I am very diligent carrying two portable USB (backpack style) hard disks for ensuring I have good backup while I’m on the road. One disk, I’ll call the “son” is used just after I’ve loaded and culled my photos. Once the backup is complete I then have two copies, one on my computer and the other on the backup disk so this is the time I also reformat the SD cards on my camera. I used to let picasa delete photos it loaded, and never had any problem with that process, but occasionally later I get a card not recognized in both of my camera and reformatting in the camera fixed that.
Then after a few days, occasionally up to a week, or if I have taken a lot of photos I may do it daily. I use the other backup, which I called the “father”, to get copies of all new photos (ie an incremental backup since the previous backup). Then put it back in my luggage.
This process has served me well.
I’ve now got a slightly different processes for “archiving” my lightroom work. At the end of the month, or close to it I backup my lightoom catalogue and setting files onto the “son” backup disk, in a directory called lightroom_back. I also move all the previous months photos (ie at the moment that was march) off my HP spectre which only has a 250 GB SSD drive, also onto the son drive. I do this move outside lightroom, despite all the warnings not to more files outside lightroom, because it is a lot simpler. Inside lightoom all the photos removed now have the little box and question mark in the top right (hovering the mouse over this shows the warning “Photos is missing”. Now providing I have preserved the directory structure I can relink all the photos in a given day in one process by right clicking on the directory containing the now missing files. Selecting the find missing folder and using the normal browse process to find the location of the directory containing that days photos on the external drive. The process needs to be repeated for each day but that doesn’t take long.
The final step is this “son” drive retires and become a new “father” and goes back in the luggage. The old “father” gets reborn as the new “son”. I also normally delete the previous lightroom catalogue backup from this disk to avoid confusion and possibility of loading the old catalogue.
This has worked wonderfully for three months now. However when undertaking the reconnection of the files it lightroom I was obviously distracted and didn’t finish. Worst I had unplugged the USB disk but left it on the table in the hotel (it would normally have gone into my luggage) A day or so later and many miles away I realise it was missing and a checked with the hotel confirmed they had found my disk, phew!…. and I can pick it up in a couple weeks as I pass through town again. That’s ok this is off-site backup.
Yesterday morning while having breakfast on the terrace of the apartment I’m staying in now, suddenly fire alarms where going off everywhere. I didn’t panic, I had off-site backup! It was a false alarm anyway, someone might have burnt their toast. Lucky I was carry two backup external drives.