Everyone has heard the scare stories of Uncle Bob being asked to shoot a wedding, shooting all day and putting everything onto a 128gb card – only for it to corrupt – losing the happy couple (soon to be unhappy) all their wedding day photos. Memories gone.
Weddings are one offs, there’s no reshooting, recreating or replicating – once a moment is gone, it’s gone forever. So how do I guard against such disastrous episodes?
Here’s how I look after your images…
At every wedding I carry at least two cameras (and often have a third camera just in case). However well we look after our equipment it can fail or get broken. This practice of backups is carried through to a lot of my other equipment, including speedlights (flashes) and lenses. I also carry enough batteries to keep a drum playing bunny happy for a very long time.
In each of my cameras I use 16gb memory cards and change these regularly, not when they are full, but at strategic times during the day. Using a large card like ‘Uncle Bob’ is crazy as you are putting all your eggs in one basket! I keep two cases on me at all times, one with new cards and other with used cards straight from the camera. So at the end of each wedding I have a small waterproof case of 16gb cards with all of your images. These stay on my person, even after the wedding – if I call for petrol on the way home, they are with me and not in my car.
After the wedding
As soon as I get home I start loading the image onto my computer. I now have TWO backups of your photos: one on the original cards, and one on my computer. Within an hour of your image files being put on my computer, those files are again backed-up automatically onto another external hard disk. So now there are THREE backups of your wedding photos.
Good practice dictates that you shouldn’t keep all of your files in one physical location – so the day after your wedding the case with all the cards from your wedding is taken offsite to another location (and will remain there until your images are finished and delivered to you). I won’t publicly say where I store your images long term, but they are kept safe and secure off site.
How couples should look after their images
Once I have delivered my wedding photos to my couples, I advise them to back up their own copy too. If you get any of your images framed, why not store a backup DVD or USB key in the frame? Discs and USB sticks are easily lost and DVDs/CDs actually have a limited lifespan, so you need to duplicate your backups often – and store in cloud if possible. Wedding photographers will not store your images forever – so you can’t rely on going back to them in 20 years because one of your grand children has used your wedding DVD as a frisbee. Backup, duplicate, and possibly best of all get an album printed.