Photography is as much about preserving memories as it is about crafting stunning images. To ensure these memories stand the test of time, I’ve developed a foolproof three-point photography backup workflow. This strategy is designed to be a low-friction redundant backup system, reducing the chance of losing any of my work to almost zero. Whether you use Capture One or Lightroom, this workflow will fit seamlessly into your process.
The Ultimate Photography Backup Solution
- – It must be effortless. If it’s complicated, you may avoid it. Solution: Automate as much as possible!
- – It must be redundant. Aim for a minimum of 3 points of failure.
- – Your working drive
- – A local backup drive
- – An off-site copy of your work.
What Am I Backing Up?
Over the past decade, I’ve backed up all my RAW photos and videos. It may seem excessive, but with a robust system like this, maintaining it becomes second nature. In the digital age, there’s no need to worry about losing film negatives!
- Cards + Reader
- 1 x External HDD (2tb USB 3.0 drive)
- 1 x External HDD (6tb POWERED USB 3.0 drive)
- Chronosync (mac) or FreeFileSync (PC)
- Backblaze (or alternative online backup software)
The Photography Backup Workflow
Begin by capturing your photos. Treat your cards like film—especially when you’re away from home. I rotate through about 5 CF cards. Only format the first card (if necessary) once you’ve taken photos with all of them. This ensures enough time for the backup strategy to work effectively.
Next, import your photos onto your designated working external HDD using Lightroom. Do not delete your card after import. Remember, your primary working drive is where you’ll perform all your edits. At this point, you have 2 copies of your images—on your hard drive and the original card.
This is when automation takes center stage. I use Chronosync on my Mac to automate file transfers. When both drives are connected to the computer, Chronosync will launch, check for changes since the last update, and sync these changes from the 2tb HDD to the larger 6tb drive.
Finally, we ensure an “off-site” backup of your photos. I recommend Backblaze, which offers unlimited storage. This online backup solution is fully automated and may be slow initially, but it ensures a reliable, off-site backup accessible from anywhere.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a different strategy? Or are you planning to implement this one? What changes would you suggest? If you have any questions about the process, feel free to reach out via the contact page or via social media. Remember, when it comes to backups—three copies are two, two is one, and one copy is as good as none!
Ben – Cultured Kiwi