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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.

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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

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

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

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

Comment now!