No photographer wants to run the risk of losing the valuable and irreplaceable moments they have captured for their clients. Unfortunately, even the most experienced photographer doesn’t always have a fool-proof system in place to ensure they are fully covered when the unexpected happens. I am very lucky to say I haven’t experienced the heart-crushing moment of losing a session a client trusted me to shoot for them, but I know those it has happened to and I wish nothing more than to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else!
The guiding principle for a backup strategy is the classic 3-2-1; 3 backups of your data, on 2 types of media, with 1 of those stored off-site. So what does that really mean? It means you have all of your data stored in a variety of formats and locations so that, even if your office goes up in smoke, you’ll still be able to access the data you created.
Aside from protecting yourself from the daunting dread of the unexpected, there are a few additional benefits to backing up your data.
1 – Your RAW files are available
The raw files of your data are large and it’s easy to delete the images you don’t want to use to make editing a session easier and to keep your computer running efficiently. The only problem is, what if you want to go back and access an image you originally deemed as unworthy? Backing up all your session work ensures you can access the raw files anytime they are needed while keeping your computer clear of all the images that can slow down performance.
2 – Online platforms make it easy
While you will want to have a physical copy of your backed up data in the form of an external hard drive, you’ll also want to have it backed up in an online data system with 24/7 technical support. This helps us cover the ‘2’ in our 3-2-1 system, and the program I love to use, Backblaze has so many amazing features to give me the feeling of security I need. If you lose your computer and your backup drives fail, Backblaze can send you hard drive or USB (depending on your account) with all of your data on it to anywhere you are in the world. Their platform is incredible and secure and I can’t imagine using anyone else.
3 – It’s more than images, it’s content!
Most photographers are more than photographers these days; we are content creators, working tirelessly to bring to life online courses, workbooks, resources for other photographers and more. Every single thing you touch for your business has the potential to transform into content you can funnel into avenue streams. Thinking of backing up just our images is a common misconception when we first think of backing up our work. Backing up everything you are working on is a crucial aspect of ensuring you’re not left at square one after years of work.
4 – Accidents happen
The truth is accidents happen. You may accidentally delete a file you end up needing down the road or you update your software and suddenly lose it all. Having a backup of all your files and data makes an accident fixable instead of something you are unable to correct.
5 – Locate your computer
People who steal your electronics are usually pretty smart and know to wipe your device. The amazing thing about backup programs like Backblaze is that they aren’t common programs the person who swiped your computer will look to find. This means that while programs like ‘Find My Mac’ are commonly deleted from the computer system, Backblaze and other backup programs are still running in the background. The next time your files are backed up, you can search for the ip address, and locate any newly saved documents that can give you information on the location of your device. Not only can you recover your computer, your backups will still hold all the information that may have been deleted while you and your computer have been separated.
There are a few other ways to prevent losing data, like using dual SD cards in your camera to write the same images to prevent any chance of losing images if one card decides not to sync with your camera when you try to load the data onto your computer or assessing your data usage before purchasing your hard drive to ensure you can use it for a year or more to come! Setting up a 3-2-1 system is going to be the best way to keep your valuable data secure and to ensure you don’t lose the moments that prove your clients lived and loved and existed in all of their unique wonder.
Some of my favorite blogs for sharing how to set-up a backup system are: