I recently joined POTN and one of the very first threads I replied to was about archiving photos.
Now, I’m quite paranoid about losing photos. You can break my laptop, and I could care less about losing music, movies (unless they’re home movies), or programs. But my photo collection means the world to me.
Chris and I were married on January 10, 2009. We were on such a high from a wonderful wedding; virtually nothing had gone wrong…or so we thought. On January 16th, we got a call from one of our photographers (a husband-and-wife team). The wife’s first memory card was corrupted, and gone were the photos of my bridal prep, solo portraits, and most important to me, the shots of my parents walking me into the church, down the aisle, and meeting Chris at the altar.
Words couldn’t express how I felt when I hung up with our photographer. I was blubbering in Chris’ arms, trying to wrap my head around the fact that memories of our special day were lost. Our photographer apologized profusely and offered us a partial refund. Still, I didn’t care about the money– I wanted the memory card. We’re still in the process of trying to get them to mail it, even after several unsuccessful attempts on their part to recover anything more than the middle portion of our ceremony (read: the middle of mass).
Anyway, that happening was a swift kick in the pants, reminding us to back up, back up, BACK UP. Granted, this loss of photos was due to equipment failure and not failure to back up, but nonetheless, I would hate for that same thing to happen with anybody we work with. Which leads me to our backup process…
1) Download photos to my MacBook Pro. Each event has its own folder, named accordingly. Chris also downloads the photos to his iMac.
2) DVD (either regular or dual-layer, depending how big the folder is) burn x3– one copy stays with us in Philadelphia (or wherever we happen to be living), another copy is mailed off to my parents in Japan, and the third copy is mailed to Chris’ parents in California. We don’t mail the off-site copies every single time we shoot an event; once a month works well for us.
3) Every few days, Chris makes a backup of our computers using Time Machine, plus he copies the photos off both computers onto another hard drive.
I also save Photoshop files as I edit the photos, but this is mainly because sometimes I can’t remember the recipe I used for TRA.
At the end of the calendar year, Chris does another FULL photo back up. Again, we have both on-site and off-site copies. Once we’re absolutely, 150% sure that everything is good to go, that year’s photos are deleted off the MBP and iMac. Ready to start the new year fresh!
I know, a little (or a lot) excessive, but I’ve lost photos before, and it was not my favorite thing in the world. I’d rather have 6 copies of a photo than realize later that there are some missing ones.
Come to think of it, my dad has a similar plan for backing up his machines (multiply and you can’t go wrong). Maybe I got it from him? ;)