Backing Up Photographs On The Road

Over the new year, I got a new network drive that allows me to wirelessly backup my images when I am connected to my home network. It was a very exciting toy that Alex set up for me. Storing and backing up images is a big topic for photographers. I recently listened to a story from a friend who lost 2 years of images on her hard drive. As a creator of images, it’s painful to hear this happen to a fellow photographer and friend. And I’m sure it’s even more painful to experience it first hand.

Luckily, I have never lost an image due to storage or backup problems. Frankly, I’m paranoid about losing images and in this instance – unlike in most others – my paranoia has been a gift.

Home Storage and Backup

The RAW files from my camera gets downloaded to my computer, an external hard drive, and my wireless network storage. After editing images, I save a jpg and a psd version of edited images in all 3 locations. Every 10 days, I also run time machine on my Mac on another hard drive. Once I am done with my images and no longer need them on my laptop, I delete the files from my laptop.

At any point, I have 2 different sources where my images are stored: my external hard drive as primary storage, and wireless network as backup. At the very worst, I can also look into Time Machine to recover any files. If I had a studio office, I would also keep my hard drive at home and my network storage drive at the office. Yeah, didn’t I tell you I’m paranoid?

Shooting

Storing and Backing up on the road

It’s trickier to store and backup images when I’m on the road as I don’t always have reliable Internet coverage to upload anything online. My routine on the road is to bring a portable external hard drive and as many memory cards as possible. I tend to shoot on different memory cards, label them by date, and backup all images on the hard drive. This way the images are available on the memory card as well as the hard drive. When I get home, I will immediately upload the images to my network drive.

There isn’t unique technology that will always protect your images. Hard drives break, offices get flooded, and there’s always an element of human error. The only solution is to make sure your image files are available on different sources. It’s the best way to reduce your chance of losing a photograph.

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6 responses to “Backing Up Photographs On The Road

  1. LOL! I do the same thing when I’m filming. I back footage up religiously on an external disk (2 btw) and then archive it at my work disk. I’ve lost a lot of footage during my time and the worst was when I was shooting my last short film in HD format. Disaster! I had to re-shoot those crucial scenes. 😦 The emotion and action sequences didn’t come out as well as those shot on the first day, hence the paranoia. I think cloud storage is the way of the future but the restrictions are many including limited memory space and the possibility of the cloud server nuking.

  2. I’ve recently got back into film photography and I’m more afraid about transporting exposed film and preventing it from going through the x-ray machine. As for our SD/CF cards, I just make sure it doesn’t leave our sight. 🙂

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