I know I post a lot about the importance of printing your pictures. If you have printed copies you can rest assured knowing that if your computer/hard drive/usb drive fail, you still have the picture. Because they do and they will fail. So backup your files!
I always thought I was on top of things with deeping data safe. I’ve been backing up my pictures and computers since the beginning and unfortunately I have experienced data loss not once, but two heartbreaking times. And while I thought was on top of things with backups, I once lost an entire year’s worth of pictures. I was reformatting my laptop and in the middle of transferring pictures back on to it from my backup drive when Coby accidentally unplugged the drive. 2007 gone.
I learned my lesson and always made sure to have 2 copies of everything no matter what. But then one of the most unimaginable things that could happen to a wedding photographer happened. I lost an entire memory card worth of pictures from someone’s wedding. My only saving grace was that I was smart enough to shoot on smaller capacity memory cards so only a small portion of the day was lost. But it didn’t matter. These were moments that we couldn’t get back. I was completely devastated. I had the images backed up in 2 places. One copy was on my computer and the originals were still on the memory cards. I never format memory cards until they are backed up on 2 separate drives, but the hard drive on my computer crashed. I thought I would be okay because I had them on the memory cards still, but then I discovered that one of the memory cards failed. Data gone. I was and still am heartbroken about it.
This week I’ve been staring at the computer screen for hours on end transferring to an updated storage system. Mine was about 7 years old and it was time to catch up to current technology. And now it has ethernet so it can be hooked up to my wireless router making it accessible from anywhere! Total geek moment here. As I’m working through the process of transferring everything to the new system, it sparked me to share my process of ensuring nothing is lost in case of a drive failure.
- First, my camera records images on 2 separate memory cards in my camera. Raw files are recorded on smaller capacity compact flash cards and the jpgs are recorded on a separate sd card. I immediately have a backup as soon as a photograph is taken in case a card fails.
- After the wedding/session all of the memory cards are downloaded into a client folder on my computer. One folder is created for the raw files (these are the files I will edit from) and another for the original jpg files. While I’m working my way through the pictures, Time Machine is continuously backing up so I can feel confident knowing that the most recent work is backed up.
- This client folder is then backed up to a separate external hard drive that is dedicated to backing up and storing original working files. The originals remain here until the session is archived.
- A copy is also made in a working folder on my network drive in case I need to access it from either computer. At this point I now have 2 copies of the files backed up on 4 separate drives.
- Once I’ve finished the session, I then archive it. The final edited photos are backed up online and stored along with the original jpg files and album files are all backed up and stored on my network Drobo storage system and removed from all other drives. It’s my policy to store all client files for 1 year before they are removed permanently. After that, I really hope that they have their own backups so they don’t experience the heartbreaking loss of loosing their memories forever.
And because every post is better with pictures, here’s some of my favorites from the time I got to spend with my nieces and their friend at the barn this winter.