Backing up when on the road

Backing up when on the road

Sadly, I said goodbye to about one month worth of photos since my three-month-old portable external USB hard drive died on me. (Farewell a good portion of my RAW files of Bali sunsets *cries*). Lesson learned. One copy is never enough. This prompted me to seriously think about my backup workflow to ensure that this doesn't happen again. 

If you're curious what my current kit I have with me on the road, see this post

My workflow post-snapping session tends to be as follows. First, I browse and identify all the best photos onto my MacBook. Second, I import them into Lightroom and Photoshop for post-production work. Third, I export all the newly edited photos and raw files with presets to a new folder on my computer. I often skip the dreaded fourth step of backing up my files. Well no more!

Here are some tips and recommendations for backing up your files on the road:

If you have reliable internet access, always save your best photos to the cloud.

My laziness did bite me in the ass. (Excuse my language). I have 1 TB of FREE cloud storage via Google Drive. (Yes, you read that right. 1 TB of FREE STORAGE.) All Google drive accounts come with 15 GB of free storage. Alternatives include Dropbox or Box if you're looking for more user-friendly UI. Some of my more hard-core friends set up their own media servers at home. 

Luckily, my camera is able to send photos wirelessly to any device, so I often don't need a Wi-Fi connection to make backups. However, it only sends the compressed file rather than RAW, so you'll need to backup your RAW files another way. 

If you have an Android phone, this process is much easier. You can set your device to automatically sync photos on your device to the cloud. If you're worried about bandwidth, Android gives you the ability to enable the sync when connected to Wi-Fi.

If you don't have reliable internet access, be prepared with at least two external options.

I made the mistake of only having one option, the Seagate Backup Slim Plus. There was no way that my hard drive I bought in October could fail. (It died 2.5 months later.)

Most people opt for the extra portable external hard drive (or two). After my current snafu, I've decided to just buy more SD cards. Why? Prices fell so much that you can get a high-speed 64Gb or 128Gb for around $50-75. For the portability and nearly indestructible nature of these cards, it seemed like the best option, especially when space and weight comes at a premium.

If all of this fails, it's not the end of the world. You still have your memories of the great adventure. Now you have an excuse to go back. ;)