Backups on Backups

Nothing has been as scary in my photography journey as when my hard drive and entire laptop died with everything I have ever shot on it. This also included three photoshoots I did that week that were all due in the next two days.

I was not one for a streamlined workflow. My data management was kind of a mess with folders and files named horrifically like "jhbnfk_finalretouch_grade_resize_finalfinal". It was bad. Not to mention all my photos were in all in one place. Either on my MacBook Pro internal drive or an external drive, I called "Working Drive." Thankfully I had a software called BackBlaze install that continually backups everything on every hard drive. After dropping too much money on a new computer and a few hard drives I decided it was time for a change. 

Here is my new workflow. This is not a standard by any means. This is just what made sense in my head. There are two basic shooting scenarios I may find myself in. The preferable scenario would be shooting tethered. The other is shooting to two cards simultaneously in camera.

With the first one being the best I would have RAW images immediately import into Capture One and be stored in the field on a "Working Drive" and also a "Backup Drive." (The same would be true of the second scenario just instead of a computer and hard drives it would just be my camera and memory cards). That way there are two copies of the photos. Then once I am done with the shoot and post-processing, and once everything has been delivered to the client, the Capture One catalog along with the edits and RAW files can be archived on a larger hard drive back home called "Archive." Then overnight Windows (or on Mac a program called Carbon Copy Cloner) will make an exact copy of the contents of the "Archive" drive and put them on an identical hard drive called "Backup Archive". On top of all of that, there would be the BackBlaze cloud service linked to the Archive drive that would store all the info in the Cloud. That way I have two physical copies of the entire archive shoot and a cloud copy. If anything fails there should be a copy of it somewhere. 

Now as far as file structure that is a continual pursuit of making something that works. I think I am close but for now my file structure is pretty simple. Folders go something like this:


  • Year
    • Month
      • Shoot Name
        • CAPTURE (Tethered) or CARD
        • WORKING (PSD edits)
        • OUTPUT
        • FINAL


  • Shootname_Date(YYYYMMDD)_SequenceNumber_ImageSize

Again, I am not saying this is the best. This is just where I am right now that seems to be working for now. Hopefully this will encourage those of you who don’t have a solid workflow to make on of your own that works for you. I looked up a bunch and tried various ones out. It wasn’t until I tried to come up with my own did I figure out what really works and what doesn’t. Here’s to a future of (hopefully) no lost data!

*Knocks on wood*

Here is a list of some nice hard drives I trust: