Tuesday, April 09, 2013

ABC of my photo flow

I have been quietly reviewing several aspect of my digital photography, including the physical aspects my photo management, what I do and what I have to carry as I travel around (a couple of trips are coming up). So I thought I might share some of this here.My ABC Photo Flow

A for Aquire

This is the step where I first take the photo and then transfer it to some other storage device (typically a laptop or net book computer) . I have two options here either by removing the card from the camera, or connecting a cable. Wireless or Net based transfer could be used here as well but I'm lagging behind the times a little in that regard.
 

B for Backup

This is the step I think a lot of photographers over look but it may be the most important. At the same time (or very soon after) you transfer your images from the card or camera you should also make a backup copy (doing this automatically is best). At my office I have a Netgear Stora (a duplicate drive raid system) that is set to automatically backup everything from the local user drives on my network. So loading photos into my picture folder, for example, automatically creates two copies on the stora. When travelling I usually have a small USB backpack style hard drive and I manually copy any photos uploaded to it. Whilst I have gone from a single copy on my camera/SD cards to two copes on harddrives, travelling is a higher risk time for this style of storage, so just in case I carry a couple of empty USB keys in my camera bag to make sure I have additional backups of any "keepers". These backups copies are short term and can be cleaned out once the photo sets go into archive collections.

 

C for Collection

My Primary Copy/Collection, the long term access and storage location, the true archives, are updated regularly usually monthly, but sometimes after special trips or events. I have an permanently running external hard drive connected to my LAN and which contains a master PhotoARCH folder, this is shared between my all my computers, and under that folder are subfolders for each year, then subfolders for each month and finally sub folder for each day.  I have found archiving by date is the easiest way to organized my new digital photos. At the same time I update the archive I also make external copies to optical media (eg DVDs). In the past I made two copies of the DVDs and stored one off site. Recently I did some sums and it is now actually cheaper (a set of 50 DVDs for $24 means the long term cost of storage is around $0.11/MB whereas a 3TB drive for $120 means storage is $0.04/MB) to use a large external hard drive just loaded with your photos and sitting on the shelf, compared with the same storage sitting on DVDs taking up the whole shelf (3TB is equal to approximately 670 DVDs). So now I have two external drives for my archives, one on-line (just on my network) all the time and the other on my shelf. I still make a DVD set to store off-site each month.
If you are a fan of the 3-2-1 approach to backup you will notice that this system incorporates those principles (3 copies, two media and some physical separation between the copies.) I prefer to call it my A-B-C.




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