We're gonna need a bigger drive

Actually, you need two (one to store your images, and one as a backup). And perhaps a third for off-site storage.

And here’s why. We are seeing four trends in photography, all increasing at the same time.

  • Pictures get bigger (more megapixels).
  • You’ll take more of them.
  • You’ll re-use them more, so will want fast access.
  • You’ll store them all in the same place.

As “digital” took over my life, the number of pictures in the last five years in my Lightroom catalog increased as follows:

  • 2004 :    1,080
  • 2005 :    2,999
  • 2006 :    5,052
  • 2007 :    5,617
  • 2008 :  13,599
  • 2009 :  26,785

I stored more in Lightroom, I took more pictures, I kept more, and they also became bigger, so 2009 is disproportionally larger than previous years.

Can you see that my images appear to be increasing at more than Moore’s law rate?

Of course I expect them to top off this year – they may already have maximized – as I do more training, and more quality shooting rather than volume shooting – but who knows. Even then, larger files will make tyour storage top out. So get ready for more storage, and be agrressive.

How aggressive? The images above filla a 1TB drive (and two backup 1TB drives).

Fortunately, storage is also becoming cheaper, and by 2011 we will have 1 TB SD cards.

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