Backup your digital photos part 1

If you’ve been into digital photography for even only a short while, it’s staggering how many photos you’ll already have stored on your computer. And why not? One of the great benefits of digital is banishing the cost of film and processing, with most of us coming back from trips or shoots with many more pictures than ever before. Besides, hard disks have never been bigger or cheaper, so running out of space will rarely be an issue.

 
Folders of digital photos
 

But as your folders of photos steadily grow, it’s crucial to remind yourself hard disks don’t last forever. Each has a finite lifespan and will fail at some point, taking your data with it. This may not happen for years, but it will happen. I know: one of my own hard disks died several years ago, taking the only copies of a number of photos permanently with it. I was lucky, as they were only old test shots, but they could as easily have been photos of a marriage or a trip of a lifetime.

This is the big problem with digital photography. We go out, stuff our cards with images, then wipe them clean once they’ve been copied onto the ‘safety’ of our hard disks at home. In many cases this hard disk could contain the only copy we have of certain images – and if we’re being honest, this is probably the case for the vast majority of our collections. Most of us are putting a great deal of faith into a single electro-mechanical device, which will fail at some point in the future.

Ironically this was one of the benefits of shooting on film. While both it and the prints would eventually fade, you did at least normally have two copies of your photos; or three if you also scanned them. Of course film could equally be faulty or accidentally wiped by over-zealous x-ray machines, but then memory cards can also become corrupted. There’ll always be defective media, but the important thing is not living in denial about your storage back home. As I’ve said, the rise of digital photography has meant many of our most precious memories are stored only in one place.

Protecting yourself against disk failure, or of course accidentally deleted files, is fortunately very simple: you just make a backup. The big problem with digital images though is the amount of data you’re looking at. Keen photographers could easily accumulate Gigabytes of images, or tens of Gigabytes if they regularly shoot with the highest resolution cameras or in RAW formats. And whatever backup solution you choose, it should be as quick and easy as possible, or the fact is, most of us won’t bother doing it more than the first few times.

Backup your digital photos continued...

If you found this article useful, please support us by shopping below!

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2007-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ Recommended cameras / DSLR Tutorials / Camera and lens reviews