Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't forget to backup your photos

Making regular backups is critical. I've only heard a few horror stories about photographers loosing all their photos (usually on a laptop). These mishaps could have been prevented if backups were part of their workflow. Ideally, if you use a laptop:
  • Store all images on an external drive, not on the laptop
  • Backup all images to a second external hard drive
  • Make an updated backup every time you import new (good) images
If you own a desktop:
  • Backup images to an external drive (or another internal hard drive)
  • You can use Time Machine to make backups for you automatically
If you shoot a lifelong project, best to backup the most important images and keep them off-site, in a safety deposit box, so that a fire, flood, etc., would not annihilate your images. Safety deposit boxes are cheaper than you think ($20-40/year for a small box). The peace of mind is well worth it. How to make backups:
  • I use iBackup. It's free, mac-only, and has a lot of options. I don't use Time Machine, because it requires that the hard drives be in a mac-only format and will not backup from one external hard drive to another.
  • iBackup is great because it can make incremental back-ups, meaning that it will only backup new and modified files, instead of everything all over again. When I backup new images it takes about 1 minute per GB, and usually completes a backup in 10 minutes or less. If you have firewire external hard drives, it's only about 30 seconds per GB.
  • I also use the profiles feature in iBackup to backup documents and photos separately.
  • To remember to make the backups you could setup a reminder in Gmail, iCal, etc.
If you want to go much further and backup your entire Mac system, check out Carbon Copy Cloner. I hope everyone is having a great summer!

1 comment:

Ian van Coller said...

Thanks Bay. all good advice.