Posts Tagged 'Backup'

Photo Storage and Archiving

It’s so easy just to leave photos on your PC, but equally easy to back up to CD. Thing is, which do you trust most – the PC hard drive, or the CD? Neither? Aaaargh.

As a professional photographer, and particularly a wedding photographer, I have a bit more responsibility in that respect. Funnily enough, very few brides ask about that. Actually, none. Nobody has ever asked how I will back up their wedding photos. Perhaps they consider it their responsibility once they’ve bought a CD with their photos on, but in this globally-warmed, flood-prone country, it’s nice to know that if you wake up one morning and need to sail through your lounge to get your breakfast, your digitally-captured wedding memories will be safe and sound even if your PC is under water.

That’s why I back up all weddings to two hard drives and at least one disc – on the day. Not the following morning or a day or two later, but before I go home. I’ve had some late nights, because it ain’t the work of the moment. But this isn’t a complaint, it’s what you should get when you pay a ‘professional’, a little bit extra.

But how many people realise that CDs aren’t forever? They oxidise slowly but surely and one day may not cough up their data easily, or at all. There are scare stories that some cheapo discs last little more than a year. How true that is I’m not sure, but I don’t really want to find out, so I use discs made by people I’ve heard of, like HP and TDK. It’s no guarantee, but it’s a start.

How you handle and store them also helps. My kids store their CDs on their bedroom floor – the cases went missing a few minutes after they were opened. This does not happen in my studio! This link gives good general advice on how to make them last.


Back up a bit…

Well a lot, actually. I’ve just bought a new hard drive to relieve my computer of last year’s weddings, so I can fit this year’s on there instead. Of course, all weddings are backed up to disc and another PC as well – and this is done on the night before I go home. This is especially important if I’ve a wedding the next day, as all memory cards have to be deleted ready to go again, and that takes some doing when they contain a couple’s entire wedding day!

When I’m shooting, spare clean cards go in one pocket, used ones in another, and they then stay on my person at all times until they are backed up back at the studio. They don’t even get left in the car in case that gets pinched. Everything can be replaced – except those images.

But why back up last years weddings when they’re done and dusted? Well, I’ll bet at least one wedding album or image CD got wrecked in the recent floods, so wouldn’t it be nice if their photographer had kept a copy of everything? It doesn’t cost much to store a copy of someone’s wedding photos for a few years just in case. And it keeps me in good habits!

Good Samaritan

If he’d arrived ten minutes later I’d have gone home and his day would have been ruined. But the expression on the man’s face as he tried to open my locked front door suggested he was in urgent need of something. Indeed he was. He was shooting a wedding at a nearby venue and his camera had packed up. He’d been to the local camera shop to see if he could rent or buy one, but found it closed. I was his last hope.

Lucky for him I’m a nice guy! Despite feeling quite vulnerable at the thought of a total stranger walking out of my studio with my spare camera in his hand, I took his old (dead) camera off him, plus a pocket camera and his business card and chequebook (he didn’t have a driving licence with him) and let him disappear into the sunset. As I was off out that evening,  he couldn’t bring it back until the next day.

But sure enough, the next afternoon, he turned up with the camera and a bottle of wine as a thank-you. I had done a good deed and my faith in human nature was reconfirmed.

I could have said no. I could have said, “I’ll shoot the wedding and you pay me.” But I don’t think either would have made me feel as good as I did for helping someone – even a competitor – out of a tight spot. I can imagine how I would have felt in his shoes. That’s why I always carry a spare camera!

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