You’ve spent many months (maybe years) planning your wedding. Every detail was perfect. You’ve invested thousands in your wedding photography experience. The day comes and goes, and you enjoyed every single moments. When you get your wedding photos back, what do you do with them? You look at them over and over again (maybe on a screen), change your profile photo every week, and post to Instagram for weeks. Any chance to show those lovely photos to the world, you’re on it. But after awhile, you go back to married life and move on. What should you do with your wedding photos? I want to share three simple ways to back up your images so you never lose them and can enjoy them for years to come.
The digital age is fantastic and has made sharing and storing images easier than ever. But we’ve all heard the horror stories: dropped hard drives. Fried computers. The blue screen of death. A house fire. All nightmares if you’re not backing up your images.
Backing up your images isn’t your wedding photographer’s job. Most photographers have clauses in their contract stating how long they backup images. And though many probably back them up much longer, do you really want to take a chance with all that’s left of the happiest day of your life? Probs not.
1. Download your images to an external hard drive.
One of the simplest things you can do to back up your images is to grab an external hard drive and download them all to it.
The more places your images live, the better! That’s called redundancy, meaning you have multiple copies of your images. If you download them to a USB and your laptop and an external, that’s three places. It’s not super likely that all three will malfunction at the same time.
I recommend using two external hard drives to backup your wedding images. Keep one at your house and one at someone else’s. Or if you want to be extra, keep one in a fireproof safe at your house (that’s where I keep memory cards while I’m editing!). It’s scary, but there’s always a possibility of a fire, and though you’d hope you’d grab your hard drive, maybe you won’t.
I think most external hard drives have similar ability to fail, as I’ve used almost every brand. But my recommendation is to get an SSD (solid state drive) which are much less likely to kick it. This one is super tiny and portable, or if you have more cash to spend, you can grab this fancy LaCie.
2. Use the cloud
Though it sounds super nebulous and weird, the cloud is another place you want to use to backup your wedding photos. Again, what if your house catches on fire or floods or there’s a tornado, etc. Events industry professionals are always looking for contingency plans and the cloud is a great one that’s affordable and worth the cost. Most cloud backup systems are automatic so that means you don’t have to think about it at all. Totally recommend setting up your entire laptop to backup (and those iPhone photos…you don’t want to lose those, right?).
It’s not okay to think of Facebook or Instagram as a cloud platform. Those websites reduce quality of your images. Have you ever tried to print a Facebook image? Yeah, it’s not great.
Here are some cloud backup recommendations:
1. iCloud (50GB for .99 a month) — I use this for my iPhone photos
2. Amazon Drive (up to 5 GB with Prime)
3. Backblaze ($6 a month or $60 for the year) — I use this for my business!
There is NO excuse not to protect your images (and all sort of personal files too). Storage is cheap! Fixing a hard drive is not.
3. Invest in an Album or Prints
If you’re my client, you’ve heard me say this a million times, but investing in an album is another great way to backup your images. It’s the most expensive thing on this list, but I truly believe that your photos were meant to live in print rather than on a screen. Technology is a beautiful thing, but sometimes getting back to basics is ideal. A wedding album doesn’t require the internet and it doesn’t corrupt or crash. It lives so long as you take care of it (and it’s not in a fire lol).
There is something special about flipping through a hard copy of your wedding memories. There’s no subscription required and an album is an heirloom you can pass down. Who knows if external hard drives will be a thing? I can already tell you that USB drives aren’t a thing anymore (looking at those new MacBooks).
If you were recently married and your package didn’t come with an album, I bet your photographer offers them! I sure do, and you’re always welcome to purchase one, even a year later.
Sometimes we promise ourselves that we’ll get around to creating our own album, but allowing a professional to just take the reins (and get better quality items than consumers can!) is sometimes the best way to go. An album is an expensive investment, but you want to make sure it’s a quality item that will last. This ain’t Shutterfly, y’all.
And, of course, if an album isn’t your thing, at least print your images and display them. I love looking at the images I’ve printed and displayed of our wedding throughout our home. It reminds me of what a great day that was and how much I love my husband.
It’s even nicer if you can purchase professional prints from your photographer. I guarantee they’re better than what you can get yourself – and they’ll always be proper colors. Printers do vary, believe it or not, and your photographer isn’t responsible for knowing them all honestly! That would be CRAZY TOWN. So trust your professional and if you’re ordering prints, try to get them from the professional! Plus, it’s always nice to support a small business when you can, right?
Final Thoughts on ways to back up your wedding images
There you have it: three ways to back up your wedding images! There’s never too much of a good thing, and this adage applies to backups. In summary:
1. Remember that redundancy is your friend.
2. Don’t wait to backup your images! Back them up as soon as you can!
3. Your photographer isn’t responsible for archiving your images forever. That is YOUR responsibility.
4. Invest in hard copies of your images if you can. They never go out of style.