February 21, 2010

back up your photos! {birmingham, al photographer}

As a photographer, I'm always asked questions about camera equipment, photo tips, etc. but one question I get asked a lot is "how do you back up your photos?" Digital cameras are awesome but they come with a price. The days of keeping negatives in an envelope and praying you don't lose them are over {and I for one, am very thankful for this!} To keep your digital negatives intact, you have to do a bit of housework. It isn't too time consuming and can make a big difference if tragedy strikes. Here's my "backup plan" for my photos:

1. DVD - My computers have a DVD burner drive. You could also do with this with CDs if you have access to that but DVDs hold more which equals less time involved and less money on discs, cases, etc. I burn one to two months worth of pictures to a DVD {depending on what will fit.} I store my photos chronologically so this works for me. I ALWAYS burn two copies of each disc. One disc stays at my house and the 2nd is stored off site in case of fire, toddler curiosity, flood, etc. =) I try to do this once a month but have been known to get pretty behind. LOL

2. External Hard Drive - This is by far the easiest ways to back up your photos! I bought mine the day after Thanksgiving so I got a good deal but you could probably look at Staples, Amazon, etc. to find a pretty good deal anytime. They're so easy to use - it connects to your computer via USB cable and you simply copy and paste your photos onto the external drive. Easy peasy. Once an external hard drive is full {yes, I take THAT many pictures} just store it in a safe place and start filling up a new one.

3. Online Backup - Now there are places online that will store your photos/data for you for a small fee. But I'm cheap so here's what I do: Winkflash will store your photos for you if you order prints from them. The quality isn't nearly as good as my professional lab but for everyday photos it works and it's about the same price as Wal Mart, Walgreens, etc. Every photo I've taken in the past 3+ years is stored on my Winkflash website. Is there a chance they'll go under and those photos will be gone? Yes, but I have my other methods of backup so I'm not too worried. Oh, and Winkflash allows you to download your photos back to your computer so it's a nice feature if I've deleted a picture off my laptop and want to get it back without dealing with discs or hooking up the external hard drive. {Yes, I'm lazy!} =)

I hope all this information can help someone. My neighbors recently lost everything they owned in a house fire {including their pictures.} Thankfully, they had most of their stuff backed up and what wasn't backed up they will be able to get from family and friends. See, their photographer is a little OCD about backing up her pictures. =) Yes it's time consuming but sooo worth it if your printed pictures are ever lost. If you have any questions post them in the comment section and I'll be sure to answer them!

P.S. If you are a client of mine and God forbid something happens to your prints, yes your pictures are backed OCD style as well. =)


Kelly said...

Thanks for the reminder Jenney. I have been naughty with remembering to do mine....but I will this week xxx

Amy Hummel said...

My external drive actually died several months ago. I have all the files on my computer, and then on the external... so it wasn't anything bad. But now I'm down to only having the pictures on my computer. If it were to crash I'd lose everything since March 2008. That was my last DVD back up. As for client pictures. They're all backed up on Zenfolio ;)