Help! My Hard Drive is Full and I Can’t Edit Any More Photos!!!!

Woman holding blank sign in front her face, on color background

This is an email (below) that I got as a direct message on Facebook yesterday, and I thought I’d share how I would deal with this situation here on the blog in case there are other people out there in a similar situation:

I’ve got a Macbook Pro with 500 GB H.D. I shoot with a Canon 6D, and import all my photos into LR5. I then create a collection, and edit the photos. This quickly has filled my HD. Subsequently I can’t import more photos due to lack of space, so I don’t photograph as much as I’d like, or I have to delete existing photos to make room. HELP! How do I hook up an external HD, export my EDITED raw photos to this drive, (copying them, not moving them), so I can put ALL my photos onto this drive eventually and really free up my computer. Now, I’m exporting these collections to my desktop, but they convert to JPEGS, so I’ve lost my raw file. PLEASE, demonstrate how easy this is to do, because I can’t find a way to do it. Thanks for all you do. I’m a subscriber to your podcast and KelbyOne, and love your work.”

How I’d handle this (it’s actually fairly simple), but this not the only solution (there are many), but here goes:

(1) Connect your external Hard Drive (get a bigger one than you think you need — 2 terabytes minimum — they’re cheaper now than ever).

NOTE: I wouldn’t copy my images to this drive — I would move them — if not, you’ll be in the same situation with a packed full hard drive on your Macbook Pro. That being said, you absolutely need more than one hard drive. You need at least, two, and ideally you’d back up your images to a cloud service so you have a third off-site backup in case tragedy strikes (after all, if your house burns down while you’re away, your hard drive burns right along with it). If you have two hard drives, in the same home, they both burn. I keep one at home; one at the office; and I have a cloud backup.

(2) Watch this video from Terry (below) that shows how to do the process (and have Lightroom do most of the work for you).

(3) Well, that’s pretty much it.

Hope you found that helpful (remember, whoever dies with the biggest external hard drive wins), and hope you have an awesome Tuesday!



P.S. If you’ve been thinking of going to the Photoshop World Conference to totally immerse yourself in three solid days of Lightroom training, then watch this video.