Always Backup Your Work: Oakland Photographer Has Life's Work Stolen from Home

Always Backup Your Work: Oakland Photographer Has Life's Work Stolen from Home

Always backup your work, and then backup your backups! This opinion is brought to you by the recent news that Oakland-based photographer Jennifer Little lost her "life's work" when 21 hard drives containing over 70,000 photos were stolen from her home. To go along with the hard drives, she also lost eight cameras leaving only one left.

As reported by KPIX, the burglars took everything except for 30 images from a recent shoot and a single large format camera. Little was able to find one camera at a local flea market a couple days later but is still searching for the rest of her equipment. Among the photos were several ongoing projects, including one very time consuming and expensive one.

I’ll probably have to write off the project from China completely because it’s so expensive to go there and I’ve sort of lost all the groundwork documentation that the whole project was based on.

She believes they entered her house through the bathroom window, but that's not what's really important here. Let's ask the question we're all thinking inside our heads: With all the online backup options available these days, why weren't all these photos backed up somewhere else? There's no excuse for not having your photos backed up online. With such a standard precaution, you can keep your photos safe from house fires, floods, and even burglaries. Keep it secret, keep it safe, Fstoppers.


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Jay Jay's picture

Thanks for the information! I'm using 2 identical sized drives and doing manual syncs to them now in place of the synology. i'll look into the recovery info and see what i can do! :)

Daris Fox's picture

The reason you want RAID drives is that if you have two drives with two different firmware it can potentially cause vibrations resulting in data drops or spin downs to prevent damage to the platters, RAID drives can counter this it to a degree often with special firmware and in many cases with extra stabilisation for the platter. It's one of the reasons they are more expensive.

Always buy the amount of drives you need when you first build the array and it's always recommend to replace all drives at the same time when one fails unless you have a rack mount array as when one degrades it can increase stress on surrounding drives.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

BackBlaze | 50$/month
Amazon Cloud | 100$ (or less) a Year
Google Photos | FREE (shrunk down to 16MP)
Flickr 1TB Jpegs | FREE (good for around 100,000 - 200,000 or more depending)

Since Flickr and Google photos are free those are no brainers and could be used in conjunction with a paid service like Amazon or BackBlaze.

That's what I do: Amazon Clopud since I have Prime anyways and Google Photos + 2 backup drives at home.

Joe Schmitt's picture

I used to use Carbonite but once you hit 200GB of data, they pretty much throttle your uploads. Switched to CrashPlan a few years ago and it's been perfect me. I've never had to access any of those files for any reason yet but I have spot-checked some files every now and then to make sure I can access them.

Thomas Schütz's picture

2 Synology NAS, 1 at home, 1 at my parent's home, 300km away, both RAID 5, weekly backup from "mine" to "theirs" + daily backup from "mine" to an eHDD. Should do the job.

Nuno Palha's picture

The cheapest cloudstorage i know is Pogoplug.
unlimites. Good for all RAWS. around $3 a month.
The problem is the speed.

Brian Dowling's picture

I have Amazon Cloud drive, but the upload speed is deathly slow. I get 750K/s to my FTP server and about 15k/s to the cloud. I was even in the Amazon Pop-up shop in London last week and it was slow in their office. Can someone report back some Backblaze upload speeds?

Joe Schmitt's picture

I perform local weekly backups (sooner if I have photos processed) but I also use CrashPlan. On top of that, I store my hard drives in 230 pound media safes for security. And I'm not even a full time pro. I just realize how important my memories and those of the clients I photographed are to secure properly. I feel bad for her loss...but that was totally preventable with some easy and inexpensive adjustments.

I am traveling around the world for a year and use a Lacie drive to store my photos, I don't delete my SD cards at all and I have Backblaze. It's not a solid plan though. Backblaze is slow as hell and I always have at least a thousand images that are waiting to be backed up. If anyone knows a faster plan, I'm all ears.

You make me laugh with your "cloud" backups.
A cloud is some else's computer, therefore as it has been proved before, it can be hacked.

No system is flawless, but If you want my opinion on the best way, here's how I do it:

1 - All my files are stored on a NAS server at home (RAID system, 2 hard drives that are cloned)
2 - I have external hard drives that are my backup of my NAS server. These hard drive sleep in A SAFE IN A BANK, and every couple of month I go there, get the disks, backup in one day, and bring them to the bank the same day.

That's right, but for that to work, you mustn't be lazy and move you ass from your chair and move to your bank. This simple step is not done by people who get robbed.

The bank safe in the safest option by far. And It costs less that 100bucks a year.