I remember always hearing from my teachers in high school and college saying “save early, save often, and, (with much bigger emphasis), ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK." This saying was put into practice in college, and it saved me more times that I could ever count. If I hadn’t backed up those files before I lost my trusty thumb drive, that big school project I spent hours on would have been gone forever. And I’d be crying in my bowl of ramen.
Not only was it a life-saver in college, but this important lesson applies to me even now in my personal and professional life.
But it also applies to YOU.
The general public.
In this digital age, no one can afford to brush this easy little precaution aside.
Not everyone has the time or the foresight to take precautions. We think since everything is digital these days, our data is probably safe since it is not a physical item we can lose, destroy, or get stolen.
More than once, I’ve witnessed people angry and distraught because their photos/data were no longer accessible, lost, or corrupted.
A few months ago my mom’s phone got run over and was smashed to bits. It was not salvageable, and couldn’t be plugged in to retrieve the memories. She lost all her photos/videos from the last year on her phone because she didn't’ download, save, or back any of them up. So even though she didn’t lose hours of work on a big class project, she did lose something emotionally important to her - which is so much worse in my opinion.
So how does all this tie into my photography business? Well...
After I edit a shoot, my clients receive their photos via a private online link, which is a convenient tool I use only to deliver their images. With so many photos, I have to rotate some sessions out in order to make room for new clients. Thus, the link does not last forever, and I am not the permanent storage host for my clients’ images after they’ve been delivered. Even though I always inform them to download, it doesn't always happen and they rely on the link to see their photographs. Some have come to me in panic because they can no longer access their photos, and don't know where they are. Thankfully, because I back everything up, they’re all saved in other places to keep safe and I’m able to find and re-send their precious images. This occurrence has happened more than once, and has prompted me to write this blog topic.
So, what action should you (clients and general public) take in order to avoid losing data?
You run a pretty big risk in losing everything if you don’t have backups. You should always save precious data (like your wedding photos, or the last recorded words of great grandpa) using the 3-2-1 rule.
The 3-2-1 backup rule means your data should be saved in three different places. Two of those places should be local. “Local” means storage on your computer, phone, thumb drive, external hard drive, and/or CD. And one place should be an offsite internet-based storage option such as Google Drive, OneDrive, ICloud, etc. That way, you have three places to look for your data in case there is a fire, your trusty laptop crashes, or you drop and run over your phone.
I encourage clients to immediately back up their photographs once they’ve been delivered. If you’re not my client but know you are guilty of not backing up your data, save yourself the heart-dropping panic and potential loss of your images/important items. Put that 3-2-1 rule into practice.
I had no idea my mom didn’t have her files on something other than her Iphone, and I felt so bad for her when she lost it all.
Don’t be like my mom. (Love you, Ma!)
Back it up.