5 Suggestions When Backing Up Your Photos
I received a message from a Facebook contact a few months back and here’s a summary of his message:
“sir gud pm may concern po ako itatanong. a friend of mine borrowed my 500gb harddrive which contains almost all of my photos. he lost it cause he left it in his car and dont know who took it. he said sa picture wala sya maggawa sa hd papalitan daw nya. which parang sobrang masakit sakin dahil ganun2 nalang ba talaga.?”
Apparently, all his photos since he got into photography in 2010 were there — lost along with his hard drive. He has no other backup of his photos, which is the saddest thing. I definitely will not be able to help this person get back his photos so I’m doing the next best thing: help this person and other photographers prevent these kinds of situations by making a list of suggestions on backing up. So here it is!
5 suggestions when backing up your photos:
1. Backup everything
Yes, everything. Even the outtakes. Even those that you think are trash. This way, you won’t accidentally delete the photos that you like. And when you do your culling, do it on separate copies and not on the master copy.
2. Backup immediately
While it’s best to backup on-site (doing the backup while shooting), most of the time it’s just logistically impossible. So do the next best thing: transfer the photos from your memory card as soon as you get home. A few times doing this, it becomes a habit and you will have peace of mind.
3. Do multiple backups
As a rule, I always have at least three backups of my photos: on an external hard drive, on a DVD (stored at the office), on a DVD (stored offsite). So if one backup fails, you still have the other two to rely on. If you are a hobbyist, I suppose two backups will do. But if you’re a paid professional, it would be best to have at least three. Keep in mind that you will need to double check your master copy before backing it up.
4. Create or adapt a backup system
This is in relation to #3 and #2. The system will help you follow steps, and therefore not miss anything. Let me share my backup system.
I know this system is quite taxing but in my line of work, I absolutely do not mind. The good news is you can always scale this based on your operations and your budget.
5. Print your favorite photos
In this day and age of digital photos, i think printing is most overlooked and sometimes frowned upon because of the cost involved. However, I believe that good photos deserve to be printed rather than just viewed on the screen or on social networks. Having a physical, printed copy of your photo will be one of the best backups you can do.
I hope the suggestions above will help you start doing backups if you still have not started yet. Good luck and happy shooting!