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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Backup & Archiving Solutions

We photographers have precious, valuable cargo on our computers. In fact our computer, along with our camera body and lenses, are our most valuable possession. Without the computer part, we are out of business. It is, in a sense, our virtual dark room and studio. It takes the images out of our camera, processes them into a finished product, uploads them for displaying on our websites, burns them to CDs for selling to the customer, temporarily archives them until we permanently archives them, keeps our websites updated, brings us news of new trends and new gear, keeps us connected to our clients and potential clients, and helps get the word out about our greatness.

That box sitting under our desks silently humming along, is like one of those vital rectangular pieces of wood in the Jenga game. Pull it out, and it all comes crashing to the ground. Game over, dude! Game over.


We photographers need solutions and habits in place to protect our business, our photographs, and our reputations with our clients. A bride does not want to hear that your computer crashed and you lost all of her images. She won't just frown and say, awe that's too bad. She will likely pick up a chair and come after you like one of those wrestling chicks on the WWE.


So what are some habits and solutions we can utilize to help minimize damage, or avoid damage all together?

1. Have plenty of memory cards. How does that help? Well I like to leave the originals on the card until after I have uploaded the finished product to my website for client viewing. That way I can go back and yank them off of the card if something happens.

2. Spend $5 a month and invest in my sponsor Mozy. For just under $5 they will constantly monitor and backup everything on your computer to an off site location via the internet. Upload more pictures? The system sees that and backs it up as soon as it can or as soon as you allow. You call the shots on when, what, and how often it backs up. Come home to see your house a smoldering pile of ashes, and rest easy knowing that all your stuff is backed up. They are a sponsor of the show, and you will support me if you choose them by clicking this link below, or on the front page of my website, but that is not why you should use them. You use them because it is a smart thing to do. $5 a month? Are you kidding me? That is cheap and easy. It does not get any better than that.



Unlimited Online Backup Only $4.95

3. Raided hard drive solutions. When in the market for a new computer, look for a raided hard drive option. There are a few types of raid configurations, but the one that helps protect your stuff is the one I suggest. Basically if you order a new computer with a raided one terrabyte hard drive, Set up for Raid 1 (mirroring), you are effectively getting 2 one terrabyte drives. Your system sees them as one drive, however, and everything gets stored twice. So you upload a picture, it is actually now sitting on 2 drives. All of this happens by itself in the background with no work on your part. This offers a layer of protection to your documents and photographs.

4. Get a back up drive. This is almost a no brainer and has been a solution option forever. Incidentally, if you choose the Mozy option above, you can actually set the settings that not only will it backup to the online facility, but it will also detect a back up drive, and backup there as well. Very cool.

5. Disc Archiving. Once you are ready to delete something off of your system and store it on a disc, you have lots of options. Burn them to a CD, a DVD, or my new favorite option, the Blu Ray disc.


After waiting for the smoke to clear to determine if Blu Ray was going to stick around, I have invested in a dual layer blu ray burner. A single layer disc will store 25 gigabytes of info. A dual layer will hold 50gb, and they have recently come out with triple layer and quaadruple layer discs allowing for storage of up to 100 gigabytes. WOW!!!. Now the discs are not cheap, but they certainly are convenient. A single DVD will store just over 4 gb of info. By the time you figure in RAW file original, and converted jpegs, a wedding takes up just over 3 standard DVDs. But with my dual layer blu ray burner and a $10 disc, I can store every wedding from that year on one disc. I recently backed up the first 50 episodes of the PhotoTips show onto on single disc. That includes the ipod size movie, the larger website 1080 wide movie for the phototips.biz website, all of the source files and images, and sometimes a youtube rendered excerpt of the show as well. These puppies will store some info and well worth the expense.

6. The Drobo. Drobo is a company that makes a storage "box". It allows you to use up to 4 hard drives of various sizes, and stores your data across all of them. They don't care what size drives they are, and they can be different brands, types, and speeds. It does not care. Simply slide in a drive, and the drobo goes to work. It takes almost no brain power to figure one of these things out. This is perfect for the person with tons of files on their system that they just are not ready to archive yet. More info can be found here.


Personally I use a combo of the above. 1, 2, 3, and 5. You need to make the decision for what you think works best for you. At the very least, you REALLY need to check out Mozy. That is simply the most affordable, and reliable, and worry free solution out there.



Unlimited Online Backup Only $4.95

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