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Storing Digital Photos : A Photographer’s Resource

Mar 2, 2020

When storing digital photos of your clients, there is no such thing as overkill! The last thing you would ever want is to lose photos—especially wedding photos—so we always think that the more places you have for storing digital photos, the better. We hear many stories of photographers who have lost entire weddings and ended up being sued by their clients. Not only that, but you simply can’t replace or recreate the memories, feelings, and incredible moments of a wedding day, so don’t even take a chance with their precious memories.

And while every photographer is different and we all have our personal preferences, there’s still a basic rule of thumb that we think people should follow for storing digital photos that will guarantee you will never lose them—back everything up in at least three places.  

OPTIONS FOR FILE STORAGE

External hard drives (EHD), Network Attached Storage (NAS) boxes, RAID systems, and online cloud-based services are four of the newer and more reliable solutions for storing digital photos. 

We will link to the exact equipment we are using and do our best to explain our thoughts behind it.

  1. EHD’s are readily available and affordable and come in many sizes. We use LaCie Rugged for both temporary and permanent storage.
  2. RAID systems are a bit more on the technical side, but they basically write files across a multi-disc system to extend storage capacity. Although they aren’t the usual for a lot of photographers, we use them as part of our system, just as an added precaution. We also use LaCie for our RAID system.
  3. NAS boxes. If you’re the type of person who likes to store every photo you’ve ever taken (like we do), then a NAS box is the way to go. A NAS is basically a small computer with its own processor, memory and operating system, but it’s packaged as an appliance for storing and sharing files. We use a Synology NAS 72 TB system that holds all of the photos we’ve ever taken in the past 12 years. An added bonus is that we can access the box from anywhere in the world, at any time—for downloading and uploading.
  4. Online file storage. There are many excellent online, cloud-based systems available these days to backup your backups—so-to-speak! We use BackBlaze and are quite happy with it.

Here is what we do. OUR FILE EXACT STORAGE AND BACKUP SYSTEM

We take no chances with our couples’ photos or video as we want them to be reassured that their memories are in good hands so we back up our photo files in a variety of ways:

  1. We shoot with cameras that have dual card slots and write photo files to each card as we shoot. At the end of the day, we take one card from each camera and put it a box labelled, “In Progress” and the cards stay there, untouched, until the photos are delivered to our client.
  2. We then use a Lexar multi-card reader that downloads the other cards to all of our other storage devices at once:
    • A temporary EHD—our working drive, that holds our Lightroom catalog, that is used until, again, photos are delivered to clients;
    • A permanent EHD—that gets swapped out once per year for a new one and is then stored forever;
    • A permanent RAID (another type of external storage) system that is swapped out every two years for a new one and then, also, stored forever; 
    • Our NAS box; and, finally 
    • we have that synced to BackBlaze—a cloud storage platform that copies your entire hard drive. 

So, when all is said and done, we end up with seven backups of raw and edited images (four of these backups are permanent). We don’t mess around when it comes to preserving our clients’ memories and you shouldn’t either! 

Following the process above is a 100% guarantee that you will never lose your couples images or video files.

We have built a very elaborate system but there are some ways to have a very similar process that is more affordable. Want us to help you set something up? Let’s chat.

Here are just a couple of images to help explain our process a bit more. For the full detail of what we do please read steps one and two mentioned above.

If you have questions or need help with figuring out which storage is right for you, let’s chat. We always love meeting and engaging with other photographers.

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