Why a NAS Unit Should Be Your Next Purchase, and How You Can Win One in This Giveaway

Why a NAS Unit Should Be Your Next Purchase, and How You Can Win One in This Giveaway

New lenses and cameras are always fun to purchase, but equally important is finding a way to store those photos you’re making with those cameras and lenses. Here’s why you should consider network attached storage before you spend that money on another lens.

I get it — cameras are sexy and hard drives are not, but network attached storage is much more than just a simple hard drive to store your photos on. I started using a NAS unit that uses Synology’s DSM (Disk Station Manager) a couple of years ago and it was life-changing. Instead of shuffling around external hard disks and waiting forever to make backups of backups, I had a much more reliable option that gave me a lot more flexibility to store and retrieve my photos.

Reason 1: Flexibility

With standard external hard drives, I’m limited to what I can physically plug into my computer at all times. The beauty of a network attached storage unit, such as Synology’s DS718+ or DS1618+ is the network part. Instead of plugging directly into a computer, which would need to be powered on to access files, I’m plugged into my router with a Cat 6 cable. I can then access the NAS unit directly on my home network by plugging into the same router or connecting to my wireless network. I can even access my files remotely though the DSM interface. I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed to grab an old file on the road and a NAS unit with Synology’s DSM lets me do that with ease. I’m also able to use any computer or laptop in the house without having to physically plug in or unplug drives.

When I’m transferring a massive amount of files, I can plug things directly into the NAS, set up the transfer through the DSM web interface, and walk away without worrying about my computer losing power or going to sleep and interrupting the transfer. It requires much less thought and effort.

Reason 2: Expandability

Before switching to a 2-bay NAS Unit, I would buy increasingly larger hard drives until I was hitting the limit of what’s possible in a standard external drive (which was about 10 TB when I switched over). That’s a lot of data to carry around on one platter, but more than this, it took forever to back up that drive, even with a fast USB 3.1 connection. I also finally hit a point where I hit the limit and couldn’t even fit everything on one drive anymore.

The DS718+ out of the box supports 2 hard drives (but with the DX517 expansion unit, it can go to 7) and the DS1618+ supports 6 out of the box. Depending on your needs, you can configure for maximum storage (in my case, I have 2 12TB Seagate Iron Wolf drives set up to give me 24TB) or for redundancy in case one drive fails. While this redundancy shouldn’t necessarily be considered a backup, Synology’s DSM makes it easy to seamlessly sync to another NAS Unit offsite or the cloud using Hyper Backup to offer a true backup solution.

All in all, it’s much easier than having multiple hard drives and having to separate which files are on what, and then backing that all up to another set of hard drives.

Trading in a pile of hard drives and flash drives for a NAS unit made life a lot more organized.

Trading in a pile of hard drives and flash drives for a NAS unit made life a lot more organized.

Reason 3: Hard Drives Will Fail

When you put all your eggs in one basket, you are destined to lose or break that basket. Using a NAS gives important peace of mind for photographers always worried about calamity striking their photos. A common saying among IT professionals is that there are two types of people: Those who have had a hard drive failure and those who will have a hard drive failure.

Even if a NAS is the main unit or secondary unit in a backup system that includes hard drives, it’s a valuable upgrade.


If you’re looking to get your hands on a unit yourself, Fstoppers is giving away a Synology DS718+ with two 14TB Seagate drives. Just leave a comment about something you wouldn't want to lose in a hard drive crash, and you will automatically be entered in the draw.

This giveaway is open those with a US address. Winners will be selected in one week.

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Previous comments
William Johns's picture

I couldn't imagine losing the hundreds of thousands of client wedding images that I have spread over numerous external hard drives! I truly need a NAS to start maximizing my storage onsite.

Slava Slavik's picture

In my previous wedding and portrait studio, we had 2 – 3 people working simultaneously on the pictures. All production computers were in a CAT6 wired network and client photos were stored on several Plus Series Synology NAS that were set for speed as non-redundant RAD0 and backed up automatically every night to a same size j Series Synology NAS. The access speed from all stations was almost the same as if the files were stored locally.

