Avoiding a lose-lose situation.
When it comes to photography, I like taking pictures first, processing pictures second, and doing back-ups last. Well, that’s not entirely true… hunting for new gear is probably pretty high on my list of photographic priorities.
So, yeah, one of my least favorite parts of photography is doing back-ups. And I’m a tightwad, and I really don’t want to spend a bunch of money on annual cloud storage subscriptions. Instead I’ve invested in a series of external hard drives for mirroring my back-up system.
I also have a disaster recovery system in place with 3 bare hard drives that involves moving 2 off site on a quarterly basis.
The main part of the scheme is how I organize the files.
I create a separate folder for each batch of photos based on camera and date. Each batch folder contains 4 subfolders, one for the original files, another folder for processed files, one for images sized for web use, and one for images sized for web use that are watermarked.
As I mentioned above, the top level folder is named using date and camera, and to make the folders easy to sort numerically I start with the year, then the month, then the day, with a dot between. Like so > 2017.06.04
The camera used, again separated by a dot, follows > 2017.06.04.lx100
The four folders within this main folder are named originals, processed, sized, and branded.
The original files I leave untouched.
The processed files have been opened in Photoshop, tweaked to taste, then titled.
The sized files are knocked down to 72 ppi and roughly 900 to 1200 pixels in width, depending on orientation.
The branded images are just sized files with an added watermark, placed 20 pixels from the bottom of the image and centered.
At least once a month I copy files to the other hard drives. Once a quarter I swap the off-site drives.
I also do complete card dumps on 5 external hard drives. I often go back and look through those archives to see if I missed any gems, like the Fucshia at the top of this post, originally posted in July of 2006. It’s one of my most popular shots on Flickr and a shot that I initially passed on, only to go back a few weeks later and rediscover. You never know what gems you may have overlooked.