Every traveller’s nightmare: losing all your photographs

In the old days of photography, if a precious picture (and by that I mean a print) was destroyed for some reason, you had the negatives that you could fall back on. So long as they were still intact, you could get a re-print. The advent of digital photography has changed all that. People often don’t get prints any more, safe in the knowledge that they have a digital version and can get a print at any time if they so wish.

Photographer

But how safe are those treasured images? Well, it depends on how careful you are when backing up. I’m a little paranoid on this issue – the thought of losing thousands of photographs – be they from my travels or, even more so, precious photographs of family and friends fills me with dread, so I’ve always tried to ensure that I’m taking all the necessary precautions.

I have images on various machines which I then back up on to two different portable hard drives. One of those drives I store in a different location. Remember, even if you’re backing up, if everything is stored in one place, then you could still lose it all in the event of an incident such as a fire.

But what if you were simply unlucky? You had a fire, perhaps, and your backup at another location had a hard disk failure. Although unlikely, it could happen, so it’s useful to have an additional safety net. It was for this reason I decided to try out Crashplan, which offers continuous backup of all of your files as well as your photos, as I’d read a number of favourable reviews on it elsewhere.

Crashplan

The process of performing a backup with Crashplan is really straight forward. You simply select the folders you would like to back up, and it deals with the rest. I have the Family account which allows you to back up from as many as 10 different devices and – incredibly – you have an unlimited amount of space. All this comes for just $149.99 for the year (less if you commit to multiple years).

If you’ve any volume of data, the initial back up will take quite a while – probably days, weeks or even months (if you’re a really large amount and a slow connection!) – but thereafter any backups will focus on any new material that you add to the folders you have assigned to be backed up.

For me this is a great solution because sometimes my travel schedule means I’m not quite as diligent with my backing up as perhaps I should be or would like to be. Whilst it’s still prudent to do your own backups, with Crashplan at least it happens automatically in the background. Sure, you’ll have to wait for it to be uploaded, but with that comes the added bonus that it’s then being stored in a remote location.

Another nice feature is the app that is available free of charge. With this you can access the files you’ve backed up from your smartphone or tablet.

Have you ever stopped to think how you would feel if you lost all your photographs? It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it? I hope this provides a useful solution, and please tell me in the comments what measures you’re taking to ensure the unthinkable doesn’t happen.

Image #1: Shutterstock

Comments (7)

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  1. Hi Paul,

    Super smart lesson here. We’ve all been there at one time or another.

    I deleted only 10 photos recently from our flight and landing at an “airport” in Labasa – i.e., a tiny trailer – and felt a bit agitated by it.

    I do upload images immediately to my laptop and share through Facebook and Twitter but the backup idea is so importantly.

    Preserve your experience. Backup.

    Thanks for the share Paul.

    I’ll tweet in a bit.

    Ryan

  2. This happened to us just this year in South Africa when we had our iPad stolen from a service station (our fault – we left it there!). Managed to retrieve some of the phortos which had survived the 30 day period, but still lost hundreds from the beginning of our holiday.

    Had the back up of hubbie’s digital camera but then he accidentally deleted all of our game reserve photos so lost all this too!!

    Nightmare holiday for loss of photos, for sure!

    Thanks for your tips – they will certainly help us not to be so stupid next time!

  3. Joe Achman says:

    I use the camera thats built in to my smartphone. It takes decent quality photos (for a non-photographer like me), but the coolest part is it is automatically synched with my Google+ and google photos account, so everything is uploaded as soon as I hit a wifi network. My advice would be to take advantage of the cloud, and automate your backup processes.

  4. Sue F says:

    I lost practically everything in a house-fire in December 2012. Fortunately, I perform monthly back-ups to two external hard-drives, one of which is kept off-site (security deposit box at the bank), so didn’t lose many files. I have continued with the off-site back-up system, but as an added safeguard between monthly back-ups, now also back-up all new photo files to Drop Box to minimize loss if something similar happens in the future.

  5. Mike says:

    There really shouldn’t be an excuse for this to happen nowadays.

    There are loads of cloud options like Box and Dropbox, which my BlackBerry sync’s to as soon as a picture or video is taken. Flickr offers a Terabyte of space for pics and videos for free.

  6. Steve says:

    I think you’ll find that every traveller’s worst nightmare is considerably worse than losing a few photos.

  7. Paul Johnson says:

    Perhaps you need to read the title again, Steve?

    I don’t say *worst* nightmare – of course there are nightmares far, far worse.

    And I don’t say “losing a *few* photos” – I say “losing *all* your photographs” since that can be the reality if you don’t have the correct back-up measures in place.

    Paul

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