So I had a rather embarrassing mistake this week. I’ve recently started working with my mother, also known as The Publication Coach, on a series of videos answering questions about writing. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can find it here. We shot a couple more videos this week, and in the process, I was unfortunately reminded of a valuable lesson. No matter how creative, no matter how talented, if you can’t manage the details, you can’t create.
My mom and I shot a few videos last week, and after a stressful weekend of opening a show, first thing on Monday I opened up my files to start editing. That’s when I learned that my audio files had been corrupted.
“That’s fine; I’ll just grab the backup,” I said to myself, as I went to go pull the backups from my storage in the cloud. Except, as I opened the folder, I remembered something. On Friday I’d run out of space in my cloud backup, and hadn’t deleted anything, or purchased more space. My files weren’t there. Both the files and the cloud backup were corrupt or gone. As my heart sank and the panic set in, I started running through options. We’d just launched this new series; the new video was going to have to come out on Friday. Were the files in my trash bin? No. Did we have time or patience to re-shoot? No and no. I thankfully remembered that I kept the files on my camera’s SD card, but they would only have the camera’s audio, and no high-quality audio recording. Passable, but nothing that I want to brag about.
I was reminded of a recent story about a Montreal photographer who lost almost her entire life’s work after her home was broken into and her hard drives stolen.
There are obviously some situations we have no control of, but when it comes to data management, we need to treat backing up as seriously as we take creating anything. So, here are three quick tips for data management:
1: Having two brick-and-mortar backups is no better than one. If you’re not backing up to the cloud, you’re putting your work at serious risk. Cloud backup costs almost nothing. For photographers who have Amazon Prime, you are already entitled to Amazon Drive which allows you to save an unlimited number of photos to the cloud. There is also software that auto-backs up your computer for you.
2: Use physical backups, too. Don’t assume just because you have a cloud backup you’re covered. Backup up to a physical external hard drive is not just reasonable; it’s a no brainer. Don’t ever assume one backup is enough.
3: Finally, don’t wait. Don’t put off backing up, don’t procrastinate for expanding your cloud or server. As soon as you’ve finished something, back it up, and as soon as you need more space, get more space. Trust me on this one; the consequences are not fun.