At this point, I don’t think anyone is not aware that they need to have multiple backups of their data, but at what point in your workflow does your backup process start? Depending on the type of work you shoot you may need more backup options and you might need to start your backups on location. There are lots of ways to back up your photos on location and for most photographers, it probably involves either shooting to two memory cards or carrying a laptop to every shoot. I’ve done each of these options and some assignments require I do both. Like a lot of photographers, I am always on the lookout for a simpler and more streamlined process to accomplish this. Two big concerns for me are being able to stay lightweight and laptop theft concerns. As an outdoor adventure photographer, I spend a lot of time in difficult locations and need to keep the amount of gear I travel with to a minimum. I also spend months in foreign countries staying in places that don’t always have great room security. So leaving extra gear in the room often isn’t an option and carrying a lot of backup equipment on location every day is a pain.
Over at SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa explains their 3-2-1 method of backing up images from beginning to end. This method breaks down as follows:
- 3 copies of files on location
- 2 local backups at the studio
- 1 off-site copy via the cloud
Now for some photographers, this may seem like overkill and for others, it might not be enough. The easier we can make creating backups in our workflow the more likely we are to do them and the safer our data will be. Jirsa talks about several methods and ways to achieve this 3-2-1 system but his incorporation of the Gnarbox 2.0 is what stood out to me. The Gnarbox has often been marketed as a streamlined and lightweight solution for backing-up on location, and on the surface, it does sound good. You can read our Fstoppers review of it here. I have been following the production of the Gnarbox since the release of the original and it has come along way and I’ve even spoken with the design team several times at conferences. As of yet, I haven’t pulled the trigger as I’m not quite sure it would actually streamline my workflow or add additional complications.
Overall I think Jirsa’s system is a great breakdown of how all photographers should think of backing up their data. Even if that means you have to find different solutions or swap something like a Gnarbox for a WD My Passport Pro or laptop. The important part is to have some solution in place from multiple stages from start to finish.
What does your backup workflow look like? How important are multiple copies of your images on location?