Before I tell you what I mean when I talk about backing up your files I want to share my own personal experience with losing my own digital image files. I have been shooting digital for about 20 years and in that time I have had CD’s and other file storage devices become corrupt and stop working. Just a few weeks ago my external hard drive stopped working. In fact I was looking for a session for a past client because they had themselves lost their copy of the photos. I was going through all my hard drives trying to find their session and when I plugged in one of my drives it just wouldn’t pop up on my computer.
Naturally I would be freaking out a bit about all the files on my hard drive and just the stress of wondering if they were lost forever. Having one of my drives fail like that is a good reminder for me to go back through all of my drives and make sure they are working and also is a good opportunity for me to remind you to go through your drives or your CD’s and make sure they still work.
So what do I mean when I say back up your files?
When I send photos to clients most people will naturally download them to their device and consider the job done but simply downloading is not good enough. For one thing, I have heard more than one story of a client downloading to a phone and having their file degraded or print really small from that file. The other problem is that phones don’t last very long and in a few years that phone will be dead and your photos could be lost.
For that reason I always recommend that you download your files to a computer. But don’t stop there. Once your files are downloaded they are not really backed up until you have made at least 2 copies of them. So that could mean you save your files to a hard drive and a USB. Or as CD and the cloud.
Now back to my story of the broken hard drive from last week. Even though it did really stress me out that a drive could just fail spontaneously thankfully I did have a copy with all the files. I went straight out and bought a new hard drive and made a new copy. And about the client who lost their images, this has happened a number of times over the years. Clients move house and lose CD’s, or their computers break taking their pictures with them. And although I can’t guarantee my drives will last forever I do keep 2 copies of all your images just in case.