Backing up digital photos

I have a bit of a distrust of the “cloud”.  Does anyone else?  I don’t mean this in a “someone is stealing my data” kind of way (though I guess that might be true!), but rather in a “not all systems are perfect” kind of way.  Because of that, and for another reason as well which I’ll mention below, I’ve decided to take backing up my precious photos into my own hands.

My system is SO simple.  That’s important – if your system is complicated, you’ll be less likely to do it!

All I do is copy all of my important files (and my most important files are my photos!!) to external disc drives such as this one.  As soon as a photo file goes on my computer, it also goes onto the external drive that I’m currently using (I have many because I fill them up!).  This includes client and personal photos (and the iPhone file folder I mentioned in my last post!).  I use a desktop computer so the external drive is always hooked up.

I realize that if you’re a laptop user, you’ll have to do the extra step of plugging the external drive into your USB port.  Keep it somewhere close to where your laptop usually lives!  You don’t have to backup to the external drive EVERY time you upload to your laptop if it’s too much.  Instead, just hook it up once every three months when you’re also doing your iPhone backup (see previous post).  That way you can also drag your iPhone file folder to the external drive, too.

The other reason I don’t use the cloud is that it just slows my computer down too much to constantly be uploading files to a server.  This may not be true for everyone, but the sheer volume of photos I have (and many are RAW files, which are huge!) makes any kind of off-site server backup cumbersome.

One last thing: every January, I copy all of my photos from the previous year – both client photos and personal photos – to another, new external drive, label it, and bring it to my in-law’s house.  This way I have an off-site copy too :-).

Of course another way to have a “real” copy of your most precious photos is to print them!  More on that in an upcoming post!

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