Ever misplace anything?
Have you ever misplaced anything, something as replaceable as your favorite pen?
Do you remember your reaction? Perhaps panic as you frantically try to back-track your steps.
Relief when you find what you are looking for.
And after that, do you find yourself considering how much time it took to find your item?
Things get misplaced
Very easily, things can simply be misplaced. I know I’ve looked all over my desk for my favorite ball point pen, only to find it under a stack of paper.
It isn’t a special pen, just one I’ve used often. And I wanted it back!
Can you find your photos?
Whether you use a cell phone or dedicated camera for your photography, can you find your images when you need to?
Are you one who keeps all your images on your phone, or with a camera, on the card?
Move images to computer and/or cloud
Regardless of how you capture your images, it is a good idea to move your images off your phone and/or camera and onto a local computer or cloud service.
Do you really need to keep all of the images from the past year on your phone?
Rather, keep a few of your favorites on your phone to share. Move the others over.
Local computer or cloud?
Local computer is your own computer, perhaps a laptop or desktop with its own hard disc storage.
The cloud implies an off-site, upload storage. Fees are typically structured around the amount of storage space required.
With a local computer, you transfer your images from your phone or camera directly to the computer’s hard drive. With the cloud, you’ll upload your images to the service.
It is possible to use a combination of both.
Need for Editing your Images
Have you found that some of your images aren’t worth showing? They may be out-of-focus, bad backgrounds, too much light, or too dark. Some of these issues can be adjusted in some software programs, though there is nothing that fixes out-of-focus images.
If you have a few of these, and I can assure you I have, now is the time to take action. After you transfer the images to your computer, review and delete the bad ones before any further back-up.
Deleting the failed images saves your hard disc space (both on your computer and cloud service).
There are many programs available for photo editing. Some are free. Others are fee-based.
You may have free program already on your computer. (Look under photos, or photo editing) You don’t need a fully featured software program for this organization. Windows Explorer (on PC) will work fine.
These are browser-type programs that help you view and organize your photo files.
Organize your images in folders that make sense to you. The easiest is by year, and then by date within the year. In addition to the date, add a few words to the folder name so you can quickly tell what is in the folder.
Without some level of file management, it is very hard to find images.
Remember to back-up
Backing up your photography files (images) is as simple as copying your files over to a separate hard drive. This can be accomplished manually (copy and paste) or through software. How it is accomplished is far less important than the fact that it is accomplished.
Hard disks and computers can crash, causing data loss. Depending upon your data (or images), this could be catastrophic!
Another way to loose your files is by accidentally deleting some of your images.
Have you ever worked with multiple images, thought you selected the correct one to delete, and found out later it wasn’t! With your images backed up, that lost image can be easily retrieved.
My back-up system
Currently, I use a desktop computer with two hard drives. The primary (“C”) drive is a 1 TB solid state unit, which stores all program files and also my landscape photography images.
The second internal drive is a regular 3 TB hard drive. This drive holds all my data files, including a second back up of my landscape photography files.
To digress briefly, using Lightroom, I maintain five different catalogs:
- Powder Hill Photography landscape photography (DNG files)
- Art Fairs (iphone images of the art fairs I attend)
- eBay (briefly used, only when I’m selling something on eBay)
- Family DNG (all family images I capture with my camera in RAW, converted to DNG)
- Assignments (actually a catch-all of anything that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Images with specific purposes that may not be kept long).
The second hard drive (“D”) houses all of the above images and respective catalogs, as the primary location in the computer. The exception as noted above, are my landscape images – their primary location is the “C” drive, with the first back up in “D”.
Given that a computer could fail and I loose both drives, I also have three external hard drives.
Two drives (1 TB and 2 TB) are mounted in an external RAID enclosure, though not running in RAID configuration. Each drive is a mirror image of the other. I manually copy and paste the files to their respective locations. This unit sits on my desk, and is available quickly.
This 2-drive backup was created when I had a computer recently fail. The drives were good, the other parts weren’t. I purchased the RAID external housing and kept both internal hard drives from that failed machine. Works great!
The third external hard drive is a self-contained external 2 TB drive. Everything that is on both above drives is also on this external drive. In addition to the photography images, it also includes all Word and Excel files, as well as backups to QuickBooks and fotoBiz.
Additionally, all of my wife’s jpg family images – that she stores on her own computer – are also backed up on each of these three drives.
This third external drive remains locked in a fire-proof safe in my office – just in case!
Why not a cloud system?
This is a very good question. For a number of years I hosted my web site on PhotoShelter, which along with providing the web site is also a great cloud storage solution. In late 2016 I started migrating my web site to Word Press, and late last year completed the project. At that time I deleted my PhotoShelter account.
At least for me, I have many more images than I had placed on PhotoShelter, which required a local back up system.
It was during this timeframe that I developed the system to back up my images three times. (It is more elaborate now than it was a few years ago).
Whatever works best for you
Whether you select a local back-up to one or more hard drives, or a cloud service, or combination of both, it is important to keep the system simple. If it is complicated, you’ll be less likely to use it.
Whatever works best for you – that’s the correct system.