Following on from my previous blog post ‘4 reasons to back up your photos and videos’ here are my thoughts on backing up your valuable images and videos.
I’m sure there are many other file storage/sharing websites available, however Dropbox is my site of choice and seems to be popular among photographers and non photographers alike. Dropbox.com is an excellent online file storage and sharing website that’s easy to use and navigate around.
A free Dropbox account allows a very generous 2GB of storage. This may not sound a lot of storage for anyone who shoots in RAW however if you just use it as temporary storage it can suit just fine. For anyone not shooting in RAW, this is plenty of space for jpegs etc. I don’t use Dropbox for permanent storage/back up, however it is great for temporary back up when I’m traveling and for file sharing with family, friends and clients.
So when is the best time to back up your images and videos?
You will answer this questions by asking another question – how much time worth of images/videos are you willing to lose?
1 year? 1 month? 1 week? 1 day?
If you shoot images/videos every day then backing up day by day would be worth a thought. On the other end of the spectrum if you don’t shoot images/videos regularly then backing up less frequent is fine. It really depends how much time of images/videos you are ok with losing!
If you have a good system in place, backing up should only take a few minutes whereas regret at the loss of precious memories will no doubt last a lot longer.
Whether your images are shot with your phone or with a professional SLR it’s good practice to have a solid back up system. My back up system is something that has evolved over many years from trial and error and also from learning from more experienced photographers. Here is my current back up system for my professional images.
(For images shot with my smartphone (non professional), I back up to Dropbox regularly and follow the same process below every 3 months)
As soon as possible after shooting, I download my images from the memory cards to my laptop and also to 2 separate external hard drives (EHDs). This means my images are now in 4 different places – SLR memory card, laptop and 2 EHDs.
As I edit my images on my laptop and carry out work required i.e. creation of CDs, books, prints etc, I back up to the 2 EHDs every week, this means my work is always in 3 different places and I will never lose more than 1 week’s work (sometimes I back up more frequently depending on the volume of work created in the week).
When my work is completely finished and all CDs, prints, books have been handed over to my clients I back up all of my work to the same 2 EHDs mentioned above and also a 3rd EHD in a different physical location. I then clear my SLR memory cards for reuse and also clear the work from my laptop freeing up valuable space in both. I am safe in the knowledge that all of my work is now backed up in 3 separate EHDs in different locations which gives me the piece of mind I require.
Storing my EHDs in different physical locations was a tip I learned from professional landscape photographer Peter Cox and it has served me well so far.
I’m sure a lot of photographers use online or cloud storage for permanent back up, I use these for temporary back up but for a long term permanent solution I like to know I have more control over where my images and work related to them are. In saying that I’m always changing and improving my back up system to ensure it is safe, frequent enough and takes as little time as possible and so maybe cloud storage is something I will use in the future.
Are you backing up your precious memories?
Are you backing up frequently enough?
Do you have a back up system that works for you? If so I’d be delighted to hear about it,
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