TL;DR: Use a large external hard drive or, ideally, a NAS with RAID protection.

Your library's disk space is proportional to the number of photos and videos you have in your library, and whether or not you choose to have PhotoStructure organize your photos and videos by copying them into your library.

How big are photos and videos?

Digital photo and video file sizes vary greatly between cameras.

1 gigabyte (8 billion bits) will store:

  • thousands of pictures from a digital camera from 10 years ago
  • about 100 JPEGs from a recent full-frame SLR
  • about 20 RAW photos from a recent full-frame SLR
  • less than a minute of 4K 60 fps video

How much disk space does a PhotoStructure library take?

Your PhotoStructure library contains your image database, as well as preview images that make viewing your photos and images instantaneous. The size of these previews depends on your originals, but as a safe rule of thumb, assume you'll need roughly two gigabytes of disk space per thousand images in your library.As an example, if you have 250,000 images and videos, your library metadata and previews will consume about a half a terabyte.

If you choose to have PhotoStructure copy your original photos and videos into your library, you will need space for those files as well.

How can I minimize the disk space that PhotoStructure uses?

The default settings are optimized for viewing your images and videos on a 4K display, but there are several ways to reduce disk consumption, at the expense of browsing speed.

  1. Shut down PhotoStructure, navigate to your library, and open .photostructure/settings.toml in a text editor.
    TextEdit on Mac and Wordpad on Windows will work fine.
  2. If you don't need to stream videos, set the transcodeVideos setting to false.
  3. If you don't have a 4k display, set the maxPreviewResolution to fhd.
  4. Restart PhotoStructure

Note that these settings will only impact assets that are subsequently synced. You can "force resync" from the system tray to expedite this.

Photo by Vincent Botta.