If you’re fortunate enough to have never lost an entire lifetime worth of photos due to a hard drive failure, congratulations! However, if it’s happened to you, it’s easy to understand the importance of backing up your work. And backing it up on more than one location on a regular basis. I am one of those people who have lost years worth of work. While I eventually moved on and found peace in getting to recreate my portfolio, it was incredibly devastating at the time.
Fortunately, I have learned from my mistakes and I’m happy to share this with experience with others so they won’t have to go through what I did. Here are a few things to my workflow to prevent catastrophic loss in the future.
Invest In Storage
Too often I hear new photographers telling me the only place they keep their photos is on their hard drive. Once they transfer the images from the memory card to their computer, their backing up process effectively ends. Big mistake!
Invest in a high quality external hard drive to back up the images to instead of keeping them only on your computer. As an added benefit, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of space on your computer.
Like memory cards, external hard drives are getting less and less expensive, which makes it easier to invest in a nice one. I prefer to use solid state drives since they have no moving parts and are more reliable than the more common HDD type.
External Hard Drives Are Not Enough
Once you’ve got yourself a nice external hard drive with plenty of room on it, your work still isn’t done. Keeping your photos in only one place is a recipe for disaster. You need a backup of your backup. Many professional photographers I know will even keep a backup in three locations.
While this may be extreme if you are early in your photography practice, it’s still a really good idea to have them at least backed up in a second location. I recommend this be somewhere on the cloud. i.e. not a physical device that’s in your possession. Here’s why: say you decided to buy an external hard drive for backup location number one, then backed those files up again on DVD’s or memory cards. Then some kind of natural disaster comes along and you lose everything.
By keeping your photos on the cloud, you’ve separated the backups, giving an extra layer of protection to your work since it’s less likely a natural disaster would strike both your home and the location of the clouds server at the same time.
Finding Peace Of Mind
There’s nothing more comforting than peace of mind! Especially if your photos mean a lot to you or you rely on them as a means of income. Don’t make the same mistake I have, start off on the right foot by backing up your images early on in your photography journey so can build it into a good habit. It will feel less like a chore and help protect your portfolio at the same time!