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Hi everyone, Leo Notenboom here for askleo.com.
It’s interesting. It seems like everybody’s got a camera these days. So many people have smartphones that have built in cameras that pictures are being taken at an incredible, incredible rate.
And of course, digital cameras themselves, higher end things that aren’t necessarily associated with a smart device have also improved tremendously in terms of quality and portability and features and functionality that digital photography is really, really blossoming.
It’s one of those things where years ago, many years ago, we would have to think about film and the cost of film and the cost of processing so that we’d be kind of reluctant to push the shutter release. In a case like this, today, I mean we’re taking pictures right and left because there is effectively no cost.
Once you’ve got the device, all you’re doing is “spending” bits and they’re free. You can take as many pictures as you like. The problem, of course, is that with digital photography like digital so many other things, there’s nothing that’s going to lose data faster than a digital device.
You do the wrong thing, you lose your camera, you erase accidentally a memory card or something like that, and everything that was on it is gone in a flash. Now, there’s a subset of folks that are out there thinking that well, that’s why I want to stick with film, with real film.
There’s a problem with that. Remember my mantra – if it’s in only one place, it’s not backed up. With film, you have one and only one master copy of your photograph. That original film, whether it is a slide or a negative, is the master copy. You cannot duplicate – not identically; you can certainly make prints and do those kinds of things with it, but each one almost by definition is a little bit lossy; it’s not quite the same quality as that original negative or that original slide.
Contrast that with digital photography – making a copy, making a truly identical copy is child’s play. You’re literally just copying files from one place to another, and you have an identical master copy of the photograph or of the video that you’re working with.
So, one of the things then, that you can do with digital photography that, to be honest, that you simply can’t with film, is you can back up. That’s one of the reasons that I harp on backing up. One of the reasons that I love digital photography is because I can back up, and as we’ll see in a minute, I do.
So, one of the really common and heartbreaking stories that I hear at Ask Leo! are these stories of loss – of digital loss of loss of irreplaceable photographs. Remember, unlike documents which can be retyped or projects which can be rebuilt from scratch if need be, photographs, by definition are snapshots in time. They cannot be taken again.
That time will never happen again. Once a photograph is lost, it’s lost forever, and like I said, I have some heartbreaking stories, some absolutely heartbreaking stories of people who have lost photographs that are truly, truly important to them and truly, truly irreplaceable.
So that’s one of the reasons, one of the things that drives me to talk about backing up as often as I do and to talk about backing up your digital photography as often as I do. Now, the reason this all came to mind for me is that this last weekend I hosted our (14th actually) Pacific Northwest Corgi Picnic. Now I didn’t take as many pictures as I wanted, because of course, I was busy hosting the event, but I did manage to take 120 pictures.
So the question is: how is all of that getting backed up? Once again, there’ll be a picnic next year, but those won’t be pictures of this year. I can’t retake this year’s photographs. So, backing up. Once I take the pictures, the pictures are on my camera.
By definition, they’re in only one place. By definition, they are not backed up. At the end of the event or at the end of the day, but in this case, at the end of the event, I took my camera over to my laptop, and I immediately copied all of the photographs onto the computer’s hard drive.
I did not remove them from the camera. I did not take them off of the flash memory card, I left them there so that I would have two copies. That is important. Now, when we go further, I go a little nuts. You can kinda gather I kind of feel strongly that digital photographs are incredibly important to be backed up. As a result, I go a little overboard.
Here’s what happens next in my situation. Overnight, those photographs that I’ve copied to my computer’s hard drive are then copied to another computer. Overnight, the next night, they’re copied from one hard drive on that computer to another and then sometime within a week, they’re uploaded to Cloud storage so no matter what happens, all of the pictures are available somewhere in some kind of redundant form.
In reality, it would take three different hard drives and that Cloud storage all to fail at the same time in order for me to lose the pictures that I’ve taken. What should you do? Well, one of the things that I’ve suggested for a long time is that if you have a smart device and you’re using that as your camera, install an application like Dropbox or OneDrive. Use that to automatically upload your photos as they’re taken.
As long as you have a data connection, be it through your plan or through a Wi-Fi, those apps can be configured to automatically upload pictures the moment they’re taken to Cloud storage. I suggest it. It’s a great way to immediately have two copies of your photograph. Perhaps even more if the files are also being downloaded on PCs back in your home.
The question then is, for the rest of you, what else do you do? What other kinds of things do you do to save and protect yourself from data loss on your smart devices and on your digital cameras, most importantly? The digital cameras don’t have this automatic upload feature, so what do you do, what habits do you get yourself into, what technologies might you use to protect yourself from data loss from these all important photographs.
As always, I’d love to hear what you think. If you’re viewing this anywhere but on Ask Leo!, visit askleo.com. Here’s the link to this specific video. You’ll find moderated comments. Like I said, I’d love to hear what kinds of ideas that you have that you might share with others for backing up your photographs as they’re taken and to protect yourself against the data loss, the irretrievable data loss of losing those very precious photographs. I look forward to hearing from you. I’ll talk to you again next week. Take care.