Home Server v2
Creative Commons License photo credit: montini

Backing-up your photos is definitely important, but more important is getting in the habit of doing so. As time goes on and our skills increase, we tend to take more photos. Cameras keep getting bigger and pumping out more pixels too. I recently wrote about my exponential photo collection, and this illustrates what I’m talking about. If you don’t have good habits with your backups right now, you’ll be in a world of hurt one or two years down the road.


Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting articles in a series about photo backups. We’ll cover all the major methods of doing backups, including RAID towers, external hard drives, DVDs, online solutions, and more (but not necessarily in that order). At the end of the series, I’ll pull everything together in a eBook like we did with the Guide to Adobe Bridge.

To start things off, here are some articles that I’ve come across that cover various aspects of photo backups. Leave a link in the comments if you have some others in your own bookmarks.

25 responses

Do you want to comment?

Comments RSS and TrackBack Identifier URI ?

Definitely a worthwhile subject to write about, as it happens far too often that people lose all their photos (and other data) when they have a HDD failure, or get hit with a nasty worm/virus.
There are many easy ways to setup backups (and I’m sure you’ll cover most of them), so anyone who values their data and photos should definitely be looking at setting up some sort of a backup strategy.

September 22, 2008 9:30 am

I should get round to this. I need another drive though I think.

I need to start doing off site back ups too.

September 22, 2008 10:29 am

Important topic – locking forward for some hints… On the photo I see the famous “slug” – a good start to build a backup system!

September 22, 2008 1:44 pm

It’s important to remember to backup your files offsite, too. A fire can destroy your original and local backup, but won’t touch your files if you back them up online. Compare some different services here.

September 22, 2008 1:57 pm

Looking forward to this series Brian!

September 23, 2008 5:58 pm

To any Mac-owning photographers out there who are using OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and HAVEN’T bought an external drive and turned on Time Machine – do it! Time Machine really is simple and painless, and it works beautifully.

Time Machine takes an incremental backup every hour, but you can always tell it to “Back up now”, especially right after you’ve uploaded a lot of photos. I use Time Machine, it has already saved my butt several times, and I sleep better at night.

September 24, 2008 9:50 am

well the best backup is the automated backup, setup forget it and remember it when disaster strikes.

October 13, 2008 2:06 pm

I’m just using an external drive right now, but I’m paranoid about theft and fire. I’d be interested to learn how to get around those two issues.

October 16, 2008 8:59 pm

Hello Brian,

Very useful articles about backup. (And blog in general is very good.) I have a question. Do you encrypt your data for backups? If a thief get a backup storage he will get all data. Personally I don’t encrypt, but it bothers me.

Thank you,

October 23, 2008 6:55 am

My choice goes to automated online backup services such as KoffeePhoto. Its photo dedicated desktop software takes care of the upload of the pictures and, if needed, the restoration of the files. Nothing to care about.

November 22, 2008 6:28 pm

thanks for the collection of articles. and the back up you have in the pic looks pretty cool. For me, the problem with getting a lot of storage is I start dumping and not cleaning up files. I also suck at organizing them so I end up with tons of images I don’t remember where I put. Back ups are so key, but I really need to get my act together..oh well. new years resolutions! Shaw

January 6, 2009 12:12 am

I am relying on offsite data backup as my plan B. I am newly in charge of my company’s website, and I am using a monthly subscription backup service. All of our files are backed up automatically every day. Should there be a fire we will not lose our website.


January 9, 2009 3:02 am

I think we need to do it all. External hard drive, writeable disk, zip files, offline storage. You can never have too many backups in place. files are easy to recreate, but no so with photos. That moment in time will never come back. the lighting will be different if you try to do it again. Better safe now than sorry later.

January 12, 2009 8:35 pm

I like using dvds as a means of backing up all of my photos. I only have about 10 gigs of photographs on my PC so it is really easy, if I had more I would invest in another external hard drive.

January 25, 2009 6:26 pm

Can’t wait for the series to kick off Brian! Thanks again for everything you do!

January 27, 2009 8:57 pm

Thanks brian for the great post. I have recently encountered a hardware/software crash that caused me to lose all photos and data stored on my hard drive. Going through that experience makes you realize that data security is probably the most important thing in some fields of work. You provided a lot of information detailing the different kinds and types of data security and I intend to use this knowledge to protect myself in the future.

March 5, 2009 2:37 pm

This is a very important topic to write about, especially when dealing in the field of photography, where data is your livelihood. I agree with an above commenter, online data storage is the way to go. Even if your data is safe from hardware and software crashes, I have seen hard drives wipe out hundred of gigs of data. And then there are fires, earthquakes, and floods that can cause your hard drive to stop functioning. In those cases, online data store remains safe and unsusceptible to failure.

March 30, 2009 1:43 pm

Comment now!