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New Year’s Eve 2020 is upon us and at the end of every year I look back at all the photos I’ve taken in the past year. What initiates the process is when I set out to make custom holiday cards for our friends and family sometime in early December. I peruse through all my photos that I’ve uploaded into Lightroom over the past year and flag the best photos. Typically I take these top photos of the year and turn them into a year in review calendar for my family and I’ve done so for the past ten years now. 2021 will mark the eleventh family calendar project. For the past few years I’ve also made custom glass ornaments with Snapfish so I wait for a great sale and make around 3 to 5 for our Christmas tree the following year.
So, now we’ve arrived to December 31st and as of now I’ve taken 15,724 photos. Not surprisingly due to our complete lack of travel this year, I took about 10,000 less photos this year than I did last year. Vacations always “up” my photo total so staying close to home this year really kept my numbers down. Honestly, I’m having a little trouble figuring out how to make our family calendars since it’s usually comprised of the best of the prior year. We hardly saw each other. So the typical occasions we would normally gather to take photos all together is limited to before March of this year. But my wheels have been turning and I know I can always gather up some photos from prior years for a nice retrospective. Also, I always have tons of photos from my garden which make for some nice images in general, so I should not be deterred right? I mean, I can’t let COVID mess up my annual calendar tradition right?!
BACKUP TIME Those of you who have been following me for awhile know that the transition to the new year means I always give my annual PSA. In short, I encourage everyone and to make sure they have at least 2 backups of their photos, ideally one offsite. If you normally take all your photos on your phone, for most folks that means using Google Photos or iCloud as an automatic backup. If you use other cameras like me, an additional backup of your hard drive (photos, videos and everything else) is crucial. Every year I get a text or call from a friend (or email from a reader) lamenting they’ve lost photos due to some glitch or accident (and that’s happened to me too in the past) so if there are any photos you would be devastated to lose, please do a backup now. I know some backup services cost money but if you were really to lose your photos, I think most of us would gladly pay for their recovery so be proactive! If you want to read about my photo and video backup process, you can find that here.
From last year I’ve actually gone from 5 backups to 6 backups. 1) iCloud for my iPhone photos; 2) Google Photos for my iPhone photos; 3) Software that automatically clones the main drive where I store my photo and video databases (Carbon Copy Cloner – $39.99 on Mac); 4) Time Machine (Free w/Mac) which is an auto backup of #3 and more; 5) CrashPlan ($9.99/device/month on Mac or PC) – automatic offsite Cloud backup of my photo and video files and other important files; 6) Manual download of iPhone photos and videos to a second computer in Photos (the photo management software that comes with Mac computers). One note about this, is notice how many of them are automated (5 out of 6 backups occur automatically) – once you set it up, you shouldn’t have to fiddle with it much. I know it can be a tedious thing to think about backups – we all have so many other things to do – so going the automatic route is best. You’ll be so relieved if your hard drive crashes and you have a back up. Did you know that hard drives have an average lifespan of of only 3 to 5 years? I wasn’t aware of that until I had one fail on me. I’m the worst in thinking that when I buy something it’s going to last forever, but I’ve probably had at least 3 hard drive failures over the years and since having the first one happen, I learned my lesson and I’ve luckily I’ve had a secondary backup. If you want to know how lucky I am, the internal drive that runs my actual computer that I’m typing on right now failed. Meaning it DIED. Would you cry? I almost did. But good thing I had cloned the boot drive so I could just run my whole computer off an external drive. The whole thing made me so nervous until I got everything up and running again – with no data loss. None of us are impervious to drive failure – even Photobookgirl! I keep saying “lucky” or “luckily” but you know what? Let’s just remove the element of chance. I proactively made a backup (or 6) so, let’s not gamble with our memories and you can definitely do at least one!
As time progresses, external drives get bigger and cheaper. To give you an idea, my entire photo database is about 2 terabytes (2TB) which is equal to 2000GB which consists of 200,000 photos. Maybe you have more, but a good chance you have less since I shoot in RAW which takes up a lot of storage. The idea is to get a drive you can grow into so more recently I’ve been buying 8TB drives which run about $150.00 since I have a bunch of videos too. You should transfer data from old external drives (since we know they degrade) as well any any current ones into these larger capacity drives which can easily accommodate that data and more. A $150.00 insurance policy is so worth it. You can easily fill it up and give it to a relative for them to store at their house to guard against fire or other natural disaster. That’s the easy way to create an offsite storage solution.
I’d love to hear in the comments – how many photos did you take in 2020? And tell me about your backup plan! Here’s to a better 2021!