The Visual Communications Dean at my college had a favorite saying about backing up files; “There are two kinds of people; those that have had a a hard drive crash, and those that will.”
I was the lucky recipient of these words of wisdom after I (shocker) had a hard drive crash in the middle of a heavily weighted, deadline based class.
I spent the next several days frantically trying DIY recovery methods; put the hard drive in the freezer, tilt it back against a wall, etc. When that failed, I had to send the drive all the way across the country and spend a ridiculous amount of money just to get back a new drive full of, mostly, jargon. Overall, it took me a few months to sort through everything and pull the files I needed out.
Needless to say, the lesson stuck.
For those that haven’t had a hard drive failure and are blissfully unfamiliar with the turmoil that can erupt from having everything resting on one drive, I thought I would share some information on backing up files.
The more you save, the more you spend
Yes, data storage has gotten exponentially cheaper over the past few years, but do you really need all 2,000 raw files from that wedding that you shot 7 years ago? Chances are no. Still, there’s something to be said for saving anything that you could possibly need in the future. Everyone has their own way of weeding around this, but I personally save raw files of any selects or photos I really like, and JPEG’s of everything else.
Keep it organized
It’s of absolutely no use to have saved that great photo from X years ago if you can’t find it. Keywords, dated folders, and descriptive tags will make your life so much easier.
Have multiple backups, in multiple locations
There are so many options for backing up files now that there’s no excuse to not. The thing that’s important is to have your backups in different places. This doesn’t mean just having two separate drives with the same information sitting in your desk; because a house fire or flood could easily destroy all your files. Some people mail a backup to out of state friends or family, but a simpler option now is cloud storage. There are lots of affordable options out there, just make sure to choose a reputable site.
As a reward for reading about the moderately dry, but very important aspects of regular backups – here’s a silly snap I got last November.