The Importance of Redundancy in Photography


POSTED IN: Business

Disclaimer: this may be the most non-exciting post you’ll ever read on my blog . . . or will it? Ok, it might be the blog with the least pretty-ness you’ll ever see on my blog. Also, the Instax is not our standard camera. It is fun to play with, though, and our 8-year-old Gabe makes some pretty hilarious snapshots with it.

But, this will be one of the most important posts. Because without redundancy, we’d likely miss out on a whole lot of pretty. I’ll explain.

Data Redundancy in Photography


Redundancy, according to good ol’ Google Webster, is basically stuff that is superfluous, unnecessary, extra, and not useful. But in the world of data, redundancy is life support waiting in the wings. From our resident TechGuru, Norm, data redundancy is duplicating data in multiple sources and updating frequently for the purpose of ensuring a copy is always accessible in the unfortunate, unforeseen event of data gone wild. Or corrupt. Same difference.

But there’s also another benefit that can’t go unmentioned. Just yesterday, I was contacted by a very dear planner and friend who is reworking his website. He needed the photos from a wedding we worked on together almost two years ago so that he could feature them in his portfolio, and didn’t have them downloaded, and they weren’t accessible from our online gallery any longer. Now, photographs from our camera take up a huge amount of space, and it’s just not possible to keep every photo from every wedding stored on our hard drive either. But it is neither responsible nor possible for me to just delete them. AAAAACK!!!! So we do a couple of things. We burn final images to a DVD to keep here physically. But we know CDs aren’t reliable. So we copy all – and I mean all – of the files straight-out-of-camera to the final edited images to two back-up SeaGate and WD hard drives on site in the office. And we run a twice-daily backup from an off-site storage data center called CrashPlan.

Which is how we make sure we have redundant data. Like, copies of redundant data from every single day. And sometimes every. six. hours. On a server that I can remotely access and copy specific data files back to my hard drive. Thank you technology! It’s easily Life Support for data.

In the end, I was able to retrieve these files for my friend. I accessed this very same remote data storage, copied those files to my hard drive, and uploaded them to a new gallery to digitally deliver the images to him so he can show on his website the beautiful work that his talent produces.

But let’s imagine for a moment that it was a bride who contacted her photographer in the hopes of retrieving her images after she’d perhaps lost an original CD (which is why we deliver our images through an online gallery so they can be directly downloaded). Let’s say that photographer’s backup workflow includes copying all of the finished images onto a CD, deleting them from their hard drive, and storing the CD in the closet. Data written onto a CD has the limitation to go corrupt on a whim, and is no longer accessible. That bride’s images could potentially be lost. Now, that’s not to say the CD would go corrupt, but is it worth the risk for that to happen without having . . . data redundancy?

Yes, it costs more than just backing up to a CD, or just having a portable hard drive. But that expense is why I’m able to securely work and edit my data for one of the most important days in a couple’s married life, knowing that if anything should happen to our work once it goes out in the world, our couples, our professional friends and vendors, can come to us in an instant and within a couple of days’ time, get those images back to them so those visual memories might not be lost in data form. What would be more expensive is for that data never to be retrieved or accessible again.

Now, this is in no way a commercial for any data storage center or brand. But it is so important to know that your images won’t be lost – whether you’re a photographer working on the images for weeks, or a newlywed couple who will cherish your images for years, you need to make sure you – or your photographer – has a plan in place to safely and securely back up those wedding images with minimal risk of failure.

I guess V.I.C. has it right when he says Wobble baby, wobble baby, wobble baby, wobble . . . make ’em back it up!

You know you’re singing it now.



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