Sync Hacks: How a Journalistic Wedding Photographer uses BitTorrent Sync on Shoots

Sync Hacks is a column dedicated to exploring new applications for BitTorrent Sync, as built by users like you. BitTorrent Sync is a free, unlimited, secure file-syncing app. (And now, it’s even more mobile.) If you’ve got an epic Sync idea, use-case or how-to, shoot us an email at sync[at]bittorrent.com.

In this week’s Sync Hacks: Freelance photographer Andrew Donnan shares how he uses Sync to support his business and collaborate efficiently with other photographers.

From Andrew:

I am a professional photographer that specializes in journalistic wedding photography, based out of Charleston, South Carolina. I use a mixture of Leica M9 digital rangefinder cameras (wide-angle and normal lenses), and Canon DSLR’s for long lenses and macro work. This unique combination forces me to slow down and make the right picture, instead of thousands of mediocre pictures.

Part of my job requires that I work with other photographers for certain projects. When collaborating, the typical workflow for a second shooter is to either use the first photographer’s memory cards, or to transfer the photo files in person. This is inconvenient and takes up precious time, as we’re usually on our feet for at least 10 hours a shoot. The last thing you want to do after that kind of day is worry about copying the files. And sometimes, we’re not in the same location. BitTorrent Sync lets us do all this from home.

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The only other system we used before Sync was meeting in person. We would spend up to an hour or two transferring files onto each other’s laptops – many times late at night after a long wedding event or at a coffee shop. This could be fun, but usually it was inconvenient and time intensive.

I use Sync to pass photo files, Lightroom catalogs and album design projects with another local photographer. It has been very reliable and quick. You aren’t limited to saving files within a specific folder like Dropbox, so Sync adapts to any workflow. I also use Sync to backup our iOS photos straight to the desktop, vs relying on a third party service. A lot of people do not think about saving their cellphone photos, but many times there are important pictures in there that I want to keep for decades.

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There’s other use cases for Sync that I’m considering as well. My website is using DigitalOcean VPS, so you could even install Sync on the server to make a local sync of an online portfolio. So just in case something was to happen to the site, I could easily restore it without learning complex commands like rsync, or use intensive wordpress plugins.

I can also see two photographers keeping a backup of each other’s photo library as an offsite solution, vs relying on a cloud-based service. Solutions like Backblaze are great, but by the time you factor in costs of their service + the fees to be sent a replacement drive, you could almost set up a couple more local drives.

I also use Sync for my business docs folder, so at any time I can pull up a copy of my license, insurance, contracts, old invoices, etc. The ability to have two-way access – or read-only access – further expands possibilities for other projects.

Andrew is a professional photographer based in Charleston, South Carolina, with a specialty in journalistic wedding photography. You can find more of Andrew’s work @resiliosync and you can reach him via @donnanphoto

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