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.