I have a DSLR camera; D7100 to be exact. I originally purchased it, because I was fed up with all the point and shoot cameras out there and wanted control over my photos.

At this point, I'm wanting to figure out a good set up/workflow for my images to be processed. My wife and I both tend to take the photos and let them sit on the camera for awhile and once the estimated photos remaining hits around 30, we decided to offload the images to our system.

We shoot in RAW so the files are very large. I want the RAW photos to be:

  1. A master file in case we want to go back to a memory, or need to print out extras (after post processing)
  2. A file format that once we have a photo we'd like to print, we would post process the raw file (after copying, we never mess with the original file) and once post processing is finished we would then save it as a high resolution JPEG and send it off to our photo lab

Our setup is as follows 1. D7100 DSLR w/ 10GB SD cards 2. Synology NAS (external wifi shared drive for saving raw photos from our computer, this is where we archive all our RAWALPINDI photos) 3. MacBook Pro (2; one is my wife's and the other is mine)

So the process we currently have is:

  1. Take a bunch of photos until we are about to run out of space on our SD card
  2. Insert SD card into our computer and copy the RAW photos to our Synology NAS.
  3. A day or two, or a month or more passes, we want to work on some photos, as we want to send the photos in for printing
  4. We connect to the Synology NAS to look for some photos (these photos are huge so it takes forever to get a preview or even open them fully, this is why I'm writing this question)
  5. Once we have all the photos we want, we individually post process them in Photoshop and/or Lightroom.
  6. Export the photo and send them to our photo lab

The biggest issue of ours is really post processing. When it comes time to sort through all the photos to find the one we want, it takes a very long time over wifi, through a shared drive. I don't really want to keep the photos stored on my laptop, even though I have good backups, because I want my wife to be able to get them off even if in at work, so I like having them centrally located in our NAS. I'm sure locally it will be much faster , but wanted to avoid that if possible. Another idea I had was to purchase the same SD card and put it in the 2nd slot of the camera. The D7100 has the ability to shoot in RAW and process a JPG file to the other slot, so basically I end up with a single raw and a single JPG of the same file. This still doesn't some the workflow issue I'm having - I really want to know the best way to have a single point of access that is relatively fast , has access to the RAW files, and can be post processed. I have a bunch of ideas as you can see but wanted to see what other people have done with this.

Thanks in advance.

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    That is a really long question for what is essentially "Why is my network and or computer slow"? Also, have you considered using something like smart previews and LightRoom 5? – dpollitt Feb 8 '15 at 0:26
  • @dpollitt being a jerk isn't helpful. My network and/or cumputer isn't slow. Trying to figure other people's workflow to see if others suggestion works better. – drewrockshard Feb 8 '15 at 1:27
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    Sorry you feel that I'm being a jerk. This is plain text with only your own implied emphasis or assumptions. You should not assume malicious intent especially as you are not a regular user here. I was simply pointing out the question title does not seem to align with the content. I wouldn't call your issue "workflow" I would call it network trouble that likely would fit better over at the superuser site vs here. All of the detail about your camera, for example why you purchased it does not add to the question and makes for a long story without a very clear question. – dpollitt Feb 8 '15 at 1:31
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    My first thought was also: this is fundamentally an IT question. However, the answer found in chuqui's comments is a workflow one: organize in Lightroom, don't try to pre-organize in Finder. – Please Read My Profile Feb 8 '15 at 5:42

Your setup is very similar to mine, and working with the RAW images over wifi should be fine unless you're doing something like timelapses or lots of HDR work, which it sounds like you aren't.

A few thoughts on the slow speed aspect. I don't think it's the WIFI or the NAS. More likely, especially with a 24 megapixel RAW image, is some other resource.

How much RAM do the MacBooks have? 8gigs is a minimum, 16 is definitely better. With that sized RAW, I might make 16G a practical minimum, to be honest.

What type of Macbook pro and how old? 13" Macbooks are a lot less powerful than 15" (the smaller ones are tuned more for battery life). So even if you have the RAM you might be struggling to have enough CPU to wrangle that big of a RAW image.

What version lightroom and photoshop? Lightroom 5 is much faster than earlier versions with larger RAW images (and in general, for most people). Lightroom 4 and older is going to struggle here. Ditto Photoshop 6 or CC vs. older versions.

Those would be the first things I'd look at to speed up your environment. I think your image hosting and network is up to the task.

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  • I'm not exactly having issue with processing, just browsing the files in finder are taking awhile. We both have the MacBook Pro retinas (each with 16GB of RAM). These files are about 25MB each which shouldn't be an issue with wifi. Still hoping to figure out where the bottleneck is. – drewrockshard Feb 7 '15 at 20:08
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    the finder's going to be somewhat slow over the network under any circumstance. you're better off loading everything into Lightroom and browsing/organizing there. – chuqui Feb 7 '15 at 20:29
  • oh that's not something I've actually thought about doing. I'll go ahead and try that and see if that helps. – drewrockshard Feb 7 '15 at 20:34
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    once you get used to working within lightroom you'll wonder why you did anything else. It's designed to organize images for you. It'll really save you stress down the road. – chuqui Feb 7 '15 at 20:48
  • Better yet, I would use Photo Mechanic. It blows away LR 5 for RAW previews, no question about it. I don't know how I culled a 2,000 image shoot before PM with LR. Kind of like going from Finder to LR, going To PM from LR is worlds faster. – dpollitt Feb 9 '15 at 16:41

If you have some of the newer Macbook Pros, consider upgrading your wifi to 802.11 ac - the performance increase will make your NAS access more enjoyable.

You can also configure LR to create local cache for fast preview and if you import the images as DNG, you can embed fast load data that will make the images from your NAS to appear faster.

Finally, you can configure your catalog to have a "work in progress" folder locally on your laptop and offload the files with drag & drop to the NAS after completion for permanent storage.

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