Hooper Lake in the Snow - a Backed Up image from 2006
Every year in December I do my major back-up of images for my photography Gallery. This is an essential thing for me to do, but is something I would suggest all people with computers and pictures they want to save should think about. The issue these days is that many photos are not printed, they’re shared digitally, which means that the only place they exist is on your computer – and if your hard drive fails, and eventually all do, without a back-up plan, you may lose all your precious images.
I use an Apple computer, and have for a long, long time. In my work in the past with the School Board, I worked with all kinds of computers and devices, but I prefer the way the Apple approaches things and so my computers are an iMac desktop computer, and a Mac Book Pro laptop for travel. When backing things up, I have two things to think about – one is that the iMac can’t hold all my photos by itself, and so I have another drive hooked up, and the second thing is that I have a huge financial incentive to have my “market” images (ones I have sold or have printed to sell or can use to sell to magazines, newspapers and so on) securely backed up.
As a result – here is my current way of doing things, not that it is the only way to do this, just that it works for me and I thought it might help some folks think about planning for the future.
On my iMac, I have a 250 GB hard drive (solid state – quick, but very pricey to have a big one). I also have the external drive I mentioned hooked up to the iMac – and that is a Western Digital Passport, a small in size but 2 TB drive that I call my “work” drive. The images I shoot and the first place I store my Categorized images (those important valuable ones) are on this little work drive. I then have another large external hard drive hooked up to the iMac as well – this one a 5 TB Lacie external HD that has thunderbolt support, so it is as fast as possible. The Lacie drive is where I start my back-up procedure, for with Mac computers they have a lovely program called Time Machine which can back up whatever you wish to any HD that is attached. In my case, I have Time Machine backing up both my iMac and my Work drives to that Lacie HD. That’s copy one, and it is bootable, meaning that if disaster on my iMac struck, I could simply go to the Lacie drive and go backwards and install everything over again from the backup on that drive. I’ve actually tried this as a test, and it works perfectly!
The second layer is that I manually twice a year or so copy my Work drive and then store that copy. This provides for a second layer of a backup, and includes all my important work and those Categorized images. I keep one of these drives off site – that is, I have it not here at home, and so if something really disastrous happened here, I’d have a back-up of the really important stuff. I have a third layer as well – another Western Digital 4TB drive is hooked up to my iMac via the cloud, and this drive does the same Time Machine back-up, so it’s another complete copy of both my iMac and my Work drives.
As you can see, I take backing up seriously, but it is something you should think about as I’ve known people who have had their computer hard drive quit on them, and without a backup they lose everything. Better to be safe than sorry, and for Mac owners at least, it is so very easy to do, there really is no excuse not to do this!