Liz and Andrew met in Israel, spent years living abroad, and have just made it stateside to continue their lives together. They get married in a few more weeks here in Colorado and I guess from the way they’re dancing in front of the setting sun, they’re pretty stoked. I met up with them a couple weeks ago for a super fun engagement session in Estes Park and yes, they boogied down and jumped around. Excited for their wedding.
A quick interruption from the regular blog posts of wedding pictures.
First thing’s first: the takeaway is if you’re a photographer, sign up for Copy here. It’s a Dropbox alternative, it’s tons better, and you need to use it to back up your images.
I write this because I just read a semi insane post online about a photographer who shot a wedding and two days later had someone break into his studio and steal his hard drives, backup hard drives and card wallet, which had all the photos on them. Thankfully, after putting word out on the evening news, someone found the card wallet a month later and the guy delivered the photos to his client.
My first reaction was that I was psyched the clients got their photos. The second, honestly, was that the photographer was absolutely crazy for not having offsite backup. If you’re shooting someone’s wedding, be responsible in how you handle your files! I think about theft, fire, floods, thieves, everything. Having your studio burn down is not an excuse for losing a set of images. I have thought and thought, and the only reasonable excuse I’ve come up with for lost images is being car jacked on the trip home from a job. Or being in an airplane crash.
I’m integrating Copy into my strategy, and from now on I’m going to use it to deliver a digital set of files. Sign up here and you’ll get 20 gigs right off the bat. Copy does exactly what Dropbox.com does, but it does it better and you get more space for free. The company is new and is rapidly expanding, and for the time being you can get unlimited storage from referrals. Yes, right now I have a lot of referral bonuses. I may eventually use it to back up my entire system.
What may be the coolest feature is that you can share folders of images with people and the service divvies up the shared storage so everyone takes a smaller ding on their quota. If I share a folder of images with wedding clients through Dropbox, we might all get hit with 3 gigs subtracted from our available storage space. If I share it with a bride and a groom, we will each get hit with 1 gig subtracted from our quota. This is key. See below.
Anyway, I shoot on 5d Mark III cameras, which have dual card slots filled with Sandisk Extreme SD and Sandisk Extreme Compact Flash cards. I write all RAW files to both cards, so I create a set of backup images as I shoot. I will not under any circumstances delete files during a wedding, and unless I absolutely have to, I will not download or backup during a wedding either. Things happen too fast and there’s too much going on to be fooling around with your originals during a job.
When I get home, I download the cards (probably around 90 gigs) to a Seagate 4 terabyte USB3 working drive. I keep the original cards intact until I am able to cull the job into a set of selects and make backups. Next, I’ll copy the wedding folder to a my backup 4TB drive, my offsite 4TB drive, and a third backup drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. One of these is locked in my car, a second is at a friend’s house, and a third is in my closet — offline in case of lightning strike.
After I edit, I export the final Lightroom catalog and again back it up to all my three backup drives, and then upload the final JPEGs to Pictage, which works as my print fulfillment center as well as offsite backup. If someone loses their images, I can download them from Pictage in about an hour. This has happened four times in the last 8 years. But from now on I’m going to also upload them to Copy and share the folder with the clients, so we have immediate access instead of me having to download images from Pictage and re-upload.
If I get too busy to download and/or cull for a day or two, I split my cards and literally carry a set around with me wherever I go. I’ll put the card wallet in my backpack, or in my pocket, or wherever. I make it a point to always have a set of images on my body until I have everything backed up 4 times over and those drives are spread all over the place.
Anyway, hope this helps with your backup strategy! Back it up!
Wow! Fearless contests are getting insanely competitive these days. The winning images are fresh, inspiring and super unique, and generally make me feel like a complete amateur. The latest contest took a mind boggling 11,000 entries and narrowed them down to 250 award winning images. I got lucky enough to score one. Here’s to 15 years of funky good times!
Sasha and Avi are getting married in a few days and we just had a last minute engagement session here in Estes Park. The fires in Colorado are burning, which, for better or worse, means the sky was orange at sunset. They were game for my idiotic idea of splashing around in a freezing lake at sunset, so off we went. We all got sopping wet but I hope it was worthwhile!
I haven’t shot at the YMCA of the Rockies before, despite it being about 5 minutes from my house. But now, 8 years in, I finally had the opportunity when Laura and Ryan got married there in early June. The views have got to be among the most stunning of almost any ceremony site in Colorado. You see the entire Continental Divide, Yipsilon Mountain and its fat Y Couloir, and the gorgeous, pristine Mummy Range. Rocky Mountain National Park is a pretty great backdrop for a wedding.
Laura & Ryan, it’s been great getting to know you guys over the last year! Congrats on the wedding, and absolutely give a shout next time you’re in town