When it comes to wedding photographers, I think if there is one thing that collectively keeps us all up at night…it’s the idea of losing images.
But like all things in life, we have two choices: We can let that fear take over & bump us off our game….or we can use it to get better! :)
Justin & I have used our joint paranoia over protecting images to come up with a workflow over time that has a few built in fail-safe’s throughout each of the steps to make sure that we are handling our images the safest way possible. Some of these items have definitely been a pretty big investment for us…but this is what it is to be professionals. All of us as professional photographers, have to be responsible for guarding those little electronic files that translate into people’s memories, and making sure we’re delivering them safely. And if we’re not ready to make the investment to make sure we can do it safely, then we’re probably not ready to be trusted with that responsibility quite yet. Whew! There is some tough love happening up in the Pancake Sessions today! :) But I would rather be a little tough on you today than ever have you be in that awful position!
So here we go, our backend workflow for protecting images!
1. Redundant cards while shooting.
One of the features that we love the most about the D4 is that it comes equipped with two card slots. Which means that we can put a 32 GB card in each slot and we’re writing the RAW files twice. So that if one card ever goes corrupt, the other one is still safe & sound.
2. Shooting RAW
While I’m on the topic of cards, with as much as the cost of memory cards has come down and as affordable as good storage can be….If you’re shooting weddings, I don’t think there’s an excuse not to shoot RAW. Period. Even if you’re the most technically proficient shooter in the world, and you nail your shots in camera 99% of the time….there is still that 1%. And Murphy’s Law tells us that sooner or later that one shot you can’t bring back because you were shooting in jpeg is going to be the most important one. While shooting RAW, we’re still of course trying to nail every shot in camera so we’re not editing them for hours. But we can rest a little easier knowing that if something happens really quickly and we shoot it with the wrong settings, we have a MUCH better chance of bringing it back because we were shooting RAW.
3. Back up onsite.
While on site at the wedding, usually when things slow down during dinner, we will start a download & back up of the cards since most of the big things have already happened at that point. For portable hard drives, we really love the Lacie Rugged drives that come with this rubber case to help protect them if they get dropped. And then we’ll also use these again later when I’m pulling jobs to work on for the blog, so that I don’t have to be working off of our main copy on our RAID system. So by the time we leave the wedding we have two copies of the files: on our cards & on a hard drive. One other thing that I would add, is that we got this Think Tank card pack which can hook right to your belt loop or lens bag so that the cards are always attached to us.
4. A Redundant Storage System
Once we get back home that night, Justin will go ahead and get the files copied to our main server which is made up of a series ofLacie 2Big Thunderbolt drives. Each one of these has two 3TB drives which have been set up to mirror each other. So that if one goes down, the other one is still safe. This becomes the main version of our files, and we try never to work off of these files so that we’re not taxing the drives and also so that we keep the originals untouched.
5. Storage in the Cloud
Finally, once we’ve edited a wedding then we upload the edited jpegs to PASS where we are able to have off-site, high res storage in the Cloud. Which means that if something happened to our house, God forbid!, then we still have access to all the high res images. Which is why we also try to get them edited & uploaded pretty quickly so that it shortens that time before we have that off site storage. In the mean time, we usually try to keep a copy of the images out of the house in small cooler that we bring with us just to be safe.
Wow, that last part totally just made us sound like Newman in Jurassic Park. Why don’t we just go ahead & get a Barbasol can full of CF cards and call it a day! :)
So that’s pretty much it! Pretty extensive, I know.
But I’ll tell you this…it definitely helps us sleep better at night!
Happy Pancake Day y’all!
PS: If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below! And if you found this helpful, we would love it if you would share it on Facebook/ Pinterest so more people can benefit too. Spread the Love y’all!