(Pro) Photgs – whats your back-up routine?

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  • (Pro) Photgs – whats your back-up routine?
  • If you only have one copy of old stuff, where is the backup? i.e. what happens if your Drobo thing gets nicked / house burns down?

    For archiving stuff that you really really need to keep safe (work stuff etc.), two big disks always in two different places as a minimum. There are internet services that backup stuff remotely, but I think they are quite expensive once you want any decent amount of storage.



    home/work back ups:

    workstation – 1x 500gb samsung drive – program files/ scratch disk for cs2 (on partition)
    2 x 500gb samsung drives with data on (not full yet)
    capacity for one more SATA dive on MB, then going eSATA (USB is way too slow!!)

    backed up to
    1) 2x freecom 500gbUSB 2 drives once a week using sync toy (free app from MS) – these are then hidden under the floor or removed if we go away for an extended period
    2) 1 NAS (homemade running FreeNAS) with 3 x 400gb IDE drives as a mirror for these (also serves as an mp3 server for the rest of the flat)

    Considering offsite bakup at the moment
    1) carbonite – used in past as a trial, but incredibly slow to do the initial backup!
    2) considering more usb drives, attached to an NSLU2/Slug on a network switch at my office and using this as an FTP server/remote backup (work in a uni, so have loads of bandwidth and friendly with IT guys anyway)

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    *pulls up chair* Not a pro but interested…

    Considering offsite bakup at the moment
    1) carbonite – used in past as a trial, but incredibly slow to do the initial backup!

    This will be true of any off-site internet backup since it will be limited to the upload speed of your connection which is typically pitiful on a consumer ADSL connection.

    However, Carbonite should get faster with use as once it has done the initial backup, all subsequent backups are just the changes following the original.


    it is indeed – also requires as you say the speed of the connection to be good – when I tried the trial my broadband (supposed 8mb, but virgin were supplying less than 1mb) was dreadful – now with be and getting consistent 20mb speed (24mb connection) so would be alot quicker


    oh and carbonite is currently $54 per years – so pretty measly
    tend to back really important stuff up to flickr and set as private – but that of course doesnt give me the RAW files when I need them


    I'm not a pro, but do dabble in many graphics things.

    @ Home media
    I have two different hard drives, one is the main the other is a backup of the main, they are not the same make, for obvious reasons.
    I use 2 NAS devices, one which is kept at home (onsite) and the other is kept at work (offsite).

    This is just backup drives, have considered going Raid mirror, but I've never had a drive fail (not in the last 10 years) and if it did, not much would be lost.

    I also have a 32Gb USB stick, for transferring, and again, small backups.

    I do exactly the same thing for work.

    Not pro by a long shot but have sold one or two snaps and lost enough files through failure/stupidity to have a 'system'…

    Nikon Transfer can be set to auto-backup your card on download.
    I do this so I can have one copy 'archived' as backup and one 'live' to edit/delete leaving backup intact.
    I also don't delete the card until I'm sure the transfer has gone OK – I've always got originals to refer to in case I cock it up!

    'Live' photos are stored on my NAS drive so I can work from desktop, laptop or view on my TV (through Mac Mini).

    NAS is backup up to drive in the PC, usually weekly (1st backup)

    PC backup is replicated monthly to removable drive.

    This is useful – great for achiving.
    Drop in a cheap hard drive, fill it up, unplug, stash somewhere safe.

    Interested to hear with others do or feedback on my system!

    I read recently that the high density drives we have now can suffer from bit decay if not regularly rewritten. It said that the drives can detect falling levels of magnetisation, and will rewrite sectors found to be below spec when they are read, so it's a sensible precaution to run a CHKDSK full surface scan every now and then (at least once a year).

    Literally the minute I get in from a wedding, I download everything onto the desktop, and immediately burn a couple of DVDs of the untouched files.

    As soon as I have a folder of 'worked' images (processed files after editing) I burn another couple of DVDs.

    I also backup completed jobs onto two seperate external drives (Verbatim and Seagate). I don't keep them in seperate places (prolly should) but the Verbatim lives in a lockable, fireproof filing cabinet.

    I know of other togs who keep a backup drive at a friend's house, and back it up once a month….

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    now with be and getting consistent 20mb speed (24mb connection) so would be alot quicker

    Your maximum upload speed on Be is still only 1Mbs, so don't expect it to be that much faster.


    My current backup is about full to the brim so, gotta sort meself out some new storage, need to decide the best routine and equipment as most of what I shoot needs long term archiving…..
    Current thoughts are:-

    Drobo at home for the back-ups.
    Work in progress on the mac book and / or portable drive to bring into the studio / take to clients..

    So, what do you do?


    As an aside Tesco recently had fireproof and waterproof boxes for sale at 20 quid. That's where we keep all our backup discs and ID stuff.


    I use Mozy for my photo library and other stuff – about £3 per month for unlimited space. Currently have over 100GB uploaded to it.

    Initial seed took ages but nightly backups are no problem now.


    I throw everything onto one external hard drive, which is actually an internal that I threw in a caddy because it has a fault on it which meant it couldn't support an OS 😆

    two external drives, one at home, one in other location.
    time machine and an aperture vault set up on each.
    update monthly.

    is this enough???

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