Back Up Your Wedding Photography Files

What To Do To Prevent Data and Image Loss

Back Up Your Wedding Photography Files

Ok, to back up your wedding photography files as soon as possible should be your first thought once the wedding is done and you have hopefully captured everything you and the couple need.

I can’t stress enough the importance of backing everything up. On most occasions I do this as soon as I get home no matter how late it is, I just need to know that first and foremost the images are ok.

This is my workflow when I back up;

  • Copy (not cut) RAW images from the Compact Flash Cards to my external hard drive through the PC. I don’t put them to the PC’s hard drive as I like to keep them separate for security. I keep the originals on the CF cards until I am finished backing up.
  • Once I have processed each RAW image in a RAW editor such as Canon’s DPP, they are transferred to and worked on in Photoshop. They are then saved as a JPEG to a different folder keeping the RAW file untouched (I don’t even save any changes after processing RAW data; I just revert back to their original state).
  • Once all images are finished I then copy everything to DVD and format the CF cards so I end up with;
  1. 1
    External hard drive with original RAW files and processed JPEGS.
  2. 2
    Back up to DVD’s with same as above.
  3. 3
    Another DVD with just the processed JPEGS which I use to show clients etc.

You can make more back up copies if you feel the need but most of my wedding packages include the couple receiving all images at high resolution so they also get a copy. Everyone has their own way of doing things.

Back Up Card Failure

On one occasion a few years ago I nearly had a heart attack when I got home. I large batch of images decided to become corrupt as I was transferring them from the CF card to the hard drive. They wouldn’t open with anything, not Photoshop, DPP or ACDSee but I could see a thumbnail image!

This led me to believe that the data was there and I just needed to get at it. Funnily enough, the thing that saved me was Microsoft’s Photo Editor, a very basic editing program that comes with most PC’s.

It was the only program that allowed me to view the images in full so I opened them up and re-saved as JPEGS. Not the best solution but it worked. If anything like this ever happens to you, don’t panic, just try and make a copy of the corrupt images and work on those first…leave the card well alone until you have tried everything.

There are some good data recovery software packages out there that may also do the trick such as image rescue that comes with most Sandisk or Lexar cards.


After being broken into once I have learned to back everything up and store it safely. If you are serious about your wedding photography career, I suggest that you invest in a good, strong safe. Even though the photos are worthless to everyone else, these files are priceless to the couple.

Thieves don’t care, they just want the computer or hard drives to sell on after erasing all your hard work so make security a priority.

Companies like Livedrive will back up all your data storage online, allow you to sync files between computers and access your files from anywhere in the world for a very reasonable fee. They will even allow you to stream your music and videos to your iPad, iPod or iPhone!

Future Proofing

I never delete wedding photos and even though it is more costly, I always keep the images on external hard drives. Memory is becoming cheaper all the time and whilst DVD’s are the cheapest option, they have a limited lifetime.

A 250GB hard drive will hold quite a few weddings and cost relatively little in comparison to your earnings for those weddings. Fill it up and leave the images there for added security. Check out our storage and media page

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