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What's your file backup strategy?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by sprinke, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I'm curious to hear how other members store/backup their image files.

    Ground rule for this thread:
    Please, I don't care WHAT format you store. I only want to talk about HOW you're storing/backing up. No JPEG vs RAW discussion.

    My current strategy:
    1) Download photos from camera to computer.
    2) Immediately make backup copy of photos to external hard drive.
    3) Edit photos on computer using Lightroom; trash the crappy shots. After I close Lightroom, my Lightroom catalog files are backed up to Dropbox.
    4) Regular nightly backup of computer does backup to two different external hard drives. This includes only the "keepers."
    5) Another nightly backup saves all pics from the (first) external hard drive plus my edits to CrashPlan Central (remote backup).
    6) Next day at work (faster internet connection), upload all JPEGS directly from camera to Flickr Pro account (saved as private).
    7) Any edited photos that I want to share with family, friends, or the world also get uploaded, in their final format, to Flickr.
    8) Sometimes I get art prints made at Mpix.

    Yeah, so I've got a bunch of copies stored all over the place. I'm kind of paranoid that way. At the moment, I've got about 500GB stored at CrashPlan Central (that includes my other files though, not just pics), and more than 30,000 pictures/videos stored at Flickr.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I use the same, fairly minimal, backup for photos as I do with other important files. Whenever I think about it I run a local backup with Mac OS X Time Machine on an external drive. Less frequently, I do a backup to another drive at a second location.

    (Edit to say that my photos are in Aperture so backing them up just means backing up the Aperture library. I don't save the photos separately.)
  3. bbq797

    bbq797 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2011
    how do you like CrashPlan? I've been thinking about backing up online. Right now I just back up to an external hard drive. But I've already had one that I almost couldn't recover files from--not sure what happened, but the drive had corrupt files etc. and I had a tough time recovering them. So, I was thinking about backing up online since I too, am a bit neurotic about my pictures (of my kids) and don't want to go through that again!

    I'd be curious to hear other people's backup strategies too, especially any experience w/backing up remotely.
  4. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I really like CrashPlan; the deduplication feature rocks because I've got a lot of multiple copies of files. At the time I signed up, they were the cheapest unlimited storage I could find that played well with Macs. Technically they are not "the cloud" because they run their own data centers, but that's OK with me. I have been able to restore single files easily. My backup speeds are limited only by my internet connection and there is a lot of flexibility in scheduling and throttling use of CPU and network.
  5. OPSSam

    OPSSam Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 18, 2010
    I'm not a pro shooter, so my backup workflow is pretty lax. First I do an import into Aperture (and hopefully don't slide my SD card into the CD slot like i did this weekend, that was scary).

    Then, I backup to an external drive every week, just photos (Aperture Libraries) and itunes stuff, and a few documents folders. Once I have a group of photos finished, I'll upload the ones I want to archive to a Dropbox type service as Jpegs. I rarely save RAW files unless they are really really important pictures. Not trying to start a discussion about that, I mostly shoot raw to reserve the right to correct white balance.

    Honestly, if some unforseen event killed my computer and external hard drive, I might lose that week of photos. But, I have tried to make it a habit to not delete pictures off my cards until I have done the weekly backup, which I did used to do until I joined this board.

    Were I a pro, getting paid for my work, I would definitely be backing up like the OP. A colleague of mine does shoot weddings professionally, and paid more than his fee for the wedding he shot in order to recover a busted hard drive. It had the only copies of the original RAW files. Needless to say, he now has a mirrored RAID onsite backup system as well as a remote storage service too. An expensive lesson to learn.
  6. Oopsydaisy74

    Oopsydaisy74 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 6, 2010
    Bronx, NY
    I think I need this as my backup plan is pretty pathetic right now. I of all people should know better, being a mac tech:blush:
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    All the photos which matter to me are:
    • On an internal hard drive
    • Backed up on a local external hard drive
    • Backed up online (Flickr)
    • Printed and kept in a dry location (learned the hard way after a basement flood damaged lots of albums)
  8. jeb

    jeb Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 27, 2010
    Import pics to lightroom... export the keepers after working them on a unraid server in the house( I use this unraid server for everything, photos, movies, music, ect...) and then I upload the most important ones to picasa web. I have the 5$ for 20gb for a year plan at the moment, I'll check for alternative when I'll run out of space).

  9. Jimboh

    Jimboh Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 17, 2010
    Shoot only RAW
    Import into Lightroom as DNG. Sharpening 40.
    Rank them with star ratings, ensuring I have a three or more star rating for the photos I like.
    3-star - may not be great photo, but helps tell the story (e.g. photo of hotel)
    4-star - I like it, other people like it.
    5-star - worthy of enlargement. Show off photos.
    Photos that serve as the basis for other operations, such as virtual cloning or source material for photoshopping, get two stars.
    Anything else, no stars.

    Photos and Lightroom catalog stored on RAID5 inside the PC.
    Back up photos to home NAS (network attached storage, again RAID5) using SyncToy.
    Backup PC RAID5 (LR catalog and photos) again to MOZY.

    I'll likely quit MOZY as cost is tripling on next term.
    After 90 days or so, I usually review the no-star photos and generally delete them. Sometimes I find I see them differently over time. That's why I don't do immediate purge, except for stuff obviously bad. Changes get prelicated to other storage on next routine Synctoy/MOZY backup.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I shoot about 2000 images a week so the cloud is no good for me.

    I have one "working" drive, two "local" drives (2TB), which are identical (eSata) and two archival NAS units set up as JBOD's (Just a Bunch Of Disks). Each NAS holds 8TB. Local drives are rotated daily. Only one is connected to power or the computer at a time. The NAS units (one of which is off site are rotated weekly). The off site one is also not connected to power.

    I download all images to an Epson P3000 (with a larger 120GB drive) or my iPad and also to my working drive. I have them in a folder based on client name and shoot date, which is in turn in a single year folder (eg:2011). I cull, rate, keyword etc in Lightroom (or Photosmith on the iPad). I also sync shot times between cameras, delete the real rubbish and rename files. Then that folder is copied to both "local" drives into the "2011" folder. Folder structure is identical on all drives. Once the job is finished I will also copy a LR catalogue for that job to the folder with the images.

    Then I just hook up the NAS and sync the "local" and NAS drives. I also do that after I rotate the NAS units.

    Sounds complex but it probably took me longer to describe it, than do it.

    Also it was much easier on Windows with the rather brilliant MS Synctoy. I've recently changed to Mac and I'm still struggling to make it smooth, like it was in Win7 (mainly because Finder is horrible), but I'll get there.

    It may be overkill, but images are important to me. Personal more so than work ones.

    Oh: And my shooting partner also has two copies of all our wedding files.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    Download to computer on work disk for editing.

    Caption and Keyword images, convert raw to .DNG files and save to 4 external drives. When drives are full I store them away and buy new ones.

    Work on images and save as jpg (12) to 2 external drives (separate from the raw)

    This gives me 4 raw backups and 2 edited backups for every image.

    To date I have just over 240,000 images stored in this way.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I only have 210k. I need to get out and shoot more. :smile::smile:
  13. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I read the title of this read as life backup instead of file backup.....I probably need to work on both.
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