category_outlined / Photography
Photo BackupPhoto Backup

Photo Backup

Photo Backup 1st Edition

This straightforward guide shows how to establish order and security for your photo archiving, in ways that are simple, affordable and achievable.

Media Publishing Pty Limited
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access_time8 min.
chapter 1 the digital dilemma

According to market researcher InfoTrends, by the end of this year picture takers around the world will clock up 1.3 trillion digital image files. And Canon Australia says that a full two-thirds of photographers it surveyed have lost digital image files due to ‘the damage or failure of physical technology’. InfoTrends actually refers to digital image files as ‘photos’. But are they there yet? Is a series of electronic 1s and 0s locked up in a file on a computer or memory card the same as something you can hold in your hands and see with your own eyes? The largest number of ‘real’ photos taken with film cameras was in 1999, when something like 80 billion exposures were made. With rolls of film having only 24 or 36 exposures, there was…

access_time9 min.
chapter 2 in-camera storage

Memory cards are a relatively stable storage medium. They belong to the same ‘Flash’ family as USB drives and MP3 players. They are ‘solid state’ – unlike, say, a computer hard disk spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute, there are no moving parts. They are also ‘non-volatile’, which basically means that unlike computer Random Access Memory (RAM), the data on the card doesn’t disappear when power is turned off. Which is reassuring! Unlike CDs and DVDs they are also physically durable. As the data is encased, it is not vulnerable to scratches or other damage. Memory cards have even been known to survive a cycle or two in the washing machine, although that’s not a recommended cleaning routine. But not all memory cards are of equal quality, and as the saying…

access_time12 min.
chapter 3 post-capture digital storage media

The most common next step in the life of digital image files is transferral to a computer hard disk. And this is where most (camera) images remain, and also where they are most vulnerable. Most desktop computers still use hard disk drives (HDDs) for data storage, while laptops are moving over to more compact SSDs (Solid State Drives – another form of flash storage technology). SSDs are a close relative of the USB drive or thumb drive, which in turn are part of the flash memory family that SD and CompactFlash cards belong to. The hard drive contains a platter with a thin magnetic coating, spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute. To transfer your digital image file, a ‘head’ moves over the platter, writing 0’s and 1’s as tiny areas of…

access_time4 min.
chapter 4 scanning hard copy photos

Until now we’ve limited our survey of image storage alternatives to digital image files, but film and photographic prints must be digitised before they can be stored and added to your 21st century picture collection. What priority should the job have? If the prints are in acid-free archival albums, they are arguably more secure than any files you have in digital form. On the other hand, colour prints will deteriorate over time, and having just one copy of a valuable family image means it can’t be shared, and is vulnerable to fire and flood. A home office inkjet printer/scanner will do the job, but it’s a slow and tedious bit of work. A good consumer level dedicated scanner from Canon or Epson will cost $100 to $200 and do a better job,…

access_time14 min.
chapter 5 organise your photos

So you’ve started to exercise discipline in the number of photos you take, and you have been deleting sub-standard or surplus image files in-camera. You’ve decided upon a backup system and there it sits, shiny and new on the desktop. All that remains is to actually bring an image collection together in a form that is secure, long lasting and will allow you to find and share specific images easily. We strongly advise that first of all you do a full, separate backup of everything on your hard drive before you try any of the routines explained in this book. After completing your separate full drive backup, it’s worthwhile checking your collection for duplicates prior to building your photo archive. If you’ve ever opened a file to work on it and saved…

access_time4 min.
chapter 6 digital backup process

Physical backup Once you have created your new master folder structure and are satisfied that it will work for you, it’s time to back it up to external media. The golden rule is to have three copies of your digital files, with one off site so that a calamity at home won’t mean the end of your photo collection. The remaining two should be local but on different storage devices. So, for instance, if you stored images on your computer; to an external hard drive; and to a separate drive offsite kept exclusively for your media collection; or to Google Photos or another Cloud storage service, that would fulfill the ‘3-2-1’ requirements. Regardless of your image collection, you should also be running a full backup of your PC to an external disk regularly.…