7 08 2010

Unless you’re a photographer, computer geek, or having nothing else to do tonight, you have been forewarned that this is a boring post. Continue at your own risk.

As I would advise any photographer out there to do (amateur or professional), I am backing up my photos once again. I currently have three 500gb drives with all my digital images duplicated on them. They are now so full that I can’t add any new collections to them, so I’m transferring them to another drive (1TB), and copying everything from that drive onto a second 1TB drive. My design work is duplicated on four separate 500gb drives. Overkill? Hardly. The price of external hard drives is low enough to justify the excessive duplication. Simply having two backups isn’t enough for my peace of mind.

A few years ago, I thought I had two safe backups for my photo files. Have you ever heard the sickening sound of an external hard drive’s death spin? So, Backup #1 went bad, but I wasn’t worried! After all, I had a backup of the backup! Right? So I plugged in the backup one and clicked open a folder of photos. I was prompted with a message that essentially (in so many words) told me that of course you can see those photos—just show us the master drive! It turns out that despite transferring all those images to a backup drive, it was not an actual copy! I couldn’t access those images without linking to the original drive…which was dead. Yes, I had other partial backups (drives and CDs), but I had no system in place to determine if everything was up to date on all of these storage mediums. I wouldn’t know if something was missing until years down the road when I wanted to find something and couldn’t. I had no way of knowing that the second drive was tied to the first one, like a server of sorts.

So, after shedding a few tears (I’m not ashamed to admit) and wrestling with the decision to trust that I did indeed have everything backed up in other places, I decided to send the original drive off for data recovery in San Francisco. It cost me almost $2,000, but they recovered everything. There I was, thinking I had insurance with two separate backups. For $2,000, I could have bought 20 drives (or a new camera). After that incident, I made sure I had three or four bonafide backups for both my photos and my design files. Better safe than sorry…in this case, I hope history never repeats itself!

I create folders for each category of photograph—such as garden shots, client photos, people, pets, travel, events, and a miscellaneous folder for the stragglers that don’t fit into those categories. I also keep separate folders of all the royalty-free stock photos and vector art that I purchase for various projects. On my duplicate client file drives, I keep folders for each client. I have backups on three separate 500 gb drives, plus all of my design projects are burned individually on CDs when finished.

Michael and I are contemplating setting up a Drobo drive for all of our respective files so we’ll have a networked storage option. That’s in the future—for now, I’m happy my photo and design work are in at least four separate places. It’s a good idea to take one backup drive offsite (in a bank deposit box or even at a friend’s house) so you’ll always have a backup away from your house or office—just in case something should happen!

I just now began the transfer of my “GARDEN SHOTS ARCHIVE” to the new 1TB drive and that folder contains 44,587 images. Yikes! Now, not all of those are winners, mind you. Some are duplicate images that I never worked on. Some are decent record shots that won’t ever get posted, sold, printed, or utilized, but I haven’t culled them out yet based on that fact. Whenever I pop in a new CF card to transfer images, I do a quick culling of the less desirable images, then start working on the images that stand out the most. The rest remain in the folder for a second round of deletions when I have the time to go through them.

The most amazing thing is—-that number only covers images in the garden category. That’s a whole lotta flower pixels in one place!

Oh, and it will take about five hours to transfer just that folder. Yawn…see ya in the morning, folks!



2 responses

7 08 2010
Judy Martin

Well! From now on when the eyebrows of my friends are raised in amazement as I tell them I have almost 17,000 photos on my computer, I will tell that MY friend has 44,000 in just one FOLDER. Now my eyebrows are amazed.

7 08 2010

Ha! That is still quite a number of images for someone who I assume is not making a living shooting! I think that’s great! Now, my question is— surely you have those backed up in at least two other places, right? If not, your hard drive goes out—your photos are history! Please reassure me that you have them backed up in two places OTHER than your computer!

Speaking of photos, we are using several of yours in the magazine! Thanks so much for sharing them with us!

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