ON1 Plus Sneak Peek: How I Organize My Master Photos

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In this video I define what I mean by a master photo. Then I go on to explain how I organize, archive and backup my library of master photo files both locally in my studio as well as offsite.

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35 comments on “ON1 Plus Sneak Peek: How I Organize My Master Photos”

  1. On June 11, 2018 at 2:01 pm David Price wrote:

    Hi Hudson
    I can’t argue with any of your suggestions, as they seem to be very logical and founded upon commonsense.
    I have to say that as a Windows User, I now feel quite envious of MAC’s many back up tools. Perhaps somone in the ON1 support team could research Windows alternatives?
    Don’t be discouraged by the lack of comments, as I suspect that most ON1 Fans are currently having a whale of a time, hunting the inevitable bugs in the Beta. Sadly, I have to opt out of bug hunting, due to work, but such is life.
    Best wishes, David Price.

    1. On June 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm Angus Gibbins replied:

      Plenty of options for Backup For Windows, haven’t watched this video yet but a couple that spring to mind:

      – ShadowProtect (Paid)
      – Veeam (Free version available, enterprise software but there’s a free Windows Backup Agent)

      Re: Prerelease bugs. Surely it would be better if the bugs were hunted and fixed prior to the general release?

      1. On June 11, 2018 at 11:40 pm David Price replied:

        Hi Angus
        The new version of Photo Raw 2018 is at the ‘pre-release stage’. The purpose of the current bug hunting, is to ensure that everything runs smoothly, before the ‘general release’ happens. In the past I have enjoyed taking part in the bug hunt, but this time work is getting in the way.
        I’ll have a look at your suggestions for Windows back up software, thanks.
        Best wishes, David Price.

      2. On June 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm Angus Gibbins replied:

        Ah yeap, apologies, I thought you were being critical of those spending time to find and report bugs.

      1. On June 14, 2018 at 10:49 am Hudson Henry replied:

        Ha, nice Kyle. Just saw your link. :-)

    2. On June 14, 2018 at 10:44 am Hudson Henry replied:

      Thanks David. I know there are some great windows backup options. I think Windows 10 even has a Time Machine like feature, but there are certainly some good 3rd party alternatives out there akin to Chronosync for Mac.

  2. On June 11, 2018 at 4:55 pm Flo Burney wrote:

    As I am not pro, I find this over the top for me. Far too advanced and confusing. I have enjoyed your other videos very much, but this is not for me. I know there will be a lot of people scrambling to get a Drobo. buts not for me. thankyou

    1. On June 14, 2018 at 10:51 am Hudson Henry replied:

      I totally understand, but I do hope you keep your photos on more than one hard drive and back up any mobile photos you have. You don’t need to use any specific kind of storage to back up, but just remember that a hard drive failure or lost phone can be heart breaking if not backed up.

  3. On June 11, 2018 at 6:35 pm Jim Hope wrote:

    very interesting & gives another thought as to how to store photos.

  4. On June 12, 2018 at 11:57 am Robert Houchens wrote:

    I just started using iDrive backup for Windows. It is a cloud backup solution with an option to do local backups simultaneously. It also allows backup of multiple computers under the umbrella of a single account. Critically for me, free of charge, they will send a new user a physical drive on which you can load all of your data for the initial setup, eliminating the need to upload all of your data when you initialize your account.

  5. On June 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm marc labro wrote:

    Hi Hudson,

    Do you use only ON1 or also Lightroom ?
    How do you proceed from SD card to ON1+LR and drobo ?

    best regards

    1. On June 14, 2018 at 10:54 am Hudson Henry replied:

      Hey Marc. I still use Adobe and ON1 in tandem for various things.

      I keep my entire LR catalog on another little 500GB SSD so it moves from computer to computer with me. If I plug it and the SSD into either my desktop or laptop LR sees all the files and I can transfer them inside LR to my Drobo from the SSD and it tracks it.

      ON1 is actually simpler since it’s really not necessary to catalog file locations. If I move the files in LR then ON1 Browse will see them just fine in the new location as well.

  6. On June 13, 2018 at 10:12 am Ed Adams wrote:

    You brought a smile to my face when you discussed BackBlaze. I’m actually more of a computer geek than a photographer having worked for the largest vendors in software. Backup is critical and there is a rule called the 3-2-1 rule. That means you backup 3 places. What you do is exactly what I do – primary backup is on my main hard drive (I run my apps like On1 Raw on a SSD) then everything is backed up to via Time Machine. I actually add another layer in that I do a complete cloan backup using an app called Carbon Copy Cloaner. The reason I do this is that at times TimeMachine gets glitches so I protect myself. Then everything is backed up to the cloud with BackBlaze. I live where we have big fires and floods so this is critical. I might also plug BackBlaze for a quarterly report they put out on their site giving their real time experience with the hard drives they use for backup. These are real numbers on 1,000s of drives and not just a review or comment based on one person’s experience. This could be critical for someone like you with your drobo.

