Backing up your photos

With the number of photos I take and many of you also do, it’s very important to have backups. One never knows what could happen, and loosing years of work would be disastreous. So having redudant copies is a must. So here I will show you how I do it, and what I suggest you should do.

What I save

For my photos I save 4 different things:

  • original RAW files, as downloaded from the camera. There are organized by year and date, with each folder named the location or event they are assigned to.
  • edited PSD or PSB file, for all the photos I edited and finished. These tend to be quite big and most photographers don’t keep them, but I like to, as it makes it easy to go back and o tweaks if needed. Also, it makes it easy to show how a particular photo was edited.
  • web sized JPG version of finished photos. This one I added a watermark, and have it ready for uploads to social media or on-line portfolios. This version is sharpened for the web resolution, usually around 1350×900 pixels.
  • full sized JPG version. This one I keep just for convenience. If any of my clients buy a photo, I can sent it to them immediately, as this version is ready. If they do ask for a TIFF or something like that, I have to go back to the PSD file of course.

Not everyone saves everything, and you should decide for yourself what you need. Mostly the RAW and a final edited photos in TIFF or JPG are important, other depends on your preference.

Where to back up

The best goal would be to have a backup copy of all you need in three spots:

  • on site copy. You have a duplicate of everything on an external drive or a local server in your home or workplace. This is for cases when you computer hardware or just the HDD breaks down and is no longer accessible, either to hardware or software failure, like viruses or ransom-ware.
  • off site copy. You have a duplicate of everything on and external drive or server in a second location you either own or have access to (eg. your parents, friends…). It’s best if this location is not in the same building or even better, city. This is for a simple restore in the case of fire, flooding, burglary or similar.
  • in cloud backup. The last backup is with an INTERNET based company, that will backup all you data to their servers. This is great if all you other backups fail, and you need to restore them. This is usually the slowest backup, so it’s best if you need to restore smaller parts, like accidentally deleted file and similar.

How do I backup

Now I will show you how and where I backup my photos. I try to have many redundant copies, and as one says, better safe than sorry.

On site backup

The primary location of my photos is on internal drivers in my PC. With 6, 8 and 10Tb drives available, this is not that hard to archieve, and even after years of taking photos, I have enought space. If this would not be possible, I would use a external drive box for this with multiple hard drivers.

Secondly I use a Synology NAS server with HDDs in a RAID configuration. I use SyncToy program from Microsoft to synchronize the photo folders to a folder on the server every day. Like that I have a local backup of everything without having to do much. I do the sync manually, and its only set to echo (the PC folder changes are copied to the server, not the other way) as I want to have control over it.

Off site backup

For this I don’t backup everything. I have a smaller external hard drive, on which I save all the final photos as 100% JPGs and PSD versions. This is the last rescue for me, so these are the most important photos in my option to keep.

This get updated less regularly, only about once per month or so.

Cloud backup

For clouds storage, you can use a service like BackBlaze or Carbonite. There are many more, but these two seem to be most popular. I right now don’t have an online backup, as I’m in the middle of reorganizing my library, but that will be corrected soon.

These are meant for big backups, that are just there for a case of emergency, not that you access them every-time you need a photo.

I do have a copy of the web sized and full sized JPGs in my SmugMug portfolio. Of course only the web sized are in a public gallery. The full sized, in a private gallery, are great if I need to send one to someone, as I have access from anywhere. This is for quick online access if needed.

I also use few other Cloud accounts, Amazon Drive and OneDrive to be exact, but these are more for sharing and sending out files, than for backup.

Final thoughts

It’s very risky to have no backup. You never know what can happen. It also risky to not have a real structure for how you store your photos. If you don’t know where they are, it’s easy to just delete some accidentally. I still can’t find some of the ones I posted years ago, before I gave more thought into it. And I probably never will. And if you ever need to reorganize a Lightroom catalog, you will quickly find out why that is a very bad idea :)

So keep you files structured, save and backed up, at least once..

Spider clouds – plotagraph

I still try to animate fireworks in Plotagraph Pro, but still I don’t like the results. But I will try, try and try again :) For now, here is one of a clouds reflection, taken at the Kuchajda lake in Bratislava.

You can check out my Plotagraph Pro review here, and a guide how to create them here.

(if you use an older web browser, you may only see a static image, if you are on a mobile, please hit the play button to see the Plotagraph in motion)

The stars over Vienna – plotagraph

I really like these subtle plotagraphs. When you look at them, it take a moment to realize that they move. It like a small surprise every time :)

For this one, I used a photo I took two years ago in Vienna, at the Karls kirche (Charles church). It was a blend of 200+ photos for the stars, that I now animated in Plotagraph Pro.

You can check out my Plotagraph Pro review here, and a guide how to create them here.

(if you use an older web browser, you may only see a static image, if you are on a mobile, please hit the play button to see the Plotagraph in motion)

Nisi Natural Night filter – first impressions

Recently I got the Nisi Filter holder for the Laowa 12mm lens, and also the Nisi V5 Pro holder for all my other lenses (have not doe my fist impressions on that, but will get to it soon :)) and while ordering those, the Natural Night filter from Nisi caught my eye. As I do a lot of night photos, and the cities in Europe, especially the old towns, are lit by crazy strong yellow lights, I thought this might be useful.

Nisi Natural Night filter

I only had it for few days now, but I managed to go out and try it out. I’m far from reaching a conclusion on it, and I’m not yet sure if it’s worth the price. I tried to edit the unfiltered images so they look like the filtered ones, and I got quite close. But I do have to say, I liked the results with the filter more, especially the blue of the sky. I plan to use it in Dubai in two weeks, so after that it would be easier to judge.

For now, here are few test shots. Each one I took with and without the filter. In some, there can be a bit of zooming out or in, as each time I was putting on or removing the filter, I managed to move the camera really slightly.

Comparison images

Each pair of photos here, is a photo without the filter used, and a photo with the filter used. You can also download the source RAW files here of all these photos, if you want to compare for yourself. I included also DNG versions, in case you can’t open CR2 files from the 5D mark IV. Each time I used the same settings (the photo with the filter is darker, as one looses around half a stop of light by using it), and with auto white balance. The only edit done is that, few of them are brightened, but it’s the same amount with and without filter.

Btw. the redness in the light in the filtered ones, can be very easily removed by tweaking the Red Primary slider under Camera calibration in Lightroom.

Nisi Natural Night filterNo filter
Nisi Natural Night filterNight light filter
Nisi Natural Night filterNo filter
Nisi Natural Night filterNight light filter
Nisi Natural Night filterNo filter
Nisi Natural Night filterNight light filter

Blue hour in Prague – Plotagraph

The great thing about Plotagraphs, is that you can go back into your library of older photos and edit anyone you want. Like this you can bring new life into it. Same with this photo of blue hour in Prague, which I already took years ago.

I played here a bit with the light on the left, to make it pulsating. You can see exactly how I did it. Look at the attached screenshot of all the points and animation points I used in Plotagraph Pro.

You can check out my Plotagraph Pro review here, and a guide how to create them here.

(if you use an older web browser, you may only see a static image, if you are on a mobile, please hit the play button to see the Plotagraph in motion)

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