Photography Backup Process | Essex Fells, New Jersey Wedding Photographer

One of my biggest fears in life is that some life shattering event causes me to lose all my photographs. When I started my photography business, this fear only became amplified. One of the first things I defined when I started my photography business was a backup process. The photographs that I capture are not only near and dear to my heart, but they are once in a lifetime photographic memories of the brides and grooms that I am so lucky to work with. I wanted to outline some of the tools and systems that I use to keep these images as safe as possible. Redundancy is key. 

Equipment for the Wedding: 

  1. Throughout a wedding day, I shoot with two bodies that are securely fastened on my Holdfast Gear Money Maker Harness. This allows me to spread the photographic love between two cameras. If something happens to one camera, I have a second camera that is readily available. I also carry a third body in my equipment bag. 
  2. I recently started shooting with two memory cards in each camera. RAW images are written to my primary slot on a SanDisk 32GB Extreme CF Card. JPEG Normal images are written to my secondary slot on a SanDisk 16GB Extreme SD card. I shoot a max of 400 images per SanDisk 32GB Extreme CF Card. Used cards get put in a cardholder case with the backs showing. They are stored in my fanny pack (which does not come off of my body until all images are backed up). Generally, I will only use one SD card per body for the entire wedding day. The JPEGs will ONLY be used if the CF card becomes corrupted. Fortunately, this has not happened, but we all know that anything is possible with technology. 
Protecting your wedding photography images with a backup process. 

Equipment After Wedding: 

  1. I backup my RAW and JPEG Normal images immediately following a wedding to a WD 2TB portable external hard drive. I always start with the RAW images, so that I can begin my DNG conversion process to save space on my hard drives. I only edit the DNG's. This hard drive stores weddings that are in progress, meaning not yet delivered to the client. I carry this hard drive around with me whenever I can. When I am unable to bring a bag, this is stored in a fireproof safe. 
  2. Once the images are backed up to my portable external hard drive, they get copied over to a LaCie 2big Quadra 6TB External Hard Drive that is configured to have identical copies of the data on two drives. 
  3. The DNG's get copied over to my desktop to begin the culling and editing process. 
  4. A separate LaCie Quadra 4TB External Hard Drive is used for time machine. My desktop backs up through time machine to that external hard drive every day. Old versions of the backup are deleted automatically once my external hard drive is full, to make room for a new daily backup. 
  5. My LaCie 2big Quadra 6TB External Hard Drive and desktop are also backed up to Crash Plan nightly. Crash Plan is simply amazing. Not only does it back up my images to an off site sever, but it allows me to access my backup from my laptop if I need to access a document that is not on my laptop or portable external hard drive. 
  6. Once I finish editing a wedding, I upload the color corrected JPEG's to Queensberry Workspace to be delivered to my clients. I also upload these images to Zenfolio as a secondary gallery. The JPEG's are also backed up to my external hard drive and Crash Plan.
Backing up your wedding photography images with storage and memory. 

My process may seem a bit extreme, but the peace of mind my process gives me is worth the extra effort. I can typically import to my WD portable hard drive, convert to DNG and backup to my LaCie 6TB external hard drive the night of the wedding. The images do not get deleted from my CF card until I have confirmed the count on the cards matches the count that have been backed up to my portable external hard drive and my external hard drive. 

If you have any questions or some additional tips, leave a comment! 

Thank you Christine for the images above!