The ultimate guide to backing up your photos


You may think that digital photography has removed the pain and heartache of losing your photos. Gone are the days of accidentally overexposing film and being left without any proof of your hard work. Unfortunately, digital photography has unleashed a new kind of heartache, in the form of corrupted memory cards and lost hard drives.

The good news is that this drama can be avoided by having a solid workflow for backing up your data. Ted’s Cameras have come to the rescue to share their tips on how photographers can back up photos.

Why it is important to back up your photos

You might think you currently have a fool-proof plan in place. Your photos sit temporarily on your memory card until it is full, at which point you transfer them to your computer hard drive and start again. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if this is your current workflow, you are running the risk of losing your images, perhaps for good, at several stages in this process.

Why? Both memory cards and computer hard drives are physical items that can be either lost or damaged, making irreplaceable data disappear with them. For this reason, all photographers need a data storage and backup plan in place.

How to store photos?

#1 Pick a robust SD card, but...

The first place your data gets stored is in your memory card. Not all memory cards are created equally. To make sure your photos are as safe as possible, choose a high-class memory card. This doesn’t just relate to storage capacity; more expensive cards can read and write data at a faster rate, which helps your camera to perform at its best and prevents issues during transfer. They are also protected from other elements including temperature, shock, and x-rays, making them the best SD cards for photography.

#2 … don’t let your photos sit on your SD card

From here, you need to come up with a long-term plan for storing your important files. There are two main options: external hard drives and online cloud storage. Both options do a fantastic job, but are not without their drawbacks.

#3 Store your photos on an external hard drive

First, let’s talk about external hard drives. External hard drives for photographers are a great option, providing you with plenty of storage for a relatively affordable price. They are also portable, so you can take them with you when travelling if necessary, and they are quick, so you can backup your new work within minutes. What is the downside? Just like your computer hard drive, external hard drives are a physical product, so they can be lost or damaged.

#4 Store your photos on cloud storage

Now for the competition, cloud storage. You are probably already using cloud storage in some manner on your phone or your computer, but have you considered using it for all of your important photos? The plus side of storing photos on the cloud is that as it is not a physical object there is no risk of it being damaged or lost and taking your files down with it. It can be turned to anywhere where there is an Internet connection, meaning you can access your work while you're travelling – as long as you’re not in a remote area. Cloud storage for photos can also be pricey, as high-resolution photo and video files take up a lot of space. Lastly, it’s much slower to transfer data from the cloud than to use a hard drive.

Pick the right option for you

Losing your work to data failure is a real threat, but as you can see, you have different options available to store digital photos securely. While it can be tricky to decide whether external hard drives or cloud storage is the best option to back up your work, the important thing is to settle on a workflow and stick to your guns. And for your most valuable photos, you can use a combination of both, storing them both in the physical and the online world.

For more photography tips and tricks, be sure to head over to Ted’s Cameras’ photography blog, or head to your local Ted’s Cameras store to speak to their camera experts.