Fact: Computers crash.
Fiction: If you save your work on your hard drive, you can always get it back.
Most photographers have a false sense of security with technology. The mentality of “it won’t happen to me” prevails when it comes to a hard drive failure. And yet hard drives fail, computers crash, and it some cases, laptops and digital goods get stolen. I’ve heard it all…
Here’s what you can you do to make sure your client photos, personal images, and your important documents, files, and online digital purchases like Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, and more are safe:
- Come up with a plan to make sure you are not left in panic if (when) your computer dies.
- Back up your entire computer off-site. We use Backblaze. We have it set up to back up every single thing on our hard drive and external hard drive (yes, and as luck would have it, these can fail too – and often at the same time as your main computer).
- Consider setting up a RAID drive where you have two drives — one replicates the other inside your computer.
- Use an external hard drive to either back up everything on your computer (using Time Machine) or at minimum, your photos, documents, and digital purchases.
- The cloud. Set up cloud storage using any number of free, included, or paid services… Whether it’s Amazon’s Cloud Photos that comes with your Prime Membership, Apple’s Cloud, or any number of other options, this is a way to protect your work.
- If you use Lightroom, here’s how to back up your catalog so you aren’t starting over…
- If you have a DVD or CD slot, burn important stuff to one of these too. But I have to say, this method slowly is going the way of the cassette tape. It’s far more important to use methods mentioned, but this one can help too.
- Don’t assume online businesses have all your files and purchases for re-download forever. For example, when we upgraded our website, we did what we could to properly get data moved, but as technology luck goes, not everything moved. This is why printing, saving and backing up both the purchase and your receipt or proof of purchase are important.
- Treat online digital purchases, emails, receipts, and other important files as though they are tangible goods. If you buy a pair of jeans and they get messed up, lost or stolen, the store isn’t likely to just replace them. Value your digital world the same way. Keep proofs of purchase. And save your digital content purchases in a few locations. Back them up.
It is easy to do these things – just make the time. Don’t procrastinate. Think of it as a resolution. Set aside time this week and make sure you get this done. You can thank me later.