How do you archive your pictures? or am I too paranoid?

Initially I was going to simply ask you “How do you archive your pictures” on facebook and google+ then I thought that maybe it would be better to give some insight on the workflow I follow myself since it might help the discussion.

As of today, I am sitting on a little bit more than 100k pictures and a bit more less than 1 terabytes of data, 85%+ out of which are photography related: Original pictures, Retouched Versions, layered edits etc… and there have very high value to me. I could easily imagine myself loosing, stolen/corruption/failure, the hardware but not any of my data.

I am not covering in this post how I organize my pictures nor which DAM, Digital Asset Management, software I use but rather how many copies of this info I have and where do I store them.

How many copies and their locations

I keep 3 exact copies on 3 different external disks

Copy 1 is on a Western Digital My Passport and is protected, I hope, by a Western Digital WD Nomad Rugged Case. This copy is in my bag with me all the time.

Copy 2 is on a Western Digital My Book Essential and is at office connected to a file server and is synchronized pretty much every other day.

Copy 3 is on a Western Digital WD Elements and is offline. I keep it at home in a fire and water proof safe, and is synchronized every other week or so.


If my data is important to me, I surely don’t want anyone else to have access to it without my consent. For that reason copies 1 and 2 are encrypted using Microsoft Bitlocker technology.

Yes I am a Microsoft person, however for people intrested in drive encryption and that would prefer a more open platform you can take a look at TrueCrypt.

Copy 3, the one kept in a safe, is not encrypted and is kept as a fail-safe option.


To keep these 3 copies in sync I use AllWaySync: A great piece of software that has true 3 way synchronization. I have paid for the pro version 5 years ago and been using it ever since.

Total cost

Maybe you think all this is overkill for just a “bunch of pictures” but the whole investment cost me less than $400. A price anyone would pay in a heartbeat to try to recover data from a failing disk.

My concern

Well all this sounds like a well thought off strategy however I am not sure that disks are good for long term storage…
10 years ago my archiving strategy relied on CDs and DVDs and theses are not age proof either.

So what do you think? Am I too paranoid? Would external disks still be readable 10 years from now? and how do you do it with your pictures?

HDR Photography [Poll]

I have been experimenting with some HDR photography and I have a question for all you HDR photographers out there

Do you like surreal HDR ?
Do you prefer more natural ones ?

I left a poll here for you to answer. It would be interesting to see the general trend about HDR . Also please feel free to post links to some of your HDR work in the comment for some extra inspiration for us all 🙂


How big is your Adobe Lightroom catalog? [Poll]

A question to all Adobe Lightroom users out there!

I am nearing 70k pictures in my Lightroom catalog and it is growing up steadily, I am very reluctant in splitting to many catalogs because I like the idea to be able to search for all my pictures in on single place.

So how big is your catalog ? Any idea what is the performance limit of Adobe Lightroom 2.x catalogs ?

I have read it is much better than the 1.x version but I am looking for real life experience.


Time to run or time to shoot? [Poll]

If encountered a risky situation with your camera at hand, would you run or would you stop and shoot ?

A long time adidap reader and friend MIR is interested to know how far would a photographer go or how much would you risk to take a picture.

So if trapped in a hurricane, fire, war or other risky situation would you first think of fleeing away or grab some picture first?

Have you already faced this choice?

What would make you run? what would make you stand and shoot? is it the money? fame? sharing and transmitting the "moment" that otherwise would be lost ? …

please share your thoughts and experiences


What’s your new year photography resolution ?

Christmas is here and the year is quickly reaching its end. It is the time of the year when we all start thinking about how we can make our life better and taking new year resolutions.

From a photography point of view I want to shoot more, think less about gear and technology and more about pictures.

I would really be interested in reading about your new year photography resolution so feel free to drop a comment about it and, if you care to share the best tip or trick you’ve learned in 2008 you can do it here.

In the mean time Merry Christmas for all