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Best External Hard Drive For Storing Photos in 2021 – Top 5 Picks

External hard drives have become an essential in this age of digital photography for storing up all your HD images.  With the introduction of digital cameras, DSLR, smartphones, the average cost per shot we take has become very low and much more cost-effective than traditional film. Because of this, the number of high quality photos we take has increased a lot. To resolve this issue, a professional or causal photographer going to need a best external hard drive for storing photos without having to worry about running out of storage space of your Mac or Windows PC. Also another benefit of having portable drive is, you can move or carry all those big size 4K images without any problem.

Quick Comparison Of Best External Hard Drives For Storing Pictures - Top 5 Recommendations

ProductRead SpeedWrite SpeedPassword ProtectionWarrantyPrice
WD My Passport Ultra External Drive For Storing Pictures130 MB/s123 MB/sYes3-YearsCheck Price
Lacie Rugged External Hard Drive135 MB/s130 MB/sYes2-YearsCheck Price
Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD For Storing Photos500 MB/s450 MB/sYes3-YearsCheck Price
Samsung T7 Portable SSD Drive1050 MB/s1000 MB/sYes3-YearsCheck Price
G-Tech External SSD Drive For Photos560 MB/s450 MB/s-----5-YearsCheck Price

External Hard Disks play an important role in the digital photography workflow – and you will want to consider different options available to you depending on your specific needs such as how much storage capacity you want, speed of drive and design. As specialists who deal with huge volumes of data daily, photographers frequently find themselves in a disaster situation beyond the common use of a digital storage device. They rely on the external hard drive for photos and value a combination of portable size, sleek design, large capacity and performance.

 If you are in a hurry, we would recommend you getting SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD for storing all your high quality images and other data considering it has password encryption and pretty fast performance.

Working with big media files is a difficult task, particularly while being outdoors and out of the reach of power sources. Also, it is important to store the content separately: if the system crashes, access to primary materials will still remain and you will not lose your precious professional photos and memories. So, here is is the list of some of the most reliable external drives for photographers.

1. WD My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive – Best All Rounder

WD 2TB My Passport Ultra Blue Portable External...
  • USB-C and USB 3.1 compatible
  • Innovative style with refined metal cover
  • Password protection with 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Formatted for Windows 10

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  • High Capacity
  • Budget Friendly
  • 256-bit AES Encryption
  • Stylish Design
  • Average Speed
  • Not USB-C

Western Digital is known for making quality storage devices and this product is no exception to it. This product is best for photographer professionals who prefer compact storage solution of a large capacity for a very reasonable cost. This drive is quality popular because of its small form factor, auto backup software, durability and encryption support.

This drive has pretty sleek design, suitable for storing your images. It has metal cover for better internals protection. It supports USB 3.0/2.0 as well as USB-C connectivity, making it ideal for those photographers who use macbook pro for transferring photos. This device also supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256-bit) using which you can password protect all your pictures which are on it, enhancing overall security of the drive. This drive has around 130MB/s read and 123MB/s write speed which is pretty decent considering its portability. It supports all major operating systems including Windows 10, 8, 7 and XP, Linux and MacOS. It also comes with 3 years of limited manufacturing warranty.

2. Lacie Rugged External Hard disk Drive For Storing Photos – Best Durability

LaCie Rugged Secure 2TB External Hard Drive...
  • Protect what matters with Rugged Secure’s AES-256...
  • Shuttle large-scale projects with 2TB of capacity, and...
  • Trek near or far with a portable hard drive that provides...
  • Take advantage of a one-month complimentary membership to...

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  • Solid Build Qualityy
  • USB-C Connectivity
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Free For 1 Month
  • Lacie Toolkit Backup Software
  • Need To Reformat When Connected to Mac
  • Little Slower Speed

If your requirements are cost and durability, than this model is might be pretty strong option for you. It is one of the most reliable external hard drive, having pretty solid build quality, making it great for photo storage and perfect for those photographers who travels a lot. It is highly compatible and supports all OS including Windows, Linux and MacOS.

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It has write speed of 130MB/s and read speed of 135MB/s, which is pretty average if compared to external SSD drives. But considering its features, pretty good deal I would say. This drive comes with free one month Adobe Creative Cloud support. This hard drive is wrapped in an orange rubber bumper, making it water resistant, dust-proof, drop- and shock-resistant up to 4 feet according to the manufacturer, protecting all your photos which are stored in this device. It also comes with free 3-years data rescue protection, easy backup software and capacity up to 5TB. It also has thunderbolt and USB-C connectivity making it mac compatible.

3. Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD – Most RELIABLE External Drive

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to...
  • High-speed transfers with up to 550MB/s read speeds let you...
  • Ruggedized, water- and dust-resistant (IP55-rated) (IEC...
  • Shock-resistant solid state core for greater durability...
  • Compact and pocket-sized

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  • High Speed File Transmission
  • Pocket Sized Design
  • Advanced Password Protection
  • Shock, Vibration & Water Resistant
  • None

If you are looking for an external SSD drive than this product is for you. SanDisk Extreme Pro is one the best ultra-compact SSD drive having high durability and a lot of features.   It is a thin, low-energy, travel-type portable SSD drive for those photographers who have big size photos such as in RAW format or 8K quality images. This product has read speed of up to 500MB/s and write speed of up to 450MB/s which is pretty amazing for transferring large files. This external hard drive is enclosed in a firm plastic case, covered with rubberized shell, has an IP55 water and dust resistant protection.

