Digital photography has liberated the world and allowed everyone to enjoy photography and record the Kodak moments for posterity. What it hasn’t done is protect those images in the same way as a film negative stored in a packet in a safe place. Digital images aren’t as safe as negatives unless they are duplicated in some way and stored separately, also known as backups. If you haven’t done this then read on and learn to do it NOW!
In order to protect your precious images it essential that you follow a protocol or process after every photo shoot. Keep it simple in order to ensure that your images are protected for ever and are never lost. Here are some simple steps to follow in order to be sure that keep your images forever.
1. Backup your memory cards after a shoot
Even if you are a point and shoot photographer it is essential that you back up the cards you are currently using after every shoot or picture taking opportunity. This means that at all times you have your photos stored in two places. One set of images on the card you are currently using and the other on a computer hard drive or field backup device that allows you to copy from a memory card.
2. Create a set of backups
Once you delete the images from your memory card make sure that at the same time you make a copy or backup of the images on the hard drive or backup device. Again the rule is there must always be two sets of photos available at all times. This might mean that you copy your laptop hard drive to an external hard drive or write them to a DVD or CD. Backup does NOT mean copying to another device and then deleting from the original location. It means you have a source and a copy of that source at ALL times.
3. Use an online storage service as an offsite backup
It’s great that you have everything on your laptop and then copies on CD, flash drive or external hard drive, BUT, if they are all at the same location then disaster can still strike. If your home were to burn down or get flooded you are still in trouble. If you are able to, store the copies at your office or if you are backing up your office files, store them at home. The ultimate solution is to use an online storage company where you can upload everything of importance. Google and many other online companies offer huge amounts of storage at low or no cost. USE THEM!
4. Repeat and rinse
Once you have backed up there is a false sense of security. This can lead to future disasters. Get into a rhythm of doing this regularly. Set a time on a weekly basis to do your backups and repeat this. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have it under control and then realise your last backup was 6 months ago. As long as you keep this process going on a regular basis, then you are safe.
5. Check your backups
Make sure that you check your backs on a regular basis to see if the CDs, DVDs or hard drives are in good condition. There is nothing worse than trying to restore after a crisis and finding that your backups are damaged, corrupt or inaccessible. Not all CDs last a lifetime so back archival CDS and DVDs for backup. And, there will come a time when your backup hard drive comes to the end of its life and needs replacing. Find this out before you need to use it in a restore crisis.
All of us will at some stage have a hard drive go bad on us. Don’t let the disaster of losing irreplaceable images and documents befall you. Make sure that you have some plan in place to prevent tragedy. Lost memories are irreplaceable so make sure today that you are protected by regularly backing up.
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