There are plenty of blogs, articles, videos and more that detail the importance and ways to back up your computer files so I don't have much new to add to that, but what I do have is my personal prefence and ways we back up our computer files, what back ups we have when it comes to shooting and how we are prepared for just about anything!
In this day and age, we've probably all dealt with a computer, harddrive or USB crash. I've had an external harddrive go out because it was so old (and the size of a brick). I've worked places where viruses attack like the plague and I've dropped CDs. Luckily, none of my examples were serious. My external harddrive crashed while all my files were on my computer. Viruses attacked, but we had back ups and I've dropped CDs that still worked.
So what have we've learned from our experiences? We've learned that you can't ever have too many back ups!
(DISCLAIMER: The following is just our preference. We know there are easier, more expensive and better ways - but this is what works for us. We are no IT geniuses, so take what we have written with a grain of salt.)
#1 - Local Back Ups - External Harddrives
For our photography business (and personal files), we have several harddrives where we back up all of our photo files the minute we get home from sessions and then again after we edit all of our files. Nowadays, external harddrives are pretty inexpensive. We have 2TB, 1TB and 500GB harddrives and they were all under $100 each. We work off one, use the others as back ups so even if one harddrive crashes, we are still good to go! In the words of something I read online once (real specific, I know), storage space is cheap, extraction is not so back up your files!
#2 - Local Back Ups - CDs
If you've ever met me, you may recall that I can be a bit OCD. That's why all of my sessions (final pictures) not only get copied to a couple of harddrives, I also make a CD of the final pictures and keep them in our safe. You just NEVER KNOW, y'all.
#3 - Off Site/Cloud Back Ups
For the longest time, I thought I was fine having lots of harddrive back ups and keeping them in a fire safe. I figured even if our house burned down (God-forbid), we'd still have our files. I recently read on a Facebook group that you never know if the safes you have are THAT fireproof, even if they claim to be. Plus, what if a tornado came through RVA and took our house AND SAFE with it? Yea, we'd be screwed.
I did my research for a solid 3 months and settled on BACKBLAZE for our online cloud backup. It's only $5 a month and there is NO LIMIT to how much you back up! Plus, you can back up external harddrives so not only do I have an online back up of my computer AND external harddrive, an external harddrive back up of my external harddrive, I also have an online back up of my back up external harddrive! YOU CAN'T BEAT THAT! You get like a 15 day trial so test it out here. It's SUPER user friendly, too. I am dumb when it comes to computers and this was no problem.
- $5 a month for unlimited storage
- User Friendly
- Back Up external harddrives
- If you don't connect something for 30 days, it'll get deleted off your online back up
- Takes a while for your initial back up
#4 - Additional Online Back Ups
If you haven't yet, check out our CLIENT PROOFING WEBSITE. We use a LEGIT company called PIXIESET. When you see your pictures on this website, they are actually on there for 6 months (or longer if we chose) so if all else fails, we can download all recent images from there!
WHAT TO BACK UP
I feel like this is pretty self explanatory, but any important computer files, music and PICTURES. Yes, when we send you your USB of pictures, we have back up on back ups, but 20 years from now, who knows what will happen. We may have packed up and moved to Fiji and left your files in the USA. (Ok, totally not going to happen, but a girl can dream!)
We get asked a lot: "What happens if our equipment craps the bed?" Ok, it's normally worded much more politely, but live is more fun with colorful words.
Remember when I said I am OCD about 6 paragraphs above? Yea, you can bet that means I am OCD with our equipment. In addition to our camera bodies that we shoot with, we each have a back up camera body. We also have so many lens that we are covered in any situation. We also rent lens as back ups as well. And BATTERIES. My word do we have batteries. I learned my lesson on that one about 4 years ago when I had to send Brad to the gas station mid-reception to snag some more for us. We bleed batteries now!
We have also been asked what is our back up plan should something happen to us! I LOVE that question because I always follow it up with my torn ACL story. Read more about that in our FAQs.
What are your back up tips?! Better yet, what is your horror story with NOT backing something up? What? I love a good story. :)