Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, beginner or experienced, knowing how to store your photos and save them is essential. Whether it’s photos for clients or memories captured through the camera lens, losing those photos can be annoying. So here are some tips that will save you some trouble.
First of all the basics,
It is important how you think about your file backup “strategy”. This should be simple enough for you, because a too complicated backup process can quickly be discouraging. There are 4 variables to consider for your strategy: ease of duplication, data corruption, protection against breakage or theft, ease of recovery.
The first (and easiest) thing to do is to save your photos in multiple places. In this way you ensure protection against problems related to your equipment (computer failure for example), corruption of your data and theft / breakage / fire / flood. Just remember that it is essential to be able to quickly access your file backups.
Once your photos are taken, save the contents of your memory card to a hard drive (internal or external). This hard drive (which will be your working device) should then perform a backup on another hard drive (which will only be used for backing up) either immediately or at fixed times (every hour, etc.).
This gives you 3 backups on 3 different devices, so 3 times less likely to lose your data.
From there you can save your working hard drive or your secondary hard drive on an online storage system (more commonly known as “cloud”) whose main quality is not to be located at your home (therefore recoverable more easily).
There are plenty of data backup software out there, just make sure that the software you choose creates exact copies of your files, you need to be able to see all of your photos on your hard drives at all times.
This way if you erase a photo on your working hard drive, you can still easily get it back. Some of these software will warn you even if your data has not been backed up for a while, allowing you to see if your backup system is still active. If you are professionals, remember that making all these backups will require you to format all your devices regularly so as not to overload them.
One of best photo backup devices is Photostick. It is a device that when plugged and installed in the system, automatically backups photos. To know more about this nifty device, read this PhotoStick review believe me once you learn its function and features you’ll love this device.
For professional photographers
Depending on the intensity of your activity, it is possible to take only hard drives (one for work and one for backups). On the other hand, if the hard drives are not enough, it is time to take a look at the NAS.
The NAS (Network Attached Storage or network-attached storage) is a device that combines multiple hard drives. This allows you to greatly expand your storage space and since it is linked to your local internet connection, allows you to transfer files much faster.
With a NAS it is possible to expect storage spaces greater than 8 Terabytes (which is a lot, LOTS of photos), for a relatively low price and fairly easy to install. You will still need to format them regularly, but not as often as with hard drives, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
The NAS typically use a storage system called RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). This allows you to store a file on multiple hard drives. There are many types of RAID, but let’s focus here on those that include more than two hard drives.
If you are using four hard drives in RAID and one of your hard drives is defective, you can install a new hard drive and store files on it again. Be careful, most RAIDs can only handle one bad drive at a time, but having two bad drives is relatively rare. Some NAS have their own RAID which gives you additional benefits (such as a higher tolerance for bad drives).
If you have the budget, some NAS have built-in software that allows you to back up directly to multiple clouds. This system therefore makes it possible to make copies and manage them easily. Just to clarify, if your NAS is not sold with a hard drive, make sure they are compatible with each other.
When setting up your cloud backup, it is recommended that you opt for a backup (and not a duplication) of your data. This way if your data gets corrupted at your workplace, your cloud copies are intact. It will take longer to erase your old files (since it will have to be done on your local hard drive AND the cloud) but it is the safest method to keep your photos and to be able to recover them in an emergency.
The best way to back up your photos is to have a working hard drive, backup hard drive, and cloud storage system. Each device backs up to the next which protects you from data corruption. Your images are located on several devices which guarantees you some protection against theft or disasters. Since everything is saved without being compressed or modified you can easily view and recover your files at any time.
Of course you can adapt to this system, not everyone has the time or the inclination to buy and install all these peripherals, so just keep this basic idea: Remember to save your photos at different places.
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