Question NAS recommendations for a photographer


Jul 26, 2007
Hello all,

I am looking to add a NAS to my current setup. I am a hobbyist photographer, but lately have been taking it a little more seriously and actually getting paying clients. I think my current solution.of just dumping all my raw files onto an internal drive, and then backing that drive up to the Cloud through Carbonite, isn't sufficient. I've never needed a NAS before, so it's not something I've researched before. My requirements are pretty straightforward.

  • RAID 1 obviously.
  • Ability to rebuild the array if one drive fails quickly.
  • It'd be nice if I could take one of the drives out, swap it with an empty drive, and the NAS would automatically rebuild the array so that I could then store that extra drive offsite somewhere.
  • Bonus points if I can access the files and also back up to the drive remotely.
  • And are there any NAS solutions with like, an optional subscription Cloud backup capability? So the contents of the NAS are automatically backed up as well.
Also is there any other NAS functionality that I should be aware of/try and get? It seems like most of the added functionality is about using the NAS as a media server, which is something I don't really need. I've heard good things about the Synology drives, but I don't know if there are other brands I should look at as well.

Thanks in advance!


Actually, an external SSD would be much preferred. You can make a third backup to the cloud, as an additional measure of protection, but since high resolution photographs are so big, any spinning drive configuration is going to be painfully slow for major backups even in RAID, which we almost never recommend these days anyhow.

Granted, a large SSD is somewhat pricey, but likely would be less expensive than two large drives AND a reliable NAS box. It would be far faster and it would be portable, so you could take it with you if your camera supports external storage devices to backup immediately or to use for displaying larger visual presentations on client computers or your own laptop or tablet.


Aug 7, 2019
Partially agree with dark breeze. It would take forever to send RAW files to your home network remotely. Having a drive with you, on the other hand, would make it easy to back up when you get back home. Wouldn't necessarily need to be an SDD. I DO recommend having something for your data when you get back home. How long are you saving your RAW files? Are you planning on kicking the carbonite? You can make a nice little server out of an old desktop with SATA ports (some exceptions apply). RAID is not a backup solution. RAID is a no-downtime solution. Make sure you do have s backup solution in place. Just as an example, I have a weekly backup set up on my desktop. On my server I do quarterly updates to non-attached devices (so those drives sit idle and secured 95% of the time). Since your server will be updated much more often than mine, you will most likely wat a different approach. Just shooting out some ideas.


If they are currently offloading files from the camera when they get home, to I assume a desktop computer or laptop drive, then that is one backup. Cloud is a second backup. An external SSD, which would be fast, especially if the other system, desktop or laptop, is also an SSD, when backing up from the external drive to the desktop or laptop internal drive. With files or folders of the size I think we are talking about, especially if there are MANY of them, there is no way that any RAID configuration would approach the speed at which you could do the same tasks from SSD to SSD or even from camera to SSD, which you cannot obviously do with an NAS box since that isn't going to be capable of a direct connect to your camera.

Even if a direct USB connect to the camera isn't possible, it would still be miles faster after you get things off the camera onto the internal drive on your desktop or laptop, when it comes time to back that up to another device, if that device and the external device were both SSDs. If time isn't ever going to be a factor then certainly an NAS box is an option but it's still going to be more expensive after you factor in the cost of two drives and the NAS box.

No way you're going to get two high quality 2 TB drives and a quality NAS box for this price. Assuming RAID which is what the OP referred to.

Any NAS box you get for less than that is either going to be of questionable quality OR it's going to only come with a single drive, so no RAID and MUCH lower speeds.


Mar 16, 2013
PC, then local storage, then tertiary later.

Local = either a regular USB drive or a full fledged NAS box.
Tertiary = cloud or other local offline drive.

Primarily, you never want the files to exist on only one drive.
And the SD cards do not count as a 'drive'.

I do a reasonable amount of hobbyist photo work. Just tonight, brought in 85 pics from the camera from yesterday and today.
85 each, RAW and jpg.

Overall volume in my system is ~17,000 files, split almost 50/50 RAW and jpg (same pic, one of each) over the last couple years.

Onto an internal drive (SSD of course) dedicated for photo work. Do whatever editing (Lightroom & Paintshop Pro) is needed.
Then that all gets backed up to the NAS box overnight.
Some of them (the keepers) go to a dedicated 'keepers' folder tree in the NAS, selected and done manually. ALL of them get wrapped up in the nightly automated Incremental backup.
The previous several years of 50k files already fully offloaded from the PC to the NAS somewhere.

The better NAS boxes (QNAP or Synology) have their own 'cloud' thing, or can talk to many 3rd party backup spaces.
My QNAP can natively talk to Google Cloud, iDrive, Azure, myQNAPcloud.
I've not availed myself of those options.

The benefit of a NAS over the cloud is reasonably fast local online storage and access.
I wouldn't want my only second copy to be 'out there'.

Simple USB external drive or full blown NAS depends on your budget.