I’ve always heard that it’s not a matter of IF your hard drive will fail, but WHEN. And when it comes to external hard drives, I’ve been pretty darn lucky- in the last seven years of wedding photography, I’ve never had one crash.
That is, until last Tuesday.
My hard drive slipped off my desk and dangled by the cord for a moment before I pulled it back up onto the desk. And apparently, that’s enough to cause a hard drive to die (???). After about 20 minutes of plugging in, taking out, switching computers, restarting, and restarting again, I began to realize what was happening. And sure, it was frustrating, and sure, I spent the rest of the day cleaning up from the mess, but it didn’t wreck me. Why?
Because we have a BACK-UP system set in place for this exact sort of situation!
I never, ever, EVER clear my memory cards from a wedding until I had at least TWO full copies of all the RAW files backed up onto external hard drives. And then add to that my additional insurance of that second SD card I shoot with! Because as much as we want to believe that technology is infallible, it’s not. I didn’t drop my drive on the ground, I didn’t stomp on it, spill anything on it, nothing that you’d think would result in complete system failure. But fail it did, and recover we must.
Backing up your work is an essential responsibility of being a professional photographer. Prior to starting my business, my MacBook’s hard drive crashed and I lost everything. I was in college at the time, so that means I lost all the photos of my friends, Matt & I, and everything I’d taken pictures of up until that point. Don’t let that happen to you! And more importantly, don’t let that happen to your clients’ precious memories!
That crash in college taught me a painful but NECESSARY lesson, and ever since then, everything I do I saved to two external hard drives + the final online gallery (saved in the Cloud via PASS). And to be honest, as much as it hurt losing all of those photographs in college, I’m glad that lesson took place early and that I was the victim of the moment, instead of one of my clients.
Can you imagine how devastating that would have been if it happened to a clients’ RAW files before I’d delivered them, and didn’t have a back-up?? That experience in college taught me from the beginning that the technology we use, as advanced as it is, is still fallible! And that if I’m going to call myself a professional photographer, I need to have safeguards in place BEFOREhand, rather than wishing I’d done more after the fact.
For those wondering, I use Seagate 1tb external hard drives. I’ve also heard great things about the LaCie Rugged line!