It’s like wearing a belt AND suspenders.

Backups. Surely there is something more fun and interesting to write a blog post about.

We all hate doing them, but, at the end of the day , you need to have a solid backup plan in place. If you use a hard drive long enough it will fail, doesn’t matter what kind of drive it is, who made it, etc, etc. All drives/storage media fail at some point. That is a fact.

For photographers, backups can be a big problem. The amount of data that we can create in a day is crazy. I have personally photographed at weddings with a 3-man team, and walked away after an 12 hour day with 100 gigabytes of data. Moving around and maintaining a years worth of data that I create can become quite a burden, and it gets a little tricky when multiple desktops are use and some are PC and some are Macs. They do not play nice with each other.

One of the tricks i have found to make this manageable is automation. For the PC, i use an app called SecondCopy 8. It is a simple automated back up program. I also use a few different disk drives that are connected to my computer. So, here is how it works for me. I have a drive that I download images to after a shoot, each drive is given a unique name. I use two letters, the year and two more numbers, example: bk2013 01. I so my images live on drive bk2013 01, not on my computer, because I find that I fill up the hard drives too quick. When I start using a new drive and give it a name, I make two more drives with similar names, bk2013 02 and bk2013 03. The drives will function as mirrors. When I download images to drive number 01 second copy notices the changes and automatically copies the new data to drive 02 and 03. It is really quite simple. Drive 02 & 03 are rotated once a week and one of them is stored somewhere off site. So it always have two copies of my data locally and one copy off site. As the drives fill up I simply retire them and only need to plug them in as I need to access older files. With USB 3.0 it is quite manageable, I am currently using 3 gb drives and find that I am rotating one set maybe every year. If you are a Mac user an app called SuperDuper! Will do the same thing for you, although it is not as robust or simple as second copy.

I had an unfortunate circumstance while writing this article – my hard drive in my laptop failed. It was a total loss. I tried every thing that I could to recover the data. It was a complete no-go. As it turns out, i lost 2 days worth of computting, and only 3 images. It had been 2 days since my last full back up on timemachine. But all of my images were moved to other drives which are automatically backed up. I was very fortunate, If I had not had such a backup system in place I could have lost everything. I would have certainly had to set up my computer again with a fresh operating system. I would have had to set everything up again, losing days of productivity, not to mention the irreplaceable images that would have been on said drive.



2 thoughts on “It’s like wearing a belt AND suspenders.

  1. Good post – it shocks me how many people think back up and external hard drive are the same thing. If you only have one copy of the data it is not backed up !!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dave.
      You are right. Externals are great for storage, but they need to be copied somewhere as well, and it is best if you have a copy that is in a different location to prevent data loss from a natural disaster or fire.
      I didn’t touch on online storage, but it has been my experience that the speeds that are needed to transfer a full wedding is not there. my files would never finish sending over the web.

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