Back Up Your Photos Before Creating Your Legacy Catalog!

 Recently, David Mark Erickson and I were doing an Intro to Lightroom and Bookmaking workshop and we asked our class two questions:

  1. Can you find a particular photograph in your Library on request? Reply: No one had an effective system for identifying, searching and finding photographs.
  1. Are you backed up? Reply: No.” This wasn’t a surprise. Yet this was a group of wise, intelligent men and women. No one was thinking about the great personal loss that would be, if a hard drive failed or a computer was stolen. Hard drives don’t live forever and neither do we.
Computer losing digital data

“There are two kinds of computer users: those who have lost data, and those who will.” ©2017 D.A.Wagner

In my Lightroom Legacy Catalog Series Part 1, I wrote about the three things needed to create a legacy catalog that can be shared with and/or handed down to family and friends: organization, searchability and accessibility.

The first two ensure that specific photos in the library are organized in a logical fashion and easily located using keywords and captions. This is important because someone other than you should also able to determine how to find your photos. The last is accessibility, and this is tricky. Your digital library is organized and searchable, but not completely accessible, because computers and hard drives can fail. And, technology changes.

That’s why having an off-site backup (the cloud) and creating books are critical for accessibility. Keeping an off-site backup is like a belt and suspenders. One backup is good. Two backups? Well, it would be really hard to lose both. And, because no matter how much technology changes, printed books remain unaffected. This means to have a legacy catalog, you will need address all three requirements because a shoebox of photos in the digital age is becoming rare. But before we even start a legacy project, we must have a backup strategy.

Keep your photos in a shoebox Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee of recovering your photos off a failed hard drive – at any price. A data loss without a backup usually means going deeper into a rabbit hole.

keeping track of your photosBacking up is life insurance for hard drives and your legacy photos. Should you lose or accidentally discard anything while organizing, you can return to your backup and restore the photo(s) or catalog in question. And, please don’t plan to back up after you’re organized. Do it before you start! You’ll want to keep your old catalog and photos intact until you know everything is in order.

Everyone’s set up is different and it’s impossible for me to give each and every one of my readers a backup strategy and, it is different for Macs and PCs. So here are links to get you started with either platform.

Backing up a Mac: Time Machine (Options)

Information on Macintosh Time Machine is here – and here you can find how to set up time machine from MacWorld UK –

Backing up a PC: File History (Windows 8 and up):

Information on Windows File History is here – and here – – is modestly well written step-by-step tutorial from PC World.

Backing up to the Cloud (Mac/PC): Backblaze

Recently, David Mark Erickson tested a number off-site (cloud) backup services for our Lightroom Guy clients. And the service/software we now recommend for cloud storage and backup is Backblaze. David found that it’s a great “set it and forget it” backup platform that’s reasonable priced and robust enough to meet most user’s needs while being dead simple to use. And, we like simple. Compare it to other platforms and you’ll see why we recommend Backblaze. They also have lots of great information on their blog, including longevity and reliability statistics of hard drives based on their own experience with different manufacturers and models. Super useful when considering an internal hard drive purchase.

As far as choosing a backup hard drive, you can read more about my hard drive recommendations for backing up in a previous blog post – There’s also Time Capsule for Mac, which is a wireless hard drive, very convenient, but currently only has a maximum of 3T backup storage.


©2017 D.A.Wagner

So, back up, back up, back up. I can’t say it enough.

In Part 3, we’ll explore getting your photos and folders organized, it’s the first step in creating a Lightroom Legacy Catalog.