Digital Photo Collage - Do you have a Photo Backup

Whenever I talk to a new client, one of the first questions I ask is whether they have a backup plan for their photos.  If they don’t, it will be the first thing we do.  Why? Digital media is very prone to have failures.  Here are a number of ways we can lose our photos:

  • Electricity spike fries hard drive or computer
  • We drop or phone, hard drive or laptop
  • Fires, floods and other natural disasters
  • Hard Drive Failure for no apparent reason
  • Corruption of individual files
  • Stolen phone, camera, computer

Here are examples of what files may look like once they have become corrupted. More likely though, you won’t be able to open the files at all.

Corrupt Photo File
Corrupt Photo File
Corrupt Photo File

This can happen and you won’t even know it.  But it will happen inevitably if you keep your photos on one device for a long period of time.  Unfortunately, it is not “if” it will happen, but when it will happen.

What can we do?  Photo Organizers will tell our clients to subscribe to the 3-2-1 system to for your photo backup.
3 – Copies of our photos
2 – Different media they are copied to
1 – Copy of the photos offsite
It sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

The first things we will do is get an onsite backup of your ENTIRE COMPUTER.  Don’t try to organize things first!  Purchase an external hard drive (EHD) that is at least twice the size of your computer’s hard drive to dedicate to backups.  You can find 2-4 TB Hard Drives locally from $50-$150.
Setup a backup to run frequently to this external hard drive.  For Macs you will use Time Machine and it will automatically want to set it up for backups.  For PCs using Windows you can use File History or a program like Genie Timeline to setup your backup.  Some EHD’s come with software installed to backup your computer.
With that done you now have your photos in two different places- but not two different media.

PRINT YOUR PHOTOS – this is also a photo backup
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you PRINT your photos.  Not all of them. Not all at once.  This will help protect you from any sort of technical failure.  In my personal collection I have had to re-scan photos from my albums that had become corrupt on my hard drive.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it had I not printed them on the first place

The easiest way for us to do this is to store your data in the cloud through the internet.  Yes, there are plenty of places we can safely store our photo backup.  I recommend a backup service for your entire computer such as Backblaze.  You can back up your computer and your EHDs with the service for about $50 a year.  Other options include Carbonite and Mozy.

Another option for offsite storage is to periodically back up your information and put in a safe deposit box or keep at friend or family member’s home.  This may not always work in a case of a natural disaster.

Go on now, get started. 

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