Properly:Nosotros could e’er go back and reimport/backup our old photos and videos using our new organisation system in Lightroom, but this would take a lot of time that we just don’t have. For at present we’re just dealing with our old file and folder construction on the NAS from previous years.
  • Need Good Internet to Access Remotely:Not just at your dwelling house base where the NAS is connected, but also when you travel if y’all want to upload files on the route or download some from the NAS. Of course you can still utilise a NAS without an amazing internet connectedness just like any difficult drive backup solution, and it’south much more secure than desktop hard drives.
  • Too Boring to Work Direct From the NAS:This might only be the manner we have our network setup, simply at the moment nosotros haven’t found a fast manner to work directly with files from the NAS. For case if we desire to edit a video on Adobe Premier, we need to copy the files over to a portable SSD drive rather than access them from the NAS. Luckily information technology’s quick and easy to copy them over.
Nas Backup Opera House
Improving our workflow with a NAS Fill-in arrangement has been the best thing we’ve done in 5 years working equally professional photographers.

Final Thoughts – Is the NAS Backup System Worth It?

A NAS system is a big investment, and depending on which way you lot go it can cost anywhere from $1000 up to $3000 or more. It’s non a cheap backup solution.

All the same if you piece of work as a professional lensman or videographer, or use huge amounts of digital media in your life or business, then the security of having your files condom on this organization is invaluable.

Fifty-fifty if you’re a hobbyist who loves photography or videography, a NAS system is a great tool to have in your workflow to protect the content you shoot.

That being said, they’re non for everybody.

If you are a beginner photographer or don’t capture a lot of content, your money would be better spent simply ownership ii portable USB hard drives and backing up your media on there.

For us, equally people that capture a lot of content and make a living from doing and so, a NAS system is at present something we couldn’t imagine non having in our photography tools.

When we make full upwards the current organization, nosotros’ll get out and buy another one, that’s how much we honey it.