File Structure and Storage

Learn how to manage files like a pro.

An important consideration for any photographer is file storage — where and how should you be storing the images you’ve shot?

From transferring images to your computer to organising file structures and storage device options, this class provides an overview of some of the most important considerations for storing your photos. You’ll also see what storage solutions we use in the studio as Karl explains his workflow, storage preferences for photo and video, and backup procedures.


  1. Hi Karl, I shot some product photography mostly lipsticks and cosmetics to be exact. i have a doubt regarding the final exported jpg file size after all the corrections done in photoshop. I use a 5D mark IV, shoot in RAW tethered into lightroom. For editing I open the RAW files which is around 30+mb from lightroom to photoshop as 16bit file. After all the editing is done when i try to export the file, the file size seems to be pretty low. I tried all the export options in photoshop but no use. I rechecked my camera settings also and the pictures are sharp as well. Some photos comes out less than 5mb.. Is it that there are less colour details in the picture so that the file size is reduced. Like lowkey lighting for a lipstick which has mostly black and very less colour details. Is it natural in product photography to get less file size for the final image?

    1. Hi, your camera is about 30MP I think so your raw file size is about right, when you export this to a 16bit PSD or Tiff to do further photoshop work on then it will probably grow to about 200mb or so and then if saving a copy as a jpeg it could be as low 5mb depending on the tones in the image.

      1. Thank you, I would like to use external drives too, but i didnt decide which storage for macbook 1 TB or 2 TB , which one do you prefer ?

        1. Hi Zee, well of course I would always prefer more space if I can afford it so a 2TB would give me more space but it costs more money! You have to consider how much software space will be used and how much for general admin, that already may take more than 1TB?

          1. Actually i just calculate the total size of photography and videography applications, and around 100-150 GB, ,if we imagine 200 GB for system and other apps totaly 300-350 gb, i think 1 TB is enough and i will use external drives too for storage.


    Hi I am not sure how old is this video but I am in USA and trying to find those Raid 5 G drives tower but I can’t find them ; could you help or give me the model number Karl uses please?
    Also why does Karl uses Raid 5 versus Raid 2,3,4 ??

    1. Hi, they look like this now: Raid 5 gives you the best level of security/speed/space trade off and is probably the most common raid format in the industry. Essentially if one drive fails in a tower then as long as you have a spare to hand and replace it and let it rebuild then you will be fine. If you have two drives fail simultaneously then you could have a problem but this would be rare. We run massive 150TB tower in our video department and we have four of them, even though they are Raid 5 we can’t risk losing our video content so we have a tape back up system with the tapes kept off site for extra security in case of fire etc. Tape back up systems are slow but a lot more economical than large hard drives and carrying those off site. If you don’t have masses and masses of data then a duplicate Raid 5 drive that you run as a copy of your working drives can also be an option.

  3. I am curious about the asset capacity of your 14 TB * 12 Hard drives.. What is the client info stored on the array… I.E. what is the percentage of all data available vs the client’s actual volume stored… 14TB*12 units is a Hard Drive volume of 172 TB.. but with redundance for insurance, how much are you actually able to store when you are at full capacity? Thanks…

  4. Coming from an IT background (and moving to photography), it can’t be reiterated enough what Karl said that RAID is not the same as a backup. Should two drives fail, then the RAID is usually uncoverable.

    You may think “What is the chance of that?” – Well – what can happen is a drive fails, and during the rebuild of a new drive, the continuous demand on the other drives can cause an additional failure.

    Another thing I have always done when building a new RAID system is to NOT buy all my drives at the same time (or if at the same time, from different retailers). Reason being, if there is a faulty batch or higher fail rate on a particular serial batch, I don’t want all those drives in my RAID at the same time! I have had a pair of drives fail within a month of each other in the past, and it is not good… believe me 🙂

    Finally – If you do ever have a drive fail, don’t panic! Most drives, whether old style HDD or newer SSDs have a storage element and a controller element – and a lot of the time its the controller that fails, meaning your data can be recovered. There are companies that can help with this.

    Thanks Karl, great video 🙂

  5. If using a date in the file name, it’s best to use the format YYYY MM DD at the start of the file/folder name, because then sorting alphabetically will put them in date order!

    Any other format will mix the dates up really crazy if sorted alphabetically.

  6. I really congratulate you for your courses! I’m taking advantage of them.
    What do you think about cloud storage?
    There are several alternatives such as iDrive or OneBackup.

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