This days everybody and his grandma goes to cloud. I must admit I'm scared off this move considering my photo taking habits – you know, I usually take some 20 thousand photos every year in RAW format. It's not only about the price, but I feel my photos safer in my own hands.
So I chose to save my photos to an 1 TB external drive and back up regularly to my desktop's internal drive. This way I can easily move between my work and home PC and pick up the photo work where I left off. (I use Lightroom to develop my RAW photos, which costs around €100, but it definitely worth this price if you are serious about photography.)
First I have created a folder called “Pictures” in the root folder of the external drive.
Using right-click » Properties » Optimize in windows explorer you can designate the folder to be optimized for “Pictures”, so Windows 7 will display that neat “pictures” icon on it.
You can also include this folder in your Libraries. Just select the folder and roll down the “Include in library” box to select “Pictures”. This will make it easier to find your photos from any Windows app.
Then I created a new folder on the external drive called “Albums” for jAlbum to store its files, and output albums.
Now in jAlbum on the Tools » Preferences » Albums tab I relocated the “My albums” location to point to my external drive. I’m using the “When adding files” = Link option to spare with space and facilitate the Lightroom workflow. I don’t mind if the album is not self contained, because using both “Albums” and “Pictures” on the same external drive makes it possible to carry over the albums between PC’s with no fuss.
With this setup I am able to work on both my PC's and pick up the work where I left off on the other. This is my “cloud in my pocket” solution.
Please note, jAlbum will fall back to its default “My albums” folder if it can't find the external drive, so don't forget to hook up the device before you launch jAlbum. About setting up Lightroom to work on an external drive please research the internet. Basically it's just creating a new “Catalog” on the external drive and “Import”-ing the previous database if you've had one before. (The same steps could work using a NAS, but I haven't tried. I was put off by the slow performance when I tried one.)