Lost Images, protecting digital images and backing up.

Big ouch! protecting digital images,

You have a scratched CD of all your wedding images, you left it in the sun, dropped it in the bath, accidentally incinerated it on the BBQ, and now your images are lost for ever!

Sounds far fetched but it happens to everyone at some point or other, and when it comes to photographs from a wedding costing £10,000 and up it can be even more heart braking, but its OK, you can go back to the photographer right? Well not always, I only guarantee storing images for 2 years, as you would be shocked to see exactly how much storage is needed to securely store your images.

And I do not mean the JPG’s but the un-fettled RAWs including Photoshop documents that could rack up into 500mb for one image! Add that into running a set of hard drives in RAID which is 2 hard drives, one cloning the other so if one fails the other is backup, you see how it can soon add up. But its essential and its factored into my pricing so ask your next photographer what security they have in place.

Now, I don’t think anyone bar the real techie will believe this, but Hard Drives, can, and do fail, I had one go only a month ago which has been a sobering experience to the belief that it cannot fail like the titanic could not sink.
And its not the first for me either having lost a Hard Drive, with several years worth of photos from my travels, poof, gone, never to be seen again!

So What Should You Do To Protect Your Photos?

Well, I, like most other photographers now give the images on a CD, but the life span on home burnt CD’s (which is anyone who does not own a massive printing factory), is about 5 years before its own decay will start eating data. Its the price paid for the production method.

So the first bit of advice; is to back up to another source, a hard disk drive ideally as unless they explode, you can usually recover some of the lost data. But like all things a good smack can damage them and its then a specialist recovery job.

Option 2 is to backup to the Cloud, that magic thing all our computers have access to now and leave me wondering where the heck its actually stored! Assuming its a reputable and pretty large company it will have a identical set of backup systems to what I have with cloning in case it gets hit by lightening.
Which as a side not the server for this website had happen to it, a few hours later with no input my side it was back up and running, SWEET!

Option 3 would be some sort of flash drive, but these are prone to problems the more you swap data on and off the drive but if its hardly being used, keep it stored with your CD, and feel at ease.

Option 4, and probably the best is: PRINT! Seriously, we have still to find a long term solution in our technology for long term storage that can rival a slab of engraved rock in a desert, and prints assuming you don’t leave them in direct sun 12 hours a day can last 100 years by today’s standards, and if you get them printed with your photographer through a Pro Lab, it will have that extra bit of protection and better paper than the next one just giving it that much needed edge short of laminating them from other problems like moisture from a bust pipe. Which on a side note,, yeah had that happen to. And you wonder why I spend so much on backing up!

So, there’s the options and a bit of thinking for you all.