It’s always been said that there are two types of people in this world: those who have had a hard drive crash, and those who will have a hard drive crash. To that, I’ll add another two: those who’ve dropped a phone into a toilet, and those who will drop their phone into a toilet. Or oven. Or puddle. Or snow. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan. A new article in the New York Times breaks it into the simplest of terms for even the greenest of photographers.
One of the main things photographers should do is enlist the help of some sort of cloud service for backup. Some of the recommended ones from the article include Dropbox, Amazon Prime Photos, Google Photos, and Apple iCloud. One thing to note, however, is that some of these services will down-res your photos and others will charge you for any meaningful amount of storage. They also advise to turn on automatic backups. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I want all of my photos automatically going to a cloud service. A lot of the photos I shoot tend to be junk, and that would end up burning through online storage space quickly.
An alternative method is to plug the phone in into a USB port and periodically download files to a computer for backup to a hard drive, which is what I do. I only really use the cloud services for file delivery, storing client files in Dropbox for a year or so.
The other reason I caution against solely relying on the cloud for backup is that sometimes it rains. Major sites such as Digital Railroad or Photobucket have shut down or changed their service in untenable ways leaving photographers in the lurch, even those who had thought paying for a service meant it would last.
Two other great tips shared by the photographers in the story is to buy an external hard drive,and keep a folder of your favorite photos on your computer with a backup, so that if in a worst-case scenario all is lost, at least you’ll still have something.
If you go the external hard drive route, though, buy two. I duplicate the drive and keep a copy off-site (in another town, on the fourth floor of a building), in case of disaster. About the only way I’d lose everything completely is if all of New York went underwater.
Head on over to the article to read a few more tips for archiving your photos.
[via The New York Times]