I’d be happy to plug to my router a new Synology NAS even though I now work by myself. It would be used for client pictures and make my business ready for multiple local editors.

Adam Stevenson's picture

Pictures of the kids mostly, and other favorites. This looks like the perfect solution!

Marcus Joyce's picture

Don't buy a Nas. Lr is even slower over a network with raw photos. Doesn't travel well and your now dealing with multiple or catalogues. One on your desktop one on your Nas and one on your laptop. If you got $$$$ buy 2 4TB ssd for speed. One to backup the other.

If your less endowed get 2 X spinning disks.

Also you need to backup your Nas. Not for hard drive failure but electrical, corruption, bit lockers, oops I deleted it and fire/water damage...

Bill Peppas's picture

I'd make additional backups to keep every single customer's of mine data safe.

J. Chiu's picture

i wouldn't want to lose my once in a lifetime travel pics with my wife.

David Hubbard's picture

Travel photo's, wedding photo's...and photo's of my 3 month old baby!! I have a decent external drive, but I'd love to eventually get a NAS storage system just for peace of mind.

Juan Mojica's picture

Beyond client work and personal passion projects, I document my family life to the fullest so our entire family's little ones can get a detailed look at family history and have plenty to look back and reminisce on as they are older. Nothing let's you get a sense of a person's personality more than these images/videos we capture and I hope to preserve that for generations

Mark Coons's picture

As a photographer I have 1000's of photographs to store every year. A reliable and easy to use back up drive is a must for me. This product looks like it fills this need perfectly.

Dao Tamer's picture

For sure personal photos and videos of the children growing up would be the most heartbreaking to lose.

Daria Fomkina's picture

I don't want to loose my family's potos :D I don' care much about clients' photos

Mindaugas Keblis's picture

Would be disaster to lose the whole archive of photos and video worth 15 years of carrying and clicking camera. Even if we don't think about emotional and all "energy-spent" loss..

David Doughty's picture

Yeah, pretty much what all the previous commentators said. Personal photos, those of family, all of it is absolutely irreplaceable.

Jason Pietroski's picture

I wouldn't want to lose images from my wedding and images from our amazing travels together over the past 10 years.

Daniel Venter's picture

The biggest draw back of NAS is that it's running through old ethernet and that is soooooooo slow for file transfer. We've gone with DAS that has much faster transfer and backup capabilities. USB-C Usb 3 is far better than connecting with ethernet cables

Randal Jaffe's picture

I would hate to lose all my pictures - I had all my film pictures destroyed in a flood in our basement so am very concerned about preserving what I now have.

Marco Catini's picture

All the beautiful memories and moments I captured for my clients.

tyler h's picture

My Photos and business legal documents, would be a catastrophic loss.

Richard Fleisher's picture

My digital life including almost 20 tears of priceless photos

Steve harrison's picture

I'd hate to lose all the images from my son's wedding. The professional we hired agreed to give me all of the shots so I have quite a few irreplaceable images.

Gerald Bertram's picture

I would just die if I lost all of my epic cat videos....and videos of my kids I guess.

Jordan Jones's picture

Years and years of family photos.

Jeremiah Rose's picture

Losing any photos would be a disaster, losing photos of your loved ones would by far be the worse for me.

Joe Joe's picture

I wouldn't want to lose any of my photos, nas seems like a good idea.

Dan Strader's picture

losing years of family photos and videos, especially of those who are no longer here, would be devastating.

Alan Fletcher's picture

All my digital pictures and documents

Bob K's picture

I wouldn't want to loose any of my travel photos.

Pete Tapang's picture

my mind... don't want to lose my mind...

Deleted Account's picture

I wouldn't want to lose any of my photos, especially my landscape photos

Rodolfo Giacco's picture

When I in my wife lost a practically new 2tb hd with various jobs we almost went crazy. Today we make hand copies of all work in 2 hds and it takes time and sometimes it is confusing to know if everything really is ok. In addition to hand testing of each hd individually. Very tiring and nothing efficient. So we can not miss several photo shoots and thousands of hours of work on treatments and corrections. Thanks!

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