Until they are printed or framed, a photographers actual “products” are digital files held on either a hard drive, SD card, or USB drive. It’s similar for broadcast video files, where they remain hidden away in digital form until displayed on screen. Keeping a massive collection of images or video files on just one storage medium is a recipe for disaster, as accidents and errors do happen. And, photographers that lose their work risk ruining their current customers, reputation and business referrals.
Thankfully, there are several processes and technology tools that photographers should employ to best protect, backup, and store their digital media files.
Let the Camera Do its Magic
While modern DSLR cameras are certainly fast, they do need a few seconds to properly write the file to the SD card. After you press the shutter button, the camera performs several functions to capture, format, and place the photo in the right spot within the camera. Especially if you are shooting multiple shots in a row for action sequences, allow a little more time. The risk is you can introduce errors and formatting problems for the SD card itself, potentially corrupting all of the pictures on the card.
Manage Battery Levels
You should avoid taking photos when the battery power is very low. It requires power to run all of the phone’s processes, so you risk errors when taking shots on low battery. The solution is simple. Use spare batteries and portable chargers to ensure you always have a reserve option. Make a habit out of recharging batteries fully after every shoot.
Create Multiple Levels of FileBackups
Photographers and video broadcast professionals should both take cues from companies that have in place multiple types of file backups. These companies understand that data is one of their most vital assets, and so they should know their files are really more important than their actual camera equipment.
Digital file storage is relatively inexpensive, especially when you do a risk-reward of what could happen if you lose your entire collection. Use a mix of physical storage in the form of external hard drives and cloud services such as Google Drive or Amazon where you can access and upload photos via multiple devices through an internet connection. With external hard drives, consider buying several and then ask a trusted friend or relative to keep one at their home so you have an additional backup. You also need a routine for data storage. After every shoot, want to move files from the SD card to your storage solutions as fast as possible.
Handle SD Cards Gently
Hold a SD card in your hand, and you can feel how they’re fragile devices. Take care to store the cards properly when not in use, keeping them away from any dirt or water. You also shouldn’t move SD cards from camera to camera, as each DSLR has its own formatting parameters, and you can cause corruption if you’re swapping in and out. If the card becomes unusable or corrupted, then consider using SanDisk’s RescuePRO® line of products which can safely pull damaged information from a SD card.
Save Formatting and Deleting at Home
SD cards hold a large amount of photos and videos, so you shouldn’t have to delete photos from the card while in the field. Carry backup cards and be sure you download and store images after every shoot. And, some DSLR’s can cause file errors when using the delete feature as they use destructive deletion protocols which can make it impossible to recover if the deletion occurred on accident.
Also, it’s hard to see all of the details of a shot within the four-inch LCD screen. You might miss a funny thing in the background or the lighting might be better than you believe. So save formatting and deletion for your computer and big monitor.
By following several best equipment practices and implementing backup procedures, photographers can focus on composition and clients instead of data.
About the Writer - David Zimmerman
David Zimmerman has been in the hardware/software industry for over 30 years, specifically in the data recovery software market for 18 years. During this period, he has been involved in the creation; marketing and support of the earlier drive recovery software products to enter the PC market and successfully marketed them both nationally and internationally. His company makes data recovery products for most of his competitors. His experience in the market has made him uniquely familiar with the data recovery business.
LC Technology International, Inc. is a global leader in data recovery, file system utilities and data security technology. Clients include original equipment manufacturers, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, corporate security specialists and IT consultants, among others. Available worldwide and published in more than 24 different languages, LC Technology products are available direct or through several major manufacturers of flash memory products. Founded in 1997, LC Technology is based in Clearwater, Florida.