If there is a downside to shooting digital, it has to be the need for a reliable backup system.
Back up your photos on a regular basis—copy them to another location in case of a hard-drive failure. This has to do with your long-term happiness.
We hear a lot about storage in the “cloud” recently. Storing photos and other files on remote servers sounds great in theory. You don’t have to maintain any hardware; just upload your photos to online services and you’re done.
But are you? I say in “theory,” because one backup really isn’t enough. Multiple backups should be a priority for every photographer.
A hard-drive crash is all that’s needed to erase years of memories.
Nobody backs up diligently enough until they lose their first important file.
I learned the hard way, as so many have, and now preach the good news of regular backup.
It’s not a matter of IF your hard drive will fail; it’s a matter of WHEN.
As a general rule, you should make two copies of your backup.
In case of a disaster, such as a fire, flood, or tornado, it’s best to store you photos in two different locations.
At the end of the day, you need to create a strategy that works for you based on price, need, and ease-of-use.
Your back-up options include:
CDs or DVDs
Since it’s hard to predict the future of technology trends, it is possible that DVDs will become obsolete and your data may be safe but unreadable.
External hard drive
The simplest backup method is to use an external hard drive so all your images are in one location. Choose a hard drive that is big enough to keep all your current and future images, or be prepared to upgrade your drive in the future.
I use a 3 terabyte Western Digital MyBook external hard drive. For big-time storage Western Digital has 6TB of storage available (My Book StudioII) and comes with a hefty price tag.
Data Storage Centers
Data Storage Centers are the kings of backup. They are typically built in buildings that are safe from fire, earthquake, hurricanes, and tornados. The key point here is that they are off-site backup solutions so that even if your system was destroyed or stolen, your data remains safe.
Once it is set up, backups are automatic. You don’t have to think about it. And you never run out of space. On-line backup services include:
Carbonite, 15-day free trial; $54.95/year unlimited backup
Mozy; $6.95/month unlimited backup
IDrive; 5 GB free; 150 GB of storage space $4.95/month or US$49.50/year
Photography is the power of observation, not the application of technology.