You’ve no doubt heard the idiom that warns against putting “all of your eggs into one basket.” However cliche the phrase may be, these words of wisdom ring especially true when it comes to backing up your files.
A failed memory card or external hard drive can have a significant negative impact on a photographer’s business. Clients lose the captured moments that can never be recreated and photographers suffer a loss in reputation and revenue.
Follow this five-step workflow to securely back up your files and keep your photography business moving forward.
1. Use Cameras With Dual Card Slots
If you get hired to photograph an event, whether it be for corporate, wedding, or even newborn clients, you should use a professional camera that offers dual memory card slots. The last thing you want to tell your client after shooting an event is that you lost some or all of the images due to a corrupt memory card. Recording onto two cards simultaneously provides an instant backup.
Redundancy at this level will save you from having to have that difficult conversation with the client whose memories have just been lost.
2. Upload All Important Files To Cloud Storage
Having an organized workflow is critical when backing up files. The moment you get back from a shoot, back up your files to the cloud!
This minimizes the risk of losing files in the event of a natural disaster, hardware failure, or worse, having your hardware stolen. If a particular device is stolen, files can be wiped from that device but kept safe in cloud storage.
Lastly, cloud storage files can be backed up for periods of 30 to 120 days from the time they’re deleted, which is especially useful in case of accidental deletions.
3. Separate Primary And Backup Memory Cards After Any Shoot
After each shoot, separate your memory cards. Keeping all of your cards together in one place may seem more practical, but it opens up a greater potential for loss should anything happen to the cards.
Assuming that you and the other shooters are using cameras with dual card slots, each shooter should have a minimum of two cards. Create sets that include one card from each shooter and place them into separate bags to be kept in different locations. For example, you take one set home and keep the other set in your studio; or you can take one set to your home and the other set to your second shooter’s home. Include a piece of paper that contains the following information with each bag of cards:
- Client’s name
- Shooters’ names (if you have multiple shooters)
- Date of the event
- Number of cards each shooter submitted
Place this paper in the bag with the memory cards. Also, make sure the number of cards on the piece of paper and in the bag match.
4. Check File Count Before Formatting Memory Cards
We recommend creating a new catalog for each event you photograph, whether it be a wedding, corporate event, or bar mitzvah.
When uploading your images into photo editing software, select all photos from each card and write down the total image count. You should also verify that the date on all images on the card matches the date of the event.
After you’ve uploaded all of your cards, add up the number of images from each individual card and ensure that the total matches the number of files in the folder(s) you’re using to store the images.
For Lightroom users, make sure the number of images within your image folder matches that displayed on the bottom left corner when importing images.
Once the import is finished, scroll through all images to ensure that there are no corrupt images. If there are corrupt images, go to your backup card and re-import the corrupt images.
5. Deliver Files To The Client Before Deleting Archives
If possible, deliver your images to your client using your preferred online proofing method before deleting your image archive. Even then, when it comes time to decide between clearing out your storage or archiving your images in perpetuity, consider the following. The cost of storing your images is minimal in comparison to having a client return at a later date to ask for photos and having nothing to offer them but an apology.
At the very least, you should consider archiving the RAW “keeper” images that you delivered. Using the storage cloud is an affordable way to do this and it will free up space on your main workstation.
There are plenty of reasons to start using cloud storage to simply and safely backup your files, and very few reasons to put it off. From being able to access a variety of files offsite to keeping your files safe from hardware failure and theft, you have less to lose when using the cloud storage is part of your regular workflow.
What are some other benefits you’ve found when using cloud storage for your photography business?
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.