Backup your image files!

Hmmm… well… F… that was the drive with all your images? Now what?
Take it to the geek shop and hope for the best… or backup your image files before this happens.

Images, capturing beautiful inspiring images should be one of your goals as a photographer. But if in a week, or month from now you mistakenly delete those images… or your hard drive crashes… what good was all the effort you put in? What helps set professional photographers apart from hobbyists or selfie photographers, is having a reliable backup.

All the ins and outs of a reliable back up system would take weeks to cover properly… You will not become an expert from reading this blog post, I am simply going to provide an intro, what I do, and help you get started. If after browsing this post you are interested in learning more, links will be provided at the bottom.

The main thing you need to do, whatever way you choose to do it, is to have a MINIMUM of one duplicate copy of your images.

Everyone will have different requirements and I cannot decide for you what your most important files are. For me, programs I have on CD or can easily download are of low priority. Computer files, word documents, excel files, email, bank statements, tax related info etc. I store on a Hard drive labeled Files, and it is backed up automatically (and continuously) to a network drive.

Of primary importance to me is the images I’ve taken, it is these files get redundant back ups.

Starting at the camera-
If your camera allows it, shoot RAW and save to Dual Cards. This allows a back up right from the start. When it is time to save the images I leave the SD card in the camera and load the CF card into the Computer.
The RAW files are then saved to my Images hard drive, and simultaneously to a Safety Drive. The Safety contains ONLY RAW Original files and are not touched unless you loose a RAW file.
At this stage you now have 4 copies of your Raw files- SD card, CF Card, Safety and Images.

The Images drive is my working drive. All edited files (RAW selects,Elites,Blog Images etc.) are found on this drive. At this point I have usually culled out some of the RAW files- down to Raw Selects. These working images are backed up three times. They will be auto-saved to the Network cloud drive, every 2 hrs they will be saved to an external drive and again nightly to a drive that is rotated weekly offsite.
Now you will have up to 7 copies of the RAW Original file- SD card, CF Card, Safety, Images, Network, External and Offsite. + RAW selects and working copies. You should be covered for most bad luck situations.

If I am shooting tethered, or on holidays, the save process is slightly varied. RAW files go from camera to the Macbook and Portable drive. When I return home, the Macbook is backed up to the network cloud via TimeMachine and and the files on the portable drive are copied to the Images drive.

Yes I consider the SD and CF cards as backups… I keep the most recent shoot on card for as long as I don’t need the cards. BUT when I need the cards for a new shoot I format the cards in Camera.

Ok, now with everything all together, a diagrammed overview of my backup system.

By now you have probably lost interest or have a dull headache building so I’ll sum it up quickly.


Recent related news:Photographer robbed of lifes work

A much more comprehensive look into the subject : Backup Or Die! – Well written easy reading.

Remember MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR IMAGE FILES!! Because at some-point your drive will fail and you will loose all your images.

Hope you got something out of this, now get out there and capture images… and MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR IMAGE FILES!!