How to save your photos

How to save your photos

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Your hard drive is like a light bulb. It is not a question of if it is going to crash, it is when. Will your precious photos survive the crash?

I save my photo files in two places.

The first place I save my photos is on an external hard drive. But do you know the right type to get?

If your only goal is to buy a hard drive with massive storage space, then you want a RAID 0 drive. This means that if the external hard drive contains three x 6 TB drives, then your total space on the external hard drive will be 18 TB.

But the problem with this scenario is that when one of the drives fails, you will lose ALL your photos. This defeats the purpose of having an external drive and leaves you vulnerable to a failure, so a better solution is needed.

The next type of external hard drive setup is called RAID 1. This is the ultimate in redundancy, but you will lose storage space. If you have three x 6 TB drives in your RAID 1 external drive box, then the total storage space is just 6 TB. But the upside is safety. You could lose two of the three drives and your data will be protected. Each drive is a mirror copy of the next.

The happy medium is a RAID 5 setup. This gives you both redundancy and more storage space at the same time. If you have three x 6 TB drives then your total storage space will be 12 TB. You could lose one of the three drives and your data will still be safe on the other two.

This is exactly what happened to me last year. I had a RAID 5 external drive and lost one drive out of three, but my data was safe. I replaced the dead drive and I was good to go.

The second place I save my photos is in the cloud. I have a paid Dropbox account and everything saved onto the external drive is automatically backed up to dropbox. This is super handy when I am away from the studio because I always have access to my photos.

It also works in reverse. If I take a photo on my cell phone, I can save it to dropbox through the dropbox app on my phone. Then, instantly the photo is backed up onto my external drive in the studio so I have access to it right away.

Your photos are like the diary of your life. Losing them would be devastating in the same way that having your house burn to the ground would be. If you take steps now, you will protect your precious memories when the inevitable hard drive crash comes your way.

Happy shooting!


Tim Shields is the founder of PhotographyAcademy.com, the author of The Photo Coookbook, and the creator of the Photography Transformation Four-Step System to stunning photos.