Backup & Storage Setup

Since I've received a lot of questions regarding how I back up my data and files, I wanted to share a little peak into my setup. Backing up my files and storage is something I invested a little more money into this past year as my wedding photography business grew and I needed a more secure and reliable backup. I used to keep everything on multiple WD external drives, along with online storage using Zenfolio. Everything had to be moved from one drive to the back up drive manually, which I admit to not always doing right away. If I forgot to move the files from the first drive to the back up drive manually, or got lazy and didn't do it immediately and waited til the next day, I risked having that first drive fail and all my data would be lost. A couple years ago this wouldn't have been a huge deal, but now with 40-50 weddings a year at an average price of $6k, I needed to make some changes. 

After interviewing the Marketing Manager of G-Technology at WPPI this past year, along with a lot of research on the best products on the market, I decided to invest in 2 G-Tech Studio Thunderbolt Storage Systems. I also kept all my WD external drives that I had been using. The advantage to using the G-Tech drives was the automation of backing up my files by using RAID1.

I have two 12TB G-Technology Studio Systems, running RAID1, which mirrors the drives. So each studio has 2 physical drives, each are identical, or mirrored to each other, making it 6TB of available storage. The 2nd Studio is a copy of the 1st. This makes a total of 6TB only of storage, since its mirrored on the first and then an exact copy of that to the 2nd.

I do it this way for 2 important reasons. I use RAID1 instead of RAID0 so that if one physical drive fails, the 2nd one is an exact copy and has the same data. If the entire studio fails, I have the 2nd studio running as a back-up. Alot of people dont have the 2nd studio as a back-up, and they trust that if one physical drive fails, the 2nd is there. BUT, the entire Studio can fail, meaning both drives are useless, and all data is lost. Chances are very low that the entire Studio will fail, but you should never rely on chance. 

Under the G-Tech Studio Systems, I have two WD external drives, usually 3. These are for current RAW files for wedding clients that I havent delivered images to. These get put in a fire-proof safe every night before bed. Its only the undelivered images, because once I deliver the images, they are now backed up online. I then take them off the WD drives. 

I will get into my workflow and how I organize everything in a separate article, but as far as storage goes, each of my clients gets their own folder. I have a folder for each year which includes a separate folder for each client and my personal work. Each client folder contains all their RAW files, exported fully-edited JPEGs, and their own Lightroom Catalog. Many photographers choose to have a single Lightroom catalog for each year and categorize within Lightroom, but this is the way I have found it to work easiest for me over the years. 

If you have any questions let me know, thanks for reading!