Earlier today I received an email from a good photographer friend of mine. She was asking me about a new online back up service that I was not familiar with after having almost lost a hard drive at 4am this morning.
As a photogeek, but even more as a geek dad, the importance of photo back up cannot be stressed enough. I personally have over 5.5 terabytes of storage at this point. It’s not super fun or super interesting like legos, but it is simply imperative that all geek dads back up their photos.
Think of how important the photos (and videos) of your kids are. I’m sure you are like me. You have photos of their birth, of their baseball games, of their ballet performances and yes, even, since we are being geekdads and all, the photos from chess camp.
If you already back up your photos, consider this your pat on the back. Good job, dad. But if you don’t, consider this your wake up call.
All hard drives will fail. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. By not backing up those photos you risk losing them forever.
As a practical matter, hard drive storage cost has never been cheaper. You can get 750GB external Seagate at Amazon right now for only $260. These drives are big enough to hold all the digital photos of probably 99.9% of the population. I own three of the 750gb Seagate external drives myself (disclosure, Seagate sponsors a photowalking show I work on and gave me one once, although I did buy two myself first, they are also the best of all the drives that I’ve used personally myself).
As added protection consider also buying a backup drive for your parents. What I do is put all the photos of my kids on a drive and then leave it at my parent’s house. This way I have offsite backup and storage. I set the screensaver on my parent’s computer to point to the photos on this drive and this way they can see random photos of their grandkids all the time. Each time when I go down to Los Angeles to visit my parents I bring the most recent backup drive of the kids photos and swap it out for the one down there.
Unfortunately earlier this year my parent’s garage burned down — thankfully not the entire house. But fires happen and this makes offsite storage even more important.
A lot of people I talk to say that they don’t need to back up their photos of their kids because they put them online. But keep in mind that most online services do not keep full size copies of your originals. Many will downsample them, reduce their file size, and getting them off of the various photo hosting sites later may not be so easy. This is still a good thing to do, but shouldn’t be a substitute for a good photo backup strategy.
Do yourself a favor if you don’t have a backup plan for your family digital photos and home videos and put one in place now. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.