Backing up your photographs is crucially important, and easier than ever. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

A few days ago, Canadian wedding photographer Matt Kennedy shared his recent experience with theft and the loss of images over on FStoppers, and while that story eventually had a relatively happy ending, that’s not always the case, and it serves as a stark reminder as to the importance of backing up data. By learning from others and taking the time to look at your backup solutions now, you can avoid most of the common causes of data and image loss.

As Matt’s story goes, a break-in at his studio meant that he lost all on-site backups of his wedding photographs. Luckily, he had an off-site backup plan in place that meant that he could recover almost all of his work, save for one job – the wedding he had shot a couple of days before the break-in. This is a terrible position for any photographer to be in, as it meant that all the images from the unfortunate couple’s special day was permanently gone, unless he could recover the stolen equipment or memory cards.

As it turns out, the couple was supportive of the situation, and the photographer reshot the portrait sessions of the wedding a week later. Later on, he received some more great news – read the article for all the details.

The moral of Matt’s story is that no matter how great your off-site backups are, they are not effective until you actually get the images backed up. Having learnt from his own experience, Matt’s advice is to carry an extra portable drive to the shoot, and make an immediate extra backup after the shoot to send home with your assistant. That way, even if something unforeseen happens after the shoot, you already have two sets of backups in two different locations.

To sum it up, here’s a few handy backup tips:

  • Get your images backed up as soon as you can – right after the shoot, or even during the shoot if possible.
  • Back your photos up to multiple external drives – three if possible – and store those drives in multiple physical locations to prevent data loss through theft or fire.
  • It may also be worth looking at backup software solutions to automate the process – Apple’s included Time Machine software is excellent. Windows users also get an included backup tool, but we have not tried it ourselves.
  • Keep the drives and server in your studio in safe locations. External drives can be stored in a locked cabinet or safe, while servers can be kept in locked cages or equipment rooms. This is a good idea for all of your photographic and studio equipment, not just the data storage.
  • Investigate online storage or cloud-based backup solutions – Services like Google Drive or Dropbox may just save you in a desperate situation!
  • Make your backup solutions a habit – and keep at it. There’s no point in having a great backup system in place if you don’t keep the files updated and backed up.
  • You can probably never have enough memory cards on a shoot. Electronic devices do fail from time to time, so it’s better to have the memory you need than get stuck without it.
  • In reference to the last point, it’s also a good idea to have multiple cards of smaller sizes rather than a single massive card – that’s like keeping all of your eggs in one basket. If one card fails, at least you can still salvage the shoot.

These are just a few tips, and they may not cover you in all situations. If you’re serious about backing up your images, take the time to investigate all of the options out there and find the solution that works for you.

For more technical backup advice and hardware solutions like RAID setups, contact our resident Orms backup specialist Juanne Whyte via email, or give him a call: 021 469 1984.

If you have any other backup tips, please share them with us in the comments below!


The Importance Of Backing Up Your Photos

  1. All solid advice! Its scary how many folks DON’T make regular (and multiple) backup a habit. As a full time photographer, you’re putting your business & clients in serious jeopardy by not.

  2. I used Backupthat to store all of my photos. It was pretty nice to not have to worry about overloading any storage space. unlimited is pretty legit.

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