This drive also comes with temperature, shock resistant and vibration protection making it one of the most reliable external hard drive for storing photos. As stated by manufacturers, it can withstands a fall from a height of 2 m and can resist water flow for up to 3 minutes. The speedy file transmission lets you move all your ultra HD pictures in no time and ensures flawless video performance worthy of the rank of the best portable hard drive for photographers. The SanDisk SSD drive is also preformatted to work with Windows, Mac OS and Linux out of the box.

4. Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD Drive – Best Performance

SAMSUNG T7 Touch Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 1050MB/s...
  • Fingerprint Security: Ssd With Fingerprint And Password...
  • Blazing Fast Storage: Reads Up To 1,050 Mb/S / Writes Up To...
  • Led Status Indicator: The T7 Touch Features An Led Square...
  • Built Strong: Shock-Resistant And Withstands Drops From 6Ft

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  • Super Fast Speed
  • Touch Secure Protection
  • Drop Protection
  • LED Activity Indicator
  • Expensive

Samsung’s Portable SSD T7 comes in slick satin metal enclosure, having size of a credit card and can easily fit in palm of your hand. It has LED status light which turn on/off and rotates during data transfers.  This product is shock resistant, can withstand up to 6ft drop and has solid aluminum uni-body protecting the internals of this drive. This drive is 9.5x faster than external hard disk drives. It has read speed of up to 1050MB/s and write speed of 1000MB/s making it one of the fastest available external SSD drive for storing all your images and videos.

Samsung T7 comes with fingerprint security, supporting AES-256bit encryption standard, ensuring maximum protection of your data from hackers and thieves. This product is pretty easy to set up, just plug this drive in your PC or mac and start using. This device has USB 3.2 connectivity and is backward compatible with USB 3.0/2.0 too as well.  Also it supports android OTG, so you can transfer photos from your android device with ease. It is compatible with all major operating systems such as Windows, Linux and MacOS.

5. G-Technology SSD External Drive For Storing Photos

G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE mobile SSD Durable...
  • A durable design with IP67 water/dust resistance, 3M drop...
  • Super fast transfer rates up to 560MB/s
  • Latest generation USB C connectivity (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
  • Shock and vibration resistant solid state drive

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  • Aluminium Body
  • USB-C Cable Included
  • Accidental Drop Protection
  • Reasonable Pricing
  • Reformatting Required in Windows

G-technology SSD drive pretty solid for photographers for storing pictures. The gadget comes with latest generation USB-C connectivity (USB 3.1 Gen2), backward compatible with USB 3.0/2.0. It has a protective aluminum core which helps to prevent overheating while maintaining high performance. It comes with shock and vibration too as well protecting your data loss from sudden fall.

The drive has IP67 water and dust resistance and can withstand of 3m fall thanks to its rugged design. It has read speed of up to 560MB/s and write speed of up to 450MB/s making it one of the fast portable storage. This product can easily handle RAW footage and 4K image quality. The product supports both windows and mac but in Windows OS, you need to reformat the drive to make it usable. The product also comes with 5-years limited manufacturer warranty.

Is An External Hard Drive Good For Storing Photos?

Yes, External hard drives are pretty great in terms of storing high quality photos. Always make sure to store all your data in an external storage so if sudden crash happens to your system you wont loose your data. Also you can free up some internal storage too.

Is SSD Good For Long Term Storage?

Unlike traditional hard disk drives, SSDs don’t have any moving mechanical parts, hence providing better reliability. It is always recommended to choose SSD over traditional hard disks cause if you happen to accidentally dropped your hard disk then you might loose your data forever.

What is The Most Reliable Storage Device?

Now days, storage devices technology has improved a lot. We are seeing a lot of drives which last for very long time such as Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD drive. These drives also comes with up to 5+ years warranty. For now SSDs are one of the most reliable storage devices.

6. What To Look For Before Buying An External Hard Drive For Storing Pictures

You should keep these things in mind before making a purchase.


Higher the read/write speed, the better the drive performs but don’t expect an external hard drive to always perform at its best. Transferring a large batch of image files will might take longer than shifting a single video file of the same size.

Hard Disk Drive Vs SSD

Conventional hard disk drives use sensitive moving mechanical parts, making them vulnerable to accidental drops. SSDs are much more tough and don’t require bulky bumpers for shock absorption when dropped accidentally.

Storage Capacity

The more storage capacity you have, the more images and other data you can put on your portable drive.


Portable external drives also come with some little extras features such as fingerprint security, led indicator, AES encryption. Make sure to check those before making an purchase, these extra features can come in handy.

7. Conclusion

As you can see all drives has their own pros and cons. it all depends on your personal preference, budget or what you are looking for exactly. We have made sure to list only best reliable products. So, no matter what external drive you choose from this list for storing all your photos, you will get the best for what you have paid for.

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Hi There. I am the creator of this website. By Profession, I am an IT Support Engineer, Network Security Technician, and a Digital Marketer. In my free time, I love to explore new technologies, products, and services. Here, my aim is to bring quality content to my website visitors. I will be posting tech reviews, tips, and much more. I hope you will enjoy your stay here. It's my pleasure to have you here.

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