You may be saying to yourself, “wait, isn’t that what my photographer does?” but I honestly can’t stress enough how important it is for you to make sure you’ve saved & backed up all of your pictures, not just your wedding images.
If this is the first time you’re thinking of backing up images, you may also be thinking that the gallery your images are stored on is a good place for keeping your images, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most galleries are ran on the cloud these days. And with more & more people, and more & more events being uploaded to the cloud on a regular basis, space will eventually run out. That’s why most gallery systems (and photographers, but we’ll chat about that in a minute) will automatically downgrade your file size & quality after a certain age of your event. File size & quality is extremely vital to not only the quality of your image when it’s printed but also to the ability to print sizes larger than a 4×6.
So, now you may be asking, “well, shouldn’t my photographer have my files backed up?”. And while yes, it is very likely that your photographer has your files backed up, I always recommend that you do not rely on your photographer to keep your most precious moments backed up for you & here’s why.
Depending on the photographer you choose, and their “time in the game” if you will, or their knowledge of backup systems, etc, your photographer could have a huge range of backup systems in place to literally none – yes this really does happen – to a multiple external hard drive & online cloud backup system.
I’ll be frank when I say that in my early days of photography I didn’t know as much as I knew now about image backup. In my early days I thought that my gallery system + an online cloud system (which I didn’t really know much about back in early 2012) would be enough. I learned the hard way though, with systems failing & the online cloud that it’s actually very easy to lose images that you think are permanently stored. I’ve had clients who have had every single moment of their lives photographed by me, also never download any of their images, which frankly still shocks me, but when they finally got around to doing that 7 years later, the gallery system had locked them out of their galleries & I’d already had 3 different computers, 1 of which completely failed causing me to lose everything.
Now, I work very hard to make sure I have everything backed up in several places but you must know that technology is fickle & just because I have several external hard drives with my entire system on it and I use 2 different cloud systems, that doesn’t mean that anything could fail *knock on wood* at any moment. And also, it is actually impossible for me to store images from every single event and session I photograph or else I wouldn’t be able to complete my work. In one year alone I average about 30,000 images taken, now multiply that by the amount of years I’ve been a photographer and that totals 240,000. That is an absurd amount of images to keep on a computer, and frankly I don’t even think it’s possible to have a working computer with all of that data stored on it. This is why it is so so so so important that you back up your own images as a fail safe.
Do you have old images on a disc or flash drive? Plug those babies into your computer & offload the images!
Do you have multiple galleries of images that you one by one take photos from for special occasions, social media posts & cards? Download those images to your computer!
Don’t have enough space on your computer or laptop? Here’s the simplest of simple fixes, a 4TB external hard drive for under $100, in fact it’s the one I have multiple of: https://amzn.to/3acbF7b
It’s so simple, you literally just plug it into your computer, open the folder labeled “Elements” and start transferring files directly to it!
If you have a newer Mac product, here’s a comparable one for you to use as well: https://amzn.to/2VqMkkj
And finally, friends, if there is anything I can tell you, or rather shout is that the beauty of print will absolutely never go out of fashion. To have your memories printed, and in physical albums will absolutely never go out of fashion. You do not have to have every single image from your wedding printed if you choose not to. You can even print every single image & buy a decorative box to keep all your images in & safe. But to have the images printed, and also stored somewhere safe digitally will ensure your ability to have all of your most precious memories safe and available for years, and generations to come.
Believe me when I say, you will never regret the choice to download, backup & print your images. Ever.