How I back up my digital photos to keep them safe

March 26, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Unless we are really careful, it's likely that this decade might have the fewest photographs to contribute to history.  What is your strategy to preserve your digital photographic files physically and technologically?  If you aren't worried about saving your photos read this article.

I have a primary 3TB hard drive with which I travel that I keep safe in a small, hard plastic case called a Dolfin Box.  I connect this drive to my computer using a "Plugable USB 3.0 SuperSpeed SATA III Lay-Flat Hard Drive Docking Station" which I got from Amazon for under $25.  I keep both the hard drive case and the dock wrapped up in clothing in my carry-on luggage.  When I get home, I clone my travel drive to my home drive using a piece of Mac software called Carbon Copy Cloner which copies all of the new data from the working drive onto the home drive.  I name each drive with a number suffix of "1" or "2".  Currently, my travel drive is "Cheesecake 1."  When I get home, I clone "Cheesecake 1" onto "Cheesecake 2."  While I'm home, I keep these drives separated when possible, so that if something bad happens, the data resides in different locations.  Periodically, I will travel with "Cheesecake 2" and leave "Cheasecake 1" at home to share the wear and tear on the drives.

Plugable Hard Drive Docks

My hard drives are Western Digital Red 3TB NAS drives.  The Red drives have both a longer warranty and a longer lifespan than the WD Green drives.

I used to travel with small self contained hard drives, but I found these drives to be much less reliable that the high quality NAS drives that I use now.

A next step - which I do in some cases - would be upload the best of my pictures to cloud storage.  A final step - yet to be implemented - would be to print out high quality images onto archival paper to have a physical copy.




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