My plan for this week was to start the Photo Monopoly Board. Instead the time has been spent backing up files of 2012 onto hard copies and making room for 2013. I’ve decided this subject could make a good post. I know there are many out there but I do have some personal experience with disasters and how they can affect important documents. For this post I’m going to focus on photographs as those encompass most of the files I work with. However, this information applies to videos and other documents as well.
First off, before I ever delete the photos off of any storage card from a camera I make sure it is backed up in two different places. For example, on the hard drive of a computer and a USB flash drive or portable hard drive. Once I get home I have a certain computer that holds my photos and videos and an external hard drive that I only turn on when transferring photos to it or retrieving them from it. This way all of my pictures are in one central location so I know where to find any photography taken during a year. Some people will use cloud storage as one of their back-ups. I’m not comfortable with cloud storage so I rely on hard drives at my house.
If at any point during the year I find any indication that photos could be lost either to a software upgrade or computer malfunction I immediately back up files to another external hard drive. At the beginning of a year such as now I take and make a hard copy of the previous years photos such as burning them to a cd, dvd, or blu-ray. Once I have hard copies they are placed in a secure firebox. After making hard copies these pictures are then deleted off of the computer. Now the two copies I have are the hard copies and an external hard drive. In addition, once I have enough photographs to fill a dvd or like this year a blu-ray I burn an extra copy of these pictures and give them to a relative in another state to store in a safe place.
Sometimes, like this year, I may come across more than two copies of a photo. This year I had 4 copies of many of my pictures due to computer issues at one time or another. Seems a little over kill doesn’t it? A motto I really like is: “overkill is under rated!” That’s kind of been a family motto for much of my life. Why do I take all of these precautions? First off, I want to do whatever I can to keep from losing important pictures and videos. Secondly, while growing up I experienced flooded basements and house fires both of which destroyed many important photographs. Most likely if a disaster of one type or another hits my house, my backup with a relative living in another state will survive. What are the odds of a natural disaster destroying both locations? It could happen but the odds are pretty low.
Fortunately I haven’t had these steps put to the test to see if these precautions are enough but past experience has defined them. It takes a little time and an extra hard drive or two but all in all, what are these photographs worth if they’re gone?!