I wanted to take a moment to share an opinion that I feel a great number of seasoned photographers already know, but for those who are just getting started, this may be news: networking takes time. This concept may seem simple and obvious, but I think it's often overlooked when emerging photographers are six-months into their new profession, low on clients, and trying to pay their bills. I'm just here to say that it may take a full year before your name has established a solid reputation in your area, but once you've reached that point, things will more than likely pick up. It's not luck that takes your business from low volume to high volume, it's good work, strong business skills, and an expanding network.
So how do you expand your network? Well, first and foremost, just do a good job and people will spread the word. That's a good example of passive networking where the only role you play is behind-the-scenes. What about active networking? Here's one: keep your business cards on you at all times - next time you engage in a conversation with someone new, make sure they leave with your contact information. That connection may or may not mature, but you'll never know unless you reach out.
Just remember, it takes time and energy - work at expanding your network, your business will thank you later.
So here's the deal, I've been working 13-hour days for the past three weeks and it's beginning to get to me. To thwart the upcoming burnout, I decided to get away for the weekend - gone, out of town, adios. The one task I didn't complete before I left was, of course, recording this week's podcast. Instead of waiting until next week, here's this week in a blog post since visuals aren’t really necessary for this one.
I've been using a Drobo (2nd gen) for a little over a month now. There’s really nothing special about that fact, lots of folks use them. The differentiating factor is that I use my Drobo as the one and only location for my photo library, sync it with Lightroom, and have removed every single photo from my computer's hard drive. If that piqued your curiosity, read on…
During the busy season, I put on about 8-10 GB of photos each weekday, then about 20 GB on a Saturday wedding (all shot in RAW, of course). There's no way my seemingly measly 500 GB internal hard drive can keep up with that pace, especially during the backup process. My former workflow had me exporting JPG's and dumping RAW's about every other day to conserve drive space, not so much anymore.
So there's the setup - lots of photos, not enough space.
I looked into running my photo library on an external hard drive, but hated the idea that the hard drive could fail at any given moment, which would make me want to back it up, which would then be more cumbersome than just keeping them on my internal drive. That's about the point where I noticed the Drobo. See, it's a little different in the fact that it backs up the data from one drive to the other(s) on-the-fly, no software, no worries (unless all of the drives crash at once, that is) - it’s a RAID for the rest of us. After learning that the Drobo was a safe place for my photo library to live (still vulnerable to fire, flood, or theft, but super-protected against crashes), I went through the process of picking my components.
First, I picked the Drobo 2nd gen (at least) as it has 4 drive bays and the coveted FireWire 800 port, assuming you have one of those on your computer. Running your photo library on an external drive requires a great deal of through-put, and FW 800 can handle it (more on that later). When selecting drives, I didn’t get the 7200 rpm drives as 5400 rpm are plenty. Why not more power, you might be wondering? The bottle-neck of this setup is not the speed of your drives, it's the cable connecting your Drobo to your computer. Getting 7200 rpm drives will only make your Drobo's fans run more often as the drives run warmer - they will also give you the illusion of a performance increase, but I’m not really into that. As a matter of fact, I recommend using 'green' drives/drives that advertise super-low power consumption - those drives will give your Drobo's fans a rest and won't impact your performance in the slightest.
The biggest apprehension I had going into this setup was performance - how well would my library load, import and export my photos, the develop module's adjustments take effect, etc.? The short answer: perfectly. I haven't noticed a decrease in speed since I began using this setup. It's surprising, I know - I was just as shocked. But it works, it genuinely functions just as well on the Drobo through FW 800 as it does internally. I'm sure someone could spit out some statistics that would say otherwise, but as the end-user, my experience has been seamless and smooth.
So what happens when (not if) a hard drive fails? Well, that’s the beauty of a Drobo - if one drive fails, the other(s) will still have all of your data ready for you without a hiccup. Just pop out the old, slap in the new. Same thing if I run out of space - just pop a new one in - it doesn’t even have to be the same capacity as the others. It’s because of the combination of redundancy, stability, and performance that it makes perfect sense to use a Drobo as your primary photo drive.
I just wanted to take a moment and call your attention to both of our sponsors: Tourbuzz and Adorama. To date, there are 36 episodes, 11 hours of content, numerous blog posts - all free of charge. This is only possible because we have others supporting the content we all enjoy. Next time you're thinking of creating a virtual tour, consider following tourbuzz's link and using services. If you are about to make a gear purchase, think about following Adorama's link before doing so. By supporting our sponsors, you're helping support this podcast. We've never asked for your funds, nor do we ever plan to. No guilt trip intended, just wanted to both thank and recognize our sponsors.