Photographers get the cold sweats just thinking about it: losing thousands of images in a single moment. When the hard drive you use to store digital files fails, will you be prepared? Because hard drive failure is not a possibility, it's a likelihood. That’s why it’s essential to back up your digital files.
Consider each of these four options, not independently of one another, but as combined methods to redundantly back up and protect your creative life’s work.
1. Back up to a disc. After you import images, burn a DVD of the raw files. I recommend burning a second disc of the retouched and ordered files.
2. Back up to a second hard drive on import. Some software programs, including Adobe Lightroom, can make an automatic backup copy of images when you import them to your computer.
3. Automatically back up files to an external drive. Most new external hard drives come with backup software. When installed, these programs run in the background, monitoring changes to your files and syncing updates accordingly.
4. Back up to the cloud. Use an online backup service to keep your data secure. Cloud backup not only gives you redundancy, but it also gives you the security of storing data in a different location. This is significant because all the options noted here protect you only from hardware failure and similar issues. If there's a fire in your home, or your studio is robbed, you'll be saved by off-site backup.
Betsy Finn is a photographer in Michigan.