Avoiding your biggest nightmare

by Amy Lyn, Wedding Editor

The thought of losing images forever terrifies me. If I lost all of the pictures of my own family, I’m not sure what I’d do. Worse, what if I lost someone else’s?

I’ve lost (via a hard drive breaking, a card error, and just plain computer crashes) image files 3 or 4 times in my business and if they hadn’t been backed up they would be gone forever.

I will share with you today the system I use. You, of course, don’t have to
use the same system, but just do something that is secure.:

1. Backing up starts with the memory. First, I take the card to my
computer and upload the files. I do this as quickly after taking the
pictures as possible. (Wedding night if possible.) Memory cards are
the most vulnerable to corruption or loss so getting the images backed
up as soon as you can is important. I upload them straight into an
Aperture Library for my workflow. I never delete the files off the card
until I have completed the backup.

2. The files I work on and edit are stored on a 2 TB portable external hard
drive (ex. pictured below) to save my computer space. This is my
“working drive.”

3. Next, I have two external hard drives sitting on my desk that a program
called Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) for Mac automatically backs up the portable external hard drive that I work from
(working drive). As soon as I plug in either of the backup drives to my
computer, CCC starts the back up without being told.

I don’t delete any images from the memory cards until I have my
working drive backed up twice. After this point, I now have three
copies of all the photographs. One set on my portable hard drive that I
use to edit them and two on the non portable hard drives that I hope to
never touch unless my portable one suffers an attack (such as
dropping it.)

Note: Hard drives are fantastic, time saving, super helpful, etc….etc.
BUT they fail. And they fail too frequently. You must be careful they
don’t get dropped and they need to be plugged into the computer
every few weeks to keep them in good condition. I love them and use
them all the time but I don’t trust them completely.

4. Online backup is my final step. There are a few online options out there
but I have decided to go with Crash Plan Pro. I chose them, first because they seem very secure and second
because they are affordable and easy to use. Crash Plan Pro can even
function in place of Carbon Copy Cloner (although I’ve never used it for this purpose.) It sets the software to back up XX folder to XX hard drive
at XX o’clock. The thinking is taken out. For $3-7 a month, you can backup everything on one computer and
any hard drives you plug into that computer. I have terabytes of
information being stored by them for only $7 monthly. It is set up to
backup at night, every night on it’s own. If there is any problem or the
backup doesn’t occur for any reason, I get an email telling me so. The
backup is slow (especially initially if you are sending tons of
information) but having an offsite backup system is a great way to
ensure your photos aren’t lost if there was ever a fire or theft.
Last of all, if you ever have have a memory card fail (images not there
when they should be, images won’t upload, etc.) DO NOT USE THE
DISK. Immediately use a program such as Stellar Data Recovery. The photos are
probably recoverable but not if you write over them somehow.

When all else fails, there are companies out there that specialize in data recovery, such as Drive Savers. They do a phenomenal job and
can work miracles but the cost can be thousands of dollars to recover
data. It’s always best to avoid the need in the first place.



1 Comment to “Avoiding your biggest nightmare”

  • Amy Wilberg says:

    Thank you. This is great information. Does anyone know if there is a good PC version for cloning hard drives?

    April 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm