A four-step image backup strategy to keep your files safe

Image backup strategy

Heard the story of the wedded couple who had no record of their wedding day after their pictures got stolen from the photographer’s car? This is a true story and an ever-present nightmare for wedding photographers. Honestly, the photographer in this case cannot play the victim. Shooting somebody’s wedding is a huge responsibility—your shoulders need to be big and strong enough to do justice.

In the case of the photographer, what do you think went wrong? Apparently, the only thing that got stolen from the car was…her laptop. A single point of failure and Murphy got into the act. We also need to add that the photographer had copies of another wedding as well in the laptop.

You will never want to be in this photographer’s shoes. It’s not just bad for the business, but you’re going to carry the guilt of losing someone’s precious memories all your life.

Here’s our four-step image backup strategy to make sure you don’t bring it on yourself.

#1. Shoot with both your card slots

Most professional cameras have two card slots and you can use both to create a “primary” and a “copy” while you’re shooting. Come rain or fire, you’re reducing the risk of losing images if not eliminating it. Remember, your memory card can fail and will fail at some point in its lifetime. Be ready for it.

#2. Local copy

The first thing you need to do after a shoot is backing up your images. Create a local copy on your computer. In fact, we recommend keeping the second memory card as a backup copy in itself (considering the low cost of SD cards, you’ll hardly feel the pinch). This will be your second level of protection, and make sure you waste no time doing this.

#3. Backup copy on external storage

Your local copy does not insure your images. Like the unfortunate photographer, losing your laptop means losing the only copies of the images you’ve got. You need backup storage. To start with, for a lower expense, you can use external hard drives to create copies of the image.

You can retain the copies on the computer or on the external storage until they’re no longer necessary (usually until delivering the album…retaining just the best pictures for your portfolio).

If you’re willing to spend a little more on protection, you can purchase more advanced storage solutions (e.g., Drobo, QNAP, etc.). Most of these have RAID technology, some more efficient than others, to create mirrored copies in their internal drives. That in itself is creating an additional level of protection for your images.

#4. Cloud storage

Worst case scenario: what if an inferno consumes your computer and all that you have at home? Well, insurance covers the cost of rebuilding all of that from scratch. But, there is no way you can get your images back.

The solution: cloud storage.

This, we believe, is your fourth level of backup to ensure you’ve covered all bases. Figure out the best cloud storage solutions, in terms of reliability and the space they offer, and waste no time in setting it up.

You can also think of additional copies through DVDs, pen drives, and the like. Whatever be your choice, just make sure you’re thinking worst case scenarios—don’t let Murphy beat you.

Any of you has additional ideas to share? We’ll be glad to hear.


One Comment;

  1. Jayashree said:

    Great article.All the above points are a must for a professional photographer and even for a hobbyist not to loose her/his precious moments captured. I always copy my images from Camera to Processing hard disk which is again synched up on daily basis with another hard disk using a utility called dysnchronize. apart from this my main hard disk is daily backed up with a cloud service backblaze which is 5 dollar a month and you get unlimited cloud storage space