I'm looking for an online backup strategy for my photos but there's something that none of the systems I've looked at addresses...

I keep my most recent photos on my mac and move them off to an external drive from time to time. I can't keep them all on my computer because I don't have enough space.

Most systems I've looked at can backup both the computer and the external drive. But when I move photos to the drive they will be removed from the computer backup and re-uploaded to the drive backup. This is not only a waste of bandwidth in re-uploading but I'll have to leave the drive plugged in until they are done uploading again. There could even be a time when they are not backed up - after they are 'deleted' from the original location and before they are uploaded again from the drive.

Can anyone suggest a system that handles this or a better way for me to manage my photos?

My photos are all in Lightroom, there are about 500gb so far, I guess I'm adding a few gb per week.

2 Answers 2


I suggest that Crashplan could suit your needs for online backup.

Crashplan does block level deduplication.

My suggestion for backup procedure is:

  1. Configure Crashplan to backup both the internal drive and the external drive (maybe restricting it to just the folders with photos).
  2. Make sure that Crashplan has completed its backup of your internal drive.
  3. Copy photos to external drive - but don't delete them yet.
  4. Force Crashplan to backup the external drive (or just wait for it to happen). This should be relatively quick as Crashplan knows that it already has the data.
  5. Delete photos from your internal drive.

Also Crashplan will retain the backup of deleted files (assuming you configure it to keep them).

And, of course, have an on-site backup to another external drive. TimeMachine for the internal drive and a copy procedure for the photo external drive.

  • This seems perfect for me. One question: you mention keeping a local backup with time machine too. Any reason you recommended that over crashplan's built in back to external drive or network computer feature?
    – Jake
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 2:30
  • I find time machine easier when it comes to restoring. And you can't do system restore with crashplan. Others will like other methods. The important thing is to have an on-site backup for most eventualities and an off-site for real disasters.
    – Gilby
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 7:13

I'm not sure there is a way to do this exactly how you wish it, but perhaps some things to consider…

I'm not sure Backblaze or anything similar is capable of 'knowing' that files moved to a different drive are still the same files - however, the remote servers will hang onto the old copies for 30 days after they are last seen, which should be plenty of time for the new copies to make their way to the backup.

From personal experience, Backblaze shifts around 20 - 25GB of data every day from my machine, so a few GB of photos every month wouldn't be much overhead on that.

One thing I do, as belt & braces, is I have a local Time Machine backup too, to cover for most disaster recovery scenarios, short of the house burning down.

One other thing to consider is that the initial backup may take quite some time - mine took 3 months running 24/7 on a 12Mb UL line! (My total off-site storage at Backblaze is around 2TB.)
During that time you are not completely covered, which makes the Time Machine even more important.

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