About Me

Wells, BC, Canada
Richard is a working photographer and writer in B.C. His camera focuses on natural history. archeology, travel, and documentary photography. His photography blog may be found at: http://richardtwright.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How and why to back-up photos

This cute little gaffer, a round-tailed ground squirrel in Organ Pipe National Monument, is actually a reminder why it is so important to back-up images and discs several times.
After returning from a 6-week tour through the southwestern US the other night I was showing unedited files images to friends and realized many were missing - about 2 days shooting - gone. Hours of searching and I could not find them. I surmised I had reformatted the SM card without downloading. This would mean the main daily back-up hard drive would not have them either. 

At the end of a shoot I make sure I have 110 volt power or lots of battery juice and then download from camera to my laptop. With Aperture 3, I can also download at the same time to a second drive, in my case a 500 gig LaCie Rugged Drive. That drive is only for photos.  When the download is complete I then back-up to a LaCie 1T drive, then a second 1T drive. If travelling one of these goes in my truck and one in the travel trailer, or camera bag. So now, in theory I have 4 copies of any image.  If I have edited the download I still have all the originals on the 500gig drive, which is never edited. This has to be replaced, of course, when it is full, but I use older back-up discs to fill this function.
Like most photographers I have worked out a multiple back-up system that seems to work for me.
Now when I get back to my studio the laptop is once again backed up to a LaCie Raid Drive. This is a daily automatic back-up One Raid Drive is then stored offsite if I am away for any length of time.

So, in this case I went to the 500 gig LaCie "photo back-up" portable drive, the one that is never touched, unless ... sure enough, there they were - 343 photos, including this ground squirrel. A quick transfer/copy back to the laptop, then a back-up and I had them again. Whew. Where the originals went I still don't know. 
By the end of my backing up I usually have 5 or 6 copies of all images, but failures can always happen. 

Figure out a work flow that works for you but make sure you back-up. You don't have to have a catastrophic back-up to lose images.

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