A Wider Angle: September 2012, by Geoff Dickinson
Once every couple of years or so the question of digital backup of our photos rears its head. Often this is as a result of a technical malfunction or a near miss which prompts all sorts of hand-wringing about what to do if things really turn pear shaped. It has not happened to me (yet) but the chances of a hard drive crash are always there so I thought it worth setting out a few thoughts on the way I approach the subject.
I use both an external hard drive and online storage. I use a 1 terabyte external hard drive to which I back up everything on my laptop plus a second external hard drive for my photo collection. This is stored off site in case of fire, flood and theft.
As a committed Lightroom user the Library module organises my images so all I have to do is choose the backup option in the Preferences settings and send one copy to the laptop and one copy to the second external hard drive. I don’t use optical discs because they can get scratched, damaged or lost.
Online storage is now free or reasonably priced, and it can be convenient as long as you have reasonably fast upload and download speeds. I use my free Dropbox allowance to store some of my more precious images. I also use Yahoo’s Flickr and as a Telecom broadband customer I automatically get a Pro account which gives me unlimited storage so some photos are stored there. Online storage is attractive but you can also lose access to photos stored online.
Having a single copy of each photo on an external hard drive (prone to failure), optical disc (easily scratched), USB stick (easily lost) or online service is not really enough so multiple copies of the important stuff on each medium is the key really. Keeping track of what is stored where is something I am working on.
Oh, I almost forgot the third method…………..print, print and print again. And then print some more.
See you around, Geoff
PS There will be no Wider Angle next month as I will be overseas until late October