Back it UP
How to make sure your work is never lost.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign to back up your hard drive…this is it. This has to be my number one rule of being a photographer. There is nothing worse than landing a paid job, spending hours shooting and editing only to have all your work erased forever. Technology is not fail proof. I’ve seen this happen to so many people. PLEASE BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVES!!!
Here’s some tips and habits I’ve collected to help my work from being erased forever.
1. Upload your files immediately after shooting. Try to do this if you can while you are on set. If you can’t - i.e. you’re shooting on-the-go or outdoors - then do it right when you get home. Memory cards can and will erase themselves - I’ve seen it happen. For example, you just finished a job and don’t start editing till days later - but you think your files are safe just living solely on the memory card. You go to import your photos onto your hard drive days later… and they are GONE!!! Don’t let the robots have a chance at malfunctioning. Import your photos off your memory card as soon as you can.
2. BACK UP your new files immediately after your shoot. If you don’t have a second hard drive to do this - get one right now. Don’t let a day go by. Drive to Best Buy or your local tech store and get one NOW. If your first hard drive crashes you’re going to want that second hard drive as a backup. Hard drives crash all the time. Don’t think they won’t. And please don’t wait to till your hard drive crashes to learn this mistake…Just engrave this in your brain. BACK EVERYTHING UP. Just assume that after you get home from your shoot, you’re going to import your photos onto two hard drives. Make it a habit or you’ll end up throwing your computer across the room in despair.
3. Have a ‘master back up’ drive. Yup. I know I sound crazy having three copies of everything. But honestly I rather do this than lose a project. In most cases, you don’t have the opportunity to do a re-shoot. Clients spend tons of money on the production of a shoot - how angry do you think they would be if after spending all this money you have no images to show them?? It would be a nightmare. I’ve heard people spend up to THOUSANDS of dollars taking their corrupt memory cards and hard drives to file recovery businesses. If they had everything backed up they would save themselves so much money and stress.
4. Back up your final JPEG/files on Dropbox (or an equal website). You have to pay a monthly subscription to use Dropbox but it’s worth it in my mind (and a business write-off). After I finish editing, I upload my final JPEGs to Dropbox and send clients a downloadable link. Dropbox allows you to store files on the site for as long as you like (or till you cancel your membership)! Should all three of your hard drives crash for whatever reason - at least your final delivered files will be saved on the internet. I always use Dropbox to deliver my photos to clients anyways, so it’s just a plus that it lives there as a virtual copy.
5. Have tons of memory cards. I never format my memory cards until the final images are delivered to my clients. Just another way to save my butt if my hard drives crash. I have about seven 32GB memory cards so I can do this.
6. Have a weekly and monthly backup routine. If you’re shooting and editing often, likely you’re constantly creating new PSD files and JPEGS. Make a habit to update your hard drives to reflect the most up to date version of your saved files. I try to do this weekly and monthly.
Don’t make the mistake that so many other photographers do - have several back ups to your work!! Hope this was helpful to you! I usually use the 5TB Lacie Hard Drives - available on B&H Photo or any tech store.
Thanks so much for reading! I’m always down to help in any way that I can-message me on Instagram at @champagneunicorns 🦄 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 💌