    1. On June 14, 2018 at 10:56 am Hudson Henry replied:

      Nice Ed. That’s so cool. Yes, I find Backblaze to be very well designed and professionally run. It seems like a bargain to me for such simple peace of mind.

  7. On June 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm Robert Giles wrote:

    Hi Hudson,

    Thanks for an insight into how you backup. I would like to offer a comment on cloud storage. In my experience, something that seems to cheap to be true invariably is! I will explain. Many years ago I was a subscriber to Pogoplug’s service. Who remembers them? They shut down and I many others were faced with the task of finding an alternative service and perhaps the more difficult task of re backing up to the new service. This is fine for those with access to high speed broadband. I have images backed up since the late 90’s and uploading them when your upload speed is between 8 – 9 Mbit/sec. According to Backblaze this will take a day to upload 9Gb.

    I opted for Amazon’s cloud service. (Not S3) At the time it cost $59.99 per year for unlimited storage. I was happy with this service. (I still am.) However, there came a time when Amazon decided that they were going to restrict users to 1TB for the same price. Additional storage is available at pro rata rates. I am guessing that there is no guarantee that this won’t happen with Backblaze.

    1. On June 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm Hudson Henry replied:

      Yeah, that’s always a danger. Right now it’s the best thing i can find. In 5 years? Who knows. Tech moves so fast.

  8. On June 14, 2018 at 2:52 pm Stefan Sheriden wrote:

    Hi Hudson, very intersting video.

    Personally I have a Windows 10 PC with a 500mb SSD for Operating system and applications including ON1.

    My photos are stored on drives running Microsoft Storage Spaces, much like Raid but easier to configure. I have 4 x 2GB drives currently configured as 2 x 2TB storage spaces but I intend to change to 2 x 4TB.

    I have automatic backups using Macrium Reflect (free) which does full and incremental backups to an external USB 3 drive. I swop these drives over and keep one in the boot of the car.

    I like you treat exports as trash files but do store some of them in albums on a 2TB NAS (Raid) and I also use Google Photos which allows free unlimited storage of high resolution Jpegs.

    I use the NAS for viewing albums on TV and use Google photos to share and have instant access to photos anywhere. I think it remarkable how quickly Google loads photos on Android devices.

  9. On June 16, 2018 at 9:28 am Kevin King wrote:

    Love this. I also want to emulate your color coding… for bracketed image series, softproofed images, etc. Would you incorporate them into another tute or list them somewhere?

  10. On June 18, 2018 at 4:42 pm Jessica Leslie wrote:

    Thanks so much for sharing your techniques with us. I do have a few questions. I also have a MacBook Pro, but it only has 2 thunderbolt and one USB 3 ports. How do you plug in so many drives at once? Or do you plug/unplug as needed?
    Next, you stated that you keep your master photos on the Drobo. I wasn’t sure if you meant the masters plus the ON 1 edit files for each photo.
    On your two hard drives, the 4 Tb and the 6Tb, you also have photos from different years. Are those backups of the Drobo or is that where you keep the photos plus edit files. I am not sure I understand what those 2 drives contain as compared to the Drobo.
    Then if I understand correctly, Time Machine is your automatic backup of everything?
    If I seem overly confused, it is because I am still in the dark ages when it comes to backups. Since my Time Machine ran out of room, I have been doing the ole drag and drop onto LaCie drives. I know, not ideal!

    1. On June 18, 2018 at 6:02 pm Hudson Henry replied:

      Hey Jessica,

      I have one of the newer MacBook Touch Bar models with 4 USB-C ports and I use one of these… amzn.to/2K4m8Iy They make ones that would work for USB3 too like this… amzn.to/2M0K3WU

      I absolutely keep any edited .psd or .tiff files with my master RAW files in the Drobo. It’s just the jpeg exports for sharing or posting I treat as junk. I can always recreate them with a couple of clicks from a master.

      Those two other drives are merely backups of the oldest data on the Drobo that won’t fit on my big time machine drive with the latest files I’m often changing. Once you hit 10-12TB of photos and video the backup gets more complicated. ;-)

      No Time machine keeps my system and photos from the past two years backed up. I use another bit of software to incrementally back up older files on those other two external hard drives. It’s called Chronosync and it’s really great software.

      Ha, no worries. You really should automate it. That’s why i do this the way I do. :-)

      1. On June 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm Jessica Leslie replied:

        Thanks so much! I have found a hub for thunderbolt as well. Thanks again for inspiring me to update my backups. I’m in the process!

  11. On June 19, 2018 at 7:35 am Frank Victor wrote:

    Great presentations on importing last month and your master file system. I use a pair of portable hard drives when traveling for backup like you advocate. I missed how you transfer these to your master Drobo archive. I just copy the raw files, but do not edit on laptop. Do you just copy files, and will the edits transfer with the copy?

