Monday, March 8, 2010

Archiving and Backing Up Photos

Archiving and Backing Up Your Photos

A crucial yet overlooked segment of maintaining a successful photography business is the process of archiving all your digital files and backing them up on your computer. With the digital world there are more images that are on your computer and more need to back everything up. You also want to be able to access your images quickly and easily when they’re needed. Here is an outline of how I do my workflow:

1.)    Make sure your work is ORGANIZED. You should be able to easily navigate, save, and locate files in an organized folder structure.  First step is naming your photos with the same format ever time you shoot. When I shoot I download the images onto my computer into Lightroom. My file naming is as follows: Name(or client)_Date_Image #.  Example: John_Smith_021610_083. Once all my images are imported into Lightroom,  you then want to name your images similarly for easier searching.

2.)    STORAGE MEDIUM. There are many different ways to go about this process – here is what I do: First and most important use portable, external hard drives; do not use DVDs or CDs. The external drives I use are G-Raid and Sans Digital .  For my internal drives I have 3 1TB hard drives on my Mac G5 Tower. External drives come in all sizes - 250GB, 500GB, 750GB, 1TB and much more. Once you figure out what hard drive size you need, purchase two of them – explanation to follow. Purchase more storage than you think you need because you will end up needed it.
You can get  your drive at B&H Photo

3.)    Backing Up and Copy Images. Once you figure what hard drives you’re using to store your images, then you’re ready for the next step. When I am finished uploading all my images to my working hard drive and into Lightroom . I copy this folder into one of my external hard drives right away. You want to have a back up of all your original images before you start making your edits and corrections. Example of my set up: I have an internal hard called ‘Scratch disk’. This drive is 1TB and it contains all of the current projects I working on at the moment. Once all my images are on this drive, I back up that folder right away to my external hard drive. My external Sans Digital , which has 4 hard drives, each 2TB.  Once it’s copied to that drive, it automatically backs it up to a second drive in my SD set up. This way I have three different places where my images are stored and backed up.  You can never be too careful with digital workflow. I have had drives crash and lose everything. Back it up twice at least.

4.)    Off-site back up. Once I have fully worked on a particular project and all my edits are done I repeat the steps in #3. Then I take it one step further to protect myself in case of worst-case scenarios – such as my studio burning down! I do a master backup of all my projects on to a G-Raid  and store it off-site. You can buy a fire safe and store them at your parent’s house, friend’s house or get a safe-deposit box. In doing this you will be able to sleep a little better at night…

One more thing, backing up your images only works if you maintain it. So find a system that works for you. Check out the including links above where you can purchase the hard drives and software needed. 

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