As a photographer, there's nothing worse than losing your photos with hard shots, whether it's a hard drive failure, theft or something else. With a good backup strategy, it's easy to keep your photos safe at home, but what about when you're on the road? What happens if you go offline for a few days or even weeks and drive away from your laptop? Let's take a look.
When you are in the field, the biggest risks to your photos are theft, loss, and data loss. The solution to all three risks is essentially the same: Make sure you never have a single copy of your images on a single SD card or hard drive, or all your copies in a single place. There is a little more than that, so read on.
Use the right cards
To minimize the risk of data loss due to a faulty SD card ̵
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If your SD cards have jammed in a drawer and collect dust for a while, it's worth their while to survey them. Make sure they are not dented, scratched or otherwise damaged. You should also format them before each spin.
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If You Have Two Card Slots, Use Them
Dual Card Slots are professionals' function, and if your camera supports them, use she necessarily. If you do not fire many shots, shoot RAW on both cards. This way, you automatically have a backup for each captured image. The probability that a card will fail is low; The likelihood of two cards failing at the same time before you have the option to save your images to another location is essentially zero.
Even if you're shooting at double cards, it's a bad idea to go both sitting in the camera. If someone steals your camera or falls off a cliff – whichever is possible – you do not want both cards to go along. If you do not turn, take one out and store it on your person, another person in your group, or in your pocket.
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Using Multiple SD Cards
The likelihood that something will happen to your SD cards increases the longer you use them. Since SD cards are so cheap, it makes sense to use many of them. For multi-day trips I use two daily maps: a main map and a security card. At the end of each day, I keep them separate – usually one in my backpack and one in my hotel room or AirBnB – and put two fresh cards in my camera. In this way, if anything happens, I lose only the pictures of one day and not the full journey. It does not matter if the cards are full or not.
If you choose this route, it's a good idea to number your maps so you know which photos are on each map. My camera shoots both on CF and SD cards, so I number the CF cards with 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, etc., and the SD cards with 1.2, 2.2, 3.2, and so on. Any numbering system that's right for you is, it will do.
If you can, secure yourself while you shoot
More and more portable hard drives like the GNARBOX or Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro have an integrated card reader. If you are traveling without a laptop, it is worth investing in one of them. You then have the option of backing up your photos every night or even on-site. This is especially important if you only record with a single SD card.
It should be noted that some cameras, like the Nikon Z6 and Z7, shoot at different card formats: Pay attention to what's hard The drive you've purchased supports this card format or has a USB port Connection and supports a normal card reader.
For backups, one is none and two is one. So, backing up your photos to a hard drive is a good idea to keep the photos on the memory cards until you know that your images are securely stored in multiple places – or even better, in the cloud.
Import and save as soon as you can
Once you're home – or where you're on a long journey – your first task before showering or drinking is to import and backup your images. If you do not do it right away, it's too easy to get distracted and reluctant.
Import your images into Lightroom or another file management application that you use, and upload them to Dropbox or another cloud storage provider. If you have taken more than a handful of images, the entire process must be performed for at least a few minutes. longer if you are in the hotel WiFi. Only if you are sure that your images are stored in at least two different locations, you can safely format and reuse your SD cards.
If all this sounds a bit paranoid, you're right. However, there is data loss. Camera equipment is stolen. If you are not prepared for it, you could lose hundreds or thousands of images that you have spent time, money and effort on.
Picture credits: Eddie Yip on Flickr.