3 must-have hard drives for photographers
From super-portable for on-the-go snappers to high-tech NAS drives for home studios… we pick out the best hard drives for photographers
26 Jul 2016
Your laptop is like your portable photography studio where you edit your photos and archive your work. Modern, slim laptops don’t come with large hard drives for storing thousands and thousands of photographs, so it’s worth looking at an external hard drive to safely store your work.
But which type of external hard drive is right for you?
Photographer on the go – WD MY Passport Wireless
In a nutshell: Tiny, portable hard drive for the on-location photographer
Transfer photos from your camera to your hard drive while you’re still on location with the WD My Passport Wireless.
Slip your camera’s SD Card into the built-in SD card slot on the My Passport hard drive – it couldn’t be simpler. If your camera has built-in Wi-Fi you can do this wirelessly. There’s enough room for over 600,000 photos with 2TB storage.
Need to edit in Photoshop? Connect the drive to your laptop with the USB 3.0 slot to get your photos into Photoshop super-fast. Once your photos are on the drive, you can share them wirelessly with tablets and smartphones too. Its portable design (weighing just 350g) makes it perfect for taking your photos to a friend’s house or suchlike without lugging your laptop behind.
Stay secure when out on location too. Your photos are protected by password and encryption – should you lose the hard drive you don’t need to worry about privacy.
Connected home and away - WD My Cloud Mirror
In a nutshell: Serious storage for your home studio on your own private cloud that can be accessed from anywhere
If you’re a serious amateur photographer with an interest in becoming semi-professional this is a great option. It’s what’s known as Network Attached Storage, commonly abbreviated to ‘NAS.’ NAS drives connect to your Wi-Fi and create a private cloud.
By this we mean secure online storage that’s based on your own network rather than a service provider’s like Microsoft or Google. So you know where your data is. And you don’t have to worry about paying for every extra gigabyte you need.
It’s incredibly easy to set up and relatively simple to use. One of our smaller NAS drives, it still boasts enough room for hundreds of thousands of photos – 4 TB split across 2 hard drives.
Why 2 hard drives? You can set it up so that 1 hard drive saves your photos and the other backs them up again. This duplicate ‘mirror’ mode gives you peace of mind in case something happens to one of the drives. You can set things up so when uploading photos to your laptop they automatically sync to the My Cloud drive. And you can do the same with photos taken on your Wi-Fi-enabled camera or smartphone.
You can also access your photos via your phone, tablet or laptop when away from home by setting up a MyCloud.com account – you’ll just need to get online. You can then access your photos from anywhere in the world and easily share them with your friends.
Seagate Backup Plus
In a nutshell: Stacks of desktop storage for a small price
If you want to back up your entire photography archive on a budget this is a great option.
The Seagate Backup Plus desktop drive is basic in the best possible way. It’s a desktop hard drive that has ample room for hundreds of thousands of photos for under £120. The Backup Plus has a huge 4TB of storage capacity – 2TB alone gives you enough space for 640,000 photos, according to Seagate.
It’s a traditional hard drive in that you connect it to your laptop via USB. Photos transfer speedily too thanks to the USB 3.0. It’s designed to stay in one place rather than being taken from meeting to meeting. But with its relatively compact design, it won’t take up much space on your desk.
Use both Mac and Windows? You can move your photos freely between the two operating systems.
Need to get your photos when you’re on the go without access to your hard drive? For 2 years you get 200GB of free online storage for cloud service Microsoft OneDrive thrown in – all you need is a laptop or tablet and an internet connection.