Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Photography part 3 - Back That Up

A year ago I wrote a few posts about dealing with pictures - organizing them, making photo books.  These are very good habits to have.  Lately I've had a few conversations with people about organizing (or the lack of organizing) and needing to find pictures and having them in different places or just on different memory cards that they can't locate.  At which point I practically shout "YOU DON'T BACK UP YOUR PICTURES!?!?!" Practically.  I then have to admit that we back-up our pictures in multiple places.  Safeguarding against fire, theft, or computers crashing.  I like to think our pictures are safe from anything but a meteor hitting the Earth at which point we probably won't exist either so it doesn't matter.

So, not only am I semi-obsessive about getting pictures off our devices (cameras and phones) and doing something with them (framing some around the house and photobooks), but I also back-up our pictures on a very regular basis.  Multiple times a month.  Even if the rest of my computer crashes (which it has in the last year), I know my pictures are pretty safe.  They are the one thing I don't want to lose, no matter what (I mean, obviously Matt, Luke, our house, etc. too.  But digital wise, they are the one thing I can't recreate.)

Here's how we do it.

1) Separate Hard Drive in Our Safe
Once a month, around the 15th, I update my picture back-up drive that we store in our fire-proof safe.  I have two portable hard drives - one for childhood (any scanned pictures) - 2012 and the other 2013 - present.  I have the files organized on these hard drives in the same way as my computer so I just need to add the new month and copy over the previous month (to get anything that happened 16th-end of that month).  It takes a few minutes while I work on other computer things and then the hard drive go back in the safe.  I have this set-up as a recurring task on my phone so I remember to do it.  This is my main back-up.

2) The Cloud
I don't really understand the cloud and it's not my most preferred method but it is super handy to use.  I use Dropbox but there are many different ones, I know we also get some free photo storage with our Amazon Prime membership and Apple has something, among others.  Since I also use Dropbox for work, they pay my $99/year for 1TB of storage.  That's a lot of storage.  Even with my work files it's plenty enough for my 200gb of pictures and home videos.  I don't update this on a regular schedule but it happens at least twice a month - when I'm doing my usual picture and computer back-ups, if not more often.  I can just copy the files to the Dropbox folder on my computer and it uploads them.  BONUS with this...I then have easy access to every single picture and video, all 45,000 of them, on my phone which comes in handy waaay more often than I ever thought.  I only wish I could sort them by tag through Dropbox on my phone. 

3) Another Hard Drive
I wasn't kidding when I said I do a lot of picture backing up.  On top of my once a month picture back-up, I also do a once a month computer back-up, around the 1st of the month.  This includes my picture files as well as My Documents, internet short-cuts, and everything else I have saved on my computer (a lot of Excel spreadsheets).  This one doesn't go in the safe but it is locked up.

4) Don't Delete Anything Until It's Backed Up
I don't delete a single picture worth keeping off any device until it's been backed up in at least one place besides my computer.  I only format our camera memory cards each January and that's after everything's been backed up multiple times.  Matt never deletes anything from his phone (and that includes months old weather alert texts and weeks old pictures of his work schedule).  I delete good pictures (non-duds) once a month from my phone.  Basically, even if my computer crashed (our main picture database), and our back-ups failed, we could still pull everything from the original source, for at least awhile.  I'd have to go through the whole sorting process again but I would have them.

5) Saving Favorite Favorites
On top of all the above, we also have a small hard drive in my parents' safe with our absolute favorite pictures (which is still a few thousand) as well as scans of all our important documents and copies of our adoption paperwork.  We don't update this one enough but it's something (we should really have two so we can rotate them on a regular basis...I should ask Matt about that).  I also have a folder in my Dropbox called "desktops" that provides the rotating desktops for my computer, our DVR computer, and our basement workout computer.  That folder is also on my work computer.  Basically, those 100+ of our favorites are saved in another 4 places on top of all the ones listed above.

So, to summarize, we use multiple back-ups, in multiple places, updated at regular intervals.  Every picture more than two weeks old is saved in at least 3 places, if not more.  I feel pretty confident that our pictures are safe.  But, I am always willing to add another step!  Do you back-up your pictures?  Please say yes.  If you do it differently, tell me how so I can make sure I have pictures in 10 places instead of my current 4 (that just doesn't sound like enough!).  This is the kind of thing you don't ever regret doing! (Also, I don't regret doing my super tagging system, I am still pretty proud of that.  Just sayin')

No comments: