Beginners Tip: Backups

I just encountered someone who had a Canon 5D Mk3 and who did not know that this camera can write images to two cards at once. This lack of knowledge of basics is surprisingly common: it’s not as thought he manuals are clear, and if you are not technical, there’s many things you will never find out. (That is why you take training: if you come to me for a private session, I will go through all your camera settings with you).

But this one is important. Because every picture needs to be in two places, from the start.

I say that because all media are temporary. All memory cards break, all hard disks break, all computers break, all CDs and DVDs and Blu-Ray disks develop “read errors”. Even if that did not happen, things fall (ask my cats); things get stolen; homes catch fire. You need to count on this. And if you count on this, you will have backups from the start.

When I shoot something important like a wedding, therefore…

  1. I use my 1Dx, because it can write to two cards at once. I send RAW images to one, and write large fine JPG files to the other as a backup. JPGs will do for the backup: if I do have a card disaster, I will live with them, and my work is good “SOOC”.
  2. As soon as I have the images on the computer, I verify them and I make a backup to a second disk.
  3. It is only then that I format the memory cards (yes, format every time).
  4. I regularly make a backup onto a third disk, which is stored off premises. Just in case (fires, remember?)
  5. And finally… I make prints. Large prints. Files can disappear; prints, good prints, will last for hundreds of years.

Have no backups? Please make them today. I have seen to many disasters. Real disasters, like the woman who lost all the pictures she had of her deceased son. Irretrievably lost. Yes, that happens: sometimes recovery services can get important files back, but often, lost really is lost.

And backup disks are not expensive:

And this ad is older, they are even cheaper today. So please—back up your files today. You’ll sleep better.


2 thoughts on “Beginners Tip: Backups

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *