Throw It All Away

That’s right, throw away all your computer files. Images, documents, applications, - everything. Ok, maybe not literally, but from time to time you need to pretend.

Last year we saw many friends lose everything. Studios and homes flooded in Houston. Fires roared through many parts of California leaving a trail of destruction. December 26 was the two year anniversary of a monster tornado that ripped through communities near Dallas. A dear friend lost her home and personal belongings along with her camera equipment and most photographs.

©Faye Stout: A killer tornado ripped through the Dallas area on the day after Christmas, 2015. Several people were killed and it left whole neighborhoods devastated. Such an event destroys everything - including irreplaceable family photographs. 

You don’t have to ask around too far to find photographers that have been the victim of a burglar that steals everything.

©Faye Stout - A good friend and photographer Fay Stout was able to use a 2x4 to fish out her trusty Canon 5D from the rubble of her home. She was so happy when she switched it on and it still worked.

I know we’ve talked about this before, but you absolutely MUST plan on the unexpected. Backup! That’s the keyword. And I don’t mean just backing up your files in case a card or disk drive fails.

When you consider the backup portion of your workflow, you must consider catastrophic losses such as floods, fires, and tornadoes. Mother Nature does not discriminate.

Here are some tips to help protect your business and your personal images.

Backup! You should have a backup for all your data files. This backup should protect against drive failures or corrupted data files. I have a drive that is always connected that Time Machine uses to store a complete backup of my system. Perfect for a data problem or crashed drive.

Off-site Backup: I have a second drive that I attach to my system every few weeks to create a complete off-site backup of all my data files and software. It is attached only for the backup procedure and then stored in a small Pelican case. The case is stored at an off-site location twenty miles away. This gives me comfort knowing that I could recover from a catastrophic loss.

©Fay Stout - Disasters destroy more than just things. When you find yourself the victim of a disaster it rips you apart emotionally. The more you plan ahead of time, the more you'll be able to handle the weight on your shoulders. It's not easy, but having a backup and a recovery plan certainly helps. 

Scan important family photos. I have a collection of old family photos - some dating into the 1800’s. A couple years ago I spend a lot of time scanning these photos and creating an extensive digital library. Such a backup won’t ever replace the original photograph with the retina and texture of age. But at least I know that I will always have the images.

Consider Insurance:  There are many people who engage in “professional photography” as a side business. You’ll want to check with your homeowner's insurance company to find out exactly what, if any, professional equipment is covered. Most likely, you’ll want to have an additional policy to cover your camera equipment. The value of this equipment sure adds up quickly.

We are always exposed to risk. Fire, theft, tornadoes, and flooding. These are just some of the most common. And, I certainly don’t think you should spend your life worrying about all the risks you face. But it is prudent from time to time to sit back and evaluate where you are today and what you can do to minimize this risk and plan to mitigate the suffering, should disaster raise its ugly head. As we begin a new year, this is a good time to do this.