Protect your priceless photos with a NAS solution

Jonathan Stewart
11 March, 2015
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Synology, NAS, photographers, help, macworld australiaPhoto management is peace of mind. Whether you are a professional photographer with years of stunning shots from around the globe or the member of the family in charge of keeping those precious pictures of the children’s first day of school or that trip to Disneyland safe, photos are priceless.

Organising your photos, backing them up, making them available on all of your devices for off-site viewing and social media sharing can seem a daunting task. But with the aid of a NAS, it doesn’t need to be a painful experience. With the help of a Synology solution, here’s how and why a NAS can be the all-in-one option for your home, office or business.

So, what is a NAS? A NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a storage device that connects to your network, be that at home or in the office, or even the Internet, allowing all users and devices to access shared files and media. Imagine a hard drive attached to your Wi-Fi providing you with a wireless backup and storage solution for all concerned.

They can feature one or more internal drives for multiple backups and, in the case of Synology, include a range of applications that make managing files, such as photos, easy.

Manage your photos

Most of us take photos on a variety of devices, from DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras to our smartphones, plug them into our computers and back up our favourites. Without an issue arising with our computers, this may seem like an adequate solution – the photos are stored and viewable when we wish. But it is limited. The pictures are only accessible on one device and should the computer’s drive fail, the photos can be lost forever.

With the addition of a NAS, these photos can be automatically backed up to another drive, and if you choose to run the NAS as a RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks), you will have multiple copies of each image on multiple drives. How does this work? With Synology, the backup solution is Cloud Station.

Cloud Station syncs all data on your computers, smartphones and tablets, automatically updating the NAS backups as soon as you save a change. After you import your photos into your computer, you simply drag those files into a designated folder and they will sync to your NAS. If you are worried about privacy, all folders synced by Cloud Station can be encrypted.

But you want more than just a storage solution, right? You want to be able to manage your photos in folders, view them from all of your devices and share them with family and friends quickly and easily. Maybe you need to send your latest shots to a colleague or contractor? This is where Photo Station comes in.

Photo Station is an application and web service available on Synology NAS solutions, which indexes your photos and makes them available for social media sharing, in-app viewing and web albums. With Photo Station, you can tag a photo’s location and add such details as who is in the picture. You can rearrange photos by dragging them and create albums. You can also create slideshows with chosen music and you can share your photos via a password-protected link or to Facebook, Picasa Web Albums, Google+, Twitter and YouTube.

Taking your photos mobile

DS photo+ is the free mobile companion for Photo Station that brings the photos stored on your NAS to your smartphones and tablets. Users can browse and organise their photos, albums and categories, download images to their device for offline viewing and automatically upload photos taken on their mobile devices to their Synology NAS when DS photo+ is opened. Thus providing instant photo backups.

Rather than taking a portable hard drive with you or storing gigabytes of photos on your device to show family, friends or colleagues your photos, DS photo+ connects your device with your NAS and lays the photos out for you.

Backups, redundancies and data protection

Professional photographers may not require Photo Station. Many will have their own website or dedicated paid photo-gallery service. But, as mentioned above, a NAS provides a backup solution for polished and raw files.

Synology DiskStation allows users to setup their NAS as a file server, creating a collaborative environment where a range of computers can access photographs simultaneously. For example a photographer may place their raw photos on the NAS after a photo shoot, a colleague would then be able to view and alter the files, and afterwards the photographer would be able to see the changes and make further alterations if need be.

Mac users will also appreciate the integration of native Time Machine support, Apple’s backup utility that provides comprehensive drive backups and easy data retrieval.

Another feature photographers will appreciate is the option of a RAID setup, providing redundancy in case disaster strikes. Unlike many other professions where a loss of data can mean a loss of time as the work is redone, photographs are significantly harder to reproduce. It would be almost impossible to replicate a photo taken overseas, at a sporting event or family gathering etc. Setting up a Synology NAS with multiple drive backups can mean the difference between collecting a paycheque and hair-pulling frustration.


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