Let's talk backups.

So here's what I've been up to this week: finding out everything I can about storage. The other day a nightmare happened: I lost an entire gallery and had to disappoint my client... How that happened? Let me share this with you.

Whenever I get home from a shoot, I immediately put my SD card in my desktop and start copying my photos to my computer AND to an external hard drive. I only store pics that I am currently working on on my PC, it is never meant as final storage, that's where my external hard drive is for. I also leave all the photos on the SD card until the gallery is delivered to the client. And once pics are delivered, there's always the Pixieset Gallery, which I usually store in Pixieset for at least one year. Of course the gallery doesn't hold my RAW files, but if all else fails it will it can at least provide the pictures the client payed for.

I was about halfway through editing this extended family shoot (I know, not my niche but hey, one's gotta earn a living right?) when my photos were disappearing right in front of my eyes. You know how in Lightroom you get this little exclamation mark in the right corner of your previews when Lightroom can't find your file? Well, in just a few seconds, Lightroom went from being fine, to can't find any of the files.

Thinking it was just a glitch, I went to my look in the folders on my desktop hard drive and was shocked to find them either gone or damaged. Panic started to set in and I frantically searched on my external drive for the backup. No such luck: the same problem happened on my external drive too. Oh I can tell you: all hell broke loose in my mind now!

So what actually happened? Apparently a devastating virus had entered my computer and wiped out all my files. And because my external hard drive was connected to my PC at that time, it wiped out all my backups too. As soon as I started to grasp what was going on, I immediately shut down my computer and disconnected the hard drive. I called in an expert to help me remove the virus and restore the damage to my hard drives in hopes of getting my files back.

The total damage? I lost the entire Extended Family Shoot (only 3 pics were restored), half of an equine shoot and a few other shoots were missing several photos. Luckily I already delivered all galleries, except for that Extended Family Shoot. Didn't I just state that I always save the pictures on my SD until gallery is delivered? Yes I did, butd it so happened that I already formatted that SD card because I accidentally took the wrong SD card with me on another shoot. Just my luck...

I ended up with only 3 pics left on that Extended Family Shoot and had to inform my client of this sad news. What a dreadful call that was: photographer's absolute worst nightmare!

So I've been looking into different storage options involving Cloud-storing, NAS, External hard drives and more. I am so scared of this ever happening again and I wondered: what is the easiest way to store without ending up with a vault full of old hard drives over the years? I'm still looking in to this and will do an in depth post on this topic soon (because this post has already maxed out in lenght), but for now I want to ask you: do you make backups? I sure hope so! Let us know what is your favorite way of storage and why. Of course questions are welcome too.