    1. On June 19, 2018 at 6:01 pm Hudson Henry replied:

      So long as you have Photo RAW set to record edits to sidecar files then all you need to do is move the folders with the photos and sidecar files over. RAW will see it all. :-)

      1. On June 19, 2018 at 7:27 pm Frank Victor replied:

        Thanks. That is what I had been doing, but had not done any editing before dragging them over. Keep up the interesting programs.

  12. On June 22, 2018 at 7:12 am Jaime wrote:

    Speaking strictly about your Drobo – Master RAW Files and ON1 Edited (.tiff .psd).
    What folder structure do you use within an “event shoot”?
    More specifically at …/R2/2018/20180627 Name of Shoot/ What Folders go here ?
    I’m guessing something like /RAW and another /ON1 for .tiff, .psd and sidecar files ?

    1. On June 22, 2018 at 7:41 am Jaime replied:

      Oops, “More specifically at …/Drobo/2018/20180627 Name of Shoot/… NOT R2

    2. On June 22, 2018 at 6:52 pm Hudson Henry replied:

      None. Absolutely none. I have year folders and shoot folders. I just got back from Bears Ears and took 10,000 frames over 10 days. They all go in one single folder called Bears Ears. I do all the sorting I need within that using stars, color codes, like ratings and keywords.

  13. On June 23, 2018 at 7:54 am Neil Shapiro wrote:

    Hi Hudson! A topic that hits near home for me. I am pretty organized in my photos, not that different than you (though on a PC). Like you, I have terabytes of data (my Backblaze account is now at 14TB). I back up every shoot to optical media (now up to Blu-ray discs), and instead of time machine, I have Macrium Reflect doing backups to external drives using daily incremental backups. I also periodically “archive” a “untouchable” hard drive and take one or two filled with photos and my data to a safe deposit box at the bank. (with hard drive docks and hot swappable bays it’s easy and less expensive to just buy bare drives and use them as removable media…which is how I manage them as backup drives).

    One problem with this approach is keeping track of what’s kept offsite or offline (on hard drives or Optical media). I don’t think Lightroom’s DAM features are good for offline data. And I don’t think On1 has offline DAM features so it’s not an alternative, either. Or does it? Right now, instead, I just use a cataloging program called “Whereisit?”. It works fine but it would be nice to see On1 do that.

    I’m glad to see your master subtree. I do that as well (I have a “Captures” tree organized by shoot date, and a “Masters” tree of selected shots organized by place and/or subject), but I was beginning to wonder whether it was a good idea, given that neither LR or On1 really supports the workflow for that well. Yes, you can move things around, but when I’m going through a shoot and editing files, they always go into my “Captures” tree next to the photo. Then I have to go and manually move the files…usually weeks or months later….and then I wonder whether I should leave a copy in the original Captures folder to let me know I “took one” out of the shoot. My recent solution to that, at least in LR, has been a template to generate a JPG copy with “moved to masters” in the file name. It would be nice if On1 would support some ingenious scheme to simplify such a workflow while editing…i.e., taking the “flagged” winners from a folder and automatically moving them to a separate masters tree, and perhaps leaving a placeholder (JPG) for them behind?

    The next problem I run into–and wanted to ask you: I spend a few months recently trying to go through shoots and delete the “look-alike” photos. Meaning going through and deleting all the photos that are just “ok” compared to the one you’ve already selected as the Master. They are similar, but not quite as good, and you really only need one good shot from a single perspective of a good subject. What do you do? Let them accumulate in your “Captures” folder forever? Or cull them? It just seems to me that there’s no reason to keep them active in the photo library, but it’s such a lot of work!

    Thanks again for covering such an important subject in this video! I am sure it will help many people and save them when the time inevitably comes that there’s a failure or problem. (And sorry for the long post!)

  14. On June 27, 2018 at 4:43 am Hudson Henry wrote:

    Sounds like you are doing a good job of thinking about your DAM strategy and adapting it as technology advances. There’s no perfect system and I share many of your frustrations.

    As far as your question about culling. I do it as I go to the extent I have time. I mark them as disliked with the X-key and filter during my cull to only liked or unmarked images so the disliked disappear. I don’t delete the disliked images till I’m sure the master images I chose to edit work and there isn’t some focus or composition problem I missed. Deleting the runner ups is my last step when working folders. Yes, I have scads of folders that I’m not done with from years gone by. I keep thinking someday I’ll have time… ;-)

  15. On January 18, 2019 at 10:38 am Peter Frye wrote:

    Just now getting around to learning the import feature of On1. Watched your two sessions on importing. As I also use a travel laptop (Windows) and a desktop iMac, how do you get photos from the trip systems to the desktop when you return from a field trip?

    1. On January 18, 2019 at 1:46 pm Hudson Henry replied:

      Sure, great question. I make certain that I have ON1’s preferences set to write metadata to sidecar files (the default). Then I just open that particular folder on my desktop. I tend to keep my files on external drives both on my desktop and laptop. If you want to move them, then just move the entire folder. I would not catalog the travel laptop’s files in ON1 if the desktop is your master computer, then use ON1’s folder cataloging on the desktop exclusively.

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