Benefits / Resources / Articles
June 16, 2023

How to Design a Backup Solution for Your Photography Business

If you’ve ever had a drive fail mid-project or lost files that you wanted to add to your portfolio, you know the importance of good data backup. 


Solid backup solutions can prevent you from losing countless hours of work—not to mention time and money. More importantly, they’ll help keep your reputation untarnished. Every photographer needs to implement a comprehensive backup solution tailored to their needs, but where do you start?


In this article, we’ll discuss best practices for data backup and recovery, along with some important photography resources that every professional needs in their toolkit.

Elements of a Great Data Backup Solution

A data backup solution must account for both human and technological error. The potential for human error poses the most significant risk for any file-storage system, but technological failures will happen too.


A comprehensive backup solution has three elements:

●    A working backup of the files you’re using for current projects
●    A local backup of all files, including archived files
●    A separate backup stored off-site

Through these three layers of backups, you’ll build in redundancy within your file management system. This is one case where redundancy is a positive, not a negative!

Designing a Great Data Backup Solution

Let’s review best practices for both on-site and off-site data backup.

On-Site Data Backup

A secondary hard drive (found within your computer) or a RAID system are your best bets for on-site data backup. These days, you can use either an internal or external RAID device. Importantly, don’t treat a RAID system as a collection of multiple copies of data in case the system should fail. Even though it does provide an extra degree of protection, it should still be treated as one backup.

Off-Site Backup Solutions

Off-site solutions provide an additional layer of protection in case of events like natural disaster or theft. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use more than one off-site drive to do this securely. While one drive remains in the secure off-site location, you can update another and then swap them out.
Cloud-based solutions provide another good option. Here, you don’t need to worry about storing a particular device. Rather, your data is electronically transferred onto a secure server. Using this software, you can schedule routine backups of your files.

Manual vs. Automatic Solutions

For both on-site and off-site solutions, consider whether you want to back up data manually or automatically. For some photographers, handling backups manually provides a sense of security, confirming where the data is being stored. But automatic solutions often prevent human error from occurring after a busy day in the field or studio. 

Furthermore, it’s all too easy to forget to upload changes into different drives. Automatic backup solutions can detect changes to files and upload them, avoiding cumbersome processes. This allows you to focus on the project at hand rather than tedious logistics. Think about whether automatic or manual backups will give you greater peace of mind, given these considerations.

How to Cope with Data Loss

If you ever have to deal with serious data loss, PPA’s Indemnification Trust provides immeasurable benefits. Providing negligence protection, assistance in handling tricky situations, and offsetting certain costs, it can help you escape an awkward situation unscathed.The Indemification Trust will help PPA active members in the U.S. and Canada when a client claims they were negligent in providing their services. This includes data losses, missed shots, or simply in cases when the client decides to be unhappy. The assistance it provides ranges from advice on handling matters, to direct intervention and offsetting certain costs or losses.


Of course, it’s far better to avoid data loss in the first place, if at all possible. To this end, you can secure the help of data recovery services through PPA’s partnership with Ontrack. Our members gain state-of-the-art data recovery services for all types of media, anywhere in the world—and only pay if they get their data back.
Data recovery services and indemnification options provide peace of mind in case the unthinkable happens to your data. But by thinking critically about your data management needs, you can implement a robust data backup system that avoids this scenario. 


Check out PPA’s Indemnification Trust to learn more about the protections that PPA photography insurance will offer you as a PPA member. Or, check out our Member Discount Program along with the numerous free photography resources PPA membership offers, from pricing templates to consumer market research.