The 3 Best External Hard Drives For Photographers

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To properly backup and archive your pictures, the best external hard drives for photographers are key. These must-have gadgets can store all your work, and you'll never have to worry about running out of space.

Both portable and desktop versions exist, so as you look for the one that's right for you, think about how you plan to use your drive (and where). The portable ones are more compact, still boasting at least 1 terabyte of storage, while bigger desktop versions designed to stay put provide even more storage space. For reference, you can store more than 13,000 RAW photos on a 1-terabyte external hard drive. Beyond your storage needs, if you plan to take your hard drive out on shoots, especially outdoors, it's a great idea to invest in a waterproof one with shock resistance.

Although storage and travel-friendly specs are important, don't forget to double check a hard drive's formatting options prior to making a purchase. It should be compatible with your PC or Mac and have 3.0 USB or higher connection for maximum speed.

Keeping all this information in mind, here's my list of the best external hard drive for photographers featuring both portable and desktop options. Read on to find a new home for all your hi-res images.

1. Overall Best External Hard Drive For Photographers

The LaCie Rugged Mini external hard drive is compact and ideal for photographers on the go — especially if you frequently shoot and upload outdoors. Wrapped in an orange rubber sleeve, this drive is drop- and shock-resistant up to 4 feet, according to the manufacturer, plus it's water-resistant for extra protection against the elements. Like others on this list, it has USB 3.0 connectivity and up to 4 terabytes of storage for seamless file transfers. It'll work with both PC and Mac, but it does need to be reformatted for Mac compatibility. Arguably the best part? It has built-in password protection to keep your work safe.

What fans say: "I own three of these and they are workhorses. I label them by date and keep all original RAW through PSD output files on them. They get backed up and placed into storage. It's the PERFECT solution for SSD Mac owners who need to be able to store tons of files. It's a smidge on the fat side but I can fit two plus my mac and tethering cables for the Hasselblad and Fuji all in a slimmer Thule Laptop shoulder bag."

2. Also Great: A Cheaper Alternative That Still Works

WD's My Passport external hard drive is easy to use and universally compatible, but, like the option above, it will need to be reformatted for Macs. This compact, portable drive comes in a range of storage capacities, ranging from 1 terabyte to 4 terabytes. With its USB 3.0 and 2.0 connectivity, it'll back up your photos quickly and automatically if you use the brand's auto-backup software. Even better, it's all secure, thanks to a 256-bit AES hardware encryption and built-in password protection. It's available in seven different colors and protected by a three-year warranty.

What fans say: "It's small, but hold a lot of pictures. It has a security feature that I don't use, but would be a good idea for business files."

3. A Desktop Hard Drive With The Most Storage

With storage capacities up to 10 terabytes, the Seagate Backup Plus Hub is great if you want a desktop hard drive for a large amount of images. It's automatically formatted for Windows PCs with the option to install an included NTFS driver for Mac. This one has two USB 3.0 ports so you can charge your camera or any other device as you transfer files. And just like others on this list, it comes with a backup software to make saving your files as easy as a single click.

What fans say: "Great drive with good features and a good price. I use two of these as primary and redundant backup for my computer and thousands of digital photo files. I'm a photographer and shoot countless photos and videos every year."

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