5 Ways to Back Up Photos
Imagine this: You’re getting married and you’re so excited about your wedding day. It’ll be a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring together all your family and friends in one spot. You spend hours researching photographers, find one you love, and pay him/her thousands of dollars. Your wedding day comes and it’s even better than you expected. There were a million beautiful moments and it was kind of a blur, so you’re so excited to get your photos back. Then you get a message from your photographer apologizing but your wedding photos are gone.
I’ve heard these horror stories. They’re not acceptable. It’s never intentional- a memory card gets lost, your camera breaks, etc. but if you’re accepting someone else’s money and time for photographs, you need to guarantee that you can deliver professional images to your client. Especially since there are absolutely no do-overs with capturing a freaking wedding day. As photographers, we need to do better. Here are ways to protect your images from anything going wrong
1. (Professional) Backup Gear
Backup gear is not optional. No technology equipment will work forever, and if your camera stop working in the middle of a wedding day for whatever reason, you cannot be option-less. You need a backup camera body, more than 1 lens, backup batteries, and backup memory cards- just as basic insurance.
I get that camera gear is really expensive. If you cannot afford another camera body right now, you need to rent/borrow one for your shoots until you can make that investment.
2. Dual card slots
My first full-frame camera was the Canon 6D. And while it takes gorgeous images, a few months later I invested in buying the Canon 5D Mark III (and made my 6D my backup). The Mark III has dual card slots which means you can have both an SD memory card and a CF memory card inserted in the camera at the same time. Whenever I take an image, I have it recorded on both cards. This way, if something goes wrong with 1 memory card, the images are still secure on the other memory card.
My images on the SD card write raw and on the CF card, I save jpegs. This system makes the camera work faster than if both cards recorded raw images. After the wedding day, I’ll edit only the raw images from the SD card. I’ve never had to access the backup jpegs on the CF, but it gives me peace of mind to know they’re there! I don’t delete these jpegs until the final gallery is delivered.
Pay attention to the lower right corner of my screen. It shows that card 1 is recording large jpegs while card 2 is recording in raw
3. Have a second shooter
Sometimes things go wrong and it takes you a little bit of time to get ready to go again. In the meantime, what if you miss really important moments? You can’t recreate the first kiss because it won’t be the first kiss. Having a second shooter to back you up is a life-saver.
4. Multiple backups on external hard drives and your computer
The very first thing you need to do after a wedding day is back up your images on a computer. I know it’s been a long day of running around, but you just have to. I import all the raws to two different external hard drives the instant I get home. While I’m editing on my computer afterward, I know that there are multiple places where my raws can be found if anything happens to my laptop.
I have 3 external hard drives. I labeled #1 and #2 with pink nail polish but I lost that color before I bought hard drive #3 lol
Hopefully, this helps you think of different ways to protect your images! You have been trusted with a very important task and it is a wonderful privilege. Happy shooting friends! <3