My much promised post on my photographic work flow and photo backups is now up.
To start with I take my photos one of three ways. Either using my OM-D E-M5 on Lexar UHS-I 8GB cards as RAWs, my wife’s E-PL1 on 8GB Transcend Class 10 card (JPEGs) or with my OM-1 on varying types of 35mm film (which has been much neglected as of late, which I plan to rectify soon-ish). First in the case of film I scan it using an Epson 4490 flat bed photo and negative scanner and import directly in to Photoshop Elements 10, edit and save the pictures. In the case of the digital pictures I import them to Light room 4.1, do any editing in LR that I need to (highlight/shadow recovery, white balance, noise reduction, sharpening, local contrast adjustments, etc), export the images as TIFFs or JPEGs depending on the final desired use. Then if they need some further editing which can’t be easily accomplished in Light Room (where TIFFs come in) I will open the image in PSE10 to do final edits, such as masking, darkening backgrounds, cropping, red eye reduction, etc.
That is the basic work flow for how I go from capturing the image to having the final desired result sitting on my computer. All my files are organized on my computer on, currently, my E:\ drive, a 500GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 7200rpm drive. They are all stored under a main picture folder, sub divided in to years and further subdivided in to months with the occasional special folder under a given month for important trips or events, such as my trip to the Grand Canyon or trip to Disney. From there I have a weekly job running on my file server that pulls the images from my computer and backs them up to the server using a free Microsoft tool called Synctoy that you can download from their website.
To setup the backup job all you have to do (Windows 7) is go under control panel->System and Security->Administrative Tools->Schedule Tasks->Action drop down->Create Task and go from there. Using SyncToys help file will layout exactly how you should setup the task and also how you setup SyncToy itself. For SyncToy itself it is pretty straight forward, you basically select the source folder, the destination folder and the type of synching that you desire. Do you want to mirror additions both directions, one way only? Do you want additive synching (IE you add any new files from the source folder to the destination folder) or do you want destructive synching (IE you both add any new files from the source folder to the destination folder AND you delete any files in the destination folder that were also deleted in the source folder). There are a few other things you can tweak as well.
For the moment that is the entire process for me from post capture to file backup. At some point I need to create a secondary backup on an external drive as well as a cloud backup offsite. The later I am working on now. I don’t really have the money to pay for a huge chunk of cloud storage nor am I comfortable just uploading all of my pictures somewhere that could just be accessed. I am currently creating a small encrypted archive of some of my more cherished pictures (a few wedding pictures, a few child-birth pictures and some important pictures of the kids, wife, family and trips) to upload to a suitable free cloud storage service (I currently use Dropbox primary). It obviously is not a comprehensive backup solution, but it is at least a little extra insurance that if the house burned down or everything was stolen, at least some of the more important pictures would endure. Currently I am up to about 150 odd pictures and roughly 1.2GB for the archive. At some point if cloud storage becomes cheaper or finances become more bountiful I’ll probably amend that to backup pretty much every picture of note, which is probably still only 1 in 4 or 5 pictures (basically the ones “worth” tweaking in lightroom and exporting).
Also as a final note I also backup my lightroom catalog weekly and one of the things that gets backed up to the server weekly is last week’s catalog backup.