The Best External Hard Drives For Photographers (2017)

Photographers need technology, more so now than ever before in the history of the art, and in particular since the move to digital over a decade ago. Storage for our digital images has been a consistently growing need. It doesn’t matter if you process your images on a desktop or a laptop, eventually you will run out of space on the internal storage you have available and you will need to either transfer image files off your primary storage onto an external device or start to work from an external device. But what sort of drives should a photographer be considering?

If you have been wondering what sort of external drive you should get then look no further because today we will be providing you with some incredible options that will fit the needs of every photographer.

Rugged Drives

Traveling photographers, or photographers with kids for that matter (let’s be real here), need more storage space like the rest of us. But since the drive will often be out and about with the photographer, not always in the best of conditions or locations, or handled with the most care (we’re looking at you TSA security), it is important for the drives a traveling photographer selects to have some level of ruggedness so that they can take a knock and keep functioning.

  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MTKKYJK’ text=’LaCie Rugged 2TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’26025d93-569e-11e7-9512-71314aa29106′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MTKKYJK’ text=’LaCie Rugged 2TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’26025d93-569e-11e7-9512-71314aa29106′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B00SLOO19I’ text=’G-Tech GDrive ev ATC 1TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2c449e38-56a0-11e7-97b1-e565a6b93649′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B00SLOO19I’ text=’G-Tech GDrive ev ATC 1TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2c449e38-56a0-11e7-97b1-e565a6b93649′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B0058VIWTM’ text=’Lacie Rugged Mini 1TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’778cf89f-56a1-11e7-ab5f-db35f55e4bc9′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B0058VIWTM’ text=’Lacie Rugged Mini 1 TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’702a6781-56a1-11e7-931d-bb8e2a196af1′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LB9PKW6′ text=’G-Tech GDrive 2TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ea306428-56a2-11e7-9340-1b1239444e38′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LB9PKW6′ text=’G-Tech GDrive 2TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ea306428-56a2-11e7-9340-1b1239444e38′]

Standard External Drives

Not everyone has the budget to be in the ‘better safe than sorry’ crowd buying one of the rugged drives we mentioned above. But no worries, there are plenty of quality standard external drives that will get the job done for you around the house or at the local coffee shop. Just don’t expect these to take much of a beating without issues possibly arising.

  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01EK8CD98′ text=’Seagate Expansion 1TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d82dfd45-56a3-11e7-8ddf-83b4a53e4d8a’] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01EK8CD98′ text=’Seagate Expansion 1TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d063ab03-56a3-11e7-836a-238a4fb35fa2′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LQQHBK8′ text=’WD My Passport Black 3TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2a39b6c2-56a4-11e7-a597-5790e77302c9′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LQQHBK8′ text=’WD My Passport Black 3TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’226e51f8-56a4-11e7-854c-a794759a3cea’]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01DHFNC04′ text=’LaCie Porsche Design 2TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bb383dec-56a4-11e7-a5dd-d955bf419024′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01DHFNC04′ text=’LaCie Porsche Design 2TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b436b9e8-56a4-11e7-8267-d16ca955e09f’]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01CQ8AZPS’ text=’G-Tech G-Drive 1TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0e9185da-56a5-11e7-be63-e9e593d72172′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01CQ8AZPS’ text=’G-Tech G-Drive 1TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0889caa2-56a5-11e7-a67e-a3c966fbb098′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B06XQ3LWF9′ text=’OWC miniStack 4.0TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a9886494-56a5-11e7-a33b-9fdea430fdae’] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B06XQ3LWF9′ text=’Other World Computing miniStack 4.0TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a2cfa8a2-56a5-11e7-8c5a-151542eba4e5′]

SSD External Drives

If speed is more important to you than capacity or ruggedness than an external SSD is going to be where you want to invest your money. Some of these crazy little drives offer speeds that potentially beat out your internal drives (depending on what hardware you are rocking inside your computer). So when speed is king, the SSD reigns supreme, and here are our picks for the best external options for photographers right now… just understand that these are not cheap, especially considering the price per GB compared to the hard drive based options above.

  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M1NU7JV’ text=’G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE SSD’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7828f83c-56a6-11e7-a4e4-8fd302060513′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M1NU7JV’ text=’G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE SSD’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7828f83c-56a6-11e7-a4e4-8fd302060513′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01HABFJL6′ text=’Lacie Rugged 500GB SSD’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’da51b2eb-56a1-11e7-8420-9f59d35e506f’] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B00LW207RQ’ text=’Lacie Rugged 500GB SSD’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b9f90f3f-56a1-11e7-a3dc-39666963523e’]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01NB1IJ7J’ text=’SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD 500GB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f4bbd5c1-56a6-11e7-9a4d-dbba0b593963′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01NB1IJ7J’ text=’SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD 500GB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ed3e6ac5-56a6-11e7-bb88-011de17137e0′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B01AVF6UQQ’ text=’Samsung T3 Portable SSD 500GB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3da1f207-56a7-11e7-8f84-19125d1ae730′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B01AVF6UQQ’ text=’Samsung T3 Portable SSD 500GB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3783c916-56a7-11e7-a5dd-d955bf419024′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B06XNPQQNJ’ text=’WD My Passport 1 TB SSD’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0614b5b6301113c7f8640cbbee3d7923′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B06XNPQQNJ’ text=’WD My Passport 1 TB SSD’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0614b5b6301113c7f8640cbbee3d7923′]

Battery Powered

Our final and least populated category (thanks to it being a relatively niche product) is battery powered external drives. These usually also come with some sort of SD or memory card interface to allow users to backup data to the drive out in the field without having to lug a computer along to facilitate the transfer of data. These are especially useful for those who need to go somewhere without their laptop but would like to be able to backup data before returning home (backpackers, street photographers, anyone who doesn’t want to lug their computer everywhere with them).

  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B06X19D3ZB’ text=’WD My Passport Wireless Pro 1TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bd5db991-56a8-11e7-a63d-33f6f753f0d0′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B06X19D3ZB’ text=’WD My Passport Wireless Pro’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bd5db991-56a8-11e7-a63d-33f6f753f0d0′]
  • [amazon_textlink asin=’B00Q7V95OS’ text=’Toshiba Canvio AeroCast 1TB’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ffd8286f-56a8-11e7-824f-859616197c17′] – [amazon_textlink asin=’B00Q7V95OS’ text=’Toshiba Canvio AeroCast 1TB’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f82f4094-56a8-11e7-84dc-454cfa8bb47d’]

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.