BACK UP YOUR DIGITAL IMAGES: THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL!
The simple rule of thumb is to make sure you have your digital media saved in 2-3 places to prevent loss. They say, it's not a matter of “IF” your hard drive will fail, it is “WHEN.” Backing-up files is the single most important step in my workflow for both my personal and professional work. I actually have all of my personal and client files backed up in 5 different places (hard drive, external hard drive, 2 separate DVD back ups, and a remote back up off-site.)
Why so neurotic? I had a hard drive failure in ‘99 and lost a boat load of my digital snapshots. That experience made me swear off digital for many years, during which time I happily shot film exclusively and made magic in the darkroom. Most importantly, it helped me realize how integral a solid back-up system is when I finally went digital professionally.
If you don’t have time to print your photos, I urge you to at least make time to back them up. Trust me, in the event of a hard drive crash, you will absolutely not regret the time you spent backing up your photographs!
1. Immediately upon uploading your digital photos to a specific folder, copy the files to an external hard drive or burn a hard-copy disc. Label the disc with the same name as the folder(s) on your computer. You might decide to store this disc in a photo storage box (filed accordingly with the prints) or in a fire safe box.
2. For added peace of mind, use a remote back up service, which automatically backs up your files to a remote location. I have used Carbonite for the past several years. Another simple remote back up solution is to store hard copy back ups at a family member's home.
3. Remember: Do not format / erase your camera’s memory card until you have uploaded the images to your computer AND made a copy of your files to a second location (external hard drive, a disc, or both.) If you do accidentally delete your camera's memory card before you've transferred your images, don't panic... there is a solution called RescuePRO.