How to backup Photos in 2021

How to backup Photos in 2021

How to backup photos in 2021

In the first post, we discussed how to find locations for a photoshoot and followed it with an essential checklist for a photoshoot. This is the third post in sequence with a workflow guide for professionals on how to backup photos.

While the creative side of photography can be highly rewarding, the technical side can be mundane and boring, but just as important.

A reliable workflow on how to backup photos and store them is the backbone for your business

Let’s begin by dividing the workflow on how to backup photos into 4 sequential steps

1. Getting your backup and storage tools ready before the photoshoot.

2. How to backup photos during the photoshoot

3. Options on how to backup photos immediately after the shoot

4. Final storage/photo backup plan to carefully tuck away your photos for future use.

1) Getting your backup and storage tools ready before the photoshoot.

To begin with, the first and most crucial storage backup strategy is to get your storage devices ready for use so that you can backup photos without any complication

The last thing you need is your back-up devices ditching you at the altar (quite literal, if you happen to be a wedding photographer)

Try and bring in these best practices to avoid something like that from happening again

Memory Cards:

Invest in a good quality card and card reader that are most compatible. Using the same brand card and card-reader ensures high reliability.

Format your SDs with your camera before the shoot begins

Hard Drives:

The most reiterated point when using hard drives is to store them safe from physical damage (also from extreme temperatures). Keep them covered inside their cases when not in use.

Defragment your hard-drives (both internal and external) and leave at least 10% free space and avoid filling it up to the brim.


Keep your computer clean and back-up older photos and files to another storage device.

2) How to backup photos during a Photoshoot

  • Most photographers use both their card slots simultaneously as a redundancy plan while shooting. If your camera has a dual card slot, then it goes without saying that you use both slots while you are shooting. This way, even if one of your cards gets corrupted, you can rely on the other one.
  • Recording RAW files on both your cards is a good idea instead of choosing JPEG for one card and RAW for the other. Simply because it’s easier for the camera to process and write RAW files to both cards. If the camera has to process JPEG files too, it will take twice the effort and will slow down the camera.
  • Once your memory cards are 90% full (always better to leave a little bit of space) you can straight away transfer your images from your memory card to your external hard drive while you backup photos
  • Tip: Remember to switch off your camera when you are removing your card out. This is common knowledge but when in a hurry, most of us end up doing it sometimes. Be cautious as it could cause potential damage to your card files.

You already have three copies in three different devices at this point (two copies in two different memory cards and one copy inside your External hard drive)

3) How to backup photos immediately after the photoshoot

Once you are done with the shoot, the first thing you would want to do is to import files into a folder in your computer’s hard drive.

Importing your files into Lightroom: While you are importing your photos in Lightroom from your folder, you could also transfer all your files to another storage device like an external HD once you have saved your files into Catalogues, make sure you go to the catalog settings and choose to back up your catalogs every time you leave Lightroom.

Now have 4 copies in five different devices at this point (two copies in two different memory cards, one copy inside your External hard drive, one inside your computer’s hard drive.

4) Final storage/backup plan to carefully tuck away your photos for future use.

The whole idea is to save copies of your files in different physical locations. Therefore, the best practice is to save 3 copies in 3 different locations.

One copy goes into an online cloud storage system

Another goes to a storage device at your office ( can be a NAS system)

And another copy can be backed up into an SSD and can be kept at your home. Solid-state drives are a much better option than traditional hard drives in terms of reliability and speed.

Best options for cloud storage to backup photos in 2021
  1. Backblaze: $6.00 unlimited Storage.
  2. Google Drive: $9.99 for 2 TB Storage.
  3. Dropbox: $12.50 per month for 5 TB Storage
Best options for NAS Systems (Network Attached Storage) to backup photos

NAS is a Network storage system that allows storage and retrieval of data from a central location. It’s great especially when there is a team of photographers working together on a project or if you have to access your files into other devices quickly from your NAS system. Its easy accessibility and reliability make it the perfect long-time backup option for photographers.

You can choose a NAS device based on your storage space necessity.

Best NAS drives in 2021

1) WD My Cloud Home Personal cloud

Digital Storage Capacity: 6TB

Price: $199.99 (Dual drive)

2) Buffalo LinkStation 2104TB

Digital Storage Capacity: 4 TB

Price: $164.99

3) WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS:

Digital Storage Capacity: 8 TB

Price: $358.40

Best options for SSDs to backup photos

1) SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD with reading speeds up to 1050 MB/ps

Hardware interface: USB 3.1 Type C

Price: $299.99

2) WD 2TB My Passport 2TB SSD with reading speeds up to 1050 MB/ps

Hardware interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB C

Priced at $269.99

3) Samsung T7 Portable SSD 1TB with reading speeds up to 1050 MB/ps

Hardware Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

Priced at $159.00

Once you have covered your complete workflow of backing up photos, you can go back to your SDs and CFs and format them for re-use.


A solid work-flow will bring you peace of mind and will ensure that you do not forget or miss any crucial steps when you are backing up your photos.

Though workflows on how to backup photos differ from one photographer to another, the general idea is to find a solution that is highly reliable and secure.

If you want to read all the posts in our photography workflow series please click on the links below.

  1. How to find the best photoshoot locations
  2. Essential Checklists for photoshoots
  3. How to back up photos in 2021
  4. Photo Culling Workflow
  5. 10 workflow tips on how to edit photos in Lightroom faster

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