March 31, 2024

World Backup Day 2024

World Backup Day 2024 is a great reminder why you should create a backup strategy to protect your photos. From shooting to storage.

Hello, and Happy Easter Sunday! I have my Easter Egg here, ready to gobble up once I’ve recorded this piece to camera. But just in case something happens to this Easter egg, I also have another one—just in case. A bit later, I’ll be flying off on holiday, and I’ll have a third Easter Egg to eat in the sky—you could say that’s going to be my cloud-based Easter Egg.

Why am I talking absolute nonsense? Well, today is also World Back-Up Day. It’s a reminder of the possibility of data loss from human error, system failure, or malicious intent.

I’m going to briefly explain how I try to protect my precious photos during the process of taking and editing them.

OK, so let’s start with the camera. If you’re taking pictures for a living, you’ll likely have two memory card slots in your camera. They aren’t there just to allow you to store twice as many photos in your camera – they are the first line of defence for your backup strategy. Have your camera write the same thing onto both cards; if one goes wrong, you will still have your pictures on the other card.

OK, so now you have to get your photos onto your computer. I use Photo Mechanic, and there is an option there to upload your photos to two locations. If you use another tool, such as Adobe Lightroom, then the same things are also available there, too. Put one version on your hard drive, and the second one can be copied to an external hard drive.

So now, we have four versions of the same picture in four different locations, but we still not going to delete anything yet. What happens if there’s a fire in your home? The two memory cards, computer, and external drive have all gone up in smoke. Well, that’s all your photos lost!

The final phase of my backup strategy is to back up the photos on the external hard drive to a cloud-based service.  I use Backblaze for a couple of reasons. One, it’s cheap – $99 for a year’s unlimited backup. Two, it’s fast – I have gigabit internet, and a day’s shooting is backed up in just a few minutes. Three, it’s reliable. Thankfully, I’ve never had to use Backblaze in anger to restore files, but I know people who have, and they can attest to its reliability.

That’s the photo’s backed-up, but I think we might be missing something else. All my photos are stored inside a Lightroom catalogue. What happens if something goes wrong there? That’s why you should also take regular backups of the Lightroom catalogues. You can set up the frequency of Lightroom catalogue back-ups in the Lightroom Catalog Settings menu. Once a week is usually enough for me – but whatever you do, don’t ignore the pop-ups reminding you to take the backup.

I save my catalog back-ups in a Dropbox folder. That way, the catalogue back-up is backed up to the Dropbox servers, and Backblaze is also taking a copy as well!

Once my system was set up, I only felt like I was backing up when I pressed the OK button to tell Lightroom to take the weekly backup.

So, when is it safe to delete things? I will format my memory cards once I have confirmed they have been backed up to Backblaze. I’ll move my photos off my laptop’s hard drive a full three months after they have been taken and I do this as a monthly task. I know they are already backed up to my external drive and Backblaze. Finally, I’ll delete a Lightroom Catalog backup when it becomes four generations old, i.e., when there are three younger backups than the one I am deleting.

This might seem like overkill, but it won’t if something goes wrong. I have been able to pull back photos I’ve taken for clients over ten years ago, and I’ve never lost a shot. It’s really not worth the stress of not backing up! Now, where did I put that Easter Egg? Ahh, well, I’ll just eat the backup one instead!

If you are interested in using Backblaze, I have added a referral code below. I’d love it if you could like and share this video. Either click in this corner or use think below the video.

My name is Rich Dyson from Coffee Break Photography. Have a Great Easter!



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