When I first filled up my computer with photographs and it stopped working I faced the difficult process of dumping all my photos on hard drives for the first time. It involves a lot of hoping and praying and sacrificing things to the archival Gods so that nothing bad will ever happen to your photos and documents. Unfortunately no amount of sacrifices or wishful thinking can save your files for the inevitable failure that is involved in technology.
Deleting files is always a nervy process and I have not come to enjoy it anymore than I did that first time. i have a better system and more external hard drives than I did but I still hate it. Today I am doing a massive backup and getting photos from some CDs that I ordered from Shutterfly.
A few days ago Metro published an article about a photographer who lost eight years worth of work when a hard drive failed. He decided to start a photo a day project instead of being grief stricken. I don’t think I could just move on. As sad as his tale is it’s also extremely preventable. He should have had those files on lots of hard drives kept in different locations — I keep extras at my parents house. He should have backed up his photos online. He could’ve done so much to still have them but didn’t.
My approach to backing up is guided by paranoia. What would happen if a hard drive failed? If there was a flood or a fire or an earthquake or Godzilla attacked would I be able to recover my files? The answer would most likely be yes. If they all happened at once and destroyed the warehouses filled with hard drives that the cloud uses then I would probably be out of luck. If there was just an earthquake or a flood or my computer died I would be fine. It would be a pain but I would not have to mourn the loss of every photo I’ve ever taken.
I backup all my photos to two cloud based sites. One of them is Shutterfly. Why I mention Shutterfly is that I am currently recovering photos I took on a trip three years ago that I didn’t transfer over to my hard drives properly. For some reason they just didn’t make it. I was really upset when i found out. I had so many memories attached to those over 1500 photos and they seemed like they were gone. Except they weren’t. I ordered the photos on CDs from Shutterfly and after finally dealing with them all of them are back on my computer. Paranoia pays off.