Aidan has a backup for his favorite hippo - actually four to be exact. So naturally, I backup all my client's digital negatives, Photoshop files, final output and slideshows. That's right, you guessed it, this week's topic is going to be on the super sexy topic of data backups. It's really to buy me a few days while I put together another short video on a fun photo shoot done a few weeks ago.
So if you're still reading here's some reassurance that your memories mean as much to me as they do to you. All photos are shot in RAW and JPG simultaneously. That way if one of the RAW digital negative gets corrupted, there is still a workable backup. Never happened, but only the paranoid survive. My primary compact flash memory cards are 1-2GB SanDisk Extreme IIIs, my secondary cards are some older Ultra IIs. After over 20,000 photos I've never had a problem. You can't buy them this small anymore so I stocked up when they went on sale. Smaller cards mean that if junior swallows one, only a 50-60 photos are lost as opposed to the entire shoot. I used a Viking brand memory card once and actually lost a half dozen personal photos. Never again.
The photos are immediately downloaded to my MacBook Pro which has an external backup drive that mirrors my work done on the laptop. I don't trust that though since I've seen people knock over their laptop, and guess what the external hard drive is attached. So separately, my server has 1 TB allocated to photography to store a snapshot of all the unprocessed data and another snapshot when I'm done processing a photo shoot (four to ten hours of work later). When I'm done burning the DVD for my client, I make a secure off site backup of the DVD. Anyone who tells you shooting digital is free is wrong. Phat Baby is allocating a fat $2-3K to upgrade the backup server by the end of the year and don't get me started on the ongoing costs of backing data up off site.
So to all my customers, if you ever lose your DVD (which, by the way, is archival quality), give me a ring. Unlike salvation, there are no guarantees. But barring a simultaneous act of God taking out the offsite data center in Utah and a fire consuming my local copies you can always ask me for another copy. So rest easy. Even my wife finds it soporific whenI tell her about backups before bed.